Use This Simple Trick to Fix Clumpy or Hardened Spices

published Apr 5, 2022
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All spices added in the bowl.
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Have you ever had one of those moments where you go to sprinkle a little bit of your onion powder over a dish and no matter how hard you shake it, you just can’t seem to get much out? If your answer is yes, then you know what it’s like to deal with clumpy spices and seasonings.

Most of the time spice jars from the store have tops with holes to allow just a small amount of the spice through — this is called a sifter fitment. When spices are exposed to heat or moisture, they tend to clump up, making them hard to shake through the sifter. (Plus, if you’ve ever tried to just take the top off completely and simply spoon it out, many spoons —  including measuring spoons — don’t often fit properly.)

You can help prevent your spices from clumping in the future by storing them in a cool, dry place, but in the meantime, here’s a clever trick for getting those spices out.

If some of your spices seem to be very clumpy, overly packed, and don’t sift well through the fitment, try twisting the top back and forth a few times. The simple trick of turning the sifter fitment back and forth almost mimics the function of a spice grinder, and helps release the spices.

No surprise, this trick comes from TikTok. User Shai of “straitjack_hugs” bestowed this simple but brilliant hack on us. If you follow the video, you can try either holding the sifter fitment still and twisting the bottle itself, or reverse it and twist the fitment back and forth. Also, this trick works well for more than just packed spices — it’s also great for those finely minced dried herbs that just won’t seem to come out.

The next time you find your spices are a little difficult to work with, don’t throw them out: Try this trick to get them going again.

Once your spices are flowing freely again, try mixing some of them up into a homemade taco seasoning or Cajun seasoning.

For more spice tips, see our guide to how to buy, store, and use different spices.