The Brilliant (but Easy!) Spice Organizing Tip I Got from a Pro Chef

published Sep 11, 2019
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

In order to accommodate the lightning-fast speed at which a professional kitchen runs, it has to be kept extremely organized. All kitchens adhere to similar rules for cleaning and organization — mostly so that newbies can jump in without having to relearn a new system. My friend, Jesse, has been cooking in professional kitchens for 10 years now, and because he finds these organization methods are so useful at work he follows many of the same rules at home.

In the spirit of passing things down, he has taught me many neat tricks that have made my own kitchen so much more efficient, but my favorite takeaway is also the simplest: alphabetizing the spice rack.

I thought it was a bit obsessive at first, but once I tried it, I realized how helpful it is. If something is frying on the stove, for example, I don’t have time to hunt for the spice that is going to make it taste just right. When they are in alphabetical order, I can easily find (and grab!) the one I’m looking for in seconds.

Credit: Emily Shwake

I like to have my spices easily accessible and in my line of sight at all times, so that I am always considering how I can spice any given dish. My two-tiered lazy Susan holds all of my spices — with space for a few more — and it looks great on my kitchen cart. I love that I can organize all of my spices (labels out) and never have to worry about anything getting pushed to the back and lost.

Buy: Lazy Susan Turntable Kitchen Organizer, $15

Credit: Emily Shwake

Jesse’s system is a bit different — he stores his spices in labeled plastic containers like they do in professional kitchens. They are neatly stacked in his cupboard; it’s amazing that he can fit more than 30 spices in such a small amount of space! An added advantage of this system: If he accidentally purchases a spice that he already owns, he can combine them in the same container. 

Buy: ZEML 8-Ounce Deli Food Storage Containers, $9 for 24

Either way, the result is the same: Storing spices in alphabetical order will cut down on the time you spend hunting for the right spice.

How do you store your spices?