Kitchn Love Letters

I Splurged on This Perfect Spice Organizer — And Have Zero Regrets

updated Mar 12, 2021
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Credit: Cathy Pyle

I can chart my progress as a cook by the growth of my spice collection. I started out with just a couple of spices, like granulated garlic and ground cinnamon, but then slowly added others like cumin, coriander, chili powder, curry powder, two kinds of paprika, everything bagel spice, Aleppo chili pepper, garam masala, and turmeric. Plus, whole spices like cloves, nutmeg, and star anise.

Suffice to say, my spice drawer has exploded. I know that showing my spices the proper appreciation means storing them away from heat and light, which can degrade them and make them lose potency. So I was delighted when my newest kitchen had a roll-out spice rack, and more thrilled when my spice containers — these chic, round stainless steel capsules — fit inside perfectly. 

But I grew less thrilled as time went on and I actually tried cooking with them. Although I had spent years searching for a spice storage solution that was just the right combination of functional and aesthetically pleasing, and genuinely thought I had found it, the powdery rainbow mess in the bottom of my spice cabinet told me otherwise. No matter how careful I was to line up the stainless steel lids to cover the holes on the side of the containers after I was done using them, I couldn’t seem to avoid inadvertently dumping spices everywhere. And wasting perfectly good spices was worse than the mess. (If you’re wondering why I don’t just use the jars the spices come in, I usually bulk buy my spices, which means they come in bags and need to be re-homed!)

Begrudgingly, I started the search again. I admit I’m pretty particular. Screw caps and tins aren’t easy to open in the heat of the moment. Kilner glass jars are cute but too narrow to fit my fingers in for a pinch of what was inside — plus, breakable, a likely possibility in my kitchen. I wanted something minimal, and needed something that fit my spice rack. 

Credit: Jill Waldbieser

I finally found it almost unexpectedly, while looking at the organizational wares of a Japanese company called Yamazaki Home. The bottles are sleek and square, but with rounded edges. Outside of the metal rack they come in, they fit perfectly two-by-two in my spice drawer. Which means I can finally get my entire spice collection in the upper rack — no more kneeling to hunt for cayenne. If you don’t have built-in spice storage and want to display your collection in the included rack, it’s a striking countertop display. Even if you don’t have the same sort of drawer that I have, what is key to know here is that the jars line up perfectly, without wasting any space at all.

Credit: Jill Waldbieser

These containers are also see-through, which helps with spice identification until I get labels on, and made of resin, so they’re not breakable. But the key is really the lid. It toggles one way to reveal holes for sprinkling, and the other way for a slot you can use to measure larger amounts of spices. I can literally do this one handed using only my thumb.

Credit: Jill Waldbieser

The only downside of this spice rack that I can see is the price. Forty bucks is steep for six jars, and I need about four times that amount. But it’s a price I’m willing to pay for the convenience and finally having a spill-free spice rack. And these were clearly built to last, so I can make the investment now and enjoy the containers for years to come.

What do you use to store your spices?