Replace spice rack or create my own?

It’s time to replace the spice rack that is over 3 years old…EEK!!

It is one of those ones that spins - I think I got it from Bed Bath and Beyond, and it has maybe 24 different spices, some that probably rarely got used. So I was thinking of just building a spice holder into the kitchen wall. The two spices I noticed that did get used were oregano and Itilian seasoning. Others bought garlic salt, and cinnamon (even though cinnamon was on the rack).

So I take it a lot of my guests probably make spaghetti sauce - so if you were on vacation for a week with your family or signficant other, etc. - what would be the basic spices you would prefer? I also provide a grill so if you use some kind of sprinkle meat (Kickn Chickn) seasoning please mention that.

I think I just want to keep it simple and purchase the seasonings from $1 store, or Big lots (if they still have the big ones for a $1) instead of refilling jars. I’d like to keep it to 15 max number of spices, if that is reasonable.

Please let me know which seasonings you would use the most often. The two I use the most are the Adobo seasoning - really I can put that on any meat. And I use Paul Prudomme’s “Pizza and Pasta” magic - that takes care of all my Italian needs…lol.

French thyme, Italian oregano, Italian pepper flakes, cumin, bay leaves, whole nutmeg [with a microplane], black pepper corns with a grinder, celery seed [summer], ancho powder, smoked paprika, sweet paprika, sea salt, Coleman’s dried mustard

Most of these herbs do not last for all that long, so if you want to buy large bags in bulk, maybe keep them in the freezer when they aren’t actively replenishing the smaller jars.

I don’t use any premade seasoning mixes or marinades so can not help with that one.


I provide (in grinders) himalayan pink salt, standard peppercorns, and a lemon pepper blend. I think the standard italian seasoning, cinnamon, parsley and paprika would be good to have on hand too. And yeah, adobo seasoning is great!

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I’m a chef, so I have spices most people haven’t head of and use them all the time. However. For guests I would suggest a few good spices. Whole spices are always better, in particular whole peppercorns. There are several good grinder/dispensers available; likewise salt grinders. Buy the Badia brand spices in the small packets whenever you can – inexpensive and good spices

Salt Grinder
Black Pepper Grinder
Smoked Paprika
Sweet Paprika
Nutmeg (whole nuts and get a small cheap grater)
Old Bay
Chile Powder
Italian Seasoning
Cajun Seasoning
Cavender’s (Greek)

Why do you need to replace the rack? Does the age matter? I’m not even sure if I’ve ever seen a spice rack.

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Okay…you smoked and sweet paprika folks - what kind of dishes are you making with those?? I sprinkle regular paprika on deviled eggs for color…lol. - that’s it.

Keep in mind this is a whole house rental. So I am thinking that the real “chefs/cooks” will bring their own personal stash of special seasonings they just can’t live without. I guess I am trying to cater more to the redneck chefs. I won’t be using these spices myself (to use up quickly), so don’t really want to buy anything in bulk and then refill - by that time they may be bad.

You guys are listing some good things though. Thank you

Lol. Yes, for some. I’m sure some of the chefs on here could share their wisdom. But I find that spices that guests leave behind just take up room in the cabinet. And when some spices in my spice rack are empty - that means I will have to buy a large jar and refill. Then that means storage for the remainder.

I just want to purchase the most commonly used seasonings, and when it gets low - run to the Dollar store and replace it.

Anything that goes on the grill with a seasoning rub needs paprika. Great rub for fish or chicken is some ancho and black peppers, paprika [both], cumin, mustard [depending] and salt. Sautéed chicken breast should always have a salt and paprika rub. Greatest chef trick in the book! Egg salad must have paprika as should many soups.

If you are going for red-neck chefs, just buy a bunch of Stubbs stuff and call it a day. Never goes bad. Has tons of salt and sugar. Makes red-necks happy.


Ah. Well, I guess I don’t have a very clear idea of what a spice rack is, so I’ll bow out of further discussion.

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Chile powder. If you have a local or regional seasoning for steaks (here there is “Great American steakhouse” and “Fiesta Brand”) or other things I’d stock that.

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@anon67190644 - thanks for clarifying the paprika. The only reason I say I am going for the redneck spices is because my rental is not year round, and a lot of people only stay 2 or 3 nights - so I just don’t see them getting used enough to make it worth my while with providing tons of ingredients.

I do get a variety of guests though (looking at what they leave behind). Those who shop at Whole Paycheck before they arrive, and then those who eat your regular American SAD diet. The ones on the SAD diet are usually my parents with young kids. And those are the guests I usually get who stay a week and cook in. I supposed they would prefer the redneck seasonings.

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I use smoked paprika more than sweet paprika. I use it in egg salad, tuna salad, eggplant dip, on hummus just to name a few.

The point of buying bulk spices is that you can buy a very small amount. Also, you just pay for the spice, not the container. What I mean by bulk spices is the bulk spice jars (for me at Sprouts). They have small plastic bags next to them and scoops in them. You can buy however much you want.

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I use paprika on chicken, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, mmm.

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I can’t resist. But don’t you have a personal chef? - lol

I found spice variety packets, 4 or 5 spices based upon a theme, in a round container with rotating top that opens on each spice, BBQ, Italian at the dollar store. Great for casual cooks. My guests liked them. If I were to set up spices/herbs I’d go the bulk route, and not get a rack, but if you have the rack and bottles, just wash them out and refill. You can find labels to relabel,the bottles or make your own.
Basil, thyme, paprika, chilli powder, some sort of rub/BBQ mix, pepper,Italian, lemon pepper, garlic powder. I wouldn’t get nutmeg or cinnamon. True cooks will get their own, casual folks rarely use more than these.

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Oh yeah, garlic powder and onion powder!

faheem – a spice rack is a little wooden stand (several different shapes and sizes) which holds matching jars or bottles of 10 or 20 different spices. Spices, of course, deteriorate with time after grinding or other prep.

When people buy spice rack it usually comes with filled jars of spices, which are probably already stale and have lost their potency. Big jars of spice from the supermarket will also go stale within a very few months (weeks actually). The spices “in bulk” are just as bad, if they are pre-ground. Dollar store spices are there usually because they are already past their “best by” dates, and stale when you open the jar.

This is why we recommend buying small amounts – .5 oz or so – of quality spices, and avoid having ‘bad’ spices hang around in the cupboard. Better to buy 2 cinnamon sticks, a couple of vanilla beans, half a dozen whole nutmeg nuts, an ounce of black peppercorns, etc. than buy a huge can or jar of something that is stale when you open it. Buy a little, use it up, buy some more.


Costco has a spice rack like the one you’re describing for $24.99… plus free spice refills for 5 years… amazing deal!

Forget the built in spice rack and please don’t buy any spices at the Dollar Store! Omg. There’s a reason why they are being sold at the Dollar Store. smtucker lists some great spices, many of which most people wouldn’t know how to use or even want to, but it’s nice to have them available for sure.

Besides the loads of spices in the cupboard, I have a small tray on the counter with the basics: sea salt, pepper in a mill, red pepper flakes, whole oregano, furikake (I have a lot of Asian guests), cinnamon for oatmeal, red wine vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce. Everything is in its original container and looks much more inviting to use than those awful spice set things. Oh Martha cover your ears! :)))))

Hi @KenH,

Thanks for the detailed explanation. But if you want the system to notify me, use @ in front of the faheem.