Serious Eats / Kristin Kempa

Using high-quality ingredients can take your cooking to a new level, and this principle applies to the spices and dried herbs we use, too. But all too often, the supermarket spice aisle contains jars that have taken months (or even years) to get there and may contain additives and fillers (or maybe they’ve just sat there for a while). While, at one time, that grocery store spice aisle was your best bet, today, consumers have an overwhelming amount of options for sourcing spices. There are single-origin shops, shops that sell spices in bulk, stores with fun blends…you get the gist. Over the past few years more and more independent spice shops have appeared online that offer thoughtfully sourced, fresh, direct-to-consumer spices from all over the world.

Below, we’ve highlighted 13 of the best places to buy spices online—stores where you can find everything from staples to harder-to-find specialty spices, blends, and pantry items.

The Best Places to Buy Spices Online, at a Glance

A Sustainable and Ethically Sourced Spice Option: Burlap & BarrelA Chef-Driven Spice Brand: SpicewallaA Specialty Shop for Vietnamese Spices: Van VanA Source for Sichuan Cooking Spices: The Mala MarketA Resource for Building an Indian Pantry: Diaspora Co.A One-Stop Spice Shop: Oaktown Spice Shop If You’re Looking to Buy Spices in Bulk: Spice JungleThe Big-Name Spice Shop: Penzey’sA Women-Owned Online Spice Shop: Curio Spice CompanyA Spice Shop for Latin Pantry Staples: LoisaAn Online Spice Shop With Something for Everyone: The Spice HouseA Spice Subscription Service: Piquant PostAn IRL Spice Shop: Christina’s

Whole Vs. Ground Spices

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Many spices that you can purchase ground are also available whole. Whole spices stay fresher far longer than ground ones. Grinding releases flavor compounds that give spices their flavor and aroma. The longer a ground spice is stored, the more of those vital compounds are lost. We think it’s worth the extra effort to grind whole spices if you can, unless you use a particular spice very frequently, so it won’t be sitting around for long.

How to Grind and Toast Spices

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

As mentioned above, the less time between grinding whole spices and using them, the more flavor you get, so buying whole spices and grinding them as needed is key. An easy way to do this is with an electric spice grinder. A mortar and pestle will also work, it will just require a bit more time and elbow grease, and the resulting grounds will be coarser.

Toasting whole spices heats up their oils and gives them a more robust, round flavor. To do so, place them in a dry skillet and cook them over medium to low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Spices can go from pleasantly toasted and browned to scorched and bitter very quickly, so keep a close eye on them.

For ground spices, you can achieve a similar enhanced, round flavor via blooming. To bloom ground spices, cook them over medium to low heat in a skillet with a little bit of oil or butter, stirring frequently, until fragrant. In both cases, using a light-colored skillet (like stainless steel) will help you monitor the browning on the spices, but watch the spices closely no matter what to avoid burning.

How to Keep Spices Fresher Longer

Serious Eats / Jesse Raub

Heat and light are the enemies of spices. They both speed up their degradation and dull their flavor. A good practice for keeping spices fresh and potent for as long as possible is to store them in a cool, dark, dry place. Inside a cabinet, drawer, or pantry are all great options. Keeping spices near a window or the stove is a no-go if you want them to remain fresh for as long as possible.

The Criteria: What to Look for When Buying Spices Online

When you’re buying spices online, what to look for really depends on your needs. Are you a new home cook looking to build out your spice cabinet from scratch? A seasoned baker seeking specialty items? A small business owner looking for ingredients in bulk? Below, we’ve covered the best places to buy spices online, all of which have a variety of options for everyone.  

Our Favorite Online Spice Shops

A Sustainable and Ethically Sourced Spice Option

While most spices you find in the supermarket are sourced from a huge amount of different farms, Burlap and Barrel spices are all single origin. They partner with small farmers and farm collectives as part of their mission to “end inequality and exploitation in food systems by connecting farmers to high-value markets.” All of their spices can be traced back to a single place, often from one farm or farm cooperative. Their partnerships extend to the culinary world as well with spice blends and collections curated by Sohla and Ham El-Waylly, Floyd Cardoz, and Illyana Maisonet, among others. The online shop includes a wide variety of whole and ground spices, blends, and extracts, as well as pantry items like vinegar, honey, and chili crisp.

Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

A Chef-Driven Spice Brand

This boutique spice shop was founded by James Beard Award-winning chef Meherwan Irani and specializes in signature blends, as well as whole and ground spices. The spices come packaged in cute light-proof tins that will help keep spices fresher for longer (and look good doing it). Their collections are a great gift option, creating an instantly Instagram-worthy spice rack for a loved one. They also have well-known blends like everything bagel seasoning, Chinese five spice, and garam masala, as well as more unexpected ones like N’Asheville Hot Chicken Seasoning and a wing spice collaboration with T-Pain.

Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

A Specialty Shop for Vietnamese Spices

Founded by two Vietnamese immigrants in 2021, Van Van focuses on the home cooking and culture of their native Vietnam. Its catalog of single-origin herbs and spices are all sourced directly from Vietnamese farmers. While their offerings might not be as vast as other online shops, (you won’t find dried oregano or nutmeg here), if you’re looking for quality herbs and spices found in Vietnamese cuisine, they’re a great resource. They offer a variety of dried aromatics and chiles like purple shallots, Northern Mountain garlic, and heady, aromatic sparrow ginger, as well as guides for how to use them and recipes (like in nuoc cham).

Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

A Source for Sichuan Cooking Spices

This mother-daughter-owned business specializes in the cuisine of the Sichuan region of China.  They carry several varieties of the spicy, numbing Sichuan peppercorns as well as a variety of other peppers and whole spices imported from China. They also offer a wealth of Chinese pantry items like dried noodles, bottled sauces, pickles, and oils.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

A Resource for Building an Indian Pantry

This small company focuses on single-origin spices sourced directly from farms in India and Sri Lanka. Their website even has a neat sourcing map where you can learn where each spice is grown, as well as about the farms and farmers they’re sourced from. Their catalog includes whole and ground spices as well as a line of masalas and even a pumpkin spice blend. Spices are packaged in colorful opaque tins that will keep spices protected from light. They also have an assortment of gift sets and tools for the home cook.

A One-Stop Spice Shop

Based in California, this expansive shop grinds spices in-house and mixes its own blends, ensuring freshness in every jar. With an extensive catalog of offerings including spice basics like dried oregano and smoked paprika, as well as more esoteric items like beet powder and granulated yuzu zest, this is a good place to shop if you’re looking to build a spice collection from the ground up or restock after a cleanout.

If You’re Looking to Buy Spices in Bulk

This well-stocked shop offers a huge variety of whole and ground spices, dried herbs, chiles, and blends in amounts as small as one ounce and all the way up to 25 pounds. They also sell loose-leaf teas, extracts, sweeteners,  dried mushrooms, and a whole bunch of glass bottles, jars, and spice storage racks.

The Big-Name Spice Shop

The Penzey family opened their first spice shop (called the Spice House, which is another of their current brands) in 1957 and they have been a staple in the spice industry ever since. Their extremely extensive catalog includes whole and ground spices, blends, baking spices, and more. The online shop includes less common categories like ‘salt-free’, ‘sugar-free’, and ‘garlic and onion free’ if you’re buying for a household with specific restrictions. Their gift section is quite robust, too, with a huge amount of pre-made boxes and customizable options.

A Women-Owned Online Spice Shop

This Massachusetts-based certified B-Corp was founded in 2015 with a mission to “improve the life of spice farmers by directly sourcing from small sustainable farms.” They carry single-origin whole and ground spices, dried herbs and flowers, chiles, and salts, as well as a broad range of highly giftable blends. With unique offerings like the Edo Spice Blend (Japanese citrus and chile) and the Kampot & Salt Blend (Cambodian pepper and Maine sea salt), they’ve got staples and specialties covered.

A Spice Shop for Latin Pantry Staples

This New York-based company specializes in Latin pantry staples. They carry organic spices, blends, and pantry sauces like adobo, sofrito, and sazon that typically include fillers and artificial ingredients when found on a supermarket shelf. They also have some ground spice staples like cinnamon, ground black pepper, turmeric, and smoked paprika. Their thoughtfully curated sets include a full kit of 10 spices to reboot your whole spice cabinet as well as tools for making Latin staples like tostones.

An Online Spice Shop With Something for Everyone

Founded by Bill and Ruth Penzey in 1957 (of Penzey Spice fame), the Spice House is one of their spice shops featuring an astounding range of spices. Their huge catalog is organized thoughtfully with sections for blends and bestsellers and options to explore by use, food pairings, or cuisine (they also have fun collaborations, like this one with Rodney Scott). Many of their spices are packaged in easy-to-store resealable bags. They even sell a smart wooden holder for storing multiple spice packets.

Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

A Spice Subscription Service

If you’re looking for a way to explore new spices and blends, this monthly service ships four spice blends per month to your door along with recipes to go along with each one. They also have an archive with recipes that highlight their spices and blends. In addition to subscriptions, they offer spices and blends for one-time purchase in 1-ounce packages.

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

An IRL Spice Shop

This incredibly well-stocked spice and specialty food shop was a favorite of mine when I lived in Somerville, Massachusetts. I was arguably sadder to leave the reach of their prolific shelves than I was any business in the neighborhood. Lucky for me (and you!) they have an online shop where you can buy whole and ground spices from all over the world. They also sell blends, loose teas, sweeteners, and chiles, as well as pantry items like specialty flours and grains, dried mushrooms, and hot sauces.


What’s the best way to store spices?

The flavor compounds in spices are degraded by heat and light, so it’s best to store spices in a cool, dark, dry place. If your spice rack is exposed to daylight you may want to opt for opaque containers for your spices, rather than transparent glass or plastic ones.

What’s the best spice grinder?

There are a few different options for grinding whole spices at home: you can invest in an electric grinder, use a mortar and pestle, or even a hand grinder for smaller amounts. While an electric grinder is the easiest option and will give you the most uniformly ground results, grinding by hand also works very well if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Should you buy whole spices?

Whole spices contain flavor compounds that are released when ground. The sooner you use spices after grinding, the more potent and flavorful they will be. We recommend both sourcing the freshest spices you can find and buying them whole if you can. Whole spices will keep for longer in your spice cabinet than their ground counterparts and will retain their complex flavors and aromas until you’re ready to use them.

What are single-origin spices?

Single-origin spices are grown at one farm or farm collective in a particular region. Spices sourced this way are higher quality and fresher than other options because they are packaged and shipped to consumers much quicker than spices processed through a large supply chain.

Plus, in the case of many big-name brands, it’s impossible for consumers to know where spices were grown, who grew them, or what farming practices were used. One jar could include spices from potentially hundreds of different farms in far-flung locations. The bloat of large, opaque supply chains often leads to small spice farmers getting paid much less for their products. Many of the online shops we’ve highlighted are sourcing spices directly from farmers, cutting out middlemen like auction houses, importers, and exporters to get spices into the hands of consumers while ensuring that farmers are paid an equitable wage. 

Why We’re the Experts

Andrea Rivera Wawrzyn is a freelance food writer and recipe developer and was formerly an associate editor at America’s Test Kitchen.She has developed recipes for multiple New York Times bestselling cookbooks, including an IACP award winner.She has written a variety of pieces for Serious Eats, including best grill presses, cookware for glass top stoves, and a guide to our favorite thermometers.

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