Spiceologist

 

The Spice House

6 of our favorite online shops for artisanal herbs and spices

By Erik Mathes

Spices make magic in the kitchen. Seriously, the right set of individual spices and seasoning blends can transform your cooking from average to extraordinary—no chef-level knife skills required. To help you start elevating your home cooking to levels hitherto unreached, we’ve done the legwork to find the best online spice shops that ship nationwide. A bounty of flavors await you: Intense, aromatic curry powders, herb-laced rubs, and things you probably didn’t even know could be turned into powder—from blue cheese to red wine vinegar.


The Spice & Tea Exchange

The Spice & Tea Exchange
From the one-off shop in St. Augustine, Florida that started it all in 2005 to the nationwide spice-slinging powerhouse it is today, The Spice & Tea Exchange offers ample variety for cooking enthusiasts, including over 140 spices and 80 blends, not to mention over 30 types of tea. We can’t get enough of the Bloody Mary seasoning, and not just in cocktails—on chicken, fish, and vegetables, too! Another sure thing is the Mushroom Paradise blend, a heady concoction of mushrooms, brown mustard, onion, garlic, ground green peppercorns, wine powder, parsley, black truffle salt, and shallots. And let’s not forget the sweeter side of their stock, like the Bourbon–black walnut sugar, mango-habanero sugar, and espresso sugar.

Spiceologist
Executive chef Pete Taylor and food blogger Heather Scholten (of Farmgirl Gourmet) teamed up to form this spice company known for its awesome blends, like smoky honey habanero and Greek Freak, along with their signature Spiceologist Block, a unique European beechwood block that can snugly fit 22 test tubes of spices on your countertop in style. The pink peppercorn–lemon thyme blend is perfect on poultry and fish, and the espresso-based Cowboy Crust is the perfect rub for any cut of steak. Spiceologist also sells a variety of exotic ground and powdered individual spices, like mild Aleppo pepper, ajwain seed, and kaffir lime powder.

The Spice House
Run by the daughter and son of Ruth and Bill Penzey Sr. (of the Penzeys Spices, mentioned below), The Spice House celebrates its 60th birthday this year, and offers many of the same varieties of spices and seasoning blends you’ll find at Penzeys, with different names, sizes, and price points, as well as some you won’t find elsewhere. Of the 600 products available, the bleu cheese dip-and-dressing mix is great shaken onto poultry and vegetables—don’t think you have to use it for dips and dressings. The Gateway to the North maple-garlic seasoning is the perfect complement to pork, while the lavender-vanilla sugar is outstanding to use in any baking application, or even just to lick right off the palm of your hand when no one is looking.


Spice Jungle

Spice Jungle
From Madagascar vanilla beans and Spanish saffron to dried morel mushrooms and white balsamic vinegar powder, the selection from Spice Jungle will get any culinarian excited. If you’re in search of curry powders from around the world, you’ll find everything from Thai green curry and Japanese yellow curry to spicy Indian vindaloo and savory garam masala. There’s also a selection of whole and ground individual spices, from Vietnamese cinnamon to Jamaican allspice berries and grains of paradise (melegueta pepper) sourced from Guinea.

Spices Inc.
This family owned and operated business from northeast Pennsylvania offers hard-to-find individual spices like ground serrano chile powder, tomatillo powder, and ground tamarind, as well as interesting rub blends, like Flippin’ the Bird, tangerine-hibiscus, and Bourbon-molasses. We recommend their “Pennsylvania Pepper” blend, hand-mixed in small batches with black pepper, onion, garlic, roasted red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and celery seed, as well as the salt-free Manzanillo Mexican Seasoning, an homage to the co-owner’s experience working in a Mexican restaurant, which is blended with ancho, pasilla, black pepper, garlic, chipotle, onion, coriander, Mexican oregano and cumin.

Penzeys
With an assortment of unique seasoning blends and an exceptional selection of individual spices, like Ceylon cinnamon and smoked Spanish paprika, Milwaukee, Wisconsin–based Penzeys is the go-to spice company for countless chefs and home cooks alike. Their Fox Point Seasoning is a particular standout, a savory mix of salt, freeze-dried shallots, chives, garlic, onion, and green peppercorns. If you’re looking for something salt-free, try the Mural of Flavor, a combination of over a dozen herbs and spices spiked with citric acid and orange peel—perfect for chicken, fish, or vegetables.

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