Adding a pullout spice rack to your kitchen can be a great way to save space and keep your spices organized. With some simple DIY skills, you can install a slide-out rack in your existing cabinetry or add one when remodeling your kitchen. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to add this functional storage solution.

Choosing a Location

The first step is deciding where you want to put your pullout spice rack. Some good options include:

  • Inside an existing kitchen cabinet near the cooking area. Measure to find a cabinet with enough depth and vertical space.
  • In a new kitchen island or peninsula. Include space for the spice rack when designing custom cabinetry.
  • In a pantry, lazy susan, or blank cabinet space. Look for an unused area that can accommodate the rack.

Consider accessibility, proximity to prep and cook zones, and visibility when selecting the ideal spot. Corner cabinets or deep cabinetry over the refrigerator work well for concealed storage. For everyday use, opt for front-and-center placement in a base cabinet near the stove or countertops.

Buying a Pullout Spice Rack

Once you’ve identified the location, choose a ready-made rack or buy a DIY kit. Consider these factors when selecting your pullout spice rack:


  • Single tier – Good for base cabinets or half-depth shelves. Offers access to spices in one sliding tray.
  • Double or triple tier – Ideal for full-height pantry cabinets or deep spaces. Provides more storage with stacked trays.
  • Spice drawer – Features small stacked drawers to divide spices. Requires more width than other styles.
  • Tiered shelves – Provides visibility with staggered open shelves. Works in wide, shallow spaces.


  • Measure your cabinet space’s height, width, and depth.
  • Opt for full-extension slides for easy access to the back.
  • Allow for some wiggle room – around 1/2 inch clearance all around.


  • Wood, metal, or plastic construction. Wood matches cabinetry; metal and plastic are more affordable.
  • Unfinished, natural, or stained wood tones. Painted options also available.
  • Durable build that supports weight of spices without sagging.
  • Slide rails that smoothly pull out the rack and self-close.


  • Fixed racks to hold spice jars in place. Common for tiered or drawer styles.
  • Adjustable dividers or open shelves. Offer flexibility in jar size.
  • Drawers, bins, or trays to corral spices. Help divide by spice type.

Extra Features

  • Soft-close slides prevent slamming. Useful if mounted overhead or high up.
  • Flip-down front bar for added space to set spices when cooking
  • Drawer/tray spices that pull all the way out for easy access.
  • Lighting so you can easily read spice labels. Battery or electric options.
  • Ventilated backing helps spices stay fresh. Perforated metal or wire mesh work best.

How to Install a Pullout Spice Rack

Once you’ve selected the right spice rack, it’s time to install it. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Remove Cabinet Doors

  • Take off cabinet doors and set them aside safely. This gives you full access.
  • Remove existing shelves if you need to alter the interior.

Step 2: Prep the Cabinet Box

  • Vacuum out cabinet to clear away dust and debris.
  • Remove protruding nails, screws or staples inside the cabinet.
  • Sand splinters or uneven spots to create a smooth surface.

Step 3: Cut Cabinet Walls If Needed

  • Measure slide-out unit and verify it fits your cabinet space.
  • If not, cut bottom cabinet walls for width clearance.
  • Cut upper walls if needed for rack height. Use a jigsaw for straight cuts.

Step 4: Create Base Platform

  • Make a sturdy base from plywood to mount slides to.
  • Cut plywood to fit cabinet footprint, around 1/2 inch narrower than interior width.
  • Secure plywood to bottom cabinet with finishing nails or screws.

Step 5: Mount Slide Rails

  • Attach slide rails tightly to plywood base and upper cabinet walls per manufacturer instructions.
  • Make sure rails are level, aligned, and spaced properly for your rack.

Step 6: Install Spice Rack Unit

  • Fasten assembled spice rack into slide rails. Test to make sure it extends fully.
  • Screw rack securely into sides of upper cabinet for stability.

Step 7: Add Trim or Filler Pieces

  • Use scrap wood to create side, top and bottom filler pieces that cover any gaps.
  • Attach with finishing nails, glue and wood putty for a seamless look.

Step 8: Paint or Stain Cabinet Interior

  • Paint or stain interior surfaces to match your cabinetry style as needed.
  • Use high-quality primer and paint suited for kitchen cabinets.

Step 9: Replace Doors and Shelves

  • Reinstall doors, adjusting if needed to accommodate new interior layout.
  • Add adjustable shelves and other accessories around spice rack unit.
  • Attach door and drawer hardware. Test that doors fully open and close.

Loading Your New Spice Rack

Once installed, it’s time to transfer spices to your new pullout organizer. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Categorize spices logically – by cooking style, frequency of use, herb vs. spice, etc.
  • Place everyday go-to spices in front for easy access.
  • Use gravity – heavier items like bottles on lower shelves.
  • Maximize vertical heights for tall narrow jars.
  • Angle larger spice containers front-to-back for visibility.
  • Leave some empty space for future additions and rearrangements.
  • Add peel-and-stick labels to clearly identify spice contents if needed.
  • Include a notepad or chalkboard to jot notes on spices to buy.

Maintaining Your Spice Rack

To keep your pullout spice rack looking and functioning its best:

  • Wipe down surfaces periodically with a dry or slightly damp cloth.
  • Use cabinet degreaser or mild soap and water for deeper cleaning.
  • Vacuum out dust bunnies and spice debris regularly.
  • Test slide function monthly and lubricate rails if sticky.
  • Tighten any loose screws or hardware as needed.
  • Repaint interior if scuffed up to keep pristine.
  • Replace slide rails if they become warped or damaged.
  • Reorganize as your spice collection changes over time.

Tips for Maximizing Cabinet Spice Storage

Beyond installing pullout racks, there are other creative ways to efficiently use cabinet space to store and organize spices:

  • Mount mini racks or magnetic strips inside cabinet doors.
  • Use wall-mounted spice racks between cabinets or on sidewalls.
  • Transfer spices to uniform glass jars to maximize shelf space.
  • Funnel bulk spices into square jars that take up less room.
  • Use risers or tiered racks to better utilize vertical storage.
  • Designate a “spice cabinet” so they’re consolidated in one spot.
  • Utilize corner lazy susans or turntables for accessible storage.
  • Incorporate slide-out trays or drawers to neatly corral spices.

Common Questions about Pullout Spice Racks

If you’re thinking of adding a pullout spice rack to your kitchen, consider these frequently asked questions:

Are pullout spice racks difficult to install?

Pullout racks are intermediate in installation difficulty. They require some cabinet modification, but with basic tools and DIY skills, the process is very doable as a home project. Precision measuring and getting slide rails aligned take the most time and care.

How much weight can they hold?

It depends on the rack, but most quality racks made of wood or metal can support 20-50 lbs when fully extended. Only fill to 75% capacity to allow for smooth sliding. Evenly distribute weight for best performance.

How much space do I need for a spice rack?

In terms of depth, allow for at least 20-22 inches from inside of cabinet to door for full extension. For width, you’ll need 12 inches minimum for single tier racks. Height depends on preferences – 18 inches per tier provides ample room.

Should I install soft-closing slides?

Soft-close slides are highly recommended for overhead or high-mounted racks to prevent slamming. They gently catch and prevent drawers/trays from closing too quickly. This protects your spices from accidentally falling out.

What’s the best way to organize spices?

Group spices logically based on cooking style, frequency of use, or spice type. Place the most used spices front and center for convenience. Organize vertically, placing taller bottles below shorter jars.

Can I install lighting in my rack?

Yes, battery-operated or electric lighting kits are made to install in pullout racks. Opt for LED lights which last longer and run cooler than halogens or fluorescents. Lights illuminate your spices for easy viewing.


Adding a pullout spice rack is an excellent way to make the most of your kitchen storage space while keeping your herbs and spices neatly organized. With some handy DIY skills and the right materials, you can create this functional feature even in compact kitchens. Install slide-out trays or drawers to instantly transform wasted cabinet space into accessible storage that puts your spices at your fingertips. Keep frequently used spices upfront and group ingredients logically to cook with ease. A pullout spice rack helps make good use of every inch while decluttering your countertops and streamlining your cooking routine.

How to Organize Your Kitchen Spices

Keeping spices neatly organized can make cooking much more efficient and enjoyable. Cluttered cabinets filled with a jumbled spice collection only lead to frustration. With a few simple organization techniques, you can transform those chaotic spices into a functional system that makes sense. Here are helpful tips for organizing your kitchen spices:

Categorize Spices by Usage

Group spices based on how often you use them for quicker access:

Everyday Essentials

The spices you use most regularly should be the most accessible. Keep go-to seasonings like these upfront:

  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Cumin
  • Thyme

Baking Spices

Set aside spices primarily used for baking like:

  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Allspice
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder

Spice Blends

Corral specialty pre-mixed spices together:

  • Chili powder
  • Taco seasoning
  • Curry powder
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Jerk seasoning

Less Common Spices

Place spices you use more rarely toward the back:

  • Fenugreek
  • Sumac
  • Saffron threads
  • Five spice powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Turmeric
  • Celery salt

This system ensures you can easily locate your most-reached for spices.

Sort Spices Alphabetically

If you don’t use certain spices often enough to categorize them by frequency, alphabetize them. This helps you quickly find what you need. Store them in alpha order on a shelf or in divided containers.

Divide by Spice Type

Group spices together by product type – herbs vs. spices vs. seeds vs. salt. Sections could include:

  • Dried herbs: basil, oregano, thyme
  • Ground spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
  • Whole spices: peppercorns, cumin seeds
  • Seeds: poppy, celery, fennel, mustard
  • Salt: kosher, sea, garlic
  • Seasoning blends

This allows you to easily identify and grab certain spice forms.

Utilize Spice Racks

Employ one or more rack solutions to neatly arrange jars:

Wall-Mounted Spice Racks

Screw modular racks onto walls or inside cabinet doors to fully utilize vertical storage. Include extra hooks and pegs for utensils.

Turntables or Rotary Spice Racks

Spinning units effectively use corner space and give easy access to multiple jars.

Tiered Racks

Stackable shelves help corral spices while providing visibility. Great for pantries.

Magnetic Strips

Secure magnetic strips inside cabinets and attach small spice tins. Ideal for limited space.

Optimize Jars

Use uniform, clearly labeled jars to optimize organization:

  • Transfer bulk spices into same-size jars for cohesive look.
  • Funnel spices into square jars – they waste less space than round ones.
  • Label each jar using printed labels or tape with neat handwriting.
  • Shake down and flatten jars regularly so spices take up less room.

Incorporate Pull-Out Racks

Install slide-out trays or shelves to efficiently use hard-to-access cabinet spaces. Great for corner cabinets or upper shelves.

Maintain the System

Keep your organized spice system functionality with regular maintenance:

  • Wipe down shelves and jars to prevent dust and grime.
  • Frequently replenish spices so you don’t run out mid-recipe.
  • Weed out expired or rarely used spices.
  • Rearrange jars when you purchase new spices.
  • Alphabetize or re-categorize as your cooking evolves.

With a methodical organization strategy and some periodic upkeep, you can keep your spice collection neatly ordered and easily accessible.

How to Store Spices Properly

Proper storage is crucial for preserving the flavor, aroma, and potency of your dried spices. Follow these tips to store spices correctly:

Keep Spices Cool and Dry

Heat, humidity, and light degrade spices over time. Store them in a cool, dry place away from these elements:

  • Avoid storing spices near heat sources like the oven or dishwasher.
  • Don’t keep spices in cabinets above refrigerators – the warmth shortens shelf life.
  • Opt for a cabinet away from the sink and dishwasher to prevent moisture exposure.
  • Make sure storage area has adequate ventilation.

Use Opaque Airtight Containers

Keep spices in airtight containers and away from light:

  • Transfer spices from original packaging into jars or tins that seal completely.
  • Clear glass allows in light that diminishes flavor – use dark containers.
  • Or, wrap clear jars in foil to block light.
  • Make sure lids fit tightly so no air gets in.

Buy Spices Whole

Whole spices retain aromatics much longer than pre-ground. Grind them fresh as needed for meals.

  • Whole peppercorns, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, etc. stay vibrant up to 3-4 years stored properly.
  • Pre-ground spices lose potency after 6 months to 1 year.
  • Buy small quantities of pre-ground for convenience, not bulk sizes.

Don’t Crowd Spices

Avoid over-packing spices into cramped spaces. Allow some headroom:

  • About 1/2 inch of space at the tops of jars prevents caking from moisture.
  • Loose, measured scoops let you see level of spices remaining.
  • If spices are too tightly packed, transfer extra into another container.

Check Expiration Dates

Watch for expiration or “best by” dates, especially on pre-ground spices. Discard any past that timeframe.

Store Herbs Separately from Spices

Keep dried herbs like basil, oregano, and parsley stored separately from spices.

  • Herbs have shorter shelf lives, around 1-2 years.
  • Their subtle flavors can get lost among bold spices.
  • Separate placement lets you easily find the right ingredients.

Proper storage extends the shelf life of dried spices and preserves their essential oils and aromatics. Follow these simple guidelines to keep spices fresh and flavorful.

How to Install a Spice Drawer

Adding a spice drawer to your kitchen is an easy way to organize and contain your collection while freeing up cabinet space. Follow these steps:

Choose a Location

Pick an existing drawer or cabinet space at least 5 inches deep and 12-18 inches wide. Near prep areas or beside the stove works best. Or, have a drawer custom built into new cabinets.

Buy Drawer Organizers

Purchase removable spice organizers to fit your drawer dimensions. Consider:

  • Tiered risers with multiple height levels to better utilize vertical space
  • Stackable trays or inserts to divide spices
  • Modular small bins to group spices categorically
  • Bamboo, plastic, acrylic, or metal organizers to suit your style

Install Drawer

If adding new drawer:

  • Have cabinetmakers build an extra shallow drawer to your specifications
  • Install drawer slides and test for smooth gliding action

For existing drawer:

  • Clean out and remove any built-in dividers
  • Measure and ensure organizers will fit

Add Organizers and Spices

Place organizers into drawer and customize as needed by removing partitions.

Fill spices jars/bottles in categorized groupings:

  • Everyday herbs and spices upfront
  • Lesser-used spices toward back
  • Alphabetical or type divisions

Leave a little room for rearranging.

Maintain Drawer

  • Periodically wipe out crumbs and dust
  • Check expiration dates and replace stale spices
  • Reorganize as you acquire new spices
  • Tighten any loose screws or hardware
  • Avoid overloading drawer to prevent sticking

With a dedicated spice drawer, all your seasonings will be neatly organized and close at hand when cooking.

Spice Storage FAQs

Having questions about how to best store spices? Below are answers to some frequently asked questions on properly storing and organizing dried spices:

How long do spices last?