How to create a built-in spice rack

How many of you have kept your New Year’s Resolutions…..

…..for this week?

For the first 48 hours?

24 hours?

Or are you like me and you are still waiting to start?

Remember the big cooking resolution?

Remember those big bold words about not having a macaroni and cheese kitchen and starting to cook all the time and not ordering gas station pizza and trying out for the Food Network star…..and you were all so supportive and wonderful and sent me all these amazing recipes?


Even my husband remembered.  You see….he reads my blog and Friday he patted my hand so sweetly and asked me how my macaroni and cheese kitchen was doing.



I think he was hopeful…..that patient, kind, incredibly sweet husband of mine…..who has eaten pancakes that resembled play dough and burnt vegetables and chicken that tasted like rubber tires and more “surprise” dishes than I can even count.

And so maybe to inspire me…..maybe because I need a little help…..maybe because he is just generally wonderful…..

….he built a spice rack for me this weekend.


This built in spice rack has so much space for our kitchen 


It’s really tall and really big.

I think it can fit more than 75 spices.

I think he read that post and he had really high hopes that we would need a lot of spices in 2013.

Or maybe he just subscribes to the Kevin Costner theory of  “if you build it…..they will come.”


This built in spice rack holds so many bottles


But right now…..we are starting small.

7 spices to be exact.

Cinnamon, Mustard, Oregano, Chili Powder, Paprika.….and I’m counting Salt and Pepper.

And I bought a few extra empty bottles for inspiration.

For all the recipes to come.

For all those recipes that require spices that I’m going to make in that formerly macaroni and cheese kitchen.

So just in case your New Year’s Resolution is to build a spice rack or if you have dozens of spices that need a home…’s the cliff notes on the project:


The spices displayed in the new spice rack


1″ x 3″ board (approximately 22 ft.)

1″ x 2″ board (approximately 7 ft.)

decorative trim (approximately 7 ft)


Here's what the spice rack space looked like before

Step 1:  Start with the blank side of a cabinet

This photo is the butler’s pantry with the empty side of the cabinet showing.

And after the spice rack was installed


Step 2:  Frame out side of cabinet with 1″ x 3″

We built a basic frame with the 1″x 3″ and nailed it to the side of the cabinet.

Start by framing out the spice rack with these measurements


Step 3:  Add shelving

Each shelf was a basic 1″x 3″ supported by a 1″x 2″ to hold it in place.

Each piece was cut to 15″.

The supports were nailed directly into the back of the cabinet and then the shelves were nailed into the supports.


Step 4:  Add decorative molding

To keep the spices in place….a piece of decorative molding was nailed to the front of the shelf.

It was nailed 1 1/2 inches from the bottom of the shelf.


 Add molding to hold the spices in place


When it was done….the entire family stood in the butler’s pantry and applauded the cutest….most patient….most wonderful carpenter on the planet.

And sat down to a dinner of soup and grilled cheese and cut vegetables and chips.

But tonight…..I’m making this for dinner.

And thanks to Kristen…..I’m adding onion powder and garlic powder to the spice rack.

Nine down…..only 64 more spices to go. 🙂


 If you want more molding inspiration….click here to check out all my other molding projects.

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Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Jennifer Jennifer

    Awesome project! I totally need something like this to organize my nightmare of a spice cabinet! Thanks for sharing the details. Pinning it for the hubs to check out! =) Happy Monday to you!

  2. Image for Colleen Colleen

    This is too funny! That could be me, including the sweetest, most patient husband. But for now, it's going to be the standby chili in the crock pot for dinner tonight. With a side of cut carrots and fritos. What a handy husband you have!

  3. Image for donna@anangloinquébec donna@anangloinquébec

    What a beautiful spice rack!! Not to be a Debbie Downer here....but be careful...spices go stale... fast. You better get those recipes figured out. If you store whole spices they will last longer. Just sayin'.

  4. Image for Gina Gina

    Love! Great to see you'll be getting getting "go to spice"! I find it easy to have the spices close to the stove, but this is really , really nice!

  5. Image for Shari @ Turnstyle Vogue Shari @ Turnstyle Vogue

    That is great! Yes, please share where you got the spice jars. I have a similar project in store for my pantry (pretty darn similar in fact) but I have been looking for just the right set of jars. I just found them! :)

  6. Image for Michele Michele

    KA, You absolutely positively MUST add nutmeg. I put it in darned near everything. Trust me, It is the secret ingredient to fabulous, not just for eggnog anymore! In fact I have the nutmeg I grate, a jar full - but let's go slow. That's a must. That and a sweet curry from Penzey's Spices - there are a zillion curries and some are really spicy, but a sweet curry is just awesome flavor to so many dishes. Your husband (after mine) is the GREATEST GUY and I love him for doing this for your pantry - how inspiring. Big hugs.

  7. Image for Jackie A Jackie A

    Sigh....I've always wanted a wonderful spice rack, and a wonderful husband. So far I have a little twirly lazy susan with spices popping out everywhere. And the husband, well...his spot isn't filled yet ; ) But I can cook! kinda, sorta. It's beautiful Kari! Enjoy. Do you think you'll be ready for curry powder and cardamom any time soon?

  8. Image for Sandy Sandy

    What a way to display your new found friends, the spices. Add rosemary and thyme, and subscribe to Penzey's Spices catalog. It's marvelous, filled with recipes, stories, and pictures. Saturday, I made an old fashion beef stew and my son-in-law raved to the grandkids how healthy and delicious this meal was for them. They're picky eaters, so I just told them I baked chocolate chip cookies for dessert and maybe three spoonfuls of stew and a dinner roll were sufficient for their dinner. Grandmas can do things like this, some book I read said so (lol.)

  9. Image for jane jane

    Just love your blog!! You have such a way of writing and I find myself smiling or laughing at a LOT of your posts!! Love the combo plate rack/spice rack!! :)

  10. Image for Marty Walden Marty Walden

    I've been working this morning trying to help my two eighth-graders with their writing. Ugh. And I take a break and read your post and it's everything I'm trying to teach! Engaging. Informative. Has a hook. Great pics (ok, that's not for them, but me :) You consistently make me laugh and empathize. That's a true gift. Now about your husband….he's like mine, obviously. Can build or figure out just about anything. That's a gift, too. The husband. And the figuring stuff out :)

  11. Image for betty betty

    It sure beats my little pull out drawer beside my stove. Don't forget favorite! Can I just come cook in your kitchen one day?

  12. Image for Nana Diana Nana Diana

    I love it! What a great spice rack and I LOVE those bottles. I built "drawers" on each side of my range top to hold our spices...but I can't see them like you can- Yours is a GREAT idea- xo Diana

  13. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Talk about your hubby adding "spice" to your life...what a guy...and what a fantastic project!....Your home is just one layer after another of beautiful projects for all of us to enjoy!!!...

  14. Image for Nancy Nancy

    KariAnne~ I am just LOVIN this!! I Love to cook and our new home has a Pantry(first one in my life) and this would be perfect for hubby to build inside it for me. Remember you will need space for your Specialty Vinegars, Oils and Sauces that don't need refrigeration. You may want to designate one of the shelf(s) for these. Now where did you find those adorable matching Spice Jars? Thanks so much for sharing all the Instructions too!! Bon Appetite! Huggs, Nancy

  15. Image for Regina Regina

    When I clicked on your recipe, the only thing that came up on the tab, as it was loading, was "Zucchini Sou . . ." and my heart nearly stopped. I thought you were planning a Zucchini SOUFFLE!!!!!! You can imagine my relief when I saw a wonderful recipe for Zucchini SOUP, instead! ;) You can do this, Karianne. I have confidence in you. Your spice rack is so CUTE! I need to do something different with spices. I've the frequently-used ones in a little drawer close to the stove, some in baggies that I got at the Amish store in the pullout that was supposed to be a spice rack but doesn't work that well (too short), and some in the pantry - which is why, in looking for Taragon for something, I found THREE CONTAINERS. Oy.

  16. Image for betsy c betsy c

    I feel your (cooking) pain, girlfriend. My husband has a lovely roast and vegetables in the crockpot, as I type. He's given up on me. The funny this is, even though I don't cook, I'm the one that is obsessed with all things gourmet; recipes, specialty pots and pans, cool appliances. *sigh" Maybe someday..... betsy c

  17. Image for Melody♪♫ Melody♪♫

    If you don't have SMOKED PAPRIKA! (You will ♥ me forever!) I love your built-in rack. Mine is just one of those full-sized wire thingies that fits the door of our pantry. Works for me, 'cause it's within easy reach of the stove, but far enough away the spices won't be heated.

  18. Image for Bliss Bliss

    I cook because I like to eat and I like my own cooking too. So what say we send your handsome wonderful and my handsome wonderful to cooking classes and you and I take woodworking ones. I can see them dicing zucchini now..... Bliss

  19. Image for Jenn Jenn

    Love it! What a wonderful hubby you have! I have lots of spices but I never use them so at least you are not wasting anything! lol! I seriously could live in that butler's pantry I yours - I swoon every time I see it! Jenn :)

  20. Image for Liz Liz

    Adorable house and fantastic pictures. I stumbled on your blog yesterday and have been back reading in spare moments. Utterly scrumptious mouth watering palettes. What an eye you have. Reading from England UK. Talking of spices - look on Youtube for "Michael Mcintyre spices" for a funny routine from a very English comedian on the subject of spices.

  21. Image for Susan Susan

    You've made me yearn for my Butler's pantry in our home in Connecticut--something I miss here. I've decided we've got to move so I can have a bigger kitchen! XOXO

  22. Image for Ruby Ruby

    Karianne, I'm not a "cook" either, but I've discovered I can crockpot cook! Made a fabulous black bean chicken chili this weekend. Throw the ingredients in a crock pot; cook for 5 or 6 hours and you've got a fabulous meal the whole family will love. Love the spice rack!

  23. Image for Shar Shar

    Of course it's cute! And I covet those darling spice bottles. I have a 'spice drawer' (Which I've outgrown. The overflow is in my pantry.) I live 10 minutes away from a Penzey's store--it smells great just to walk into a Penzey's store! There are lots of interesting spices in the Penzey's store & catalog, but beware some of the spice mixes--the first ingredient is usually salt. My favorite spice (after cinnamon & garlic) is basil. Great for soups & pastas!

  24. Image for Bethanie Bethanie

    You crack me up!! I reorganized all my cupboards over Christmas. My husband is a spice freak...we literally have an entire cupboard, 3 shelves, full of spices. He loves them so much, we have 2 of some. My all time favorite is from TJ Maxx, of all places. They have spices in tall skinny glass jars. The lemon pepper is the bomb. I use it in everything. And...if you cant fill them up, those little jars will be handy for thumbtacks and paper's, you will be able to fill them up, I have no doubt! On another note. Love your "spoonin' " post. Y'all were married the same year Todd and I were. :) Well, it's about dinner time, get busy sista!

  25. Image for Jo-Anne Jo-Anne

    This is great anyone who used spices in their cooking would love this spice rack me I don't use spices much but then I don't cook much at all anymore........can't see the point in cooking when no one wants to eat meals I cook

  26. Image for Linda Linda

    AWESOME!! That brings back some memories...lets say some 30 years ago Mr.WWH made me a spice rack in the wall..He cut out inbetween the studs and framed a box then added shelves. It was just the right size for spice bottles. HMMM I wonder where I could get one of those now....... My spices are kept in a drawer....

  27. Image for Jill Flory Jill Flory

    Awesome! And that is a great start to a spice collection! And having the space and the bottles just waiting is so awesome - you will fill them up as you buy the spices you need for the great recipes you try this year!

  28. Image for Jane Jane

    I love it!! That's one handy husband and I think he is making his message loud and clear! lol! I have a big spice rack but I cook a lot. Stock up on the basics; basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, dill and parsley. There are also mixed spices, like Mrs. Dash and Essence of Emeril that you can throw on any kind of meat, veggie or salad and it tastes like you fussed all day. Dried spices only last about six months so don't buy anything you don't think you'll use unless a recipe calls for it. Also, I use my top shelf baking things like different colored sprinkles, sugars, food coloring and cupcake papers. It looks colorful and cute. Have fun and it will be less scary! :) XO, Jane

  29. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    So, I'm reading this late...after dinner. I'm thinking you do have one patient hubby. Good carpenter too! So, how was dinner? Enquiring minds want to know! ;)

  30. Image for Kelli Kelli your spice rack! How blessed you are. ;) I love the color of the spices against the white. :) Just wonderful...plain and simple. ~k.

  31. Image for Barbara F Barbara F

    KariAnne, you always claim to not be heavy into cooking but you sure come up with some great recipes! Can't wait to make the zucchini soup! Your spice rack is beautiful - what a sweet hubby you have.

  32. Image for bj bj

    That is about the most awesome spice rack EVER. should be an absolute LAW that every house built have a Butlers Pantry....AND a butler. :))

  33. Image for Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking

    Oh your husband did an amazing job on your spice rack. I am really envious because I could really use one of these. We grow and dry a lot of our herbs so this would just be perfect. That soup looks delicious. I like zucchini cooked almost any way!

  34. Image for Anna Skeens Anna Skeens

    I love the spice rack. I have a tiny kitchen, but I think I can find a spot for a smaller version. I would love a big kitchen, I love to cook. If you plan on doing Thanksgiving dinners then you should add a couple vital spices to your rack. Sage and Poultry Seasoning (a must use for stuffing ;) ) As for cooking, if you can follow the directions on the macaroni and cheese box you CAN make anything. Just follow the recipe to the letter and you'll be fine (it's just like science or directions for a craft.) Plus the better you get at it the more fun it is!

  35. Image for Lori Lori

    Hi! Adore this innovative DIY. I love to cook and I love spices. I order mine from Brooklyn and they ship to me in MAINE. So I never have enough room for my "inventory"? Have the perfect space to build this perfect spice rack. Thanks so much for sharing:) Now, where did you find the great bottles? Please share?

  36. Image for Leslie Leslie

    Lovely! I also am wondering where you got the spice jars. I did some googling and came across these, and based on the height of the jars and the dimensions you gave for the shelving, I'm thinking these are pretty close. Not a bad price, either... if I say so myself. Am I close? Please share! Thanks!

  37. Image for Karen Karen

    I too love those spice jars. Right now I have 4 lazy susans in my pantry with jars of all sizes. I would love to get a little more streamlined. Did you find those jars with the metal lids online? Or just happened on them somewhere. Love the look of them with the white shelves and when filled they add so much color. Love! Thanks!

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