Has anyone here bought spices online?

(Wasn’t sure if this should go in IMHO or CS, since it’s asking for opinions but also cooking-related.)

I need to build up a spice collection, and I’ve noticed that online spice vendors’ prices are much lower—usually 30 to 60 percent cheaper—than what I can find in brick-and-mortar stores. Even at these reduced prices, spices are expensive enough that I’d like some idea of whether I’m buying quality product before handing over cash. So, has anyone here bought spices online? If so, who did you buy from? Were you satisfied with what you ordered? Are there any sites you’d particularly recommend or any that I should avoid at all costs?

Thanks in advance.

I had a good experience with Namaste.com


You need go no further.

My husband buys almost all of our spices from San Francisco Herb Company and The Spice House. We’ve had great luck with both. Nice fresh herbs, great prices, quick delivery.

I’ve bought a few different salts from Salt Traders that I am really quite pleased with.

Wow. The San Francisco Herb Company is cheap. Even though they seem to sell mostly by the pound, the total cost is still less than buying small two ounce jars at the store. I don’t really need a pound of any given spice, so a friend and I are going to split the cost and the spice. Even after shipping, it’s only about $33 each for nearly seven and a half pounds each of assorted spices. Thanks, psycat90!

What sort of containers do they ship their spices in? I’m guessing it’s bagged, so I’ll have to buy some spice jars. Large spice jars…

No problem. They are all bagged, the only exception we’ve seen so far was saffron, which was in a glass tube. We just fill the jars we have on the counter, then ziploc the rest and refill the jars when needed. We haven’t had an issue yet with anything getting really old or stale before we use it up.

While I haven’t bought from them on-line, I second Penzey’s. Their catalog alone is wonderful, and the spices I’ve bought at their stores have been good and cheaper than what I can buy at the local supermarket. They package spices in plastic bags, glass jars, or plastic jars, depending on what you’re buying. The packing materials they use for their gift boxes are bay leaves and cinnamon sticks, but I don’t know if this applies to their regular on-line orders.


Not a straight spice company, but for BBQ rubs I heartly endorse the Dizzy Pig BBQ Company . These guys are winning BBQ contests all over using the same rubs they sell.
Good stuff, and a good company run part time by a couple of BBQ nuts.
(No interest in the company, I’m just a very happy customer)

I third Penzey’s. I’ve never gone back to the grocery store stuff since I found them, unless it’s some sort of spice emergency. Well, I can’t be the only one who has spice emergencies, can I?

Which reminds me; I’m almost out of shallot pepper and need to make an order.

I fourth Penzey’s. I’ve mail-ordered and shopped in person. Good stuff, good prices. Yummy food

Another vote for Penzey’s. I especially like that they offer most of their products in a variety of sizes so I can have a small jar of dried ancho chillies and a large jar of a blend called Sunny Paris which I use quite often.

Haven’t compared them with other companies linked in this thread, but can state that their products are fresher, more flavorful. and far less expensive than grocery store jars.

(Except dried cilantro - apparently it doesn’t hold onto its taste well as it dries. At least it was inexpensive!)

Depending on where you live, you may also have luck at Indian or Mexican grocery stores.

Hey, The Spice House, I’ve been there. In fact I know the owner (didn’t know there was more then one, so I guess I just know the owner of the Milwaukee one), and I see her sister regularly. Also, check out Wixon.com they don’t sell directly, but they have a link to someone who does. I didn’t check out the prices, but based on what I’ve just read in these posts, they’re probably more expensive then the others. But they’re good and I (ummm the person who resells them that is) ship them all over the country. They are quality spices, but people are really weird about Wixon products. I’m always amazed when someone across the country is willing to spend $15 dollars to ship $10 worth of product. But hey, to each his own.

I’m lucky to be near a storefront Penzey’s so I haven’t ordered from their catalog. I have nothing but positive comments about their products.

My aunt once sent my parents the full set of Penzey’s Spices as a brithday or Christmas gift, I can’t remember which. By all accounts they deliver high quality product. However, to get the best price you have to buy a large variety of psices bundled together. The result is that you end up with large amounts of very obscure spices that don’t often get used in real cooking, or at least so my parents report.

With shipping, would you still be paying less than spices from the grocery store?

Much less, and for much more product. The amount I’m getting online would cost me a few hundred dollars from a grocery store.

I think I’m going to go with the SF Herb Company this time around. Penzey’s has certainly attracted a loyal following among Dopers, but it’s by far the pricier of the two companies. I’ll give 'em a shot once I’ve got more cash, though.

That’s cool. I’ll know where to go when I need more sage! :slight_smile:

Funny you should mention sage; it’s got one of the higher price disparities between brick-and-mortar stores and online vendors. I went to the local supermarket a couple of weeks ago to compare spice prices. Herbs are particularly overpriced in stores, as it turns out. Here are a few items I priced out:

Supermarket (Piggly Wiggly; Charleston, SC): $2.77/oz
Online (SF Herb Company): $0.42/oz

Supermarket: $13.30/oz
Online: $0.46/oz

Supermarket: $3.66/oz
Online: $0.16/oz

Supermarket: $6.65/oz
Online: $0.23/oz

Supermarket: $10.98/oz
Online: $0.31/oz

Supermarket: $15.63/oz
Online: $0.88/oz

The list goes on. Even Spanish saffron is a third of the supermarket price. I’ll have to write a post about this for the cooking blog I’m starting.