A friend of mine recently asked me if I had ever heard of a spice kitchen. I confessed that I hadn’t and proceeded to ask my husband if he had heard of the concept. He said he had heard of it but hadn’t seen one. I was intrigued and had to learn more.

What is a spice kitchen?

It is a separate, perhaps small, secondary kitchen where spices are roasted and fried. Often they are outside away from the main house and well ventilated.


A spice kitchen moves the frying of spices outside so the ‘scent’ of the oil doesn’t permeate the living areas. The last steps of cooking are completed indoors. (The prep work is also done indoors.)


In India windows are open all day long so the wind can carry away the scent of cooking. But in the U.S. where we seal up our houses due to air conditioners and furnaces, the air doesn’t have the opportunity to escape so a spice kitchen makes sense.

Spices commonly used in Indian cooking.

Spices commonly used in Indian cooking. 

Why not mix and toast spices in the main kitchen?

The purpose of a spice kitchen is to keep the cooking odors away from the main part of the house. There is nothing worse than waking up the next day to the odor of last night’s curry.


Since I don’t have the luxury of a spice kitchen, I ban deep-frying inside my home. I do toast spices in my kitchen because the aroma doesn’t seem to linger very long. In my old house, the odor from the spices fried inside would linger for days since the oil got into the drapes, upholstery, carpet, etc. I bought a Fry Daddy for outdoor frying but permanent oil spots speckled the patio. A separate spice kitchen would have eliminated these problems, made cleaning easier and maintained the value of my home, if not increased it.


A spice kitchen, in my mind, is an absolutely brilliant way to manage frying with spices without stinking up one’s house. I wish I had known about them 15 years ago before we built our house!


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2 Thoughts on “What is a Spice Kitchen?

  1. We are in the process of buying a new home. I would love to set up a separate spice kitchen within that home, any suggestions on how to do that?

    • Have fun finding or building your new home! Since the purpose of the spice kitchen is to keep the smell of cooking spices out of the house I would suggest it have a well sealed door from the kitchen so the aromas don’t float back into the house. Its size is up to you and can be pretty small, like a closet, or large like a small kitchen. It needs to have a small stove, gas preferably. I would think 2 to 4 burners would be sufficient. Shelves or cupboards to store extra spices and pans would be convenient but are not required. A bit of counter space would be helpful so you can place things you need for cooking right by the stove rather than constantly running back into the kitchen to get them. The most important feature is good ventilation to get rid of the aromas. A window would make it visually appealing as well as allow air to escape during good weather. Safety is very important so a good kitchen fire extinguisher is required and standard kitchen building requirements must be met. Have fun and let me know how it goes!

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