The Best Online Spice Stores for Everything from Annatto Seed to Za’atar

Bon Appétit

Your best bet is to buy from a company with the shortest supply chain possible—ideally, one that sources spices straight from their origins and sells them directly to you. By cultivating personal relationships with their farmers and foragers, these companies not only ensure that their customers are getting flavorful, fresh, high-quality spices, but also that their suppliers are being paid fairly. For spice growers, many of whom live in some of the poorest countries in the world, a trusted partnership with an ethical importer can mean a pathway to economic security.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best spice stores online—from companies that source directly from farmers to artisan blenders who concoct complex spice mixes to shops where you can compare Kampot and Tellicherry peppercorns. Just like with coffee, we recommend buying whole spices and then grinding them at home for maximum freshness and flavor, but many of these sources will sell you ground spices as well, should you prefer.

Spice Sourcers

Mumbai-born, California-based Sana Javeri Kadri works directly with Indian and Sri Lankan smallholder farmers to source heirloom, single-origin turmeric, chiles, cardamom, pepper, and more. Our editors love this company not only for its selection of spices (try the chai masala), but also for its commitment to ethical and transparent supply chains.

Like Diaspora Co., Burlap & Barrel cofounders Ethan Frisch and Ori Zohar source their heirloom spices—including contributor Sarah Jampel’s favorite cinnamon—from smallholder farms and farmer cooperatives. By cutting out the middleman, Frisch and Zohar ensure that farmers earn a higher price for their product. Burlap & Barrel’s direct relationships with suppliers means that farmers can focus on quality rather than quantity and know that they have a partner who will reward their efforts.

In 2013, Mohammad Salehi sought asylum in the United States after his tenure as a translator for the US Army made it unsafe for him to remain in Afghanistan. He founded Heray Spice because he wanted people “to know that there’s more to my country than war.” His company sources saffron from farming families in Herat Province, where Salehi grew up, and donates a portion of its profits to local educational charities.

James Beard–nominated chef Meherwan Irani sells both carefully curated individual spices and culinary spice sets, including a Kitchen Essentials pack of 18 spices beloved by contributing editor Amanda Shapiro. It makes a great gift for recent grads, novice home cooks, and anyone just setting up their first kitchen.

This member-owned co-op headquartered in Iowa was founded in 1976, and its spices—as well as its 100% organic line, Simply Organic—are a good grocery store option. Frontier Co-op introduced the first Fair Trade Certified spices in the United States in 2009, and its Well Earth program supports spice growers and foragers by providing multiyear contracts and capital for new agricultural equipment.

Rumi gets its hand-harvested spices directly from local farms in Herat, Afghanistan, which is known for cultivating some of the best saffron in the world. Along with whole spices—including wild black cumin seeds, wild fennel seeds, and saffron threads—they also offer signature blends like Afghan curry braise and za’atar. Rumi is committed to ethical, socially responsible sourcing and places emphasis on empowering Afghani women. The company has employed more than 4,000 women in Herat with fair wages, and it recently partnered with Spicewalla to support the UN’s Crisis Relief Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund.

Daphnis and Chloe sources wild, hand-picked herbs and spices from small organic farms across Greece—they even know their growers on a first-name basis. Here, you’ll find heirloom varieties specific to the Mediterranean, like smoked chili flakes made from Karatzova peppers that are only cultivated by a handful of families living at the northern Almopia frontier. We especially love the brand’s piney, lemon-scented Greek oregano from the Eastern Aegean Islands and its wild thyme flowers, which grow across the country’s rocky coastlines.


Spice Blenders

Best known for its signature harissa, New York Shuk creates spice blends that reflect founders Leetal and Ron Arazi’s Middle Eastern heritage. Their rust-colored shawarma blend is excellent on both meats and veggies, and their kafe hawaij—a warming blend of cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and ginger meant to be added to coffee—has the flavor profile, in New York Shuk’s words, of Middle Eastern pumpkin spice.

If you’re looking for organic sazón and adobo blends free of artificial colorings or additives, look no further than this NYC brand, which sells Latin spices in addition to jarred sofrito. So good that even your grandma might switch over from G*ya.

Egyptian Americans Doaa Elkady and Freda Nokaly source their organic spices from reputable suppliers—including Burlap & Barrel—and then toast, grind, and mix them into evocative blends like ras el hanout and buharat.

This family-owned DC company sells single-origin sumac and sea salt, but we’re here for its signature za’atar, which is made with wild thyme sourced from Palestinian farmers in the West Bank. Serve it with man’oushe and olive oil.


Spice Shops

Ruth and Bill Penzey Sr. opened the Spice House in 1957, a time when garlic was still considered “exotic” by much of America. (As you’ll see, many of the best spice stores online can trace their lineage to the Penzeys, in some way or another.) Their daughter Patty ran the business until 2018, when it was purchased by business partners with backgrounds in finance and tech. If you’re looking to buy spices online without stopping at Heray Spice for saffron, Diaspora Co. for turmeric, and Burlap & Barrel for cinnamon, the Spice House’s huge selection of everything from lavender to Mexican oregano should have you covered.

Bill Penzey Jr. followed in his parents’ footsteps and started his mail-order spice business in 1986. He now has 49 retail locations and is nearly as famous for his progressive politics as he is for his seasoning blends and Vietnamese cinnamon. Penzey’s customizable, deeply groovy gift boxes are perfect for Deadhead dads and Gen Z grads alike.

Vân Vân is an immigrant-owned, woman-led business bringing you single-origin spices and herbs that are sourced directly from farmers in Vietnam. All the shop’s premium offerings—like coastal purple shallot, Delta lemongrass, and Northern Mountain garlic—come dehydrated. Rehydrate them, and your entire kitchen will instantly be filled with their warming aromas. Since starting in 2022, Vân Vân founders Thảo and Duy have been committed to investing in local growers and paying them a fair price for their products.

With three locations in the East Bay, Oaktown sources its wares from hundreds of importers and offers everything from amchur powder to single-origin wild asafetida powder. Spices are ground and seasoning blends are mixed in-house. John Beaver, who owns the shop with his wife, Erica Perez, cut his teeth under Bill Penzey Sr. at the Spice House.

Curio Spice Co. sources many of the spices it sells—from Japanese sansho pepper to Ethiopian besobela—directly from small farms. Claire Cheney, Curio’s founder, places special emphasis on supporting other female-owned businesses and cooperatives that contribute to the economic empowerment of women.

Stock up and get cooking:


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Author:MacKenzie Chung Fegan, Tiffany Hopkins | Website:www.bonappetit.com

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