What Is A Spice Kitchen?

The kitchen is really what gives the soul to every home. It’s a place where the family can enjoy activities together, where holiday meals are made, but more importantly, it’s the place where you prepare the food you eat every day.

So, if you do spend a lot of time in the kitchen, it makes sense to carefully consider the way it is designed. What we want to talk about today is the spice kitchen – an old concept that seems to be getting a comeback in recent years.

So what exactly is a spice kitchen? A spice kitchen is a small, secondary kitchen located within the home.

More often than not, the spice kitchen will be located right next to the main kitchen, but what makes it different is an important detail – the spice kitchen should have a completely separated ventilation system.

The main idea behind a spice kitchen is to keep the odors from extremely spicy foods (and also oils, meats, and fish) away from the rest of the house and its inhabitants.

Two kitchens? Really? Well, we think that a spice kitchen is actually a great idea if you enjoy cooking ethnic dishes that require using a lot of spices. So let’s go over the details of what exactly is a spice kitchen and what equipment usually goes into one.

All You Need to Know About Spice Kitchens

As the name suggests, the main goal of the spice kitchen is to keep the smell of spices and other pungent foods contained.

Sometimes it’s also called a “Wok kitchen” – it all really depends on what you are making in this enclosed space. But how does a spice kitchen look like exactly?

Spice Kitchen: The Layout

The spice kitchen is basically just a smaller version of the regular kitchen. The essentials that any spice kitchen needs are a gas or an electric stove, and a sink which could be double or single.

Moreover, a spice kitchen always has a door that separates it from the house and a separate venting system which allows it to be effective in keeping the smells away from the rest of the house.

Other than this, you could equip your spice kitchen with anything you like. Some people choose to add a microwave, others add a large griddle or an electric grill – it all depends on what kind of food you like to make.

Finally, every spice kitchen usually has upper and lower cabinets. In this way, you have plenty of space to store the food you are going to cook, you can have all the spices you need at an arm’s reach, and the cabinet space also doubles as pantry space.

In this sense, you can think of a spice kitchen as a pantry that you can also cook in – not a bad idea, right?

Because of space constraints, spice kitchens often don’t have a fridge. However, it’s all a matter of choice, you can put your fridge in the main kitchen, or in the spice kitchen, you can have two, or you could have a freezer in the spice kitchen while the fridge remains in the main kitchen.

The great thing about having a spice kitchen is that it allows for a great degree of flexibility.

Open Concept Kitchens and Spice Kitchens

Open concept kitchens are all the rage these days, and there are good reasons for this. With an open concept kitchen, your living space gets a much more open feel and it looks more spacious.

Moreover, an open concept kitchen turns the kitchen into a social space for the whole family, instead of a constrained space for cooking food only. However, the problem with open concept kitchens is that there is no way to keep the smells away from the rest of the house.

If you have ever tried frying fish, making a curry, or anything with a lot of spices, you are surely aware that the smells of food can sneak into the clothes, furniture, even your hair, and linger there for ages.

This is why a spice kitchen is a perfect addition to an open concept kitchen – you can enjoy socializing in your kitchen, but at the same time you can keep the mess and the smells contained.

Benefits of Having a Spice Kitchen

  • The spice kitchen keeps the smells away from your clothes and furniture. This is especially important when cooking ethnic dishes with a lot of spices, or anything that contains fish or a lot of oil.
  • The spice kitchen keeps the mess contained. It’s simply much easier to clean a small, contained space. Things like oil splashes or spilling ingredients will be much less of a problem when they are limited to the spice kitchen.
  • A spice kitchen is fun and enjoyable to cook in. The small footprint of the spice kitchen allows you to have everything you might need within reach, which is really great when making time-sensitive meals.
  • There is really no limit when it comes to what you can use your spice kitchen for. For example, you can have a turkey roasting in the spice kitchen while preparing the rest of the holiday meal in the main kitchen. In general, whenever you are making something that requires extremely long cooking, it’s nice to have a separate place to do it.
  • While this is not a primary concern for most people, a spice kitchen is also great for those who plan to resell their home eventually since it keeps the main kitchen in a much better condition.

Final Thoughts

While the thought of having two kitchens might seem preposterous to anyone who hasn’t thought about it before, it actually makes a lot of sense.

After all, summer kitchens have been quite common a century ago, and some cultures still use them (summer kitchens are situated in a small additional building, completely separated from the house).

Spice kitchens basically use the same concept, adapted for the modern home.