Frequently Asked Questions

How much is shipping?

We try to price spice shipping to just cover our costs. Your shipping cost is based on the weight of the products in your order and your geographic distance from Chicago. The price will be provided to you before you confirm your order. Please see our detailed Shipping Information page for more information.

How will I know when my package has shipped?

As soon as UPS picks up your package and enters it into their system, they will send you an email with your tracking number. With this number, you can follow the progress of your package.

How do you package your spices?

Our spices are sold in resealable plastic bulk bags and flint-glass jars. For most spices, you can choose bags or jars; there are a few that come either only in bags or only in jars. Bags and jars are both available in a range of sizes.

How do I use the online ordering system on your web site?

Find the product you want using the keyword search in the top left, or click on one of the links below the search bar for Spices by Alphabet, or click on the links for Cooking Spices, Baking Spices, Salt & Peppercorns or Gift and Accessories for collections in these categories. Many products have different forms and sizes, just click on the down arrow next in the Choose Size and Options box. From the Cart page, you can click check out to proceed through the secure ordering process. Please note that your card will not be charged until we ship the order.

Can I pick up an order instead of shipping it?

Yes, you can request that your order be picked-up. At Step 2 of check-out, you will see  Update your Delivery heading. Click on the red link below to select in store pick up and choose your location. 

Is my order secure?

We treat your payment information with absolute security. All purchases are secured by Thawte Extended Validation SSL, a division of VeriSign. At no time is your credit card number stored or is accessible by our staff. We are audited quarterly to ensure security compliance and follow all practices defined by our bank and credit card processor.

When placing an order a unique reference number is created to allow repeat orders without reentering your credit card details. This number allows us to process orders in the future without recollecting your credit card details. This is called a "reference transaction" and is the industry standard for secure eCommerce.

In compliance with bank requirements, the last 5 digits of your credit card number are stored to help you identify your payment method, but this information insufficient for making a purchase.

Should you wish to delete your payment details you may do so at any time from the "My Account" section of the website.

What is your return policy?

It is our goal for our customers to be 100% happy with their spice purchases. This is why we strive to carry only the very highest quality of spices, herbs and seasonings, and grind and mix our blends fresh weekly, in house. If you feel a product is not up to snuff, we will gladly offer you a credit. Our products are considered food products, and as such are not exchangeable. Non food products such as books and peppermills are returnable for refund up to 60 days. We will instruct you as to what you should do if you simply contact us. Any mistakes on our part will be addressed within 24 hours, and of course we will ship you the correct item asap. We really want our customers to be completely satisfied and we take great care in making sure this happens.

Will you add my email address to your mailing list automatically just because I order something from you?

Absolutely not! Unless you check the add me to your mailing list checkbox on the order verification page, or send us an e-mail message asking us to do so, you won't receive unsolicited email!

What is your privacy policy?

The Spice House does not sell, rent, or share any of your personal information to any third party. Your information is used for the sole purpose of completing your purchase or contacting you regarding your purchase.

If I sign up for your email list, how often will you send me emails?

Every time we have a new offer, promotion, story, or delicious recipe, we want to share it with you. We like to send you something spicy at least once a week. Our emails always have an unsubscribe link should you wish to stop receiving these messages.

What is your store address?

We have four locations. Please see the Store Locations page for more information.

What is the best way to store my spices?

You want to get them into some kind of airtight container. Glass jars are the ideal storage container. Air, heat, and light are the enemies of fresh spices, so an airtight container in a cool, dark place like a cabinet is ideal. You can also add to the life of your spices by storing them in the refrigerator; the only problem with this is, out of sight, out of mind. The worst place to keep your spices is above the stove because the heat from the oven will destroy the essential oils in the spices.

How long do spices last?

Whole spices can last several years. Once spices are ground their volatile oils have been released and they are already beginning to dissipate. We recommend not buying a larger amount of an individual ground spice than you expect to use within a year. Old spices will not make you sick, they just won't accomplish their true purpose. A good, simple test is to smell them. If you don't get a scent, it's time to throw them away. A fun way to throw them away is to toss them on your grill when cooking. This is a way to release the last little bit of volatile oils that might still remain, and put flavor into your grilling food!

Do your blends contain MSG?

As the country's concern for MSG became apparent we made a concerted effort to remove MSG from almost all of our blends. However, MSG is a flavor enhancer that does make things taste better. What we found is our old-time customers complained about the taste difference when we took out the MSG. These are also people that knew that they did not have MSG sensitivities. Only a few of our blends still contain MSG. We try to be very upfront with our customers about ingredients in our blends. Even though the government requires us to identify only salt, sugar, MSG, garlic, onion and "spices", we give you every spice ingredient in a blend at the bottom of the seasonings description on our website.

Are your spices gluten-free?

Yes, all the spices and blends we process in our store are gluten-free. We carry two products that contain gluten, asofoetida and Demi-Glace, both of which come to us pre-packaged so there's no risk of cross-contamination. For more information, please see our Gluten and Allergen Information page.

What does "organically sourced" mean on your labels?

Our organically sourced products have been cultivated and cleaned according to organic standards. These spices are produced in full accordance to organic standards but cannot bear a certified organic label. Once The Spice House receives these products and opens the original packaging, we can no longer display the organic appellation as per the USDA's labeling regulations. 

How do I substitute a dried herb for a fresh herb?

Generally speaking, you use one third the amount of dried as you would fresh. If your recipe calls for one cup of fresh dill, use 1/3 cup of dried. Basil is one exception, however, where you use half as much dried as you would fresh.

What amount of a spice do I purchase to fill a spice shaker jar?

This is the hardest thing to explain to our customers because of the difference in weight and volume. Our spice jars are a half cup by volume which is 4 fluid ounces. Picture the old pound of feathers and pound of gold. Same weight, tremendous difference in volume. It takes only 1/2 oz. of an herb to fill a shaker jar, while it takes 4 oz. of salt. If you tell us what size jar you are trying to fill, we can tell you what you will need in individual spices. For our standard 1/2 cup jars, there is a "Jar Refill" option, which is 1/2 cup of spices, whatever that may weigh.

Are your spices kosher?

Our Milwaukee store is certified kosher by the Kosher Supervisors of Wisconsin. For more information, please see our kosher spices page.

Are your spices irradiated?

We purchase non-irradiated spices whenever possible. 95% of our products have not been irradiated, however, at times an irradiated product is all that is available to us. Please read what the FDA says about irradiation of food.

Which of your spice blends contain dairy?

All of our whole and ground spices are dairy and milk-free. Some of our spices blends contain cheese or dairy products. Our Chip Dip Seasoning contains lactose, a milk product. The rest of our dairy-containing products can be found in our Cheese Powder and Seasoning Collection. For a list of dairy and milk-free blends, please see our Milk-Free Seasonings.

Can I buy wholesale?

Yes. We do sell to many restaurants, caterers, bakeries, etc.  Products that are difficult to source, or rarely available generally can not be discounted.  Check our wholesale page for details.

Can I buy spices for corporate gifts?

Absolutely. Spices make great gifts for your customers, donors, partners, or employees. Check our corporate gifts page for details. 

What do you recommend for beef?

The reason we carry so many seasonings is because everyone has a different palate. However, at home our personal favorites are Quebec Beef Spice or Back of the Yards Garlic Pepper.

What do you recommend for chicken?

Our best seller is Old World Central Street Seasoning. We personally love our Jerk Spice, but it is on the hot side and not for everyone. Other staff favorites include Milwaukee Iron Seasoning and Greektown Seasoning.

What is your favorite fish seasoning?

Lake Shore Drive Seasoning, hands down, for whitefish. For salmon or other heavy ocean fish, we like Florida Seasoned Pepper, Caribbean Calypso, and Trinidad Lemon-Garlic.

How about vegetables?

Old World Central Street is a great all purpose vegetable blend as is the Lake Shore Drive Seasoning and Ratatouille Herb Blend.

Could you open a store in my neighborhood?

You never know what the future will bring! For now, we're happy to ship the finest fresh spices directly to your front door.

If you have any further questions, please Contact Us.

Why do cooks trust The Spice House?

With Tom and Patty Erd's commitment to quality products and expert sourcing, chefs have trusted this family business for decades. Order online or visit one of our four retail locations to shop for spices, herbs, and seasonings.
About Us Find a location near you

As far as I'm concerned, there's no better one-stop shop for spices in this country than the Milwaukee- and Chicago-based Spice House. This second-generation family business sells some of the best spices around, and no matter how far my explorations into the world of spices took me, the Spice House always had what I was looking for. No, scratch that, they had three kinds of what I was looking for.

Falkowitz, Serious Eats