How 4oz. Ball Jars Saved My Spice Drawer

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

I reached a tipping point with my spices a couple weeks ago. One day all of my spices were neatly packed into a high-walled drawer organizer in the kitchen and the next they had crept out and started encroaching upon every available corner of the kitchen.

I had sesame seeds tucked behind the tea bags and cinnamon sticks next to the chickpeas. I knew it was bad when I was flipping through recipes online and realized I was skipping right on over those that would require I forage for unusual spices hidden in my kitchen.

I realized I had to find a solution. I eyed these little beauties Libbey 4-1/2-Ounce Spice Jars on Amazon and ordered a couple. They are every bit as cute as they are online, but they turn out to be fairly useless fo most spice storage. They are too small to hold the contents of a normal jar of spice and they don’t stack. I’ll find another use for them, but for spices they weren’t the answer.

Then Bangkok got an Ikea (!!!) and I came across these Rajtan jars which I’ve seen others use around the web. I bought a pack of 4 and brought them home, but they just weren’t quite right. The lids are challenging to screw on and don’t form a seal tight enough that I trust it not to fall open if I knock the jar over. They also stack rather precariously and take up lots of space. They weren’t a total loss, because they turned out to be perfect for a select few items for which I need a bit more space like sesame seeds (I use tons of these) and bay leaves (which I appear to have purchased many times despite having jars at home – evidence below).

I was starting to think that I was going to have to drop a bunch of cash and invest in something fancy like these magnetized containers or cave to keeping my spices out on the counter. (I’ve stayed away from this, since keeping them in a cool, dark space helps most spices to hold their flavor longer.)

But then I had an a-ha moment about the excessive number of 4 oz. Ball canning jars I have in storage for canning projects.  (Canning projects which have been living in a fantasy part of my brain since we moved to Bangkok.  No one wants to hover over a bubbling caldron when it’s 100 degrees out.)

So far, these canning jars are a dream. They’re sturdy, stackable, and seal nice and tight. When I opened them to take the pictures up top, the aroma of the spices inside filled the entire apartment, but I can’t smell a hint of spice in the drawer where they are stored and sealed up tight.

The cost for any of the options that I was considering would have been pretty reasonable, even if I had to purchase all of the canning jars.

Libbey 4-1/2-Ounce Jars (12 jars for 20.99) – $1.75/jar

4oz. Ball canning jars (12 jars for 15.64) – $1.30/jar

5 oz. Rajtan Ikea Spice Jar (4 jars for 3.99) – $1.00/jar

(Note: The measurements listed above are mis-leading.  The Ball jars actually hold much more than the Libbey jars.)

But at the end of the day, the convenience and fit of the ball canning jars made them worth a bit more per jar.  Not to mention that they are easy to find, so  it won’t be hard to expand the collection later.  Some day I do actually hope to have a larger kitchen with, say, an actual pantry.

I have a feeling this will be my spice solution for a long time to come.

Want to save this recipe?
Get it emailed to you directly! Enter your email below.

About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Don’t bother buying the more expensive “herb lid” version for the 4oz ball jars. I got really excited and bought a couple of 4 packs thinking they would be perfect, but they are not 🙁 I can smell my spices from outside the plastic tops and I feel like it also really dried out my already dried herbs. I went back to the regular 2 part lids due to odor and I think by herbs will actually stay better longer.

  2. Ball 4 oz jars turned spice jars fit neatly int plastic three drawer storage container. 12 jars fit into each drawer without stacking. Label jars on top of lid, so that you can pull drawer out and read the labels without pulling jar out of drawer. I arranged jars in each drawer according to my favorite recipes baking spices vs cooking spices. Now if we could only order the Ball Dry Herb Spice lids separately!

  3. Holy cow–DO NOT use the neodymium magnets in your kitchen or anywhere else, until you read this horrendously scary warning:

    The magnet idea sounded great til I read that…dozens of children dying from these magnets, and electronics such as tvs and computers damaged by them, and pace makers messed up by them. Yikes!

    Unless you never have children in your home, and have no electronics in your kitchen, I’d skip this idea. Heck, imagine the liability if a relative came over, or a neighbor, and their tablet computer in their purse got wiped of all their urgent work data, or their pacemaker went kablooey? Just from standing next to your spice rack full of dozens of these magnets? Eeek.

    1. If a neodymium magnet is small enough to fit down an infant’s throat, it isn’t strong enough to damage your hard drive. These magnets would have to be much more powerful. If you crack open an old hard drive you don’t need (or one you do need but you don’t want to take them apart), you’ll find that there are actually neodymium magnets on either side of the platters.

  4. I also was saved by 4oz canning jars. I however, affixed neodymium magnets to the top of the lids. They are super strong, so keep them out of the hands of children.
    I then screwed an old worn out cookie sheet to the underside of my wall cabinets in the kitchen. Now my new spice jars are suspended under my cabinets, about eye-heights and in plain view, freeing up all kinds of space INSIDE my cabinets. 🙂
    Looking for a pretty label idea for my printer yet, though.

    1. Conny – wow I love this idea! I have got to look into doing this myself – it must look so neat to have all those pretty spice jars hanging in neat rows from under the cabinets!

  5. After much juggling similar to comments above, I found a valuable added bonus using the Ball 4 oz. jars. I keep spices in a drawer and the drawer isn’t deep enough to stack 2 of these jars on top of each other and I don’t want to use my upper cabinets so I went back to the drawing board for ideas. I labeled each lid and stood them upright which fit beautifully but just a single level seemed to take more space than what I was willing to sacrifice to have those odd shaped tins some things come in. I saw some of those long, narrow, white plastic drawer organizer trays at a local ‘everything’ store and they were under $2 each so I bought several. I fit 4 in the drawer side by side, put a label on the side of each jar and found they not only nestled perfectly in a row on their sides but I was able to get 2 additional jars in the same area as before. Those trays hold everything in place so I can easily see the labels and things don’t go rolling all over the place like before and I couldn’t be happier. Amazing what good things come out of sheer frustration LOL. I’ve never been one to take up counter space with spice racks because I need the space plus light isn’t good for spices. I dehydrate many of my own herbs each season so I want fresh. Now I can separate my spices according to the type of recipe I’m using: Indian spices, Oriental spices, baking spices, herb, salt free seasonings. I know I’ll use everything more since I can find each so easily now. Hope this helps someone with an idea.

  6. I love this idea! I’ve been going crazy with my lack of organization for my spice jars too. I had also tried the label machine labels on lips, all the containers in a box- but they were all different shapes and sizes and didn’t fit neatly, no stacking, etc. The Ball Jars are am excellent idea, I’m off to Amazon to buy a case 🙂 Thanks!!

  7. Fantastic idea! Love the canning jars. I buy my spices in bulk at our local coop market. A great way to store all my bulk spices.

  8. Our spice collection was driving me bonkers too, because when we moved from Vancouver to Stockholm Paul insisted we bring all the spices, so we transferred them out of the jars they were in and into ziploc baggies. Yes, I flew to Sweden carrying a bag full of baggies of random green herbs and powders. Then the baggies ran amok in our cupboard for a while as I searched for spice jars. I wanted something that looked nice, was affordable, would hold an entire refill bag of spices, and, most importantly, that I could get my measuring spoons into. One day while I was taking the recycling out I realized I had the answer in my hand; lucky for me, Paul has a 2 jar a month Dijon mustard habit, and turns out those little Grey Poupon jars fit all the above criteria perfectly! Once I’ve taken the time to get the label off and re-label them, they’re sleek looking spice jars, they fit an entire bag of spices, and I can fit even my Tablespoon through the mouth! It’s taken some time to transfer everything over, especially since we keep going on trips and bringing back armloads of spices, but all of the essentials are long in jars and now it’s a funkier, rarely used spice that get a new home every two weeks or so.

    1. Katie – I love this AND love that Paul goes through 2 jars a month of Dijon. I love the stuff, but we eat about one a year! 😉 What a great way to recycle them.