Pull Out Spice Rack: This Genius Drawer Hack Saves Your Back!

Today we’re sharing our custom pull out spice rack design! Whether you’re looking for a vertical pull out spice rack or pull out spice rack DIY, we’ve got expert tips to share on what to do—(and what to avoid!)—with the style of under cabinet pull out spice rack you’re thinking about.

We’ll also answer popular questions like,

  • “Are pull out spice racks worth it?”
  • “What kind of spice drawers should I avoid?”
  • “How do you organize a lot of spices?”
  • “Do you have a pull out spice rack DIY I can use?”
  • “How tall should a spice rack be?”
  • “Can you guide me in how to build a pull out spice rack?”


Why We DIYed Our Own Pull Out Spice Rack Design!

To be 100% honest, we’d never seen anyone else do this kind of spice drawer organization or design! We came up with it almost a decade ago when we had to suddenly rip out our new kitchen after moving into our current house.

vertical pull out spice rack with spice organizers, custom made horizontal

spice drawer | drawer slides | drawer clips | spice jars

Like you, I’ve seen many different ways people choose to approach their spice drawer organization. I’ve seen people do a spice drawer cabinet, vertical spice rack drawers, pull out spice racks on wheels…

…but everything else just still doesn’t cut it, in my opinion. (Especially in the case of kitchens like ours.)

Why? I’ll tell ya!


What’s The Problem With an Under Cabinet Pull Out Spice Rack?

Here’s the problem with pre-made vertical pull out spice racks, like those where each level of spices is stacked on top of each other:

How on earth am I supposed to see what’s down on shelf #2, #3, and so on without having to crouch down or hunch over? Riddle me that!

(If you’ve read our blog for awhile, you may already know I avoid inconveniencing my back at all costs, like here and here.)

Do you see what I mean? WHAT A PAIN to try to finagle things out of those shelves! If they’re small or short items, maybe not such a big deal, but even then you’re not even maximizing your space on each shelf! I’m looking at this kitchen and almost crying, “WHY DIDN’T YOU DO DRAWERS HERE?!?”😭

(You can read about my everlasting love and its rationale in this post about how we did all drawers in our kitchen!)

So thanks but no—I will absolutely SKIP those kind of spice drawer organizers. Even just looking at that one above makes me feel like someone’s running their fingernails over a chalkboard, so let’s move on!


Another Kind of Pull Out Spice Rack To Avoid!

Here’s another example of a pull out spice rack I cringe at seeing.🙈 Can you tell why?

Let’s look at that beautiful set of five drawers they installed to the right. Why they didn’t simply extend those drawers to the left and use them for the spice drawer (or two) they wanted is beyond me!

Now these kitchen owners will have to deal with hunching over and digging out the item they need from this vertical sliding spice rack. In addition, the side runners on those look so short that I’ll betcha they have to be very careful each time they open that vertical spice rack drawer because those tall jars are going to tip over if they’re in a hurry/pull out that spice drawer cabinet quickly!

You see what I mean, don’t you? And for those of us who might occasionally get in a hurry and (Lord forbid!) pull a drawer out quickly while we’re cooking, this is a huge potential problem. How many times do you need to access a spice per week? Multiply that per month and per year, and I don’t know about you but for us it would be at least

1,040 times per year

this drawer would be utilized. So it’s important to get it right!

Here’s 1 of 2 quick videos I made showing the kind of vertical spice drawer I’m telling people to STOP USING!

See what we did below! And while we’re booked with clients through next year, we can help you (whether you’re remodeling or simply working with what you have!) literally get the dream kitchen you’ve always wanted! Download our Kitchen Design Bundle here!


How We Came Up With the Pull Out Spice Rack Design We Did!

I looooooove drawers (as evidenced by the fact we did drawers instead of cabinets in our kitchen, as well as our vanity), so you might be asking, “What about horizontal spice drawer organizers?” And you know, I’m not against those if they’re done right. But discussing horizontal spice drawers could easily be another post for me to write—today I’m focusing on vertical. (Many of us don’t have the option to do horizontal spice drawers with the layout of our kitchens!)

In this kitchen organization post, I mentioned the reason we needed a vertical spice rack drawer was because

  1. I wanted to keep the spices close to where we use them most (our stove), and
  2. I had a vertical stove utensil drawer I was custom-designing on the right side of the stove, and I needed a vertical drawer on the left side to balance it visually.
white kitchen stove with spice rack hidden in vertical drawers to side

design plans & guides

Thus, our vertical spice rack drawer!


Our Pull Out Spice Rack Drawer Design!

We actually have three spice drawers within the one drawer. So the symmetry is there with the vertical utensil drawer to the right of the stove—while we’re simultaneously maxing out every cubic inch of available space in this other vertical drawer.

pull out spice rack made of wood, vertical under cabinet near stove

spice drawer plans | drawer slides | drawer clips | spice jars

Clearly, we had to get creative about how we’d be able to have three drawers within a larger one. How would we move one to access the one below it?

Enter drawer slides + these wonderful little brass drawer clips:

pull out spice rack DIY with clips for drawer

spice drawer | drawer slides | drawer clips | spice jars


How These Organized, Pull Out Spice Drawers Work!

Here’s how we made them work for us:

1. Drawer A: When we pull open the main outer vertical drawer, the clip automatically pulls out our topmost spice drawer. This is where we store our most-used spices. (Matt makes several Indian dishes from scratch, hence the cardamom pods and whole cloves being front-and-center. We also keep our salt up here on this top shelf with all the other frequently-used spice jars.)

2. Drawer B: When we need something out of the drawer below, we just lightly pull on the little clip, et voilà! It slides back so we can access the second drawer.

woman's hand on clip for vertical spice rack drawer
You can now make your own pull out spice rack cabinet drawer with our guide!

3. Drawer C: And then we did the same on Drawer B—the clip releases so it can slide away to access the bottom-most drawer.

pull out spice drawer organizer with brass clips

spice drawer DIY | drawer slides | drawer clips | spice jars

So here’s what our vertical set of spice drawers looks like when we first pull it out:

vertical spice rack with organized spices in drawer

spice drawer

Then sliding the top drawer back reveals Drawer B…

And Drawer B can release to access Drawer C. (All drawers slide fully back.)

under cabinet pull out spice cabinet with spice racks

spice drawer design plans

Do we use this every day? Yes.

Do we love it? Yes.

Do we wish we had done anything differently? Nope! We have no improvements to share with you after seven years of using them.

(And that’s saying something, because I usually have something I’d improve on…😆)

spice drawer design plans | drawer slides | drawer clips | spice jars

Here are the three photos side-by-side to show you the progression again.

spice rack DRAWER

See How Our Design Works in Real Life!

Here’s a quick video to show you this pull out spice rack in action!


Why This Vertical Spice Rack Design Works Best!

This design works best in our kitchen because

  1. We can easily see the labels of everything because they’re laid at a slight angle. (As opposed to the earlier vertical spice rack examples that have everything standing straight up.)
  2. We don’t need to bend down or hunch over to see the “lower levels” of our pull out spice cabinet contents. If we need something further down, we just slide back the spice drawer above.
  3. We have visual balance with the vertical drawers on each side of our stove.

UPDATE: In our Plans & Design Guides Shop, we now have our Spice Drawer Plans already created to save you hours of time!

Next, see how we organized our tea drawer, hid our cutting boards, and made our ergonomic kitchen countertops! Or, see the complete list of our kitchen tips & tricks!

➜ NEXT: Need immediate kitchen help? Download our Kitchen Design Bundle!

If you’re new to our blog, you’ll want to catch up via one of our most popular kitchen posts below:

  1. Why we ripped out our new kitchen.
  2. Why we did 100% drawers and ZERO cabinets!
  3. How we hid all our kitchen counter clutter.

➜ Our complete list of every single home project is viewable HERE!

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This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. Tricia

    Do you think the multi slide design with the latches would work for a pots and pans drawer?

  2. Leanna

    are there specific measurements to this project or can they be adjusted? I have an 18′ wide space that I would like to fill with this option

    1. Leanna

      that was meant to say 18 inch space

    2. Jess

      Hi Leanna! Yes, the plans can be adjusted to fit any drawer measurements you might want! 🙂

      Jess & Matt

  3. Tiffany

    What did you store in the smaller drawers beneath both the spice drawer and the utensil pull out on the other side?

  4. Ella

    Wow what a neat idea, I love how this looks! I had a cabinet painter install a spice rack in my cabinets when they repainted them a few months ago, and it has been so much easier to keep my spices organized! My daughter wants to do something similar with her nail polish collection that is in the drawers in her bathroom, so I think I might try to tackle this DIY project with her! Hopefully it turns out as good as yours!

      1. Zena

        I wish I’d seen your blog before I remodeled my kitchen 8 yrs ago, as your tips are spot on. I have the traditional narrow/vertical pull-out racks on either side of my stove. They’re awkward as you mentioned plus they’re too narrow to even put two jars side-by-side. I’d love to know if you have and posts on how/what to converts these types of racks when they’ve already been installed and you can’t afford to rip them out and start from scratch.

  5. Will

    How do you support the 2 top drawer slides in the front? It looks like those are free floating. Are they supported only in the back to the back of your cabinet from? I see that the bottom drawer is attached to the front cabinet front.

    1. Jess

      Hi Will, Matt is working on creating plans to share as we speak. 🙂 Hopefully that will answer your questions.

      Jess & Matt

      1. David

        Any idea when you will share these plans? width of front panel and height of each level would be great to start!!

          1. Debbie

            This is a great idea. We put in a utility pull out because we had a 9 inch space to fill. I find it useless for utensils and am trying to figure out what to put in it.

  6. JJ Phillips

    These are AMAZING!!!! Although I’m wondering what you used underneath your spice jars to keep then supported and at that lovely, jaunty angle!?!?

    1. Jess

      Thanks JJ! Matt is working on creating plans as we speak!

      Jess & Matt

      PS: We both loved the word “jaunty”! 🙂

  7. Sharon A

    This is genius! We bought a new house that already had a redone kitchen, so it has a trendy vertical spice rack drawer that is the most infuriating, hard to find anything bending over nonsense waste of space. Would love to transform the drawer space as you have done. The size will be different than yours but tips on the right drawer glides would be greatly appreciated! Already grabbed the link to the clips.

    1. Jess

      Thanks Sharon!

      YES, that sounds infuriating! “Nonsense waste of space”–loving your descriptions! 🙂

      Here’s the link to the drawer glides!

      Jess & Matt

  8. Candy

    Jess, I’m looking at doing RTA cabinets for my kitchen. I don’t have the time or budget for custom cabinets. So, of course, I am stuck to a more traditional configuration. What is the width of this spice drawer? Since they are RTA, I’m wondering if I can convert a standard base cabinet.

    Thanks for your time. Your kitchen is beautiful, and your blogs are helpful and fun to read.

  9. Gus

    Hi, Been looking to redo my spice storage and this looks really cool! Could you please provide me iwth the plans/materials you used? Would love to give this a shot!


    1. Jess

      Thanks Gus! We love it! I’ve asked Matt if he has time to create plans to provide on our blog–so many questions for plans on this AND several other things we’ve done, so maybe we’ll start up a new section for this! 🙂 Stay tuned!

  10. Austin S

    Love thepullout spice rack. Where are the plan’s? What drawer slides did you use?

    1. Jess

      Thanks Austin! We custom made our spice rack and I’ll have to get that info from “The Brawn” for you! 🙂

  11. Whitney

    Hi! I’ve had this kind of idea for spice storage but have not been able to find anyone that had done it…until now! I’m new to your blog and happy to find this! Would you happen to have a source for the drawer clips? I’d really appreciate the share. Thanks!

    1. Jess

      Thanks Whitney! Sure, I’ll lookup to see what source we used…stay tuned!

      1. Whitney

        Thank you so much!

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