What is a Spice Kitchen? All you Need to Know

Spice kitchens, also known as wok kitchens, originate in Asia. To begin with, these separate spaces were primarily used in the preparation of spices used in cooking. Over time, these spaces grew into miniature kitchens. Now, they function as a secondary kitchen that can be used to cook a variety of dishes, though they are mainly used to cook especially strong scented meals.

Most of us have a favorite smell and for many of us, our favorite smell is a food item. For me there’s nothing better than walking through the front door to the incredible aroma of freshly baked cookies. The scent is welcoming and pleasant.

However, there are delicious foods that don’t necessarily have pleasant scents whilst cooking. Consider cajun-style fish. The scent is spicy and strong, but once cooked it is an incredible dish. Unfortunately, spicy scents have a tendency to stick around the house. Imagine having a separate kitchen that could contain the scent and prevent it from spreading throughout your home. 

That’s precisely what a spice kitchen is for. In most respects, they’re very similar to a regular kitchen. They have a sink, a stove, and countertops to prepare food on. A key difference between a kitchen and a wok kitchen is that these cooking spaces tend to have stronger ventilation systems and more efficient hood fans. This allows them to deal with strong food scents.

Benefits of a Spice Kitchen

As I’ve mentioned, the main benefit of having a spice kitchen in your home is to keep the smell of strong food away from your primary cooking and living areas. However there are so many more benefits that this extra kitchen can offer. Here are some of the main reasons why a second kitchen could be ideal for you. 

Additional Storage Space

Most spice kitchens feature extra cabinet space, with some even containing an additional pantry. A second kitchen can provide you with a wealth of added storage space, which can be a godsend for the busy home cook. If you’ve ever hosted Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any other family holiday, you’ll understand that preparing for these events can leave your kitchen space practically bursting at the seams!

Additional Cooking Space

Oftentimes, there are seven or eight dishes to prepare. It can be stressful to prepare for these events, especially if you are working with a single kitchen. A extra kitchen makes the process much more simple. You have two ovens to work with, two stovetops, and more counter space.

Increase Market-Value 

Aside from the additional space that a secondary kitchen can offer you, adding a wok kitchen to your home could be a prudent investment. Additional kitchen is in high-demand and many home buyers would appreciate the extra space. It can serve as a bonus room and increase the value of your home whenever you come to sell. 

Separate the Mess

Another benefit offered by a spice kitchen home is that using it helps to keep the main kitchen in better condition. By rotating cooking areas, both kitchens endure less frequent use. This enables them both to remain in good condition for a longer period of time.

Because the spice kitchen is separated from the main kitchen, you’re able to contain the mess that will inevitably be created while cooking. This has the benefit of allowing you to enjoy your food whilst it’s still hot, and leaving the cleaning up until you’re finished.

Simple Cooking Process

Spice kitchens can simplify the cooking and cleaning process. Because a spice kitchen uses much less space than a traditional kitchen, it requires less time to clean. This allows you to clean up any mess more quickly.

Because of the spice kitchen’s compact size, everything you’ll need is within reach. There is no need to rush across the kitchen for a cup of water, as the sink is conveniently placed a step away. This allows you to cook foods that require more attention without running the risk of burning them. 

What is the Layout of a Spice Kitchen?

The layout of a spice kitchen is usually very similar to the primary kitchen. It features all of the basics; a stove, sink, cabinets, countertops, and pantry, but in a smaller setup. The appliances are placed much closer together and there is less countertop space available than in a traditional kitchen.

A spice kitchen is usually found very close to, if not directly off of the main kitchen. There is typically a window or two inside of the spice kitchen and occasionally an outside door off the second kitchen itself.

Typically, the spice kitchen is on the other side of a door found within the kitchen or off a short hall that is off of the kitchen. In larger homes, there may be a small hall off of the kitchen. This hallway would offer doors to the spice kitchen, pantry, and possibly a bathroom. 

How to Add-On A Spice Kitchen?

Though the addition of a spice kitchen makes a lot of sense, they are still quite uncommon in the Western world. The space will likely need to be built onto your home, preferably close to your existing kitchen. Adding a second kitchen onto your home works similarly to adding on any other space. It is important to note, however, that the room will need to have a completely separate ventilation system from the main kitchen. This ensures that the aroma created from cooking in the spice kitchen stays in the spice kitchen, rather than spreading throughout the rest of your home.

You don’t necessarily need to invest in building an extension, though. Some people have gotten creative with their existing homes and converted their garages into a second kitchen.

Things to Keep in A Spice Kitchen

Although spice kitchens are small and compact there are many things that can be stored in them. However, it is important to focus on the essential items you will need for cooking.


There are certain appliances that are an absolute must. A stove, or oven, for instance, and any other appliance you will need. Many people use their spice kitchens to fry food. Fryers are another example of must-have appliances that should be kept in your spice kitchen. The majority of these kitchens do not have a refrigerator. Because these spaces are compact, a full size refrigerator takes up too much room.

Some people however do place a small fridge unit in their second kitchen so that they can store food with a strong aroma away from their ‘main’ refrigerator.

Cooking Essentials   

You should keep your cooking essentials in your spice kitchen. Pots and pans, cooking oils, cooking utensils, and spices of course should be kept in the cabinets of your spice kitchen. This will allow you to cook dinner more conveniently and efficiently. The only reason you should need to leave the spice kitchen while cooking is to fetch something from your refrigerator in the main kitchen.


What is any kitchen without the ingredients needed to whip up a delicious meal? Depending on how much space you have available, it’s common for cooks to keep essential ingredients in their spice kitchen. These ingredients include dried spices (of course!) as well as fresh herbs and spices if you have window space in which to grow them.

Spice Kitchen vs Summer Kitchen

If you know what a summer kitchen is you may wonder what the difference is between a spice kitchen and a summer kitchen. A summer kitchen is an addition that was common in older homes found in the south. These kitchens were stand-alone buildings that offered additional kitchen space. A spice kitchen offers a few advantages over a summer kitchen.

Attached to the Home

The major difference between a spice kitchen and summer kitchen is that a spice kitchen is attached to the home. Summer kitchens, by definition, are stand-alone buildings. This is a key advantage. It’s much more convenient to carry your cuisine through a door and set it at the table, than to carry it across your yard and into the house.

Better Ventilation

Another benefit of a spice kitchen that summer kitchens lack is that it has a better ventilation system. This clears water vapor and reduces the strong scents that accompany certain types of food.

Modern Kitchen

A spice kitchen is a much more modern version of a summer kitchen. It fits the modern way of life and is preferred by the majority of people. This modern mini-kitchen is a bonus space. But once you have one it will become a necessity.

Spice Kitchen vs Butler’s Pantry

A spice kitchen is almost the exact same thing as a butler’s pantry. A butler’s pantry is a miniature kitchen found close to the main kitchen. It features appliances, storage space, countertops, and a sink. Does this sound familiar? It should, up to this point these two miniature kitchens sound exactly the same.

The singular difference between a spice kitchen and a butler’s pantry is the fans and ventilation systems. A butler’s pantry features a similar, or perhaps smaller, ventilation system as the main kitchen. A spice kitchen, on the other hand, must have a high-performing ventilation system.