Confession Time: Why I don’t (usually) buy spices at ALDI

Confession Time: Why I don’t (usually) buy spices at ALDI

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Let’s have a serious little “almost” all ALDI chat today: Spices edition. I do love me some ALDI, but… recently purchased myself a Costco membership, after not having one for almost a year. Why? Well, a Costco membership deal finally popped up on Groupon, so I got a $20 gift card and some free item coupons with my membership — making it well worth the investment, even if I only go every couple of months.

Beyond cheap gas and $4.99 rotisserie chickens, one of my favorite things to buy at Costco has always been large containers of spices (and large containers of minced garlic). I use a lot of spices in my recipes, and the per ounce price there is generally excellent. 

Are spices a good buy at ALDI?

Stonemill spices at ALDI got smaller

ALDI reduced the size of their Stonemill spices and seasoning bottles around the beginning of 2019, which made their prices even less competitive with those at Costco. I did pick up a couple of older seasonings on clearance when they were making room to stock the shelves with new bottles, which was nice. Unfortunately, the newer ALDI spice bottles (with red caps) are significantly smaller than their older counterparts (with black caps).

Stonemill spices at ALDI seriously shrunk: Garlic power, for instance, went from 5.5 oz to 3.12 oz. Ground cinnamon dropped from 4.25 oz to 2.37 oz, and paprika went from 3.75 oz to 2.12 oz. My store did lower the everyday price on their basic spices from $1.19 to $.95, but this size decrease on spices at ALDI was significant enough to eat up the entire price decrease — and then some. 

Spices at Costco vs. spices at ALDI

parsley is cheaper at Costco than at ALDI

So, let’s compare spice prices at Costco to spice prices at ALDI. Just for example:

  • Kirkland signature Saigon cinnamon is 27.9 cents per ounce at Costco; Stonemill ground cinnamon is 40.1 cents per ounce at ALDI.
  • McCormick Parsley flakes are $1.60 per ounce at Costco; Stonemill dried parsley is $3.80 per ounce at ALDI.
  • Olde Thompson Everything Bagel seasoning is 39 cents per ounce at Costco; Stonemill Who Needs the Bagel? Seasoning is 84.8 cents per ounce at ALDI.

In many cases, seasonings are double the per ounce price when you buy the smaller bottles at ALDI — and the Costco quality is overall on point. (That Saigon cinnamon? So good — I add some to my coffee grounds every morning before brewing, so really do go through those big containers.)

smoked paprika on the shelf at Costco

Another reason to frequent the spice aisle at Costco (and elsewhere…) is to pick up important seasonings ALDI doesn’t carry. My kitchen isn’t complete, for instance, without a steady supply of smoked paprika, and $3.79 is really a decent price for this size of a jar. 

Where else do I save on spices?

Beyond Costco, I also often pick up spices at my local produce store. (If you buy them in the ethnic aisles, they’re often cheaper and fresher than their brand-name counterparts.) Also stalk the clearance sections of your local stores, especially after the holidays when they start clearing out the excess inventory from holiday baking and gatherings, and watch for sales in the bulk bins of stores like Fresh Thyme.

I’ll also sometimes pick up spices and seasonings on Amazon, especially when I find a good subscribe & save deal — and in the summer, I grow some of my own herbs and then dry them in small batches in the microwave.

And how about those spice blends?

homemade seasoned salt is so easy to make

Some spice blends, I tend just to make myself — I’ll never purchase a container of seasoned salt again, for instance, after perfecting the recipe for homemade seasoned salt!

spice islands taco seasonings at costco

Some spice blends, however, I pick up at Costco or elsewhere for quality purposes. While this big container of Spice Islands taco seasoning is indeed cheaper at Costco than is the Casa Mamita taco seasoning at ALDI (at $.20 per oz as opposed to $.39 for each of the 1 oz packets at ALDI), I actually buy the Spice Islands because it tastes so.much.better. (And, because it’s easier to customize the amount you use when you buy in bulk rather than using a packet.)

spice islands taco seasoning vs casa mamita taco seasoning ingredients

The top ingredients list here is from the Spice Islands taco seasoning I picked up at Costco; the bottom ingredients list is from a Casa Mamita taco seasoning packet at ALDI. Me, I’m preferring the Spice Islands. (You can get it on Amazon, too, but it’s usually much more expensive over there…)

So, when DO I buy spices at ALDI?

Clearly I do occasionally buy spices at ALDI, as evidenced by my food photos over the years. Sometimes I buy ALDI spices on clearance, or will pick up a smaller jar of a seasoning I rarely use so that it stays fresher (as opposed to a giant jar I’ll never reach the end of). In general, though, these bigger containers at Costco are my friend.

Sometimes I buy spices or seasonings at ALDI to compare the quality or to taste test one out — like when I tested out ALDI’s Stonemill Who Needs the Bagel? seasoning vs Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning. That’s one thing to be said for smaller bottles; you’re spending just a buck or two to check them out rather than investing in a giant container of something without knowing if you’ll like it.

Do you buy spices at ALDI?

aldi spices vs costco spices

Is it just me? Do you stock your own pantry with spices and seasonings from ALDI, from Costco, or from somewhere else entirely? Inquiring minds want to know!

18 thoughts on “Confession Time: Why I don’t (usually) buy spices at ALDI”

  • Spices do not improve with age. Preground spices & herbs are useable in the long haul but much better if used in an reasonable time period. Even the small containers at Aldi are not likely to be used by the typical home chef within a year. Comparing price point based on quantity may be cheaper but it is a very poor measure of quality. I buy much from Costco but not spices. Chefs in a busy establishment may find Costco spices cost effective but the average cook should be more concerned over quality & how fast they use a spice or herb.

  • As a single I appreciate the size at Aldi’s. Costco big bins are tempting but I could rarely use before they too old.

  • I get most of my spices from the Spice House or Penzeys.
    I buy by the ounce, and can get as much or as little as I need. Both are available online and I like how fresh the spices are from either place. Penzeys has lots of free or reduced shipping if you get on their email list.

    • The Old Town Spice House is temporarily closed for repairs. They expect to reopen again the end of October. Until then you can get free shipping online by using the code SHIPOLDTOWN. There is no minimum purchase required. I get most of my spices from the Spice House or in bulk at Whole Foods. I love the spices at the Spice House. I go to the Evanston store.

  • In 2010 I purchased a bottle of Spice Club Ground Cinnamon 4.25oz from Aldi, which has an Best By date of June 06 2011. I’ve been using it very rarely every few years, but I hadn’t used it for the past few years. Two weeks ago (after nine years) I tried it and it tastes as if I bought that bottle yesterday. It smells and tastes as fresh as it did in 2010. Very impressed with Aldi spice quality. I hope the new, smaller 2.37oz Stonemill Ground Cinnamon is of the same quality if not better. Other spices that we use more often such as Crushed Red Pepper, Fine Ground Black Pepper, Granulated California Garlic, we purchase from Costco. Good article though! I didn’t even realize that Aldi reduced the spices to nearly half the size but their price is almost the same.

    • Hoy know that ALDI announce to the buyers that the side was changing. I llike to use fresh herbs from my garden. However, I can not find anything I need. I live the Steak Mix Seasoning in everything. butter, chicken, ground beef, fish, pork chops and eggs. Prices are going up on everything so I think their price la
      reasonable for the amount. ALDI has los prices here can you buy a dozen of largue eggs for .86. Large Strawberries for .99 for 1 pound. I am happy with the Store. They are improven on fruits and the vegetables. The meat la great.

    • I love the cinnamon at Spice House. I use it on my oatmeal and in baking. Thee last time I was in the Aldi’s store in Evanston, I believe eggs were $1.39, and milk was $2.49. The Aldi’s that are near a Walmart always have lower prices on milk and eggs.

  • sonemill steak seasoning so soooooooooooo salty. will not use that anymore. I will go back to mccormik

    • I am finding that a lot of Aldi’s spices even when sitting in the jars with lid tightly closed are getting either solid as concrete (my onion powder, which I could not even loosen up with a knife) and my lemon pepper seasoning (it is so full of moisture that I had to dig it out and could not get it to spread over the fish I was cooking, as it stuck together in clumps). I cannot use their regular olive oil (Carlini brand) as the first bottle I bought tasted like a chemical had been added adulterating it. Their EVOO is not bad though, it tastes like olive oil is supposed to. One of my pet peeves with Aldi is the shrinking amounts of product housed in containers that used to hold twice as much. They have a few cereals that I love, the boxes are decent sized, but they now only contain enough product to give a person about 3 servings and that is if you limit the quantity you are eating. For a family, one would have to buy a cart full to last a couple of weeks. I would much rather find quality in large sizes at a decent price somewhere and just go shopping once a month than play Aldi string-along game, however I do love their breads and their organic eggs, which are as good quality as we had growing up on the farm.

  • I drove by Walmart to buy cayenne pepper, garlic powder and onion powder, since I cannot have added salt anymore and black pepper gets BOOOORING. First off, Aldi had no cayenne pepper. Second, 3.12 oz. of garlic powder for .97 is not as good of a price as Walmart’s 3.4 oz. for a buck. Third, 2.62 oz. of onion powder for .97 falls short of Walmart’s 3.2 oz. for a buck. Since Aldi now charges $2.15 (or more) for a quart of half & half and it’s always out of stock, I now buy half gallons for $3.99 at Randalls and it’s always in stock. Bye-bye, Aldi. You have nothing cheap now, except chips and, of course, they contain WAY too much sodium and my kidneys would (literally) kill me for it.

  • Apparently, my clarification superseded instead of augmented, so you may delete everything. Life’s too short to type the original reply again.

  • Aldi’s used to be the best place to buy a lot of things. Not anymore. Their quality is lax and their prices are not good, when you compare the package sizes. I get much better quality by going to Kroger, Sam’s Club, or WalMart, at much better prices, and that includes on spices. Also when you go to the bigger stores, most of the time they will have what you want, and you don’t have to play the “this is as good as” game that you have to play at Aldi’s. (and let’s face it, it’s not usually as good as). As for spices, though I also don’t buy the big bottles from Sam’s unless it’s something we use a lot of, like garlic salt or onion powder. Also, Aldi’s spices seem to go bad before you use them. Almost every bottle I get at Aldi’s goes hard and has to be thrown out after it’s only been open a little while. Aldi’s got too trendy to still be the cheap place to shop.

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