How to make your own pickling spice

Make your own pickling spice blend! Mustard seed, black peppercorns, and cinnamon (or allspice!) are essential. The rest are mix-and-match. Lasts for up to a year and makes enough for several batches.

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Are you planning on making lots of pickles? If so, you might want to try mixing up your own blend of pickling spice! It’s very simple to throw together, and one batch is enough for lots and lots of pickles.

How to make your own pickling spice

Spices in This Pickling Blend

If the ingredient list looks a little long to you, don’t worry! You really can pare it down to just the basics. For me, the essentials are the mustard seeds, black peppercorns or red pepper flakes, and at least one of the sweet spices (allspice, cinnamon, or cloves). As long as you’ve got those in the mix, you can customize your blend however you like.

How Much Pickling Spice to Use

Whatever mixture of spices you end up with, you’ll want to use about 1 1/2 teaspoons per pint of pickles (or a tablespoon if you’re canning in quart jars). Mix ‘em up and get pickling!

Ways to Use This Spice Blend

You can use this blend with cucumbers, green beans, carrot sticks, beets, or even sliced red onions, my favorite hamburger topping. It’s a versatile mix with a flavor profile that’s both savory and sweet, with a little kick of heat.

Whether it’s for quick pickled vegetables or long-term canning projects, there’s no limit to the vegetables that can be pickled with this basic homemade pickling spice recipe.

How to make your own pickling spice

The pucker! The crunch! Ever since I can remember, I’ve been an avid pickle eater. Whether it’s a spicy garlic kosher dill, tangy French-style baby gherkins, or sweet bread and butters, pickles have topped just about every sandwich I’ve eaten and been a staple snack eaten straight out of the jar for as long as I can remember. It still drives my mom nuts whenever I fish pickles out of the jar with my fingers instead of a fork.

As I grew older and my taste buds broadened, and so did my pickle obsession, expanding from classic pickled cucumbers to pickled asparagus, onions, green beans, beets, cauliflower, and so much more. Pickled veggies are the perfect foil to cut through the richness of any cheese or charcuterie board or make a perfect topping for buddha bowls or meatball sandwiches. Oh man, I can taste them now.

Depending on what type of pickled deliciousness you’re looking for, crafting a customizable homemade pickling spice gives the freedom to mix and match flavors to compliment any pickled veg you’re craving.

How to make your own pickling spice

What is Pickling Spice and What Is It Made Of?

So what is pickling spice? Most basic pickling spices always include mustard seed, peppercorns, and bay leaves, and depending on what’s being pickled, more aromatics can be added. As a blend, these spices add tang and flavor to vinegar and water brines, holding up well over long pickling period, but are also flavorful enough to infuse their magic in quick pickling situations ,too.

These are the ingredients I start with for my basic homemade pickling spice:

  • Whole black peppercorns
  • Mustard seed
  • Coriander seed
  • Dill seed
  • Allspice berries
  • Red chili flakes
  • Bay leaves

How to make your own pickling spice

Other Pickling Spices to Add to Your Blend

One of the best things about pickling spice blends is there is no one way to make them. Be creative! Be flexible! Play with your food! Take notes of what spices fit your taste, then mix and match with different flavor combinations to create your own signature bite.

  • Star anise
  • Cardamom seeds
  • Celery seeds
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Dill seeds
  • Whole cloves
  • Dried ginger
  • Fennel seeds
  • Juniper berries

How to make your own pickling spice

How to Use Pickling Spice

Once you’ve concocted your spice blend, it’s time to start pickling.

Start with equal parts vinegar and water. I prefer a strong pucker power so my ratio of vinegar and water is equal at 1:1 with 2 tablespoons of kosher or pickling salt per cup of liquid.

Use a combination of vinegar for best flavor. For a more balanced flavor, I use both white and apple cider vinegar.

Add the pickling spice to jars, then the liquid brine. Bring the vinegar and water (equal parts) to a boil with the salt and cook until dissolved. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the pickling spice to a 32 ounce glass jar with lid, add the vegetables, then pour over brine. Place lid on top and let the brine cool completely before refrigerating. Let sit for 1-3 days before eating.

How to make your own pickling spice

Vegetables Made for Pickling

Pickled cucumbers are a natural, but there’s so many other veggies that love a pickling spice brine too, like:

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a star rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.

Pickling is the process of preserving or increasing the lifespan of food. It is done by either fermentation in brine or immersion in a vinegar-based solution. Pickling spice is usually added to the mixture at the start of the process. It adds extra flavor to whatever is being pickled.

What Is Pickling Spice?

Pickling spice is actually a mix of spices that are used, as you might guess, when pickling. Pickling spice can also be added to the salt water when brining meats for extra flavor. There is no set answer as to what pickling spice is. It's a combination of spices and can include as few as two ingredients to many, many more. Pre-made pickling spice is available in the spice aisle of many grocery stores. Often a selection may be on display at specialty stores.

Homemade Pickling Spice

Nothing beats homemade pickling spice since you can customize it to match your palate. If you like spicy flavors, increase the crushed red pepper. If you don't like spice, omit them altogether. Homemade pickling spice is also a very economical option. Making it only requires pantry staples from your spice cabinet. It's also a great thing to make when you have spice jars that are running low. Combine all the small extra bits into one jar, and you've made pickling spice!

This pickling spice is a favorite. It works well for both pickled vegetables and meat brines. Note the optional ingredients and use them or adjust their amounts to reflect how much you like those flavors.

Homemade Pickling Spice

Combine the following in a small bowl or pint jar:

  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries (only whole allspice berries work here; ground allspice will be entirely too sharp and bitter)
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns (whole peppercorns, not ground pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds (yellow work too, but won’t provide the same visual effect in the jar)
  • 1 tablespoon cloves (only whole cloves work; ground cloves don’t add the right flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional; depending on your heat preference)
  • 2 teaspoons ground dried ginger (not fresh, it will be too sharp)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional, the warm homey flavor of nutmeg adds some depth of flavor)
  • 2 bay leaves (dried and crumbled)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (smashed or crumbled)

If you like, you can toast the allspice, peppercorns, mustard seeds, cloves, and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan for a few minutes for a deeper flavor before adding the other ingredients. Either way, mix everything together and store whatever you don’t use that day in a glass jar or similar vessel in your pantry or spice cabinet. This recipe makes about 1/2 cup pickling spice. Use this pickling spice to make homemade corned beef or add it to the brine for pickled okra or to spicy pickled garlic for extra flavor.

This homemade pickling spice recipe is a basic blend of warm flavors perfect for making your favorite pickled vegetables.

How to make your own pickling spice

What is Pickling Spice?

Pickling spice is a mix of savory dried spices that are used to flavor pickling brine. When food is pickled, it is preserved in brine that infuses its flavor into the food over time.

You can purchase pickling spice at the store, but if you do a lot of picking, it makes sense to make your own using fresh ingredients. Plus you can customize it to your liking.

You can also grow some of the ingredients in your garden. I let celery, dill, mustard, and cilantro plants go to seed every year, so I can gather a fresh supply. I also dry lots of peppers to use whole, or crushed into red pepper flakes.

Basic Ingredients Usually Include:

  • Bay Leaves
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander Seeds
  • Mustard Seeds

Optional Add Ins:

  • Allspice Berries
  • Cardamom
  • Celery seeds
  • Dried Red Chile Pepper (Whole or Flakes)
  • Cloves
  • Dill Seeds
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Ginger Powder
  • Juniper Berries
  • Star Anise
  • Turmeric Powder

How to Make Pickling Spice

Pickling spice is the base for all your pickling needs. This is my go-to pickling spice for home canning pickled foods and preserving refrigerator pickles. Start with this basic recipe and add additional flavors depending on what you like.