What Is Pickling Spice?

You might find this homemade spice blend in your grandma's spice cabinet, but here's why you should consider adding it to yours as well.

Whether you're a pickling pro or novice, pickling spice has a place in your kitchen. Don't believe me? Pickling spice can be used to season foods even beyond pickles. This aromatic spice blend combines sweet and savory spices that add dynamic flavor to any dish. Here's everything you need to know about pickling spice.

What Is Pickling Spice?

As you might have guessed, pickling spice is a spice blend used in mixtures to pickle various foods. It is a sweet and spicy combination that adds flavor to pickled ingredients, and stands up well to the pickling process, since whole or crushed spices are normally used.

But pickling spices can also be used to season certain dishes. Pre-made pickling spice is available at the grocery, and the use can differ greatly according to the manufacturer. But nothing can replace the versatility and fresh flavor of homemade pickling spice.

homemade pickling spice in bowl

Pickling Spice Ingredients

Pickling spice ingredients (usually whole or in coarse pieces) can include allspice, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mustard seeds, and peppercorns. Pre-packaged pickling spice mixes are sold in most supermarkets.

How to Use Pickling Spice

To add flavor to all your pickled foods — like cucumber pickles, pickled vegetables, and pickled fruits, to name a few — simply add it to your jar along with whatever food you're pickling, and then add your brine.

Pickling spice not only adds characteristic flavor to pickles, it adds complex flavor to braised meats, stews, beans, and rice dishes. To infuse recipes with the multi-dimensional taste of this blend, create a sachet by placing pickling spice in the center of a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter and tying it tightly with a long piece of string. Leave a few inches of extra string on the bundle so it's easy to remove after cooking. Drop the flavor sachet into the pot and enjoy the distinctive taste and aroma this blend provides.

How to Make Pickling Spice

Here we're using recipe creator Mooseinthekitchen's Homemade Pickling Spice recipe, but you can also add or takeaway ingredients depending on your tastes.


  • 2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 6 whole cloves


  1. Place mustard seeds, allspice berries, whole coriander seeds, and red pepper flakes into a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to combine.
  2. Add ground ginger to seeds and shake again.
  3. Sprinkle crumbled bay leaves over spice mixture and place cinnamon stick halves into the jar. Seal and shake to combine. Mixture can be stored in the tightly sealed jar for up to 1 month without loss of flavor.


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