Pickling Spice (How to Make your Own Pickling Spice Mix)

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  • Pickling spices go much further than just making pickles and corned beef. Use this spice mix in stews and soups, for veggies, marinades and more!

    Close up of homemade spice mix in a white bowl

    Homemade Pickling Spices are easy to make and have loads more flavor than the store bought version.

    Homemade Pickling Spices are so verstile. No need to spend $10 buying the mix at the store, make your own and custom blend the ingredients while saving money.

    The only spice you might not have on hand are cardamom pods. I always have some on hand for making homemade curry. In fact, if you do order some, make sure to check out my Pineapple and Pork Curry!

    Pineapple and pork curry over white rice

    No worries if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, although they are useful, just use a small bowl and the back of a spoon. You’ll need this because the best pickling spices start with whole spices.

    After spices are ground or cut, even harvested, they start to lose their potency. In fact, ground spices generally have lost more than 75% of their flavor by 6 months.

    Pickling spices in a white bowl with pestle.

    Starting with whole spices ensures you get all the taste you are looking for. And they serve as an amazing homemade potpourri.

    PRO TIP: To add these flavors to your favorite soups and stews, place spice mix in an herb bouquet and let simmer. To make, simply place a small amount of the spice mix in a cheesecloth pouch. Easily remove the herb bouquet without having to fish out all of the whole herbs.

    Homemade Pickling Spices can be used for many recipes. This batch was destined for my Homemade Corned Beef recipe. They can be used for actual homemade pickles or any other jarred vegetables including onions, carrots or even beets.

    Check out my quick vegetable pickling!

    pickled vegetables on a wood counter

    You can also use them for any protein, especially chicken in a brine. Place whole spices in cheesecloth and use it to season a soup or stew.

    Ever wondered how to get rid of seafood smells in your kitchen? Boil a little in a small saucepan of water and just wait for the beautiful smells coming your way, a homemade stovetop potpourri!

    Whole pickling spices with mortar and pestle.

    Questions you might have about how to make pickling spices:

    What do you use pickling spices for? Pickling spices for used for way more than just making pickles and corned beef. You can use them in soups and stews, chili, as part of marinade and even to season infused olive oil.

    What is pickling spice made of? Well, it varies from recipe to recipe and cook to cook, like most things. The base usually includes allspice berries, mustard seed, whole peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom pods and cloves. I also include bay leaves, ginger and cloves in mine.

    Pickling spices for pinterest

    You can add or omit any spices you dislike or anything you don’t have on hand. Also add garlic or onion for added warmth and flavor.

    Can you eat pickling spices? Well, yes, but I wouldn’t suggest eating them dry and whole. But in recipes, they are delicious, that is why we use them!

    What liquids do I use for pickling with pickling seasoning? The most widely used liquid is plain white distilled vinegar, but apple cider vinegar is also used frequently.

    Why doesn’t this recipe have salt? Well, pickling spices are used for a variety of things and those things don’t always require salt. Depending on the recipe, like a brine, can use kosher salt.

    But other recipes, like corned beef, might use a pink pickling salt. Pickles, on the other hand, don’t use much salt (if any) at all.

    Homemade Corned Beef is simple to make, but takes about a week. The intense flavors and beautiful pink hue are worth the time and wait!

    Does pickling spice go bad? It doesn’t go bad or spoil, but the spices will lose potency. Whole spices start to lose flavor at about 1 year.

    Pickling spices overhead with blue linens


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    4.8 from 5 votes

    Pickling Spices

    Homemade Pickling Spices are easy to make and have loads more flavor than the store bought version.
    Prep Time5 mins
    Cook Time5 mins
    Total Time10 mins
    Course: Condiment
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: pickling spices
    Servings: 1
    Calories: 142kcal
    Author: Jessica Formicola



    • Combine whole allspice berries through whole cardamom pods in small skillet. Heat over low heat, gently toasting for approximately 5 minutes.
    • Transfer to a small bowl or mortar. Add remaining ingredients and grind together gently.
    • Store in an airtight container until ready to use.


    Calories: 142kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 426mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2370IU | Vitamin C: 3.8mg | Calcium: 192mg | Iron: 5.1mg

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