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How to Make Homemade Pickling Spices

Pickling spices are so easy to mix up from ingredients found in most pantries, there is rarely a need to buy a commercial blend. This mix can be used for dill or sweet pickles. It will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. This recipe makes about 1/3 cup.

This blend is also wonderful to use as a seasoning for soups, roasts, stews and other dishes. Use in the same way you would for pickling. Do not put directly into the pot, but tie up in a spice bag or coffee filter. Want to add more complex flavors to your standard vegetable soup recipe? Add a sachet of pickling spice while it cooks.

You can also use the spice sachet with other ingredients to make marinades. Again, adjust the amount of individual spices to suit your taste and the meat you are serving.


2 tablespoons mustard seed

1 tablespoon whole allspice

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

4 whole cloves

2 teaspoons diced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 bay leaf, crumbled

1 food grade cinnamon stick 2-3 inches, broken into small pieces

To break up the cinnamon, place into a plastic bag and use a hammer to crush the stick into small bits. If you want the pieces more uniform, place the broken bits of cinnamon stick into a food mill and pulse it a few times. If you don’t have fresh ginger, use ground ginger.

Mix all ingredients together and store in a sealed container in your refrigerator.

Once you are ready to use the mix, place the desired amount in a spice bag to boil with the vinegar. These spices are not meant to go straight into the vinegar. If you don’t have a spice bag, place the pickling mix in the center of a coffee filter, pull up edges and tie off. Leave a long piece of string to drape over the edge of the pot. Place into your vinegar mix and follow pickling directions from your recipe. If you don’t have a spice bag or coffee filter, use a screen, sieve or cheesecloth to strain the herbs and spices from the vinegar mix.

For hotter pickles, add more pepper flakes or a couple of fresh hot red peppers. For milder pickles, reduce the pepper flakes or eliminate them completely from the ingredient list. You can also replace the red pepper flakes with black peppercorns.

Once you’ve tried this recipe, adjust the different ingredients to your taste. Add more of the flavors you like to create your own personal blend.