How to Use Pickling Spice

Updated July 19, 2017

Pickling spice can be bought at a canning supply store or a well-stocked supermarket. If you have access to a store with a bulk herb section, buying the individual spices, or using what's already in your spice cabinet at home to mix your own pickling spice is a great option. Pickling spice is called for in a variety of recipes for home canning, namely certain pickled vegetables, and often, relishes or chutneys.

Break the cinnamon stick into small pieces. Mix together in a medium bowl with crushed bay leaves, mustard seeds, allspice, coriander, peppercorns, ginger, dill, cardamom, hot pepper and cloves. Stir well until all spices are mixed.

Store pickling spice in an airtight container -- an 227gr. canning jar works very well for this purpose.

Scoop the specified amount of pickling spice into a spice bag or a square of cheesecloth and cinch it closed. Infuse spices into the syrup or liquid you are heating, per the recipe you are working with. Often, as with pickles, the spices will infuse into a combination of water, vinegar and sugar that is heating. Add vegetables (as called for in your recipe) and infuse at least 10 minutes longer.

Remove and dispose of spice bag. Pickling spice should not be reused.


Some recipes that call for pickling spice include picalilli relish, green tomato chutney, orange rhubarb chutney and pickled beets. The benefit to making your own pickling spice is that the ingredients can be adjusted to your taste. Store-bought pickling spice contains a combination of spices that make for a sweet and lightly spicy infusion. If you prefer added heat, use more hot pepper and less of the sweet spices, like cardamom. Those with an aversion to a particular spice, like dill for example, can simply leave an ingredient out or use less of it.

Things You'll Need

  • Medium bowl
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole allspice
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp dill seeds
  • 2 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 510gr. jar
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About the Author

Robyn Ellis has been writing since 1999. Her work appears in "Poet Lore," "Lumina," and "Rattle" literary magazines, among other publications. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing from Emerson College and a Masters in Museum Studies from Tufts University. She currently works as a writer, editor, and museum professional.