Last updated on September 3rd, 2023
If you’ve got a lot of veggies this pickle this summer, making your own homemade pickling spices can not only save you money but also give you more control over the flavor.
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The Husband and I always plant a spring garden, with one entire raised bed devoted to cucumbers. If you’ve ever grown cucumbers, you know that once they start coming in, they come in quick. Often, it feels like they double in size overnight! A cucumber that’s nice and green and ripe for pickling could turn yellow and bitter within 24 hours.
Cucumbers also lose their crispness relatively quickly after harvesting, so it’s a good idea to process them into pickles as soon as possible. As a result, I was going through A LOT of pickling spices. It didn’t take me long to decide that I needed to look in to making my own. Not only does it save me money I the long run, but the spices are fresher and I have control over the seasonings I use to flavor my pickles.
Gather Your Spices
This not a hard and fast list of ingredients. You can add and omit items according to your preferences. If you have access to a grocery store that sells spices in bulk, I definitely recommend looking there first. Often, you can find spices in larger quantities for a fraction of the price.
These ingredients should be easy to find at your local grocery store:
- Whole black peppercorns
- Whole mustard seed
- Whole cloves
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Bay leaves
- Dill seed
These spices may be harder to find. I purchased mine in bulk at a local Indian grocery store. Amazon also sells certain spices in bulk. I have linked them below.
Yes, I have dill seed listed twice. That’s because while dill seed is available at my favorite grocery store, I have found it’s cheaper to purchase it in bulk.
Crush the larger seeds
Before mixing everything together, I like to crush some of the larger items – like the cloves and bay leaves – so they fit in my measuring spoon easier. For the cloves, I put them in a plastic bag and either break them up with a meat tenderizer or roll over them with my rolling pin. Bay leaves can easily be crushed into smaller pieces with your hands.
Mixing and Storing
Measure out all the ingredients into a food safe container with an airtight lid. I typically double or triple the recipe and store it in a large Mason jar. Keep it in a cool dry place, such as in a kitchen cabinet. As with all spices, these homemade pickling spices can expire and lose their flavor and potency. Therefore, be sure to use your homemade pickling spices within one year.
Frequently asked questions
You can, but the measurements will be different. McCormick provides a useful table for converting whole spices into ground.
Use Homemade Pickling Spices for:
Homemade Pickling Spices
- 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons whole mustard seed
- 2 tablespoons whole coriander seed
- 1 tablespoon whole cardamom
- 2 tablespoons dill seed
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves crushed
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 10 whole bay leaves crushed
- Combine all ingredients in an airtight container.
- Seal with a lid.
- Store in a cool dry place for up to one year.