Pickling Spice

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about

    1 cup

Appears in

From Scratch: 10 Meals, 175 Recipes, and Dozens of Techniques You Will Use Over and Over

From Scratch

By Michael Ruhlman

Published 2019

  • About

You can find pickling spice at most grocery stores—McCormick and other companies offer their versions—but this pickling spice, based on a recipe from Brian Polcyn, my Charcuterie coauthor, is far superior. It’s a similar profile but much more flavorful, like the difference between the Beatles’ version of “Eight Days a Week” and a Muzak version. Store it in your refrigerator and it keeps for months.


  • 3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon ground mace
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks, cracked and broken into pieces
  • 4 bay leaves, crumbled


Toast the peppercorns, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, allspice berries, and cloves in a dry pan over high heat for a minute, just till they smell fragrant (be careful not to burn them). Crack them beneath a sauté pan or chop with a knife. Transfer them to a small jar or zip-top plastic bag and add the red pepper flakes, mace, ginger, cinnamon, and bay leaves; mix well. Store in the refrigerator to use as needed.