The Best Spices for Making Homemade Pickles

by | Apr 16, 2024

how to make pickles with spices

Making your own pickles is a delightful and delicious way to preserve the bounty of your garden or take advantage of seasonal vegetables at your local market. Follow our pickle recipe below or experiment with flavors from our list of the best spices for making pickles.

Best Spices for Making Pickles

Choosing the best spices for making pickles can greatly enhance the flavor and preservation qualities of your pickled vegetables. Feel free to experiment with other spices from our collection. Here are some of the best spices to consider:

  • Black or Yellow Mustard Seeds: Mustard seeds are a staple in many pickle brines. They add a pungent and slightly spicy flavor that is quite distinct. (The difference between black and yellow mustard seeds: Black mustard seeds are more robust and spicier in flavor while yellow mustard seeds are milder.)
  • Dill Seeds: Often used in pickling cucumbers, dill seeds bring a bright, aromatic flavor synonymous with traditional dill pickles.
  • Dill Weed: The iconic flavor in pickles
  • Coriander Seeds: Known for their lemony citrus when crushed, coriander seeds add a fresh, tangy taste to pickles.
  • Black Peppercorns: Add a warm, spicy kick to pickles, enhancing the overall flavor profile without overpowering the taste of the vegetables with whole peppercorns.
  • Fennel Seeds: With a light licorice flavor, fennel seeds offer a sweet and herby taste that complements many pickle recipes. Consider similar spices like caraway seed for a unique twist.
  • Celery Seeds: These tiny seeds bring a bitter, celery-like flavor that complements the natural flavors of most vegetables used in pickling.
  • Bay Leaves: Try some Bay Seasoning to incorporate ginger, mustard seed, and other flavors and impart subtle depth and complexity to your brine.
  • Cinnamon Sticks: For sweet pickles, such as those made with fruits or sweeter vegetables, cinnamon can add a warm, sweet spice note.
  • Allspice Berries: Perfect for sweet pickling, allspice berries contribute a warm, sweet, and spicy note and are often used in sweet pickling recipes.
  • Turmeric: A pinch of turmeric gives pickles a bright, golden color and a peppery, warm flavor, along with added health benefits.
  • Savory Summer: It adds peppery warmth with just a pinch

These spices can be used alone or in combination, depending on the type of pickles you are making and your flavor preferences. Experimenting with different spices can lead to discovering your perfect pickle recipe!

Get started with our basic pickle recipe and adjust as desired…

How to Make Pickles at Home (Basic Recipe, You Can Add/Substitute Spices as You Wish)


  • 1 pound fresh cucumbers (small to medium-sized are best)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • Two Tablespoons of kosher salt
  • One Tablespoon sugar (optional, for a slightly sweet pickle)
  • Two cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • One teaspoon of black or yellow mustard seeds
  • One teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • Two sprigs of fresh dill or one teaspoon of dill weed


  1. Prepare the Jars: Boil your canning jars and lids in a large pot for at least 10 minutes to sterilize them. Carefully remove them and let them air dry on a clean towel.
  2. Prepare the Vegetables: Wash the cucumbers thoroughly and cut off the blossom end. Depending on your preference, you can leave them whole, slice them into spears, or cut them into rounds.
  3. Make the Brine: Combine water, vinegar, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the salt and sugar completely dissolve. Add garlic, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, and our Spicy Pickling Blend to the brine. Let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes to infuse the spices.
  4. Pack the Jars: Pack the cucumbers tightly into the sterilized jars. Tuck the dill sprigs between the cucumbers. Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers in the jars, ensuring that the vegetables are completely covered while leaving about a 1/2 inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Tip for Perfect Pickles: Add a grape leaf or a small piece of horseradish leaf to each jar to keep your pickles crisp. The tannins in the leaves help keep the cucumbers firm.
  5. Seal and Store: Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp cloth. Place the lids on the jars and screw on the rings until they are tight. Let the jars cool to room temperature. Check the seals, then store the pickles in a cool, dark place for at least 48 hours before opening to allow the flavors to develop fully.

Once they’re opened, keep them refrigerated. Your homemade pickles should stay crisp and flavorful for up to two months.

With this simple guide, you can enjoy the crisp, tangy delight of homemade pickles any time of the year. These pickles will surely impress, whether accompanying sandwiches or burgers or served as a snack!


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