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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Substitutes for Pickling Spice

Oh snap, you’re halfway through your pickling project and boom… you’re out of pickling spice. No sweat!

This little hiccup won’t stall your kitchen wizardry.

I’ve got the lowdown on the five top-notch swaps that’ll keep your pickle game strong.

Ever thought cinnamon could save your pickles? Or that bay leaves aren’t just for stews?

We’re about to dive deep into your spice rack and unearth some gems you’ve likely overlooked.

Buckle up, it’s going to be a zesty ride!

What is Pickling Spice?

Pickling Spice is an aromatic blend of herbs, spices, and seeds that have been used to season pickled foods since ancient times.

Originating from Central Eastern Europe, the traditional combination of ingredients will vary from region to region, yet each blend has its own exciting flavor profile for all food lovers to explore.

Commonly found in herbs like mustard seed and dill seed, as well as a variety of spices such as ginger, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice which lend intense flavors and textures to pickles and other preserved foods.

The pickling spices are usually passed down from generation and can be used in salty solutions to make quick pickles, slow-fermented lacto-fermented pickles, or even brine for sourdough bread.

With the range of flavor profiles, it adds to food items such as vegetables, meat products, or even cheeses, the usage goes far beyond just seasoning pickled food.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pickling Spice

If you’re looking for a great alternative to pickling spice, then you’ve come to the right place.

Pickling is an age-old art form that has been used to preserve food since ancient times.

But finding a suitable substitute can be difficult, so we’ve compiled a list of the five best alternatives to help make your pickling endeavors easier.

1 – Crab Boil Spice Mix

Are you tired of using the same old pickling spice? Consider mixing up your culinary routine with a jar of homemade crab boil spice mix.

This mix contains all the traditional spices, such as bay leaves, mustard seed, coriander seed, red pepper flakes, and black peppercorns.

It’s an easy way to add bursts of flavor to your seafood dishes.

A teaspoon or two is all it takes for a deliciously spicy experience.

The texture strikes a perfect balance between crunchy and smooth, thanks to bits of garlic flakes scattered throughout the mix.

As an alternative to pickling spice, it can easily make any kind of seafood dish stand out from the rest.

With this spice mix in hand, you can create unique flavors quickly and easily that will certainly tantalize the taste buds.

2 – Ras el Hanout

Ras el hanout, a complex mixture of many different spices, is sure to add texture and flavor to your cooking.

This alluring spice blend is associated with North African, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisine and often features cardamom, clove, black pepper, cinnamon, and cumin among its ingredients.

The actual mix may include any number of spices, such as dried rosebuds, lavender, or aniseed—creating an aromatic medley that tantalizes taste buds while stimulating the senses.

With a nutty flavor enhanced by underlying fruity tones and a smoky essence overall, you can use this unique combination to enhance just about anything from roasted vegetables to grilled meats.

To substitute Ras el Hanout for pickling spice when making brine, simply mix equal parts caraway seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and fennel seeds together for a similar taste.

3 – Baharat Seasoning

Baharat seasoning is a popular Middle Eastern blend that is essential to the cuisine.

Made primarily with ground black pepper, cumin, cardamom, coriander, and nutmeg, Baharat adds a delightful surprise to every bite.

The spices vary from region to region and depending on what you’re cooking; however, common components include cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and paprika.

When combined together, these ingredients create a warm flavor that can also taste slightly smoky.

Its texture is fairly coarse, but if you want to make it finer, it can be easily ground into a powder.

Every dish can benefit fromBaharat’s unique flavors; this type of seasoning pairs exceptionally well with roasts and grilled meats but can also be used for spicing up soups and stews.

If you don’t have Baharat seasoning at home or prefer not to use store-bought mixes, then pickling spice can also work as a suitable substitute – just be sure to reduce the quantity because pickling spice tends to be much more “pungent” than Baharat.

4 – Jamaican Jerk Seasoning

Jamaican jerk seasoning is one of the spiciest blends you can find, owing to its bold blend of ingredients.

It typically consists of native Caribbean allspice, cayenne pepper, thyme, garlic, and onion.

Its intense flavor and aroma set it apart from other spice combos while providing a unique and powerful taste when added to dishes.

Not only does this incredible combination provide an interesting kick in what would otherwise be bland recipes, but it also exudes a warmth that’s tantamount to holiday cheer.

To substitute Jamaican Jerk for pickling spice in a recipe, replace half the spices with dried oregano and double up on allspice before adding ground ginger and nutmeg for an extra dash of flavor.

With these few substitutions, even novice cooks can explore their inner chef to create some amazing recipes with Jamaican Jerk.

5 – Fines Herbs

Fines herbes are a fragrant combination of fresh herbs that are commonly used in French cooking.

The four herbs traditionally combined together to make fine herbs include parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil; however, other variations occasionally add marjoram or savory as well.

These fine herbs blend offers a vibrant flavor that can be described as earthy, with slight undertones of anise and licorice.

The texture of this flavorful blend is pleasantly zesty and slightly grassy.

Fines herbes can easily substitute for pickling spice in recipes, with both equally bringing out the flavors of the dish without dominating it.

It can also be added to a wide range of main dishes, salads, sauces, eggs, potatoes, and much more to bring out their flavors.

So next time you think about reaching for your trusty pickling spice, try whipping up a blend of fine herbs for a burst of flavor and aroma to tantalize your taste buds.


In conclusion, there are many great substitutes for pickling spice to explore, each offering a different flavor profile that can bring out the best in any recipe.

From the smoky taste of Baharat or Ras el Hanout to the intense flavors of Jamaican Jerk and the fragrant Fines Herbes, you can use these unique blends to enhance just about any dish.

Try out these five substitutes next time you’re in the mood to create something different, and don’t forget to experiment with your own combinations – that’s how the best recipes are made.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is pickling spice?

Pickling Spice is a blend of various spices, including whole or powdered mustard seeds, coriander seed, dill seed, bay leaves, allspice berries and peppercorns. It can also include other spices like dried ginger, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Pickling Spice is typically used to give flavor to pickles and other brined foods like sauerkraut.

What can I use instead of pickling spice for corned beef?

There are several substitutes for pickling spice when making corned beef. You can use a combination of whole allspice berries, mustard seed, dill seed, bay leaves, black peppercorns and coriander seed. Alternatively you could also mix together a combination of ground ginger, cinnamon powder and cloves.u003cbru003e

Can I use spice mixes as a substitute for pickling spice?

Yes, some prepared spice mixes like curry powder or Italian seasoning can be used as substitutes for pickling spice. However, it is important to adjust the amounts of each ingredient in order to achieve the desired flavor profile. Additionally, other individual spices such as mustard seed, coriander seed and dill seed can be added to enhance the flavor of the mix.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pickling Spice

Fresh out of pickling spice? No problem! Discover our top 5 substitutes that will infuse your pickles with delicious flavor and aroma.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 serving


  • Crab Boil Spice Mix
  • Ras el Hanout
  • Baharat Seasoning
  • Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
  • Fines Herbs


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Pickling Spice
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