Weekend Food Project: Mouth-Poppin’ Pickled Mustard Seeds

Pickled Mustard Seeds

Do you love tangy, spicy, mustardy, vinegary, pucker-your-mouth food? If so, you’ve gotta’ try pickled mustard seeds. Seriously.

I found a pickled mustard seed recipe on Chef Steps awhile back, but I put off making them because the recipe entailed boiling and straining the seeds ten times. That sounded like work. And then, at my hotel restaurant this week, they appeared as a condiment on my plate of cured meats. Little flavor bombs, I tell ya’. Popping in my mouth and making me curse my laziness. I could’ve been eating these things for months!

Curious? Here’s the recipe. You’ll wish you’d discovered them sooner too.

Pickled Mustard Seeds


  • 2/3 cup whole yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoonΒ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


  1. Place mustard seeds in a medium saucepan, and add enough water to cover.
  2. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently.
  3. Drain the seeds in a fine mesh strainer.
  4. Repeat the boiling and straining process nine more times.
  5. Mix the remaining ingredients together until the sugar and salt dissolve.
  6. Place the mustard seeds and pickling mixture in a non-reactive container.

My Recipe Notes

  • This recipe makes about 1-1/2 cups of pickled mustard seeds. Store in the refrigerator, where they will keep for months.
  • Use your new-found condiment on sandwiches, burgers, or hot dogs. Serve them on a meat or cheese plate or alongside your favorite sausage. Stir them into potato salad, deviled egg filling, or Dotty’s Famous Cucumber Salad.
  • Boiling the mustard seeds is supposed to remove their bitterness, but do you really have to do it ten times? Could you skip this step? Or just boil them five times? I don’t know! Give it a try, and let us know what you learn.
  • I was worried about the mustard seeds falling through the holes of my strainer, but my fine mesh metal strainer worked just fine, and the seeds plumped up during the boiling process, making it even less likely they’d escape their pickling destiny. I used a small rubber spatula to sweep the seeds back into the pot for their next boiling session.
  • Boiling and straining ten times does sound like a production, but after the first boil, the pot and seeds are warm, making the subsequent boils happen very quickly.

Alright weekend food warriors. Go forth and pickle some mustard seeds! Let me know how you like them.

Image Credit: Mary Gerush


4 thoughts on “Weekend Food Project: Mouth-Poppin’ Pickled Mustard Seeds”

  1. This I’ve got to try! Where is a good place to buy mustard seeds? Is there any difference in the seeds themselves?

    Thanks, Mary!

  2. I can’t wait to hear what you think! I had my pickled mustard seeds on a hot dog today, and they were great! I buy most of my herbs and spices from Penzey’s (www.penzeys.com). They started as a mail order shop, but fortunately, they opened a store here in Dallas not too long ago. They have yellow and brown mustard seeds. The yellow ones are those most commonly used for pickling. The brown ones are used more in Asian dishes. Let me know what you think after you do the pickling! I love them.

  3. I was sightseeing in lebanese grocery. They had 8oz bags of both yellow and black mustard seeds. I bought them, because.
    So far i used them for garnish. Homemade relish, in a mustard sauce for fish
    This is the best idea, i think.making them tomorrow. Going to do on stove top, and small amount in microwave.we’ll see.

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