Pickled Mustard Seeds

By Chris Bryant | January 17, 2015
This is a recipe I developed for my friend Ashley English for a mustard-making blog post she created for designsponge.com. Pickled mustard seeds are a versatile condiment and dip. Drizzle them over fried rainbow beets and appoint them as the dip to stand strong with charcuterie chips.


The little round seeds stay intact throughout the cooking process, so every single orb is a delightful flavor bomb in your mouth. Pickled mustard seeds are also an exciting pantry ingredient that can be added to salads, dressings, and gravies and used to spike the favor of other dips. The recipe makes enough to cover you for dipping, plus some extra for jazzing up the good things you create in the kitchen.

Soaking Time: 1 hour or overnight 
Cooking time: 30 minues 
Cooling time: 1 hour
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1 cup (8 ounces) yellow mustard seeds, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups apple-cider or white-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/3-1/2 cup additional vinegar

1. Place the drained mustard seeds in a medium, non-reactive saucepan and add the vinegar and salt. Allow the seeds to soak uncovered at room temperature for at least 1 hour—overnight is better.

Note: mustard is spiciest when it takes in cool liquid to become hydrated. Once heated, that aromatic mustard zing  is locked in. That’s why it’s ideal for the seeds to soak in as much liquid as possible while they’re cool.

2. Add the honey and turmeric to the hydrated seeds and move the saucepan to the stovetop. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer and stir it with a wooden spoon, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan to prevent sticking. The mixture will bubble and sputter like polenta or grits, so constant stirring is important. Cook it for about 20 minutes.

3. Remove the mustard from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature, uncovered, for about 1 hour. The mixture will become thicker and denser as it cools.

4. Stir in 1/3 to 1/2 cup more vinegar to thin the mixture and to freshen its flavor.  Check the seasoning and add more salt, honey, or turmeric, if you like. Serve the dip immediately. It can be stored in glass jars in the refrigerator for up to a year.

Note: the mustard seeds will continue to absorb liquid for weeks. If the mixture becomes too dense, simply stir in a little more vinegar.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Lark, an Imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Copyright 2014.