Pickled Mustard Seeds, the BBQ Caviar

Bowl of freshly pickled mustard seeds

Pop into a bite of these Pickled Mustard Seeds anytime you want a burst of flavor for your grilled meats and veggies. These vibrant seeds are a perfect way to elevate your seasoning with very little effort.

Bowl of freshly pickled mustard seeds

No, they aren’t caviar, though I treat them just like it. These pickled mustard seeds are the special touch that pairs perfectly on top of meats such as Coffee-Crusted Ribeye, Smoked Pastrami Steak, and even Smoked Pulled Ham. Try adding them to pasta salads, deviled eggs, or even vinaigrettes.

These BELONG on Smoked Brats with Spicy Beer Onions, and Smoked Brat Burgers!

Top smoked brats with plenty of pickled mustard seeds.

Why You’ll Love Pickled Mustard Seeds

  • The experience. Each bite does pop in your mouth, creating a wonderful texture. They are not slimy like caviar, and also not very hard.
  • Flavor packing. The pickled seeds soak up all of the flavors added to the brine. Treat them like a finishing salt, seasoning the food at the very end.
  • Simple to prepare. Other than waiting, there’s almost nothing to do. The mustard seeds pickle in an hour, and you simply heat up the ingredients on the stove for a few minutes.
  • Flexibility. Use them on anything you’d think about where you’d either want a touch of Dijon flavor, acid, or salt. They are a perfect pop of brightness to almost any dish.
Shallot and a bowl of pickled mustard seeds

How to Prepare Pickled Mustard Seeds

This process is pretty straightforward, and thankfully it doesn’t take too much time. The main ingredient you’ll need to purchase is yellow mustard seeds, which you can easily buy online right here.

  • STEP 1: Rinse the seeds. Trust me, they are probably dusty. Place them in a fine mesh sieve and give them a good rinse with cold water to get rid of any contaminants.
  • STEP 2: Soak the seeds. Place them in a medium saucepot, the one you’re going to use to warm up the seeds later. Pour in the white wine vinegar and stir them around gently to make sure they are submerged. Let them sit for about an hour at room temperature.
Seeds are soaking in white wine vinegar
  • STEP 3: Warm the brine. Add in the rest of the ingredients for the brine and bring the pan to a low simmer. Stir the seeds to make sure everything mixes well, especially the honey. After about 6-7 minutes the liquid will start to evaporate and absorb. Once most of the liquid is gone, turn off the heat.
  • STEP 4: Cool and season. Place the seeds into a container to cool, and stir in the rest of the vinegar along with the shallots. Mix them around and taste the mustard to see if it needs any additional salt or spices.

At this point you can store the pickled mustard seeds in the fridge once they have cooled off. They will stay fresh up to 2 weeks, if you don’t eat them all first. The flavors will continue to develop overnight.

Mustard seeds are simmering with the rest of the brine ingredients

How to Use Pickled Mustard Seeds

Their acidity brightens just about food, so it’s pretty easy to use.

Fatty foods – The acidic flavors act like a finishing salt, a bright punch to cut through the fatty flavors of grilled meats such as steak, or slowly smoked barbecue. They taste great on top of creamy eggs, or even folded into a tuna salad.

Dressings, dips, and vinaigrettes – Anything that could be seasoned with mustard, could be a fun replacement. The textures really lift the eating experience, especially with salads. Bright bites of pickled mustard seeds pair well with the bitter flavors of dark leafy greens and other raw vegetables.

Charcuterie board – Set a small bowl of these seeds on a platter filled with cured meats, fresh veggies, and salty cheeses. All you need is a spoon, maybe a few crackers, and you have one of the best condiments you could find.

Shallots and white wine vinegar were mixed into the pickled mustard seeds.

Variations to Customize Flavors

Vinegar – White wine vinegar is traditional, but feel free to swap it out for other flavors. Apple cider vinegar is strong but very tangy. Rice wine vinegar is one of my favorite substitutions, adding a nice sweet profile. Avoid distilled white vinegar as it’s extremely acidic and takes away from the natural flavors of the mustard.

Bourbon – Add a splash of your favorite bourbon at the end for a boozy version, perfect for a topping on hotdogs, brats, and grilled steak.

Sugar – This recipe uses honey, but you can swap it out with a variety of sweeteners. Agave is my favorite substitution, along with the addition of roasted green chiles.

Chiles – Fresh or pickled chiles, such as Smoked Pickled Jalapenos are a fun additional flavor. Freshly roasted poblanos or Hatch chiles taste incredible paired with the pickled seeds.
Aromatics – Shallots are used in this recipe, but you could swap them out for other types of onions such as scallions, chives, or even minced red onion. Try grilling a shallot and mincing it for a nice toasty flavor.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Bowl of freshly pickled mustard seeds

Pickled Mustard Seeds

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

Pop into a bite of these Pickled Mustard Seeds anytime you want a burst of flavor for your grilled meats and veggies. These vibrant seeds are a perfect way to elevate your seasoning with very little effort.

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: About 1 Cup 1x


  • ½ cup yellow mustard seeds
  • ¾ cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (to finish)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced shallots (add more to taste)


  1. Rinse the mustard seeds with cool water in a fine mesh sieve to remove any dust. Add the drained seeds along with the 3/4 Cup of white wine vinegar and salt to a small saucepan. Allow the seeds to soak at room temperature for an hour.
  2. Add in the honey, ground mustard, and red pepper flakes to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Stir frequently along the bottom and sides, as the honey will make it stick otherwise. Continue to simmer for 6-7 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Pour the seed mixture into a container to cool. Once it has returned to room temperature, stir in the 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar and minced shallots. The flavors will continue to develop over the next few days, though you can enjoy within an hour. The pickled mustard seeds will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 2 months.


Stir in some pickled jalapenos, herbs, or other aromatics that you desire. My recipe is a base recipe you can definitely add to.

  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Sauces & Salsas
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Condiment
Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

Recent Posts

Even More Recipes

Ignite your grill and elevate your barbecue game with more than 65 unforgettable recipes in this cookbook that combine the big, bold flavors of chiles with smoke and fire.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Scroll to Top