How To Make Horseradish


I love horseradish, the hotter the better. When you buy it prepared you’re pretty much stuck with what comes in the jar. But it turns out it’s pretty simple to make your own. A knife, a food processor, two ingredients and five minutes later you’re done. Awesome.


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(this is not an exact science, so no measurements this time)


Cut off a couple of inches from the end of the horseradish root and peel it.

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I’ve seen this recipe done without peeling it first. I’m sure it makes no difference to the flavor, but you can see little brown specs in the finished product. I’ll take an extra minute to peel it. But I’ll do it quickly with a knife, not carefully with a vegetable peeler. The less time you spend handling fresh-cut horseradish root the better.

Now dice the root into chunks small enough to fit comfortably in your food processor.

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Put the chunks in the food processor — since I’m using a mini, I had to dice pretty small — and run it until everything is finely chopped.

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I’ve seen this done in a blender, but you’d have to make a pretty big batch for that to work well. I like the mini-chopper since I can do just enough for a single meal.

Carefully remove the lid from your food processor.


I’m completely serious about doing this carefully. I’ve seen recoemmndations to only do this outside. I think that’s taking it a bit far, but don’t expect this to just be run-of-the-mill food heat. If you get too close to the horseradish at this point it’s like chemical tear gas. I thought because I didn’t smell anything at arm’s length that I might have gotten a bad root, so I stuck my nose right into the chopper and inhaled deeply. It felt like I’d been punched in the nose. Don’t do that! Learn from my mistake.

The longer you process the root — or even let it rest — without adding vinegar the more heat it will develop. When it’s hot enough for you, pour in just enough vinegar to cover all the root.


Process again to make sure everthing gets coated, then strain the vinegar out using a strainer or simply a paper towel over a bowl. (You might recognize this technique from the pages on rendering tallow and storing bacon fat.)


Once it’s done draining, turn the finished horseradish out and serve with rare roast beef.1 And that’s it.


1 If you think this is foresadowing an upcoming post, you’ve been paying attention. If you just can’t wait, you can check out this earlier post for how to make pot roast. In fact, you might want to use that one anyway, unless you plan on spending 12 hours tending a spit over a fire. Subscribe using the link in the column to the right — you won’t want to miss this one.


  1. I found you a few days ago and have been enjoying your posts via RSS. Thank you for your sensible approach to things culinary. I am curious to know if you can recommend a method of long term storage for the horseradish that assures its strength.

    • My mom made horseradish from the root. She stored it in the freezer. In 2009 I found some in the freezer made in 2004. It still had a very stong taste just as if it was just made.

  2. Kristin says:

    No WAY am I going to make this, because I am a big baby. I can’t even handle that horseradish-like sauce stuff from the grocery store, and I think that only has a smidgen of real horseradish root in it. And by the way Drew, was that a photo of the ox roast that you took, or are you in it? And why don’t you list your e-mail address so I can e-mail you these questions instead of making every visitor read them in the comments?

  3. That is very interesting – I didn’t know anything about horseradish root (or that it even was a root).

  4. Stephanie says:

    Your experience with sniffing the horseradish reminds me of when my dad made smoked jalapenos. He ground them up in the blender, then leaned in for a big whiff. Big mistake.

    Men. :-)

    What else do you put horseradish on? I don’t think I’ve ever had it. And where do you even get horseradish root?

    • It is my favorite to dip fried mushrooms in!! Gotta have it to eat em!

    • I love horseradish on Prime Rib and also on mashed potatoes. It adds a great flavor to macaroni or potato salad, and is yummy mixed with ketchup and mayo and tons of pepper, paprika, and cumin for a terrific dipping sauce for green beans or deep fried veggies. Yum!

    • I planted horseradish in a box in my garden. It just comes up year after year and the roots get stronger and stronger. It’s like a tuber…you dig up the tuber part and that’s what you use. Although, my 6 year old grandson insists the leaves taste great when he chews on them in the garden…he also chews on chive stalks for a lovely burst of fresh breath (not!).

      • Have him try a chive blossom sometime. Smells like onion, leaves purple petals stuck in your teeth.

    • Philip Breighner says:

      We can buy it at our local Weis market.

  5. I was surprised to find it at my local grocery store a couple of weeks ago. I knew the Ox Roast was coming up (see my next post later tonight / tomorrow morning) so I grabbed it.

    I’ll be using some more to make another batch of the onion ring sauce when I try a new batter recipe for the onion rings. Not sure when that’s going to happen.

  6. Samantha says:

    This looks fantastic. I love horseradish, I have got to try this.

    As for uses, one of my favorite uses for horseradish is mixing it into mashed potatoes.


  7. Ooh, that sounds good, Samantha. Thanks for the suggestion.

  8. Hi Drew,

    This is great – I bough a horseradish root a few months ago to plant in the garden, it should be ready to harvest come October/ November after the first frost so I will be making some like this. It is true the shop bought stuff is a bit wussy.

    I bought my root from a market, and according to the guy that sold it, I should dig it up and cut off say half to make sauce, then replant the other half for next year. And so on for continuous fresh horseradish each year!

    • Yes, this is exactly how we started growing our own horseradish, bought at store, saved half and planted. We now have increased our bed to a six by six “box”. It is very invasive to grow so be careful.

    • colleen conklin says:

      @Ryan, dont worry about re-planting, This stuff grows out of control without re-planting. I didnt know what it was for years ont he side of my house. I tried KILLING AND KILLING it. Finally a few years later I see the leaf at someone elses house and asked what it was? She says, Horseradish. I laughed and said I’ve been trying to kill it and it just WONT DIE. Now, today, Is my first experience of making my own. I want to do both just Horeradish and Sauce. If anyone has any suggestions ont he sauce, (mayo sauce) let me know.

  9. Ryan, I never thought to just plant it. But it is a root, so no reason it shouldn’t work. I wonder if the one I’ve had in the fridge would still work.

    • Drew,
      I just found your site and am enjoying it. Horseradish is one of the most easily grown plants; so planting a fresh root from market should grow. We bought a new place last fall and I am breaking in a new garden-lots of work-had a half dozen roots dropped off from a friend and planted them yesterday and am sure they will take. Keep up the great blogs.

    • yep, you can plant the root…actually that is how you should store prior to planting – in the fridge…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, I've been growing horseradish for years and have never been ablt to get it hot enough. I thought it was my horseradish isntead of my processing. Note on processing: the punch in the nose anaolgy is quite descriptive and I agree but even at arms lenght I can breath and heavily suggest a well ventilated area… even outside. Maybe too far but I like to breathe.

  11. Thanks for commenting. I'd completely forgotten that I've got a root still in the fridge. And I was just wondering what to do withe the leftover london broil for lunch. Mmmmm … thin-sliced london broil with fresh horseradish.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have horseradish root in my garden. I planted it there several years ago and have never used it. We are Polish and put it on ham, sausage and in borscht. It's wonderful! I can't wait to make it. How long will it keep? I'd like to make some for the rest of my family.

  13. I've never tried to keep it for very long, so I can't say for sure. If you keep it covered tightly — which you have to do anyway unless you want everything in the fridge to taste like horseradish — you're good for at least a couple of weeks.

    After that, I've mixed it with mayonnaise and kept it for several months. And before anyone sees this and tells me you can't keep mayonnaise-based products for that long … I've done it, I've eaten it, it tasted good, and no one got sick.

  14. I've made horseradish for years and have kept it in the fridge in glass jars for months. Tends to lose it's heat after a while. I have recently begun grating the root straight into recipes such as coleslaw…it's fantastic and I don't have to process a bunch at a time. We have so many plants that when we do dig some up my sink is full of it!

  15. Was that intentional, or does it just keep spreading?

  16. It definitely keeps spreading as it is extremely invasive. It’s not fussy and will grow in very poor soil conditions. It should get full sun 6 or more hours daily. Be sure to plant where you do not care if it spreads or plan to pull sprouting leaves periodically.

  17. Mark, thanks for the tip. I guess I’m glad I didn’t try planting it yet. Need to find a bigger space first.

    • if afraid of it spreading and taking over, try planting it in a 5 gallon bucket, it can be moved to best sunlight then also.

    • Drew,
      A friend has retired from growing the root. He gave us several plants. My husband cut the bottom off of a few 5 gallon plastic pails and sunk them into the garden then planted the root in those. It doesn’t look as though it spread, though we’ll know for sure in the spring when it comes back up.
      And to those who want to know what ekse it’s good on, try it on good kielbasa, yummy! Ham sandwiches, too!

      • That’s a good one. I’ll have to remember that if I ever want to do an ornamental bamboo. I read someone saying they used a children’s wading pool as a liner for a small garden, and the bamboo still made it out.

  18. i have a huge patch of horseradish out behind my house. i have dug up roots 20” long & 2” around . i made in the house once 10 yr’s ago . it was just like the tear gas training in the military. now i only make it outside. i put it into icecube trays freeze it & put cubes in big zip lock bags. i don’t use the freezer in the house, the smell gets into everything in the freezer.

  19. Tim, I do the ice cube tray thing with pesto, and with stock. That reminds me, I’ve got some stock in the freezer I still need to process.

  20. Greg Cannon says:

    I processed fresh horsaeradish today with vinegar and salt and put in refridgarator and 10 hours later the product turned blue. Can anyone tell me why?

  21. Blue? No, sorry, I’m stumped.

    • I am making a new batch tomorrow i will see what happens someone told me to add lemon juice or a fresh fruit preservitive.

      • Terri S says:

        Could it have been the salt? Try making your next batch without it as see if that makes a difference. It’s worth a try :)

    • William Dotson says:

      If you use milk or half & half in the ground horseradish and keep covered with the milk it will help, I have great success with it this way and I always make mine with milk and very little vinegar and a good amount of sugar.

  22. my horse radish plant has been in the ground for two tears. trans planted from dads garden, now it has a seed sprout shooting out from the center. What should i do about it.


  23. According to Gardening Know

    There are two schools of thought when it comes to harvesting horseradish. One says that you should be harvesting horseradish in the fall, right after the first frost. The other says that you should be harvesting horseradish in early spring, when the horseradish plant needs to be divided anyway.

    Sounds like it’s time for you to divide the roots. Keep one for eating and replant the other.

    • Laynee Rugg says:

      HI..I just found your site..yipppeee.It has been almost 20 years since I made horseradish.I remember my grandparents saying.”only dig the root in amonth with no “R” in it.So that makes the spring the months of April an May an June..then fall is July? an August. Dony know why just what the “older”generation said. I am surprized to learn you can freeze this. i was looking for a canning recipe to keep on the you know of any? Thanks an I enjoy reading others luv of this “tasty root”.

  24. I add sugar to some of mine. Also make some with sour cream. I have a 30 foot row so I can make all I want. I use only white vinegar. New plants can be started from just the crowns. Plant about 6 inches deep

  25. Jerry Bailey says:

    The Master prep Ninja woks like a dream to make the horseradish.

  26. Pat Kicza says:

    good morning, one of my favorite recipes is to mix fresh horseradish w/ketchup for shrimp cocktail…yum… just found this site, marvelous… thanks. pk

  27. I have no idea why I never tried that. Good call. (Though I’ll probably start with tomato paste and fresh herbs rather than store-bought ketchup, because I’m totally insane like that.)

  28. Mike Doty says:

    Nice explanation. If you want to see a grown man cry, make some horseradish.We grow our own horseradish. What a way to make a grown man cry!
    We also have tried using rice vinegar, NOT rice wine vinegar, instead if regular white vinegar. Rice vinegar does not have the bite white vinegar has. This method has led to rave reviews in our town.
    Shenandoah Valley, VA

  29. I just happen to have some rice vinegar. I should give that a try. Thanks for the tip.

  30. Can I use White wine vinager instead of regular white vinager, would it taste better, worse or no different ?

    I have just purchase the root at supermarket, how long can it stay in the fridge before I need to use /peel / process it.

    Thanks !

    • Compared to the horseradish root, I doubt the taste difference would be all that noticeable. If it is, “better” or “worse” would be a matter of personal preference.

      I’ve made this with roots that had been wrapped up in the fridge for two or three months and the taste was the same. So no hurry.

      • I eat horseradish on french fries, cheese sticks, onion rings, jalapeno poppers and many other foods, or a little just by itself :) I will be making it for the first time this year.

  31. I love store bought horseradish, mainly use it in mashed potatoes. I have a wonderful produce store I can walk to. I am real excited about getting a root and making my own! I’ll let you know how it goes.

  32. I will leave it in the ground (as with carrots) and dig and use all winter.

  33. I just made this today. If I want to store it, do I add back some of the vinegar?

  34. Hi Drew, So glad to see your site come up in my search for a horseradish recipe. Horseradish is almost served at a seder (ritual Passover meal for Jewish folks). It’s a reminder of the bitter past as slaves in Egypt.

    Often you see a pink horseradish that has been sweetened a bit with beet juice. Maybe only Jews buy this because I didn’t see it mentioned above. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    • Hey, stranger!

      No, I’ve never seen the pink horseradish. Sounds interesting.

      And now I’m thinking of pickled eggs. Mmm, haven’t had them since … holy crap, not since 2009!

  35. carol tucker says:

    put a block of cream cheese on a saucer, cover it with horseradish, add a stack of crackers and you’ve got a treat to take to a meeting…………. it’s wonderful and it’s always the 1st to be devoured.

  36. I Planted horseradish about 6 months ago, i live in portugal, is it normal for the leaves to have holes in? eaten by either moths, butterflys, snails, or slugs

  37. We always just grated it by hand, but I come from hardy Slavic stock. The freshly grated dry root was on the table for Easter dinner to complement the ham, zelodec, and Slovenian sausages. The rest was stored in vinegar for later. I add it to homemade buttermilk ranch dressing and all mayo-based salads (coleslaw, macaroni, potato). Of course I make my own cocktail sauce with it and add it to homemade pickled eggs (mustard and beet). A tablespoon or so doesn’t add any heat but does increase the flavor of the dish.
    One of my favorite recipes is to coat a pork roast with a good whole-grain mustard and press freshly grated horseradish onto the sides and roast in a moderate oven, about 325 or so. Like onions and garlic, when roasted the horseradish takes on a sweet flavor-not nearly as hot and kind of carmelized-but still retains the same character. If you’re timid make sure you ventilate during roasting, but it never bothered me.

    • The pickled eggs and pork roast both sound like great ideas. I’ve been meaning to do some eggs again for a while, got any pointers on how you do yours?

  38. Great post. Just thought I’d add, since nobody has, that the best thing to do with fresh horseradish is to make Bloody Mary’s. Fresh horseradish is the ingredient that distinguishes an excellent Bloody from a mediocre one.


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