How to Prepare Horseradish

Do you like horseradish? I find that people either love it or hate it. My father can’t resist it, and my brother Ed will leave the room if it’s on the table. One bite of pungent prepared horseradish is enough to clear out anyone’s sinuses.

Horseradish is both easy to grow and easy to prepare. Plant a section of root in a sunny part of your yard, make sure it gets some water, and soon you’ll have more horseradish than you can use. If you don’t have access to a garden plant, you can often find the roots at markets such as Whole Foods.

Homemade prepared horseradish is about twice as strong as store-bought versions, and lasts about 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.

Horseradish plant

How to Prepare Horseradish



  • 8-10-inch long piece of horseradish root
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • Pinch salt


1 If you have access to a garden horseradish plant, use a sturdy shovel to dig up an 8-10-inch long tuber of horseradish. (You can't pull it up.) The plant itself, once established, propagates with tubers, and is very hardy. (See Wikipedia on horseradish). Remove the leaves from the root and rinse the dirt off of the root.

how-to-prepare-horseradish-1a how-to-prepare-horseradish-2a

2 Use a vegetable peeler to peel the surface skin off of the tuber. Chop into pieces.


3 Put into a food processor. Add a couple tablespoons of water. Process until well ground. At this point be careful. A ground up fresh horseradish is many times as potent as freshly chopped onions and can really hurt your eyes if you get too close. Keep at arms length away, and work in a well ventilated room. Strain out some of the water if the mixture is too liquidy. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar and a pinch of salt to the mixture. Pulse to combine.

Note that the vinegar will stabilize the level of hotness of the ground horseradish, so do not wait too long to add it to the mixture.

4 Using a rubber spatula, carefully transfer the grated horseradish to a jar. It will keep for 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator.

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Horseradish Information Council

Hung like horseradish from the Happyhoarfrost

Fresh Wasabi (not the same as horseradish)

How to Prepare Horseradish

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Showing 4 of 61 Comments

  • kurt lubbock

    First time visitor, I am looking to find out how to make horseradish. I’ve never done it before. Is there any way to make this and can it so that it will last for mor than 3 to 4 weeks?
    I would like to make some of this sauce and keep it all winter and spring at least.

    Note from Elise: Given that you are working with a root, and roots do quite well in the ground, the thing to do is to just pull up only as much as you need for a small batch, a batch that you would go through in a few weeks. The chemicals that give horseradish its pungency are volatile, they just don’t hold up over time, which is why commercial horseradish isn’t nearly as strong as freshly made.

  • Blake Whiteway

    My father made it for years and we used small bottles like baby food jars and froze them. then we would take one out when we needed one.

  • emily

    How do you keep fresh ground horseradish from turning gray after a day or two in the refrigerator?

  • Charles

    The acidity of the vinegar should keep the color white for the month or so it’s good.

    Note that lemon or lime juice will also help keep the color (and I believe, though I don’t know, should preserve the hotness level.)

    Freezing should work well–leave room for a bit of expansion (~10%) of the ice.

    Note that processing horseradish is closely related to chemical warfare work–best to do it outside in a “well-ventilated” OUTSIDE (WINDY is good!) area.

    One of the largest grower processors is located about 25 minutes from here–they use gas masks while processing.

    This processing problem is, in and of itself a good reason to make a larger batch and freeze it is small doses.

    The ‘bite’ of any particular brand of horseradish will very some with shelf-time, but the main reason that they tend to ‘bite’ less than fresh is that the market mostly prefers that strength. There are brands with more ‘bite.’

    Note also that you do NOT want to plant horseradish anywhere except it’s permanent multi-year location. It is very difficult to eliminate once established as every tiny bit of tuber must be removed or you will have new plants.

    If you learn to recognize the plant (and it’s pretty easily identified,) or ask gardeners around town, someone will happily give you a tuber for your own plants–or just to grind.

    Nobody ever has a shortage of the stuff once established.

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