Garlic Dill Pickles


I grew up in a household that appreciated a good garlic dill. As a kid, one of my very favorite after school snacks was a chunky pickle. I would fish one out of the jar with a fork, stabbing until I could get get traction and then drop it into a plastic cereal bowl. I’d slowly nibble away at the pickle over my book of the moment, until all I had left was the stem end of the cucumber and wrinkly, vinegar-scented fingers.

We also believe that no good sandwich is complete without a pickle. My parents take sandwich construction very seriously, and often buy jars of pickles that have been pre-sliced lengthwise just for this purpose (prior to being stacked between the lettuce and the cheese, these pickles are blotted on papertowels, so that the sandwiches aren’t made soggy by too much additional liquid).


However, up until recently, the idea that a homemade pickle was actually the best kind of pickle didn’t occur to any of us (even taking into account the fact that my father has spent the last 30 years hunting for a pickle to replicate his beloved Polski Wyrob that he hasn’t been able to find since they left Chicago in 1978). I began my pickle enlightenment sometime back in the early spring, when I first started combining asparagus with a vinegar-based brine. I’ve been spreading the pickle gospel out west to my parents in Oregon for sometime now, and it appears that the indoctrination is complete.

My mother and I just spent the last hour on the phone and more than half our conversation revolved around homemade pickles (she now keeps a jar of brine in the fridge, and consistently replenishes the cucumber supply). I can’t tell you how proud I was tonight when she said, “I don’t think I’ll ever buy another jar of pickles again, when making them at home is so easy and so much better.” She’s also got her sights set on making these zucchini pickles (I admit, I sent her the link with a note suggesting they’d be a good way to use up the stampede of garden squash that is coming her way).

And, while I don’t think that my dad will ever find a pickle to compare to the Polski Wyrobs of yore, these garlic dills may just give his taste memory something to get excited about.

Garlic Dill Pickles

Yield: Approximately 8 pints (total yield varies depending on size of cucumbers)


  • 2 overflowing quarts of pickling cucumbers, sliced into fat coins*
  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 16 garlic cloves, peeled (2 per jar)**
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper per jar*** (2 teaspoons total)
  • 1 teaspoon dill seed per jar (8 teaspoons total)
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns per jar (4 teaspoons total)


  1. Wash and slice the cucumbers.
  2. In a large saucepot, combine vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Arrange jars on counter and dole out the spices to each. Pack the cucumber slices firmly into the jars. You don’t want to damage the cukes, but you do want them packed tight.
  4. Pour the brine into the jar, leaving ½ inch headspace.
  5. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
  6. When 10 minutes are up, promptly remove the jars from the pot and allow them to cool on the countertop. When the jars are cool, check the seals (by pushing/tapping on the lid).
  7. Pickles can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
  8. If you want to skip the boiling water process, these pickles are also wonderful as refrigerator pickles. Just pop the jars into the fridge once they’re cool.


*I use slices because I find that they are easiest to pack into jars. However, you could also choose to make spears, halves or pickle the cucumbers whole.

**I like to peel the garlic by leaning on it ever so slightly with the side of a chef’s knife. This bruises the garlic a bit and gets its pungent flavor into the brine/cucumbers more effectively.

***Some people have reported that this level of spice leaves their pickles far too spicy. If your red chili flakes are particularly fresh or potent and you’re not a huge fan of spice, consider reducing the amount.

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254 Responses to Garlic Dill Pickles

  1. 151
    Sam says:

    Hi –

    I followed the recipe exactly, and what I ended up with were pickles that were very mushy – not crispy and crunchy as I hoped they would be.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Should the brine be cooled before it’s poured over the pickles? Does processing them in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes cause them to become mushy?

    Any feedback is appreciated.


    • 151.1
      Marisa says:

      Any time you make water bath canned pickles, they lose some of their crunch. If you want a truly crunchy pickle, you should try a batch of refrigerator pickles.

    • 151.2
      Missi says:

      I use ball pickle crisp to keep them crisp. It’s in the canning section of most stores and works great.

    • 151.3
      James says:

      Did you make sure to trim off the ends of each cuke so as to remove the blossom? Also, you can coat them with salt for a few hours before you pickle them to dram out the moisture, then rinse them off.

    • 151.4
      Diane says:

      I heard if you add a couple grape, oak or sour cherry leaves in the bottom of the jar, it will make the pickles crunchy. It has something to do with the tannins.

    • 151.5
      Bill says:

      Add 1/4 teaspoon of pickle crisp to each jar for crisp pickles.

  2. 152
    Lisa G. says:

    Hi, Marisa,
    I am wondering about this recipe as compared to the recipe in your book. I am comparing the two. In your book the salt is much less (6 tsp for this amt) and the processing time is only 5 minutes, compared to the 10 on here. Which recipe should I follow? Thanks!

    • 152.1
      Marisa says:

      The recipe in the book is the best one to follow. However, know that if you go with the 5 minute processing time, you need to make sure you sterilize your jars before processing.

  3. 153
    jeanne says:

    So I made these pickles almost two weeks ago and they are SO GOOD. I know I was supposed to wait a couple of weeks but we were taking a picnic to our local Shakespeare Festival and needed pickles…I think we ate the whole jar! I want to make more and put them up in those wonderful 1.5 pint jars…but I am not sure about the processing time. I am going between what your book says in the dill pickle recipe and this one. I did the pints last time, I used 10 minutes because of my elevation, and they were just lovely and crunchy. I know you process larger jars longer but…I am new to canning and it is all very confusing. Do you have any advice?

  4. 154
    Jane Reh says:

    We are enjoying the pickles I made at the workshop in Fayetteville. Ready to make some more… Thanks so much!

  5. 155
    Patti Verkleir says:

    Do you have to use salt, and could you add some sugar, if so how much? Thanks

  6. 156
    Jennifer says:

    Can I reduce the amount of vinegar in this recipe and still produce a safe product?

  7. 157
    charles cooper says:

    I made dill pickles that are ready in 2 weeks but forgot to add garlic until next day. by opening the jars the next day to add garlic didI break the seal and are the pickles still good?

    • 157.1
      Marisa says:

      The pickles are safe to eat, but because you broke the seals, they’re no longer shelf stable. They will all need to be refrigerated.

  8. 158
    Lisa Carroll says:

    Greetings from my rooftop garden in Virginia! I have fresh dill and would like to add some to the jar.
    Will the pickles be too “dilly” if I add a sprig and the dill seed? Thank you.

  9. 159
    Anne says:

    I really love this recipe. I made it for the first time last year and fell in love. I’ve already made 18 pints this year and it’s only July 1st! I’ve shared them with friends and coworkers and everybody LOVES them.

  10. 160

    Marisa — I frequently go back to these older posts for inspiration … I was given four pickling cucumbers so decided to put up some of these garlic dills! 3 pints for the canner and a half-pint for the fridge. I got a fair amount of float, but you’ve assured us over and over that isn’t going to kill us :). Will let them cure a few weeks before cracking open — I’m dying to see what the texture is like! I usually do fridge pickles for the odd cuke here and there, but four seemed enough to pull out the big guns.

  11. 161
    Myra Owens says:

    Do dill pickles get crunchier the longer the sit? I tried some this year and it stated that I needed to let them sit for 14 days before using.

    • 161.1
      Marisa says:

      Pickles never get crunchier while sitting. A rest is simply a chance to let the flavors mingle.

  12. 162
    Jeanne says:

    I’m new to canning so this may be a dumb question but I don’t get quarts of cucumbers…is that all sliced, or whole? My brain wants a weight… help.

  13. 163
    Makiyah says:

    I saw that you use this same recipe for your zucchini pickles. Can I use less garlic and it still be safe for canning? Thanks!

  14. 164
    Liv says:

    Can I use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar?
    Thanks 🙂

  15. 165
    Katie says:

    Hi Marisa,
    I’ve made these before and everyone always raves about them! This time I was hoping to make them in quarts instead of pints, do I need to increase the processing time?

    • 165.1
      Marisa says:

      So glad you like them! You’ll want to increase the processing time by 5 minutes (to 15 minutes total) for quart jars.

  16. 166

    […] followed the garlic dill pickles recipe from Marisa McClellan’s site, Food In Jars. This is a quick pickle (she recommends […]

  17. 167

    […] books.  The pickle recipe is very similar to the bean recipe and this time I used the recipe for Garlic Dill Pickles for the proportions of the apple cider vinegar […]

  18. 168
    Mowse says:

    Mt. Olive Pickles replied to our request – We now label these Polish Kosher Dills. The whole 32 oz. Polish Kosher Dills aren’t available in stores in the Southeast. We also pack 24 oz. Polish Kosher Spears. Look for those in Food Lion or Ingles Markets in North Carolina.

  19. 169
    Darlene says:

    Can I use regular cucumbers instead of the pickling ones?

  20. 170
    Chelsea says:

    Just made this recipe from your book this weekend. Unfortunately, I went with spears and the ends of the cucumbers were not all submerged in the brine when I left the recommended headspace. Are these shelf stable or should I just go for the fridge? Fortunately it was recent so I’m hoping they’re still ok!

    • 170.1
      Marisa says:

      Just so you know, the cucumbers are part of the recommended headspace. Next time you make these, you need to trim the cucumber spears so they don’t stick up into the headspace. However, it’s not the end of the world. As long as the seals are good, the pickles are still shelf stable.

  21. 171

    […] pickle cukes – small batch garlic dill pickles […]

  22. 172
    Stacey says:

    Can I use sea salt instead of pickling salt? I looked around to other sources and they said it should be fine but do not use kosher salt. I am also going to use fresh dill instead of dill seed. I can’t seem to find dill seed anywhere (but plenty of dill weed)!

    • 172.1
      Marisa says:

      You can use any salt that is very finely milled and doesn’t contain iodine or anti-caking agents.

  23. 173
    Alicia says:

    I made these pickles last month in the last few weeks noticed a white sediment at the bottom of the jar I freaked out that they we’re spoiled, poured the liquid down the drain and threw the pickles in the trash. Now I’m scared to death they we’re infected with botulism and I’ve contaminated my entire kitchen and myself 😩 (I did not taste them) there was no signs of spoilage other than the sediment and the cukes we’re soft not crisp. This is my first year canning I know I didn’t follow proper disposal which is mainly why I’m scared to death! My question is should I be worried based on the presence of sediment and the vegetables being soft alone? Or am I overreacting? There was no bulging of the lid, bubbles, or weird odor. There was not a strong vinegar odor either. Please help my anxiety can’t take it! Lol

    • 173.1
      Marisa says:

      Alicia, that sediment is totally normal. What’s more, if there was any contamination in your pickles, it wouldn’t have been botulism, because botulism cannot develop in high acid environments like pickles. Any time you process cucumbers in a boiling water bath canner, they will soften (the heat of the boiling water essentially cooks them). You threw out a perfectly normal jar of pickles.

      • Alicia says:

        😂 thank you so much for responding and so quickly. I followed your recipe exactly so I know it was properly acidified. I felt about 95% sure there was no botulism which is why I dumped them down the drain but then my anxiety started talking to me! Lol thank you so much for putting my mind at ease. At least I know I can reuse the jars. Love your site, made your smoked paprika tomato jam last night….AMAZING! 🙂

  24. 174

    […] into pickles and relishes for future enjoyment. I made a batch of garlic dill pickles using this recipe from the excellent blog. The garlic and pepper gave them a nice kick and I thought […]

  25. 175

    […] Garlic dill pickles (my go-to recipe, spears pictured above) […]


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