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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201 Responses to Garlic Dill Pickles

  1. 101
    Anastasia says:

    I made one batch of the dill pickles two weeks ago and put them in the refrigerator instead of processing in a water bath. The reason I did that is I wanted to taste the pickles earlier to see if I liked the recipe before I made a larger batch. I really liked the spice mix and the amount of garlic, however, I didn’t like the strong cider taste. Will that mellow in time in the refrigerator or in a water bath process. I’ve seen a couple of recipes with half cider and half white vinegar, do you think that will reduce the cider taste? My grandmother used to use all white vinegar so maybe I’m just used to that taste. Have you tried all white vinegar? Thanks for the great recipe.

    • 101.1
      Marisa says:

      If you don’t like the taste of cider vinegar, you can always sub in white vinegar. I like the sweetness that the cider vinegar lends, but I know it’s not for everyone.

    • 101.2
      Deb says:

      I like this recipe because after you boil you don’t need to keep them refrigerated, and they’ll easily keep for a year. We re down to 1 jar, as I prepare to put up this years batch from our garden cukes. I use all white vinegar and Kosher salt, pickling spice, garlic and fresh dill heads. Simply great!

  2. 102

    [...] in the midst of canning pickles. Here’s a good recipe—in fact, the whole blog is great for anything on [...]

  3. 103

    [...] a delightful blog called Food in Jars because the recipes are tested for safety. We used the posted Garlic Dill Pickle recipe and added some of our own spices, additional hot peppers and cutting our cucumbers into spears [...]

  4. 104
    Sherri says:

    I just made a similar pickle using the Classic Dill Pickle recipe in the cookbook, except I cut the cukes into chunky slices rather than spears or leaving them whole. The fill in the jars seemed awfully light so I added more cucumber, almost the same amount again as the recipe calls for (by weight). I BWB them and put them on the self … then I sarted thinking.
    The slices are swimming happily in brine, but I’m wondering whether putting more cukes into the same amount of brine takes these out of the shelf stable category or is the brine acid enough to deal with the extra veggies?

  5. 105
    Emily says:

    I made these a month ago and tasted them tonight. They were disgusting! :( I used small cukes that I pickled whole. I cut off the tops and bottoms, but those were the only cuts I made. I didn’t change anything in the recipe other than not doing slices. My pickles were soft, which I could get past if the vingar and salt weren’t so strong. I think I’ll be making relish with mine. I’m dying to find a good pickled cucumber recipe before the cukes are gone.

  6. 106
    Lisa says:

    I’m comparing this recipe to the classic dill in my copy of Food in Jars and they look very similar except this one is slices and is processed for ten minutes. Do you process this for ten minutes because of the slices? I’m planning on some slices and some whole and was hoping to process at the same time but now I’m worried that isn’t possible.

  7. 107
    Kim says:

    I too am not fond of cider vinegar, so I used half white and half cider vinegar. I also cut down my salt and used 3 TBSP instead of five. A word to the wise (speaking from experience), always TASTE YOUR BRINE before adding it into your jars. Go with less salt so you can add to your liking and don’t be afraid to add extra vinegar and/or water if need be. Generally the water/vinegar ratio is usually good when it’s 50/50 like with this recipe.

    • 107.1
      Marisa says:

      Kim, your tips are good except in one area. You should not add more water. In order to keep your pickles safe, you need to firmly to the 50/50 ratio.

  8. 108
    mary says:

    I have a recipe for ice dill pickles that everyone loves. I soak the cuke spears in an ice and icewater bath for at least 4 hours before packing in jars pouring on the brine and then processing. The ice bath (which I do in a picnic cooler) take excess moisture out of the cukes leaving them much harder so even after canning and curing for 8 weeks the pickles are crispy.

    • 108.1
      Brenda Reardon says:

      Could you share this pickle recipe with me? It sounds great! I planted my Walla Walla Sweets this week and am thinking of pickles. I need to start the cucumbers inside.
      Enjoy your spring!

  9. 109
    Nita H. says:

    How long will the pickles in the refrigerator w/o water bath?

  10. 110

    Yum!! I’m going to make a big batch of these!! So excited!!!

  11. 111

    [...] Refrigerator Garlic Dill Pickles – Source: Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan [...]

  12. 112
    Angela says:

    how long before you can try them?

  13. 113

    [...] up: Garlic Dill Pickles, recipe courtesy of Food in Jars.  We made these last year, but I find myself stumped? [...]

  14. 114
    Misha G. says:

    Do you think I could make these with lemon cucumbers?

  15. 115
    Debbie D says:

    How many pounds of cukes is this recipe for?? I bought about 3 lbs of pickling cukes and want to try this recipe. Thanks!!

    • 115.1
      Marisa says:

      It’s been years since I made it following this exact recipe, so I can’t tell you to the ounce. But a quart of cucumbers tends to weigh between 1 1/2 and 2 pounds, so if you get four pounds, you should be good.

      • Debbie D says:

        Thanks!! I already have 3 lbs of pickles sliced and speared chilling so I will reduce by ratio the quanties slightly. I made a batch of sweet & spicy pickles a few weeks ago that came out great…wanted to try a garlic dill pickle this time. The other recipe I used called for pickle crisp….can it be added to this recipe?? My other pickles are crunchy using it.

  16. 116

    [...] found the recipe on a fabulous site called Food In Jars, which was fairly simple to follow. The only deviation was the pickling spices. Rather than make my [...]

  17. 117

    [...] dill pickles.  I did some searching and came across a recipe that looked like I would like on the Food In Jars blog.  What I really liked about this recipe is that there aren’t hard measurements.  The spices [...]

  18. 118

    [...] other thing I just had to learn to do was make homemade pickles. I tried Garlic Dill Pickles and Bread and Butter Pickles using the water bath canner from West Bend. The dill pickles turned [...]

  19. 119
    Julie says:

    I couldn’t find dill seed. Can I use dill weed instead or is there another substitute?

  20. 120

    [...] 1. Pickled Okra from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving 2. Garlic Dill Chips from Food in Jars 3. Shredded Kohlrabi Quick Pickles from Serious Eats. I ended up with one jar of [...]

  21. 121
    Anne says:

    This is a fantastic recipe! Very easy and foolproof. My only issue is the high level of sodium: Is there a way to reduce it?

  22. 122
    Bruce Morgan says:

    I love dill pickles and have ever since tasting my mother’s home made ones as a child. My recipe is similar to your’s except I used white vinegar and use a water/vinegar ration of about 60/40. I also add a slice of horseradish, mustard seed and fresh dill instead of the seed (and I add about 20% more dill than most recipes call for).

    I have found that you can use less salt. One year I used teaspoons instead of tablespoons and the pickles were fine except they they tasted very “vinegary” until they had been curing in the jar for a good six months. Alternately, my mother has an excellent receipt that is the similar to mine but uses no vinegar at all but a little more salt.

    I sell peppercorns at my web site Pepper-Passion . I tend to use them generously when making pickles, and have even made pickled peppercorns too.

  23. 123

    [...] snagged this recipe from Food in Jars and have made it several times. It’s pretty simple and easy to follow and the [...]

  24. 124

    [...] If you are wondering what recipe I very loosely followed it’s this one.  I know, doesn’t even remotely look the same, does [...]

  25. 125

    [...] is another fantastic recipe from Food In Jars that my daughter voted against, because she {unlike me} does not like spicy, at [...]

  26. 126
    Shelby Fleury says:

    How long do the pickles need until i can sink my teeth into them, if I chose to do the refridgerator method?

  27. 127
    Gavin says:

    If I wanted to use half pint jars for these, how much headspace would I need to leave in the jar?

  28. 128
    Scarlet Lane says:

    How long after processing do these need to sit until they’re good for eating? (not the refrigerator method)

  29. 129
  30. 130
    Robert Copeland says:

    Wonder, flavorful, garlic pickles! I have made them two years running, and will have to make a triple batch this year because people we know absolutely love them! I used crushed garlic in mine, and may have misinterpreted the ratio of tablespoons of garlic equivalent to cloves of garlic and erred on the strong side. Whatever – these are well worth the effort!
    Crunchy, crisp, with just the right amount of spice! Thanks, Marisa!

  31. 131

    [...] I’m glad I pulled out my canning set, and am looking forward to using it again this weekend after a trip to the farmer’s market. I’ve set my sights on these garlic dill pickes…… [...]

  32. 132

    [...] Here are some photos of the process. Also, here is a link to the recipe and complete instructions we used at Food in Jars. [...]

  33. 133

    [...] Buoyed by my tasty success with Blueberry Basil Jam, I hit up the farmer’s market last weekend for ingredients to make Food In Jars’ Garlic Dill Pickles. [...]

  34. 134
    Jen says:

    Do I put the jars in cold water (for the water bath) and bring to boil or do I place the jars in an “already” boiling bath? I made a batch of pickles yesterday and some are soft, just afraid of cooking too long and getting soft pickles again.

    • 134.1
      Marisa says:

      The water in the canning pot should be close to a boil when you put your full jars in. If you start with cold water, you will end up unnecessarily cooking the pickles, which will lead to lousy texture.

  35. 135
    Kristina says:

    I forgot to heat my lids! Just let my little pot simmer away… Did I just make 8 jars of refrigerator pickles? I did process the jars and all have sealed.

    • 135.1
      Marisa says:

      It’s okay. If the seals are good, they are still shelf stable. Simmering the lids helps soften the sealing compound, but this time of year, it’s already so warm that the compound is already a little bit soft.

  36. 136
    Lora says:

    What can you do if some of your pickles don’t seal? Do we have to start over or try to ferment pickle them. Worried they will get some soft if we over process and don’t want my fridge full of pickles. Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks

  37. 137

    [...] Garlic dill pickles (canned) [...]

  38. 138

    [...] I got 2 pints out of it Dilly Beans – didn’t change the receipe, my yield was 4 pints Garlic Dill Pickles - the recipes says it yields 8 pints. I halved the recipe, but only had 3 jars left so my yield [...]

  39. 139
    summer says:

    how many pounds of cukes equal two quarts ….???

  40. 140
    maria says:

    i’ve had no luck finding dill seed locally & my cukes won’t make it until i could get the seed in the mail. i do have a generic ‘pickling spice’ mix that i’ve found — do you think i could use it instead of your custom spice mix & still get a good pickle flavor?

  41. 141

    […] originates from a pickled cucumber recipe (here) that called for apple cider vinegar (which I kinda like but not as much as basic white vinegar) so […]

  42. 142

    […] He asked for a pickle party for his birthday!) For my first-ever homemade waterbath pickles, I used this recipe for spicy garlic dills. I made some spears, some chips, and some sandwich slices. And to 2 of the jars, I added some red […]

  43. 143

    […] originates from a pickled cucumber recipe (here) that called for apple cider vinegar (which I kinda like but not as much as basic white vinegar) so […]

  44. 144
    Kay says:

    Made these tonight for the 3rd year in a row. They gave been wonderful 2 years runningl. I’ve found that 6 lbs (heaping 4 qt basket) does the trick to use up almost all the brine and make 2 quarts and 5 pints that fit into 1 canning pot. I grew dill, let it go to seed and harvested the seed because I have a hard time finding dill seed in the stores and when I do the price is outrageous. I also did mine mostly as spears, just easier to eat as a pickle on the side.

    I use these as gifts over the entire year and probably need to up it to 2 batches this year instead of one.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  45. 145
    Melanie R. says:

    I just tasted these last night. They sat after canning for 1 week. I thought they were wonderful and my 2yr old agreed asking for more and more. This was my first attempt at making pickles and the recipe is a keeper for me.

  46. 146

    […] pickles three ways: fermented from Phickle, refrigerator (or quick), and garlic dill pickles processed in a boiling water bath both from Marisa McClellan of Food in […]

  47. 147

    […] Yield is approximately 8 pints.  This recipe is an adaptation of the recipe found over at Food in Jars. […]

  48. 148
    Barbara Otto says:

    I’ve always made my garlic dill pickles with white vinegar; does apple cider vinegar make them “sweeter” or tangy?


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