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.

Related Posts:

  • Check the recipe index for more tasty preserves!

286 responses to “Garlic Dill Pickles”

  1. Just found your site, and I love it! I’ll be trying the pickles and my family always loved those Polski Wyrobs too, and I don’t remember the last time I read that word. Thanx for your post.

  2. I’m so making these! I had a ton of garlic from the Gilroy Garlic Festival and this would be the perfect way to use some of them. Thanks for the recipe it looks delish.

  3. I just told my husband that I don’t know if I want to can any more pickles this summer. I think I’m going to have to try this recipe. This site is so alluring to the canner in all of us. Everyone have a great canning week.

  4. You wrote teaspoons instead of tablespoons for the pickling salt, like you did for the recipe you handed out in class on Saturday. I am enjoying the pickles we made in class, by the way, eating them with my lunches as a side! Thank you again for the class!

    • Ball makes Pickle Crisp Granules that do n excellent job keeping pickles crisp. Grape leaves work as well, but you have to be careful to avoid bacteria and fungus that can grow on them.

  5. We also believe that no good sandwich is complete without a pickle. My parents take sandwich construction very seriously

    I’m with you guys on the pickles. I’ve yet to make one that I loved, but will give this a try.

    If you guys ever get out to Long Island, there’s a couple guys called the Pickle Guys who sell FABULOUS pickles at farmer’s markets. They make a sweet pickle with red peppers that we buy in quarts to take home to NJ, but they never survives the weekend.

  6. Although I have made jam in the past, this is my first summer pickling. I’ve used the final boiling water process on my dilly green beans and pickled jalapenos. For my dill pickles, I put them in the fridge because I have been reading that the water processing can make the pickles less crisp. What do you think?

  7. As far as the crispness of pickles go, these stay fairly crisp, particularly if you use kirbies (other slicing cucumbers won’t stay quite as snappy). However, if you are a fan of super crisp pickles, then skipping the hot water process is the right thing to do. That does mean though that you should only make as many pickles at one time as you can eat over the course of a few weeks. I’m shooting to make enough to have them through next summer, so I’m forgoing a bit of crispness in order to have shelf stable pickles.

    One thing to note: I have been told that if you have access to a cherry tree or grape arbor, a leaf from one of those inserted into the jar with the cucumbers and brine will aid in preserving some additional crispness. I haven’t had access to either, so I can’t offer first-hand knowledge, but I’ve read this tidbit in a number of places, so I’m assuming it’s true.

  8. I thought I was the only one who wiped off pickles before inserting them in my sandwich. If the sandwich is traveling with me to the office I actually take it one step further and wrap the bread in a separate covering from the meat and cheese and place the dried pickles in another covering so that everything is crisp, dry, and fresh when I actually get the chance to assemble my sandwich.

    Your pickles look lovely!

  9. If you use whole pickles (instead of slicing) for the refrigerator method, do you need to let them sit in the fridge longer before you can eat them?

  10. Kelly, you would most definitely have to let whole pickles sit longer than the sliced ones. If you’re making refrigerator pickles, I would give them at least 3-4 days in the fridge to get nice and pickly.

  11. I just started a pickle fermentation experiment.
    The pickles I made last year were too soggy, so this year I’m cutting 1/16th inch of the blossom end from my pickles and adding grape leaves.
    Some I canned “raw” and some I am brining for 3 to 4 weeks and then canning.
    I tasted one (Ok, two) and they were great! Can’t wait to test the rest!

  12. Hi Lydia from Perfect Pantry sent me your way. I want to make the rhubarb and apricot chutney from her site. However it is not canned and I was wondering how long to process a boiling water bath.
    Thanks so much.

  13. I’ve just started canning and pickling. I did an experiment with one of my first batches. To half of the jars I added a grape leaf or two. Those pickles were crisp and perfect. The grape leaf-less pickles tasted great, but had a soggy texture.

  14. […] Garlic Dill Pickles I love pickled foods. When I was a kid, there was always a jar or a bowl in the back of the fridge, filled with a garlicky vinegar, and swimming with bits of red onion, cucumber, and whatever else was in season. It was part of the weekly routine to add to the brine so we always had something to be served with or as part of a sandwich or snack. But I’ve never made real pickles like these. I really want to try. […]

  15. Can you tell me how to make the crisp refrigerator pickles like Klaussen’s? I’ve been trying for years to duplicate them. In the meantime, these garlic dills are great!

  16. Hi there! Can you tell me how long the refrigerator pickles last in the fridge before they go bad? Thanks so much!

    • Tracey, refrigerator pickles can last up to a couple of months without a problem. Just keep an eye on them and if they begin to look sludgy or slimy, toss them.

  17. Hey Marisa,
    I made these pickles and they are to die for! The only problem is, in some of the jars I canned the pickles are sticking up above the brine. Will these mean that they go bad? Did I pack the jars too full? Not use enough brine? It looks like the pickles are floating, and them some stick up out of the brine and are in the dry air space at the top of the jar. Will they keep like this unrefridgerated?
    Thanks a million!


  18. Brittany, if the pickles are sticking up just a bit, because they’re floating in the brine, you have nothing worry about as long as the jars sealed. Food sometimes floats after being canned, and there’s nothing you can do about it other than packing the jars more tightly next time and using regular mouth as opposed to wide mouth jars (the shoulders of the regular mouth jars keep the pickles in their place better, particularly if the jar is well-packed).

    Also, before processing, make sure that you’ve only left a 1/2 inch of headspace and that you’ve tightened the rings well. However, consider this batch a learning process, don’t wait forever to eat them and don’t worry!

  19. I have everything on hand to make these lovely pickles–my first try at canning something other than fruit. Can these pickles be eaten right away or do they need to stay in sealed in the jars for a few days/weeks before they reach a true pickle flavor? Thanks!!

  20. Opened our first jar today–I couldn’t even wait a couple of days. The pickles are really delicious, thank you for the recipe! We couldn’t stop eating them.

  21. I just used this brine to make 13 pints of pickled veggies. We pickled beets, turnips, carrots, and parsnips (mostly separate, but some parsnips and turnips did get mixed together and a beet snuck into one can of the carrots). Not sure how the parsnips will turn out, but we’re expecting great things from the others. We also ended up with a pint of plum-pear butter. A friend who’s never canned before came over for her first ever canning experience (and my second!) and we have plans again next weekend for more canning. I love your site, it inspires me every time I come here!

  22. Joel, nowhere in the post or its comments does anyone suggest that these are kosher dills. I was careful to call them garlic dills, to avoid confusion. These pickles are exactly what they claim to be, a vinegar-based garlic dill pickle.

  23. Can anyone tell me where to buy Polski Wyrob whole dill pickles
    in a jar?
    I have not seen them in the stores for a long time.

    • Carol, I don’t think they make Polski Wyrob pickles anymore. My father and I have been looking for them for years, to no avail.

      • I could almost promise that is the brand of the tiny pickles sold in a two jar pack at my local Costco(Utah). Extremely crisp.

      • Mount Olive Pickles, out of NC, used to make a polski wyrob. Now they have zesty kosher dills, which may (or may not) be the same thing. Mount Olive is available widely- at least throughout the South, and they’re family-owned.

  24. I just made these as a refrigerator pickle and wow, they are awesome. I’m wondering if the texture will be completely different if I can them. Will they lose the crunch?

  25. […] I’m not sure how many jars I’ll get out of these 5, maybe 2 quart jars (not packed tightly). We’ll make refrigerator pickles, using this recipe I used last year. […]

  26. Marisa, this summer I have made three batches of dill pickles from our garden with a slight variation on this recipe. First, I have been adding 1/4 cup sugar to the brine, and I adjusted the spices in the jars by adding 1/2 tsp mustard seed and using only 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes. I can’t stop eating them! It is especially exciting that I was able to use home grown dill seed and home grown garlic, along with the home grown cucumbers. Thank you so much for the class last summer and for this recipe!

  27. I made a small batch of these and popped them in the fridge and overnight the garlic turned bright blue. I googled it and it is maybe something to do with metals in my water? Just wondered if this ever happened to you? Should I use distilled water for pickles or just stop including garlic in my pickle recipes? I was going to make some more for little gifts, but bright blue garlic cloves floating around the pickles are a little off-putting. Advice?

  28. I just made ~20 pounds of these and they were great!!! The only “problem” I encountered was that they attracted fruit flies!!! They were literally coming in from outside! I had none (that I know of) inside my house before hand but afterwards… OMG, they were everywhere! I know fruit flies are attracted to ACV so I made a trap (ACV with liquid dish soap). It’s working, but talk about a pesty situation! LOL


  29. A quick question: when you say water, do you mean (filtered) tap water or do you mean the pickling water that one can buy at the store? I always buy the water, but as I do not have much storage space, it would be great to learn that I can simply use tap water….

    • When I call for water, I just mean tap water (filtered is best). The only time I’ll call for or use bottled water when canning is when I’m making a fermented pickle and want to make sure there’s no chlorine in the product.

  30. I love your blog. And find myself doing more and more canning (cannot wait to try the tomato jam). But need help, I have hit my first canning dud. I tried this recipe for garlic dills (what i not to like about the flavor combo!!)

    I sliced the cukes to 1/4 inch thickness and followed the rest of the recipe. We waited 2 weeks and tried them last night…they we incredibly mushy and were not good at all. any suggestions?

    Thank you!!

    • Yikes, a quarter inch? Unfortunately, that’s way too thin for this recipe. By slicing them that thin, you cut across most of the cell walls of the cucumber, releasing all the liquid and leaving the pickle with no internal structure. When I do these as chips, I slice them nearly an inch thick. Additionally, pickle crunch is also helped when you use the freshest cucumbers and keep the processing time as short as possible while sticking to the recommended time, of course.

  31. […] spices–tossing whatever looks good into a jar.  This time I roughly followed the recipe for Garlic Dill Pickles from Food in Jars.  I don’t have chili flakes, so I added a whole chili to the jar. I also […]

    • Travis, you can substitute fresh dill, but it doesn’t store as well as the dill seed. It can sometimes get a little murky after a while in the brine.

  32. I just made these as refrigerator pickles. After about a week they are fantastic! Great site by the way.

  33. Found it.. excellent.. I love a simple recipe. I will also pop a grape leaf in each jar (I hope the Japanese beetle left me a few!) and I will let you know how that goes. Though I will be using the water bath as a finisher. I like them on the shelf. The ‘fridge gets a bit crammed this time of year! Thanks again c

  34. I am a little confused . . . re: how thick to slice the pickles (55.1) you note “When I do these as chips, I slice them nearly two inches thick.” But in the picture at the top the slices appear much thinner then that – maybe not 1/4 inch but not 2 inches. Since I am new to pickles I am curious what is appropriate. Also, does anyone have any experience with a product called “pickle crisp” made by Ball?

    • I do sometimes slice my pickles two inches thick. You can do them to your preference though. Just know that the thinner you slice them, the soggier they’ll be.

  35. I have grapes growing in my garden and I was wondering if it had to be a specific kind of grapes that you could use there leafs for theses pickles? Also is there anything other than washing them do I have to do to them before jarring them? And I can use the leafs in the boiling method right? Thank you for your help, I just want to be safe 🙂

  36. Hi,
    I really like your website and i’ve done a number of recipes from it. However, I, like Joanne (comment 63), have a problem with your comment 55.1 on the pickle thickness. One inch is about 2.5 cm. So when you say you slice the cukes two inches thick, i think you must be missinterpreting the units. Most of pickling cukes are 2 to 3 inches long. Tere’s no way your slices are 2 inches thick.
    Another concern i have is your definition of pint. In the recipe above you keep calling for pint jars, but those in the pictures are clearly half-pint jars (or one-cup jars). The problem also is that this isnot the first time i see this disrepancy in your blig and now i doubt every time you call for a particular type of jar. Do you mean pint jars or half-pint jars in this recipe? How about in the one for dilly beans? Or whole canned tomatoes?

    • I’ve changed that comment to say an inch. However, I do sometimes cut my pickles two inches thick. And, as far as jars go, those are indeed pint jars. They are wide mouth pints. They hold two cups. I frequently use wide mouth jars, which if you are unfamiliar with them, can look like half pint jars, but I promise, they are pints. I mean pints with the dilly beans. And I use quarts (often wide mouth quarts) for the whole canned tomatoes.

  37. I’m going to try these pickles for my FIRST attempt at canning. When you say process in a boiling water bath, do you mean put them in boiling water–or put them into the water and bring it to a boil? I’m “new & confused.” 🙂

  38. I hope you’re having fun on your vacay! When you’re back, can you possibly do a post about “never ending” refrigerator pickles, like you mention in this post (keeping a jar of brine to replenish in the fridge)? I keep seeing this mentioned all over the place, but no one seems to explain it! I love the canned version of this recipe (just made another batch today!), but the hubster likes his pickles extra super duper crunchy. Thanks!

  39. Thank you so much for this website! I grow vegetables, make bread, spin wool, knit, sew, change tires and rope and ride, but I had never canned until this summer. And you have been my trusty guide! So now my pioneer-woman-skills toolbox is complete. I made seven pounds of lovely little cucumbers (or they might have been gherkins) into pickles with this recipe and they are just wonderful. I halved the cukes lengthwise for the pint jars and kept them whole for the quart jars. I also added a slice of lemon to some of the jars because I had a lemon that was about to go soft and I thought it would be pretty. Turns out it added just a tiny lovely flavor, too! I have also made the red onion pickles and the dilly beans and the sweet cherries from your site –all fantastic. I found some early okra at the farmers market last weekend and pickled that with a recipe from the LBJ Ranch (Ladybird’s recipe, supposedly). I waited 4 days before tasting them and they were pretty good, but lacked a little depth or complexity. Do you have any okra suggestions? Or did I just jump the gun on opening them?

    • I think you definitely just jumped the ball on opening the okra. I’d give it at least a month in order to allow the flavor to develop and deepen.

  40. Hello, if you can’t find Pickling Salt anywhere, would you reccomend substituting fine sea salt, or fine kosher salt? And if so, will the recipe call for the same amount.
    Thank you.

  41. I’m dying to try this recipe. I’ve been looking for a dill pickle recipe that is simple to make for the longest! I’m not a fan of the sweet style pickles. I’m having a hard time finding dill seeds though……can I substitute dried dill weed or would that not work with this recipe? Thanks in advance.

  42. I would love to try this recipe! Can you give me an idea of what two overflowing quarts translates into pounds roughly. My market sells loose cukes and I am not sure how much to buy to make this recipe. Thanks!

  43. First, love your site! Second, I made these pickles today as I have been on a canning bender the last few weeks (tomatoes, applesauce-yum!). I made them exactly as written, put a few in the fridge and water bathed the rest. Because I simply could not wait, I have already sampled one of the fridge and one of the processed pickles. Honestly, they are so HOT (spicy) from the crushed red pepper they are almost inedible. I love (love!) spicy things, and even for me these are on the line….there is no way my kids could eat them and I will have to be very picky who I give them to. 🙁 sad! I would imagine they would only get *hotter* as they sit in the brine, correct? Or do the other spices catch up and compete with the hot pepper flakes for flavor? Is the recipe correct (1/4 tsp. per pint)? Just so bummed!!

    • Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re disappointed with those pickles. I could be that your red chili flakes were more potent than mine. I used this amount and found that it wasn’t at all overpowering, but the power of spices can vary greatly.

      • Do you believe they will only get hotter as they sit? (If so, they will be in the compost pile unless I have friends that have already scalded off their tastebuds with Ghost Peppers or something!). I guess the variability of spices may be to blame…. only a tiny pinch next time, for sure.

          • Ok- I’m back! You were right, they did mellow a bit– I think what acutally happened is the other flavors caught up with the heat of the peppers! Now I have another quandry I hope you can help me with…

            I have decided to give out several jars of preserved food to all my friends for Christmas. I imagine canning everything in half pint/wide mouth jars, stacking them, tying them with a ribbon (they look gorgeous in my head!). Thinking of doing a jar of these pickles (with half the hot pepper!), lemon curd, a mustard and a strawberry jam. A stack of four wonderful preserves for everyone! So here are my questions: 1) Will pickles in half pint jars that are BWB processed for 10 min be too cooked/mushy? I know 10 min is the minimum for safety. 2) Have you ever used/do you have an opinion about Pickle Crisp (calcium chloride) to help keep the pickles crispier? I liked the texture of my fridge pickles better, but the flavor of the BWB pickles better and am hoping to get the best of both worlds. Last time I used grape leaves (we have grapes) in each jar. I am an experienced jammer, but not pickler, so don’t know if this made a difference or not, or if it would be better than Pickle Crisp. Also, I highly value organic produce/process/products, and am still deciding if calcium chloride works philisophically. Opinion?

            Thanks so much for being willing to share your wisdom! 🙂

          • And one more….. 🙂 sorry!

            Another dill pickle recipe that I was looking at had a ratio of 8 c. water to 2 c. vinegar— a very different ratio than your 1:1 in this recipe. While the recipe had RAVE reviews, they also suggested an unsafe BWB method (jars only 3/4 covered in water, bringing just to boil and then taking out jars– many of the reviewers followed the FDAs recommendation for correct BWB method, and still raved about the recipe). However, I am not inclined to trust the safety of the recipe submitter. What is the minimum safe ratio of water to vinegar for pickles? (can’t seem to find this info anywhere!)

  44. This recipe worked perfectly; the garlic taste is great. However, I find that any brine made with 5% vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with water is just too vinegary! Is it still safe from a bacteria-killing point of view to use vinegar and water in a 1:2 ratio? Thanks.

    • Unfortunately, you can’t dilute the vinegar any further for a safe, shelf stable pickle. If you need something less vinegar-y, it would have to be made as a refrigerator pickle.

  45. I’m using this recipe for whole baby cucumbers. Picked some up yesterday, they have a great crunch. I’m going to create a brine and soak them in the fridge. I guess I will test taste everyday to see how long it takes but do you know a general idea of how many days it will take to pickle? They’re whole about a few inches in circumference and about 3-4 inches long. Also after they are pickled should I pour out some brine so they don’t get mushy? Thanks!

  46. What is the correct amount of time to hot water bath dill pickle slices in half pint jars? Is 5 minutes enough?

    • You never reduce processing time when the jars get smaller. It’s still 10 minutes. You only increase the processing time if you use larger jars.

      • Thanks so much!! Daughter is making Dill Chips in half pint jars for guests at her backyard wedding. We just were not sure about the timing.

  47. I live in Okinawa and I only have access to english cucumbers, the typical grocery store waxed kind and Japanese cucumbers. Would i have the best success with the Japanese cucumbers? These are typically less than an inch in diameter, pretty long and much drier than the typical cuke. Thanks!

    • Sarah, you’ll have best success with the Japanese cucumbers. They’ll give you the best finished texture.

  48. I am wondering how long to wait before trying these pickles. Made them today and I am very excited about the possibilty of having a taste. I did the boiling method. Please help.

  49. I recently purchased your book and love just about every recipe in it. I’m new to canning and find it to be very helpful.

    My project for this afternoon though is these pickles. My daughter and I would eat a jar a day if my husband didn’t give us such funny looks at snack time. I hope they turn out as good as the others say they are.

  50. One quick question… I’ve always done refrigerator pickles because I like them super crunchy. If I process them in a water bath they will loose that right? How long can unprocessed fridge pickles keep in the fridge?
    Love your site!

  51. So I have been doing research on canning (I just can’t seem to jump into anything without over researching it, must be the historian in me) and came across your site. I have been going month-to-month reading all of your entries 🙂 thanks for taking the time to create this for us! I think that these garlic pickles will be my first real attempt, and I think I will make them as refrigerator pickles so I can dazzle a house guest when she gets here on the 22nd. I also would like to know how long they can be kept in the fridge once opened and if I cut the recipe in half, does the processing time stay the same (I would assume so)?


  52. If you slice the cucumbers, is the process time decreased considering that the brine doesn’t have to soak through the skin?

    • Nope. The processing time is about the heat of the boiling water penetrating to the interior of the jars. It’s not about brine soaking through.

  53. If I make quart jars instead of pints how would I figure out how muchto increase the spices for each jar. Can’t wait to try these pickles!

  54. Great pickle recipe! Made 1st batch last weekend, could not wait anymore. Broke the seal on 1st pint tonight. Not too spicy, or too much garlic. Very good. i will make a second batch this weekend, our garden is producing lots of patio cukes. just the right size. thanks for the on line recipe. i sent the link to a friend for his pickles.

  55. Hi Marisa,

    I’ve made the B&B pickles with great success using gherkins. I’m going to try the dills but I want to keep them whole and use the 1q jars instead. 1. Can I get away with using a wide mouth jar? (easier to get at those yummies with a fork) 2. How much spice/garlic do I put in each jar? (I’m wondering if doubling it is correct but somehow it worries me that it’s too much) and 3. By how much do I increase the processing time?

      • Jenn, you can get away with wide mouth jars, but regular mouth jars do help keep the finished pickles submerged in the liquid better than the wide mouth ones do. I’d increase the spice by half so as not to overwhelm. And processing time increases by five minutes.

        • Thank you ma’am! I’ll go for the regular sized jars. I had read that about the jars keeping things submerged better. Thanks for the help!

  56. I am looking forward to making these pickles as well!
    I was wondering if anyone knows what dill pickles without the garlic is like? If I wanted regular dill pickles, should I still add the garlic?

    Also, has anyone put all the spices, dill seed and garlic into the brine and let them boil together? Or is it best to add each to a jar itself?

    This website is so wonderful. It is organized and I trust using the canning recipes (each and everyone) because they all sound yummy! Thanks!

  57. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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!

  58. 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?

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

    • 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.

  62. 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.

    • 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!

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

    • 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.

      • 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.

  64. 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?

  65. 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.

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

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

  68. 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!

  69. 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.

    • 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.

  70. 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.

    • 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.

  71. 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

  72. 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?

  73. […] 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 […]

  74. 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!

  75. 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.

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

  77. I made some refrigerator pickles last week. Used 1/4 cider vinegar, 1/4 white vinegar, and 1/2 water. They ended up being SUPER vinegary (perfect for me, but with the amount of cucumbers I have, I need to appeal to everyone). I have seen some recipes using as little as 20% vinegar, but you suggest not going lower than 50%. I’m torn, have any advice?

    • If you’re only making refrigerator pickles, it doesn’t matter. The 50% rule only applies if you’re preserving them in a boiling water bath.

  78. I made these pickles using the recipe out of the Food in Jars book. I find them to be way too vinegary for me and can’t eat them. I hate to waste the 4 jars I made. Any recommendation on how to salvage them or improve them after opening? Should they cure longer than 1 week? Thank you 🙂

      • Thank you! I am really enjoying your book, and find it to be great for a first timer. I made the peach salsa yesterday. I appreciate the detailed explanations and pictures. Thanks again.

  79. 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.


    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • Pickle crisp and ice bath prior to adding brine. I hope you can still use them on burgers and in potato salad. It’s always disappointing when a batch doesn’t work out.

    • Pickle crisp and ice bath prior to adding brine. I hope you can still use them on burgers and in potato salad. It’s always disappointing when a batch doesn’t work out.

    • Make sure to remove the blossom end of the Cuke, that is what tends to make them soft. Either scrape ot off or cut that end off.

    • I also add a grape leaf to the bottom of the jar, I hear raspberry leaves work too. Along with removing the blossom end. i was taught this last year and they are the crunchyest I have ever had.

  80. 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!

    • 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.

  81. 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?

  82. 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?

    • 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.

  83. 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.

  84. 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.

  85. 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.

  86. Marisa,
    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.

  87. 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.

  88. 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!

  89. 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?

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

  90. 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.

  91. 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!

    • 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.

  92. 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)!

  93. 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

    • 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.

      • ? 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! 🙂

  94. Hi,
    I don’t have fresh garlic cloves… is it possible to substitute garlic powder? (If so, how much is equivalent?) Thanks so much for any advice!! 🙂

  95. Marisa, could I add some sweet onions to this without it affecting safety of recipe? I’m thinking it would be ok due to the pickling brine? Thanks!

  96. Wow I didn’t have the right sized jars and guessed on how much brine to make and I didn’t quite have enough so after shaking the spices around with the sliced cucumbers and brine I ate a few off the top and just in the mixture for a few minutes I’m in love. Thanks!

  97. I used fresh dill heads and some fronds instead of seeds. My jars sealed fine, though the lids were loose when I took the jars out of the pot. But they sucked right down and the buttons depressed in just a couple minutes, and are stuck tight now. I just wonder if using fresh dill makes a huge difference. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I made your dilly beans a few years ago and they were great. Thanks.

    • I don’t find that using fresh dill has a huge impact on flavor. From a safety perspective, you’re fine too.

  98. I want to make some dills that are similar to the ones my grandma made but using modern canning techniques. Her receipe did not use peppercorns or red pepper flakes. Any safety issues with leaving those out of your recipe?

  99. Hi Marisa

    We are new to pickling and following some old family recipes but has concerns for safety. We are using hot sterilized jars and lids with a boiling Brine poured over the top of the cucumbers in the jars. Follow instructions to steal them up and let them pop but not put into a hot water bath . Family has been doing this for years and stores pickles with this method for up to a year and never had an issue I don’t like to take chances is this safe ?

    Thank you

    • It’s not a method of sealing that’s recommended by the USDA, but it does produce a crisper pickle than the water bath. The bottom line is that if a jar fails, it will either start to mold or ferment. As long as you discard those failed jars, there’s no real risk involved in what you’re doing. It’s a matter of trade-offs. Do you want jars that have a higher rate of seal success and shelf stability, or do you want crisp pickles?

      • OK thank you the other thing is our brine solution is 21 cups of water 3 cups vinegar plus salt I’ve been reading that anything less than a 50% vinegar solution is not safe yet I know many people who have similar mixes.

        It’s very confusing because people I know and trust that have been doing this for a lifetime seem to not have concerns but everywhere I read this is not considered safe Food canniing practice.

        What’s your opinion on that ?

        • Our collective understanding of food safety has changed and evolved over the years. What was once considered accept is now not because of what we know. That is not enough vinegar to ensure a safe pickle. The people who have been using that ratio for a lifetime have simply been lucky.

  100. Thoughts on using pickled garlic vs fresh? A friend gave me a jar so I wondered if I could use them in this recipe? TIA

  101. If I wanted to make these crispier could I refrigerate the sliced cucumbers with salt and ice like I do for bread and butter pickles?

  102. I haven’t read all the replies here (because there’s like a zillion of them!), but that link for the zucchini pickles, referenced before the recipe, leads to a dead page.

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