Garlic Dill Pickles

August 12, 2009(updated on October 3, 2018)

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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).

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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)

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  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.

Notes

*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.

https://foodinjars.com/recipe/garlic-dill-pickles/

286 responses to “Garlic Dill Pickles”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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)!

  12. 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! 🙂

  13. 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!! 🙂

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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?

  21. 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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