Spicy Pickled Green Beans

May 19, 2017(updated on August 30, 2021)

Flex your cold pack preserving skills with a batch of Spicy Pickled Green Beans. They’re good along side a sandwich and even better pressed into stirring service in a Bloody Mary.

We’re focusing on cold pack preserving this month in the Mastery Challenge and one of my favorite examples of the form is the pickled green bean. I make a lot of these during the summer months when beans are abundant, both because I love them and because they make a really good thing to give to pickle loving friends and family. They also retain their crunch beautifully, which is not something I can say for most processed cucumber pickles.

Pickled green beans are also something of an affordably luxury to my mind. When you make them yourself they’re quite cheap, but they can be outrageously expensive at farmers markets and small grocery stores (you don’t often see them in larger supermarkets). I love when a little time and effort can yield something that feels special.

Green beans are not quite in season yet, so don’t judge the quality of the beans you see before you. I’m sure that the finished pickles will still taste good, but they can be downright sublime when you use those perfect, downy beans available only in high summer.

I typically make them assembly line style, doling out spices and garlic cloves (the more you slice, the more garlic flavor you get) to the jars and then going down the line with beans. Holding the jar at an angle as you pack makes quick work of the initial fill and a wooden chopstick helps ease the way for the last few beans. It’s also an excellent tool for wiggling out air bubbles that get trapped deep in the jar.

Once the jars have spices and green beans, it’s time to fill them up with brine. Apple cider is my vinegar of choice for most things, though some prefer white or red wine vinegar in its place. Any vinegar is fine as long as it has 5% acidity. The spices can also be adjusted to suit. For this batch, I called on brown mustard seeds, dill seed, black peppercorns, red chili flakes for heat, and slivered garlic. Sometimes I make them with cayenne, which tints the brine a pleasing red and makes for bracing eating.

These pickles need just a quick trip through the canner (10 minutes for pints and 15 minutes for anything larger). They often lose a little brine during their bath, but it’s not typically enough to cause distress.

Oh, and just a note on the jars. I used the new pint-sized spiral jars that Ball Canning released this year. I thought they would be awesome for pickles because they’re slightly taller than your average pint. However, I found that their narrow middle was absolutely incensing when it came to thoroughly packing the jars. If you have some of these, use them for your jams, sauces and chutneys and save yourself the annoyance.

5 from 1 vote

Spicy Pickled Green Beans

Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time1 day 45 minutes


  • 2 pounds green beans
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 12-16 garlic cloves peeled and sliced
  • 4 teaspoons dill seed divided
  • 4 teaspoons red chili flakes
  • 3 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns


  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 4 pint jars.
  • Wash and trim your beans so that they fit in your jar and leave about half an inch of headspace.
  • Combine vinegar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Divide the garlic clove slivers, dill seed, red chili flake, mustard seeds, and peppercorns evenly between the four jars.
  • Pack the beans into the jars over the spices.
  • Pour the boiling brine over the beans, leaving approximately 1/4 inch headspace.
  • Gently tap the jars on the counter to loosen any trapped air bubbles. For stubborn air pockets, use a chopstick to wiggle them free.
  • Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  • When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortably handle them, check the seals.
  • Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.

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22 thoughts on "Spicy Pickled Green Beans"

  • I’m going off assignment this month.

    I just got back from a lovely trip to Yosemite where I had Lavender Lemonade at the Majestic Yosemite Lodge.

    I must make Lavender Simple Syrup so that I can have it whenever I have the craving.

    I have been exploring florals in food for some time. I started with Raspberry Red Current Rose Geranium Jam and then Strawberry Rose Geranium Jam.

    Now I want to venture into lavender and violet. I had some violet candies that really grew on me. I may try making violet simple syrup and rose simple syrup too.

    Just not into pickling or cold packing much. No sense making stuff that will never be consumed.

    1. That makes perfect sense! That’s why there’s no obligation to participate in all the challenges. You drop in where it makes sense for you and skip the months that don’t.

    2. I’ve made lavender extract and lavender salt in the past. Haven’t tried violet yet. Florals do make wonderful notes, including in preserves.

  • Am finally going to try pickling beans this year. It is time. Maybe not soon enough for this challenge but it WILL happen! Will use some home grown, home dehydrated chiles. Using strips of those in jars just looks so pretty.

    Question for all: While the whole beans lined up in the jars make a beautiful presentation, are the cut beans/odd pieces of beans more flavorful? Would guess that over time it might make no difference, but would rather hear from those who know. (Hmm – perhaps a good excuse to try it myself several different ways? 😉 )

    1. No, they are equally as flavorful. Definitely try to make some this year, well worth it, and great for guilt free snacking. And as Marisa says, they keep their crunch…bonus!

  • This is my brother in laws Christmas present every year. 12 jars of spicey pickled beans. I just wish he would give me back the jars ?

    1. When I give away preserves (which is often), I tell the receiver that they can get more only if they return the jars! I get jars back almost everywhere I go, including some mailed back to me (on the East coast) from a friend in Las Vegas!!

  • Catching up on the challenges and finally made this – I used fennel seeds instead of dill seeds, and the beans taste just like pepperoni pizza! A really fun recipe that I will definitely make again.

  • Hi! I’m still relatively new to canning, so forgive my ignorance. Is it okay to water bath these, or do they need to be pressure canned? I thought beans need the pressure, but I’m wondering if the brine changes that. Thanks in advance!

    1. It is fine to process pickled green beans in a water bath canner. It’s only when you’re packing them in water that they need to be pressure canned. This is because the high acid content of the pickling liquid inhibits the germination ability of any present botulism spores and makes the toxin impossible.

  • These sound wonderful, and I love your idea of swapping beans for asparagus because we love them both! So much!

  • This recipe is perfect! I tried it with and with out the chili flakes and have received so many compliments from my pickle-loving friends:)

    1. They will keep in the fridge, but green beans actually do better when you process them. The heat of the canner helps the beans absorb the brine.

  • 5 stars
    Hello! This is my FAVORITE bean recipe. Could it be used to with pickles/cucumbers too? And can I substitute the dill seed for fresh dill in the recipe without causing trouble?
    Thank you for the reply!

    1. You can use other veg in this recipe, but they won’t be as crisp because cucumbers don’t hold up well to the hot water bath process. And I don’t recommend using fresh dill because it doesn’t hold up well in the jars over time. It gets sort of soft and murky.