How to make dill pickles

Sliced homemade dill pickles are a great way to use up a bumper crop of cucumbers from your summer garden. This easy recipe is packed full of flavor!

Sliced Homemade Dill Pickles

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I can always tell when The Husband has had one too many dill pickles by the tell-tale scent of dill emanating from his pores.  It isn’t an unpleasant smell, but it is definitely distinct.  After crawfish and chocolate pie, dill pickles are pretty high on The Husband’s list of favorite things to eat.  Really, they don’t last long at our house.  I buy a jar on Friday and by Sunday all’s that’s left is the brine.

But get this – he even drinks the brine!!  He says it helps prevent muscle cramps after a workout.  I say it’s gross. . .

The Husband’s love of dill pickles is the sole reason I decided to plant cucumbers this year.  Between our garden and my mother-in-law’s garden, there have been plenty to go around.


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Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles are seriously the best dill pickle you’ll ever enjoy! How is it that I am, ahem, let’s just say over 30-years-old and I’ve lived in Oregon (i.e. the state that pickles everything) for the past decade and a half, yet this was the first time I made my own homemade dill pickles? What on God’s green earth is wrong with me? Let’s just say that I officially feel like an Oregonian now.

Had I known how simple it was to make refrigerator dill pickles, I would have been doing it long ago. I mean, what’s not to love about a crunchy dill pickle from a fresh cucumber when you’re eating a loaded club sandwich or a stuffed burger.

It only takes a few minutes to make Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles. Once you make your own homemade version, you'll never buy store bought again.

Where can you find pickling cucumbers?

I’ve always found pickling cucumbers at the farmers market. Starting this summer, I decided to grow my own!

Grocery stores will carry them as well, but they are definitely a seasonal item. Some stores might try to convince you that other types of cucumbers are pickling cucumbers, but don’t be fooled. Pickling cucumbers have a very unique look and taste and it should be no surprise that they make the perfect pickles!

There are a few recipes that I make every year and then process in a water bath so that I can store them in the pantry. Namely my Canned Vanilla Bean Peaches and my vanilla bean applesauce. Can you tell I love my vanilla beans?

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These are refrigerator pickles, however, which means that you just put everything in a jar, refrigerate, and wait. No canning. No sealing. Easy.

My first experience with dill pickles like these came a couple years ago when I traded some of my canned peaches for refrigerator dill pickles and freshly foraged chanterelle mushrooms with a friend. That was a win-win trade for sure, but I wanted to have a go at it on my own.

It only takes a few minutes to make Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles. Once you make your own homemade version, you'll never buy store bought again.

How to make refrigerator dill pickles:

  1. All you have to do is heat the brine so that your salt and sugar dissolve.
  2. Then you pour it over your freshly cut cucumbers which are nestled nicely in a jar with garlic, dill, and peppercorns.
  3. Stick them in the refrigerator for a week and voila – they’re ready!

You were waiting for some catch, right? Like I lure you in with the word easy but then when you read the recipe you’re all like “What is she talking about? That’s not easy.”  I wouldn’t steer you wrong, my friends. This is easy.

Making pickles is easy when you follow this dill pickle recipe

How long can you keep refrigerator pickles?

  • The salt and vinegar keeps them safe for a while at room temperature, but they will likely go bad before you finish eating the whole jar unless you refrigerate them
  • I recommend storing these refrigerator dill pickles no longer than two months in the refrigerator
  • Be sure to always use a clean utensil to pull them out as you do not want to contaminate the liquid from dirty hand germs
  • If you eat all the pickles, you can definitely reuse the brine and add more fresh cucumbers

How to make Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles. Once you make your own homemade version, you'll never buy store bought again.

Kitchen tools used to make these refrigerator dill pickles:

Mason jars – Not much to say about this kitchen staple other than they belong in everyone’s kitchen. You’ll never find me without at least two dozen at the ready!Flexible Measuring Cups – My sister and I first found these at a cooking class and we thought they were just the best invention. Any time you are measuring and/or pouring liquid, these are simply the best to have on hand. They make a great gift for your favorite cook, too!Mandoline – This is the best one I’ve ever used. Perfect for fast and accurate slicing! When I photographed this post and made the video, I used a hand slicer, but when I’ve made my refrigerator dill pickle recipe other times, I always break out the mandoline.

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Because no one likes a limp pickle …

A cucumber is 95% water.  All that water can dilute your brine once you pack them in jars.  Soaking  cucumbers for 2-3 hours in salt water before pickling draws out some of the moisture and prevents this.

To get started making sliced homemade dill pickles, you want your slices to be about 1/4-inch thick. You can slice them by hand with a sharp kitchen knife, but if you’re going to be making a big batch of cucumbers, you might want to invest in a mandoline slicer. It makes quick work of this tedious step, just watch your fingers.

I recommend using pickling or kosher salt. Both are pure salt with no additives or anti-caking agents. Standard table salt can affect the quality of your pickles because of the additives it contains.

I haven’t been able to find a firm salt to water ratio, so my recommendation is to add enough salt until it tastes slight salty but not to the point where it knocks your socks off.

Be sure to use a nonreactive bowl and pot while doing this.  Nonreactive means something other than aluminum or copper.  Salt can cause aluminum to pit and vinegar will react with both metals and give the pickles a metallic taste.  In this case ceramic, enamel, glass, plastic, or stainless steel is the way to go. Once your pickles have finished soaking, drain them and discard the salt water.

Sliced Homemade Dill Pickles

What’s the Difference between dill seed and dill weed?

picture of dill seed, head of dill and will weed

Dill weed refers to the leafy part of the dill plant. Dill seed is, you probably guessed, the actual seed. They are not interchangeable in this case. Make sure you get dill seed.

If you have access to a fresh dill plant, you can use the flowered part — called the head — instead of dill seed. Three heads of fresh dill equals 1 to 2 tablespoons dill seed.

How to Store Sliced Homemade Dill Pickles

If you have the room, you can store your sliced homemade dill pickles in the refrigerator and they will retain a crisp-like texture similar to Claussen pickles. Experts recommend you eat them within three months.

Unfortunately, I do not have that kind of refrigerator space, so I chose to can my pickles. Doing so causes them to be a tad softer, but does not impact the flavor.

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Because these pickles are acidic, you only have to process them for 10 mintues using the water bath canning method. This means you don’t need any special equipment such as a pressure canner — only a stock pot deep enough to allow the jars to be covered by 1-2″ of water.

If you are new to canning, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving. The instructions are very clear and it goes into a lot of detail about the basics of canning.

Once you’ve canned your pickles and you’re sure your seals are set, you can store your pickles in a cool, dry place such as a pantry for up to a year.

Sliced Homemade Dill Pickles

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Sliced Homemade Dill Pickles Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes

  • 4 pounds pickling cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons canning salt or kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 quarts water
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canning or kosher salt
  • 6 teaspoons dill seeds
  • 3 teaspoons pickling spices
  • 6 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 6 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 6 pint mason jars and lids and bands
  1. Slice cucumbers into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  2. Place slices in a large non-reactive bowl. Combine two tablespoons of salt and the water. Stir until salt is dissolved. Pour salt water over cucumber slices. Cover and let 2-3 hours. Drain the cucumbers and discard the salt water.
  3. In a nonreactive pot, combine vinegars, water, sugar, and salt. Cover, bring to a simmer until the salt and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In the bottom of a pint mason jar, add 1 teaspoon of dill seed, 1/2 teaspoon pickling spices, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1 teaspoon minced onion. Fill jars with cucumber slices.
  5. Using a funnel, carefully pour vinegar mixture over the cucumber slices, leaving 1/2-inch of room between the pickles and to top of the jar. Wipe rims with a clean damp rag or paper towel. Place a lid on each jar and secure tightly.
  6. Allow jars to set for 3 weeks before opening.
  7. Jars will last for up to three months in the refrigerator. Pickles can also be preserved using the water bath canning method. Properly canned pickles should be store in a cool dry place and are good for up to one year.

Sliced Homemade Dill Pickles Amount Per Serving (1 pickle) Total Carbohydrates 0.9g 0% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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