Dill Pickle Recipe
This dill pickle recipe makes the most delicious fermented pickles! If you haven’t tried making your own pickles before, you’ll be surprised at just how simple (and tasty) it is.
Two Ways to Make a Pickle Recipe
There are two types of a pickle recipe: cucumbers pickled by vinegar-based brine (1), and naturally acidified brine (2). The natural acidified brine is a brine that is made with only water and salt, but the naturally present on the cucumber’s surface bacteria make the brine acidic.
Why try a fermented pickle recipe?
This delicious pickle recipe contains no vinegar, yet they taste tangy and sour as a pickle should. So how do they get their tang? The same way the sourdough is leavened with naturally occurring yeast, the cucumbers have naturally occurring lactobacillus bacteria, which in proper environment will cause fermentation and give us all the benefits of the probiotics for our gut.
By submerging the cucumbers in the salty brine in this pickle recipe, the growth of the bad bacteria is inhibited, all the while giving the good bacteria the perfect environment for converting sugars in the cucumber into lactic acid. Lactic acid is what lowers the pH of the brine, giving the cucumbers the acidity they need to preserve and pickle them.
So, why go through this process instead of just using vinegar in the first place? Because the flavor that this natural Lacto-fermentation process produces is unbeatable, and as an added bonus you get the benefit of the probiotics which are amazing for our digestive tract health.
Slowing Fermentation in this Pickle Recipe
As long as the cucumbers are in the brine, the bacteria will continue converting the sugars into lactic acid.
Refrigerating this pickle recipe will slow the fermentation, but only slightly. So plan to eat the pickles within a week or two after you’ve made them or they will get too sour, even when refrigerated.
Long term storage of fermented pickles:
If you want to preserve them for longer, drain the brine and bring it to a boil. Then pour it back over the cucumbers leaving 1-inch headspace. Cover with a lid finger-tight. Place on a baking sheet in the lower third of the oven preheated to 350F for 10 minutes (for 1-quart jars). Then, remove from the oven, tighten the lid once more and cover the jars with a blanket or towel until they’re completely cool. Then, put away into storage. This method will keep the pickles for over a year.
At this point, most of the bacteria will no longer be active and the fermentation will slow down almost fully. Thus, you’ll get all the flavor, plus the added benefit of being able to keep them for a while.
Pickle Brine Recipe
A good basic pickle brine recipe is 2 tablespoons of kosher or pickling salt dissolved in 1 quart of water. Then, you can add different herbs like dill and aromatics to give the brine an added layer of flavor.
Pro Tips for Making the crunchiest Quick Pickles:
- Use pickling or Kirby cucumbers: these cucumbers usually have very bumpy skins and firm flesh which makes them perfect for crunchy pickles. They retain their crunch and don’t become mushy and soft after pickling.
- Choose perfect cucumbers: when picking cucumbers look for firm, medium to small cucumbers that are without blemishes or mushy spots. Using blemished cucumbers can contribute the wrong bacteria to the brine and make it compete with the proper bacteria.
- Soak in iced water: For the crunchiest pickles, make sure your cucumbers are as fresh and crunchy as possible before you start. If they’re softer or not fresh, just trim both ends and give the cucumbers a soak in icy water for 30 minutes to 2 hours before you start.
- Cut cucumbers for quicker results: I love to use smaller whole cucumbers when preparing these dill pickles, but if you’re in a hurry cutting the cucumbers into spears or rounds will speed up the fermentation process.
- Add horseradish: Horseradish contains tannins that help the cucumbers stay crunchy. Grape leaves or a pinch of black tea will do the same.
- Use kosher or pickling salt: other salts have additives to keep the salt from clumping or other chemicals that will interfere with the fermentation bacteria which will either give you an odd flavor or texture.
- Use dill flowers or seeds: while fresh dill will add wonderful flavor, the dill seeds that are in the dill flower or the dried kind in a jar are what give the pickles that signature pickled cucumber flavor. Use either one and don’t skip it.
- Leave in a warm, dark place: for the proper fermentation and quick result find the warmest, dark spot in your house (garage?) and leave your jars there. The fermenting bacteria will have a field day in a warm environment, and you will have quick pickles, quick 😀
How to Make the Dill Pickle Recipe
*For detailed recipe instructions see the recipe card bottom of the post.
Ready to learn how to make this simple dill pickle recipe? You’ll never go back to the store-bought version again!
Ingredients for the Dill Pickle Recipe:
- Kirby or Pickling Cucumbers
- Kosher salt
- Bay leaf
- Horseradish root or leaves
- Optional – chili pod and/or red pepper flakes (for spiciness)
How to make this Dill Pickle Recipe:
- Wash the cucumbers in cold water, trim both ends. Soak in icy water if needed.
- Make the Pickle Brine: Bring water, spices, and salt to a boil.
- Meanwhile, add dill, garlic, horseradish, and bay leaf to the bottom of jars or a pickling crock. Top with cucumbers leaving at least 2 inches of headspace.
- Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, keeping the brine level well above the cucumbers.
- Place a weight on top of the cucumbers to keep everything submerged in the brine. Leaving the cucumbers or any herbs exposed to air will cause them to spoil.
- In a couple of days, the cucumbers will turn more yellow and the brine will turn cloudy, all a sign of the proper fermentation. There should not be any foul smell or mold on top. Taste the cucumbers and decide if you’d like to leave them to ferment longer or if the sourness is to your liking. Once pickled, cover the jar with a lid and refrigerate until ready to eat. Nothing better than a cold, crunchy pickle!
Scroll to the bottom for the full recipe with precise ingredient amounts.
More Canning Recipes to Try:
- Raspberry Refrigerator Jam
- Spicy Roasted Pepper Dip
- Tart Cherries Canned in Their Own Juice
- Aromatic Cured Salmon Recipe
Dill Pickles Recipe
This dill pickle recipe is so easy to make! These fermented quick pickles will quickly become a favorite snack—they are crunchy and perfectly sour.
- 6 Kirby cucumbers (about 4 inches long) 6 cucumbers ~ 1 lb
Pickle Brine Ingredients
Add to the bottom of the jar
- 1 dill flower pod
- 1 horseradish leaf or shavings of horseradish root
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 fresh dill sprigs
Wash the cucumber and trim both ends. If the cucumbers aren't crunchy, soak the cucumbers in icy water for 30-60 minutes before starting.
Make the pickle brine: To a small saucepot add 2 cups water, 1 tbsp kosher or pickling salt, 1 bay leaf, 4-5 black peppercorns, 1 chili pod (if using), 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp coriander and bring to a boil.
Fill the jars: In the meantime, fill a clean 1 qt jar or a crock with 1 dill flower, 2 dill sprigs, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 1 horseradish leaf or a couple shavings of the horseradish root. Then, top with the cucumbers (for quick pickles cut the cucumbers into rounds or spears to speed up fermentation) fitting them snuggly and leaving about 1 inch headspace.
Cover with brine: Place the filled jar in a bowl, then pour the boiling hot brine over the cucumbers all the way to the brim. The bowl is to catch any overflow as the cucumbers ferment. Add something heavy to the top to keep the cucumbers submerged in the brine.
Keep in a warm place: Transfer the bowl with the jar to a warm place (like a garage, or top of the fridge) for about 48 hours, tapping the jar or lifting the weight off the top to "burp" the jar and allow trapped gasses to escape. Once the pickles have changed their color to a more yellow color, and the brine has turned cloudy trim off a piece of a cucumber with clean hands and knife and taste it to see if they're pickled to your liking. If you'd like them more fermented leave them in a warm place for a little longer. Otherwise, move to the next step.
Refrigerate: Remove the weight and cover the jar with a lid. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Will keep for at least 2 weeks in the fridge.