Three jars of homemade garlic dill pickles sit cooling on a wood tabletop after canning

Garlic Dill Pickles Recipe: My Not at All Guilty Pleasure

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The only reason I grow cucumbers is to make this Garlic Dill Pickles recipe. Oh, sure, my family enjoys cucumbers lots of other ways but I enjoy having an entire jar of homemade pickles to myself, guilt-free.

If you have never made pickles before, the method below is a great place to start. You can make them the traditional way using a water bath canner and jars, or follow the refrigerator quick pickle method.

Should You Can or Quick Pickle?

If you’re new to canning, quick pickles are an excellent way to start. You get familiar with preparing jars and equipment without the stress of making sure things are shelf-stable.

Quick Pickles

Also known as “refrigerator pickles,” the quick pickling method doesn’t rely on canning or heat to preserve foods. But that also means you’ve got to keep all the jars in your fridge all the time.

For me, that’s not a big deal. After the 48 wait is over, I’ll finish off one jar that very day. Making room for the rest is a matter of good fridge organization — or quick eating.

Canning

Home-canned pickles are shelf-stable after proper water bath canning. This means they can be stored at room temperature for several years. Once opened, you need to refrigerate them but thanks to the vinegar you’ve got a year to eat them before they expire.

Water Bath Canning

Water bath canning uses a pot large enough to hold the filled canning jars plus at least one inch of water above the lids.

A deep stockpot is fine, too, as long as it has a flat bottom. You also need a rack that fits inside to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot.

Pro Tip

Water bath is safe to make homemade garlic pickles because they’re an acidic food. It is not a safe way to can low-acid foods or meats. For those, follow the USDA home canning guidelines.

Clean is Crucial

Every thing used in every step of the canning process needs to be squeaky clean.

You don’t want to spend the time making homemade garlic pickles then have to throw them out because bacteria contaminated the lot. (I explain this more in the Final Checks for Safety further down.)

So, start by scrubbing your countertops and utensils, then wash the jars in hot soapy water or run them through the dishwasher. Clean the lids and rings in hot water, too. Wash your utensils, and of course, wash the cucumbers.

Keep it Hot

Your jars need to stay hot the entire time, too. If you cleaned them in the dishwasher, leave it shut tight until you’re ready to fill them.

For hand-washed jars, bring some water to a simmer in the canner and add your empty jars directly after washing. But do not boil the lids. They’re meant to be simmered — boiling can damage the wax they need to create a good seal.

Follow Steps Exactly

It can be lots of fun tinkering with recipes, but home canning is not the time to play around with ingredients.

  • Use dried herbs where called for. Fresh ones can contaminate canned goods.
  • Use the exact amount and types of sugar stated. Substitutes or changing measurement changes the acidity, which can affect food safety.
  • Measure precisely. No eyeballing. Too much or too little of any one thing can change the acidity.
  • Salt is a preservative. If it’s called for in a recipe, it’s necessary.

If you have questions about changing a canning recipe, your local county extension office is the place to ask.

Adjust for Altitude If Needed

Most canning recipes are based on an altitude of 1,000 foot above sea level where water boils at 212°F (100°C).

If you live at a high elevation—at 2,000 feet above seal level, for example—you’ll need to add 5 minutes to the processing time since water has a lower boiling point there.

Did your eyes just glaze over? Mine, too. But here’s the deal: if you live in a high or low altitude area, you’ll know it because everyone around you will talk about what a nuisance it is to adjust times and temperatures.

Haven’t heard that kind of griping? Then, lucky you, you’re at a standard altitude and don’t have to do any math!

Final Checks for Safety

Once you’re done canning, give your jars 24 hours to sit undisturbed. During this time, the lids finish sealing.

After time’s up, press down gently on each lid. If there’s any wobble, it’s not sealed so it’s not shelf-stable, so pop that jar in the fridge.

For the rest of the lot, remove the canning rings and wipe the jars with a soapy rag. This removes residue that might attract pests. Now you can use the rings for the next batch!

Finally, just as you would with store-bought things in jars, check the lid before opening to make sure doesn’t bulge or wobble, then pop that thing off and enjoy your homemade Garlic Dill Pickles.

Three jars of homemade garlic dill pickles cooling

Garlic Dill Pickles Recipe

Crunchy pickles with just the right amount of garlic zing. Check out the directions for canning or make quick pickles in your refrigerator.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 30 minutes
Servings: 4 pints
Calories: 73kcal
Author: Katie Berry
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: canning, healthy, vegetables

Equipment

  • Water bath canner with rack - a lid is optional but helps keep the water at a boil
  • Mason jars
  • Canning lids and rings
  • Dull knife or small spatula
  • Paper towels
  • Tongs or a lid magnet
  • Thick towel

Ingredients 

  • 3 lbs pickling (Kirby) cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar 5% acidity (plus more for wiping jar rims)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. pickling or Kosher salt
  • 8-12 cloves garlic
  • 4 tsp. dry dill seeds
  • 2 tsp. black peppercorns whole

Instructions

Prep the jars and lids

  • Wash jars in warm, soapy water and rinse them well, or run them through the dishwasher. If you will be canning these, get your water bath canner simmering and add the freshly-washed jars to keep them warm.
  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring a few inches of water to a low simmer and add the canning lids.

Prep the cucumbers and brine

  • Wash and dry the cucumbers. Leave them whole if they'll fit vertically in the jar. Otherwise, slice a sliver off from each end and cut them into chunks or spears.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a rolling boil.

Fill the jars

  • Divide the garlic cloves, dill seeds, and peppercorns equally between the hot jars.
  • Pack the cucumbers into the jars tightly, leaving one-half of inch space between the cucumbers and the top of the jar.
  • Pour the hot vinegar brine over the cucumbers, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace at the top.

Quick Pickles

  • For quick pickles, stop now and put the lids on. Let the jars reach room temperature then transfer them to the fridge. Wait 48 hours before eating.

Water bath canning

  • Run a dull knife around the inside wall of the jar between the cucumbers and the glass to release any air bubbles.
  • Using a clean towel dipped in plain white vinegar, wipe the rim of the jar to clean off any brine that could prevent proper sealing.
  • Take a lid out of the simmering saucepan but don't dry it. (Use tongs or a lid magnet.)
  • Put the lid onto the jar, then add a screw-on ring. Tighten the ring just until you feel resistance. This is called "fingertip tight." Trust it—do not over tighten.
  • Immediately put the filled jar into the water bath canner and repeat until all the jars are full.
  • Once all the jars are full, raise the heat and watch the water carefully. When the water begins boiling, set a timer for 10 minutes for standard altitude, 15 minutes at high altitude. (You can put the lid on if you want to help the water boil faster but it's not necessary.)
  • When the timer goes off, carefully transfer the jars one at to a thick towel on the counter. Leave them untouched for 24 hours. It is normal for them to make popping and sometimes hissing sounds as they cool.
  • After 24 hours, check the seal on the lids by pressing down gently. Jars with wobbly lids are not fully sealed, so they are not shelf-stable. Store those in the fridge.
  • It's best to wait 3 weeks to eat home-canned pickles but I assure you they're still delicious if you dive in after 2 weeks.

Notes

NOTE: Nutrition data is based on all of the recipe’s ingredients, including the brine. This is due to the recipe software. You’re not drinking the brine. (I hope.)
An average 3″ pickle contains 7 calories, 785 mg of sodium, 0.1g fat, 1.5g carbohydrate, with 0.8g fiber.

Nutrition

Serving: 1jar | Calories: 73kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 2879mg | Potassium: 522mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 259IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you try this?Let me know how it was!

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26 Comments

  1. Gillian Wilkinson says:

    can i use any type of small cucumber ie picked when small x

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Sure!

  2. Victoria Laurell says:

    Can you substitute dill weed for dill seed in this recipe? I’m not able to find dill seed at my local grocery store.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      They have different flavors, so dill weed isn’t a good substitute for dill seed. Most Walmarts carry them, or you can look online.

    2. Victoria Laurel: i could not find dill anywhere either – not even WalMart and went to several farmers markets and the second one I went to I finally found some …! I bought all she had!! – at $1 per bunch it was definitely worth it!!

  3. You seem to have not mentioned how many jars or size of jars the recipe makes, unless I missed it four times?
    Thank you!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yep, you missed it four times. In the adjustable serving size on the recipe card it states the default is four pints. That would be four pint jars. But you can adjust the serving to size up or down as needed.

  4. Kristy Pilat says:

    For the quick method do you have to warm jars and boil lids and how long do they keep in fridge?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      As the post indicates, for the quick pickle method, you still warm jars since you’ll be pouring boiling liquid into them. (Warming the jars keeps the contrast in temperatures from shattering them.) Boiling the lids isn’t necessary, but you do want to make sure they’re completely clean. They’ll keep for two months in the fridge even after you’ve opened them.

  5. Stacey Allin says:

    Can I slice for pickle chips instead of whole? Do I need to make any adjustment in the recipe if I do?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yes, you can slice them and process them for 10 minutes.

  6. How many jars of pickles should this recipe produce? Obviously jar size would matter, just unclear on approximates. General idea of what size and quantity yu use would be appreciated.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      As the recipe card indicates, this makes four pints of garlic dill pickles. If you’d like to make more, the recipe card has adjustable serving sizes. Enjoy!

  7. Made these pickles and Love them!! I did add jalapeño to mine, couple of slices since I like mine hot!! They were awesome!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you liked them, Deborah! Adding jalapeño sounds fantastic. Enjoy!

  8. How terrible is it that I moved my pickle jars right after processing? I have a super small kitchen with very little counter space so I had to move them around a couple times. Plus I accidentally broke one jar trying to take it out of the hot water, so I inspected the other 2 moving them again. Did I completely ruin my pickles?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      They’ll probably be fine, Amy. The big concern is that when they’re hot the wax seal on the lid is still soft. So, moving them can loosen the seal. Just check the lid after they’re cool to make sure they’re sealed properly. If you press on it and there’s no movement, that’s a sign it’s sealed well. If it’s not, move them to your fridge for storage instead of your shelf.

  9. Am I missing something??? I followed the recipe exactly as written except I doubled it and I had enough brine to fill one and three quarters of a jar. Not the 6 pounds worth of pickles I had prepared

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Cailin,
      I’m sorry you encountered problems with the recipe. When the jars are very tightly packed with pickling cucumbers, there isn’t much space for the brining liquid, so the amount called for in the recipe should cover them.

  10. Hi there
    Can I still eat my pickles when they are a bit green on the skin
    Inside still good and tasty
    Thanks

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Well, yes, most pickled cucumbers are green.

  11. How long do you store them before eating them?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      If you’re canning them, give them a couple of weeks before opening a jar. They’re good the next day but they are so much better if you wait those two weeks.

  12. amy @ fearless homemaker says:

    these sound wonderful! i’ve never made my own pickles but i looooove them so i’ve gotta give them a try soon!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      They’re very yummy. I picked almost a dozen cucumbers in our garden this past week and need to make more. This time I’m going to slip half of a red chili pepper in a few of the jars for extra zing.

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