Garlic Dill Pickles Recipe

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The only reason I grow cucumbers is to make this Garlic Dill Pickles recipe. Oh, sure, we eat cucumbers in Panzanella and other tossed salads, and I make a German-style cucumber salad that the whole family loves.

But as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing like a good garlic dill pickle. The crunch. The bite. That vinegary goodness. Swoon!

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 canner and jars, or follow the refrigerator method for a quick pickle that’s equally good.

How to Make Garlic Dill Pickles

Garlic Dill Pickle Recipe

Should You Can or Quick Pickle?

If you’re new to canning, pickles are an excellent way to start. Or skip the canning process altogether, and use the refrigerator pickle method I’ve provided.

Quick Pickles Must Be Refrigerated

Also known as “refrigerator pickles,” the quick pickling method doesn’t rely on canning or heat to preserve foods. Since processing does not involve heating the vegetables, the result is not shelf-stable and must be kept chilled for food safety.

In other words, you stash quick pickles in the refrigerator — hence the name. They’ll stay fresh in the fridge for up to two months, even after opening.

Canning Makes Pickles Shelf-Stable

Home-canned pickles processed using proper methods are shelf-stable. This means they can be stored at room temperature for several years. Once opened, they need to be refrigerated just like any jar of pickles you’d buy at the store.

Tips on Canning Pickles

Canning food is an excellent way to preserve it for long-term use without taking up space in your refrigerator or freezer. Not everything should be canned, however, and the method you should use depends on the type of food you are using.

Use the Proper Canning Equipment

There are two types of canners for home use: pressure canners and water bath canners.

Not All Pressure Cookers are Suitable for Canning

Pressure cookers intended for use in home canning feature locking lids with vents and a gauge that allows you to monitor the amount of pressure within the pot continually.

It must have a pressure gauge. Reaching a proper level of pressure and maintaining it for a specific amount of time is essential to killing botulism and other potentially lethal spores in low-acid foods.

It must be specifically designed for canning. So, although your Instant Pot may produce wonderful meals, it is not intended for use in home canning. Look instead for one specifically designated as a home pressure canner. (I use this one.)

Use a pressure canning method for low-acid foods. This Garlic Dill Pickles Recipe relies on the water bath canning method since the vinegar-based brine and temperature targets eliminate pathogens. Since not all foods can be processed using the water bath method, if you plan to can other things, you should review the USDA home canning guidelines for safety. Some vegetables and all meats require pressure canning methods.

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. Like the one I use, most are made of enamel-covered steel or aluminum. They all have a few features in common.

  • A lid helps the water reach boiling faster and maintain the proper temperature throughout processing.
  • The pot bottom is flat, so it heats evenly.
  • A rack, usually with handles for easy jar lifting, to hold the jars in the pot.

In a pinch, you can use a large, flat-bottomed stockpot if you also have a rack that fits inside to keep the jars from touching the bottom of the pot.

Cleanliness is Essential

You should wash all produce before canning and use fresh items with no signs of mold or rot.

Your equipment needs to be extremely clean, too.

Clean the jars. Before you begin preparing the canning ingredients, wash your jars in hot, soapy water or run them through the dishwasher as a regular load with a heated drying cycle. Rinse them well either way, since lingering detergent residues can change the taste of the food.

Clean the lids. Wash the lids and canning rings in hot, soapy water and rinse them well. Put them in a small saucepan filled with hot water to keep them ready for use.

Keep the jars hot. If you’ve run the jars through the dishwasher, leave the door closed and let the jars stay in it until you’re ready to fill them. For hand-washed jars, fill a large stockpot or the water bath canner with water and bring it to a simmer (180°F / 82°C) then add the jars directly after washing.

Fill jars one at a time. Let the jars remain in the simmering water until you’re ready to fill them. Then, one jar at a time, empty the water back into the canner and fill the jar with the prepared cucumbers and brine. Put a lid on and place the jar in the canner, then repeat with the remaining jars.

Follow Steps Exactly

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

  • Do not substitute fresh herbs for dried.
  • Do not add thickeners or sugars if they’re not called for in a recipe.
  • Do not add more water or use less vinegar than indicated.
  • Do not omit or reduce salt, since it’s a preservative, and do not use flavored salts when plain, pickling or Kosher salt is called for.

Obtaining the proper acidity and using storage-safe ingredients is crucial for food safety. You should always check with your local county extension office to ask about any proposed changes to a canning recipe.

Adjust for Altitude If Needed

Most water bath canning recipes are based on an altitude at or below 1,000 feet above sea level. Such recipes, including this Garlic Dill Pickles Recipe, rely on boiling water temperatures to eliminate bacteria.

At higher altitudes, water boils at a lower temperature. So, at sea level, water will boil at 212°F, but at 1,000 feet above sea level (the standard used in most recipes), it boils at 210°F. The higher the altitude, the lower the boiling point — at 2,000 feet above sea level, for instance, water boils at 208°F.

So, it’s important to know your location’s altitude before you begin water bath canning. You can easily find this information online. If your altitude is more than 1,001 feet above sea level, you will need to add 5 minutes to the processing time.

Inspect Home-Canned Foods for Safety

While the “sniff test” may be reliable when deciding if milk is safe to consume, it’s not a reliable method for canned foods.

Wait 24 hours after processing. This allows your jars to continue cooling to room temperature. During this time, the lids are forming their seal.

Test the lids before storing the jars. The day after canning, press down gently each lid. Properly sealed lids will not move. If there’s any wobble, the jar is not suitably sealed for shelf-storage. The food is fine, though, so pop it into the fridge and eat it within the next two months.

Remove the canning rings before storage. When you’ve canned food properly, you can remove the screw band (ring), since the lid has been vacuum-sealed onto the container. Leaving the ring in place can trap moisture and food particles, which can attract pests. So, once the rings are off, it’s a good idea to wash and towel-dry the jars, too.

Inspect again before use. When you take a can of food off the shelf (whether you canned it at home or it was commercially canned), inspect the lid and jar. If the lid is bulging or the container is damaged, discard the food. Don’t taste it “just to see” — even a taste of improperly canned food can make you sick.

If in doubt, throw it out!

Garlic Dill Pickles: Canning or Refrigerator Method

Now, don’t let the information above scare you away from canning food at home. Home food preservation has been practiced for thousands of years, and we very rarely hear of someone encountering problems.

As long as you keep your equipment clean and follow directions to a tee, you can safely home-can a variety of foods. It’s a fun hobby and a great way to stretch your food budget.

So, once you’ve mastered a basic pickle recipe like the one below, pick up a book on home canning — you’ll be amazed at how many things you can make yourself!

Garlic Dill Pickle Recipe
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5 from 1 vote

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.
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword canning, healthy, vegetables
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Resting Time 1 d
Total Time 1 d 30 mins
Makes 4 pints
Calories 90kcal
Created by Katie Berry

Equipment

  • Water bath canner with rack and lid
  • Mason jars
  • Canning lids and rings
  • 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 - NOT table salt
  • 8-12 cloves garlic
  • 4 tsp. dry dill seeds
  • 2 tsp. black peppercorns - whole

Instructions

  • 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.
  • Wash and dry the cucumbers. Slice a sliver off from each end, and cut into chunks or spears.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a rolling boil.
  • 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.
  • NOTE: If making quick pickles stop now and put the lids on, then let them reach room temperature before transferring the jars to the refrigerator. Wait 48 hours before eating.
    If water bath canning, proceed with the next step.
  • Run a chopstick or small plastic spatula around the interior of the jar between the cucumbers and the glass to remove any air bubbles. Using a clean towel dipped in room temperature vinegar, wipe the rim of the jar to make sure there's no brine on it that could prevent proper sealing.
  • Remove a lid from the saucepan but do not dry it. Put the lid onto the jar, then add a screw-on ring. Tighten the ring only until you feel resistance. (This is called "fingertip tight.")
  • Put the filled jar into the water bath canner and continue filling jars one at a time. 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.
  • After the jars have processed at a full boil for 10 minutes (or 15 if you're at high altitude), remove them one at a time to a folded towel on the counter and leave them there for 24 hours. Do not move them! It is normal for the jars to make popping sounds as they cool.
  • The next day, check the seal by pressing down on the lid. If it does not move, the jar is sealed correctly. Jars with wobbly lids are not sealed correctly, so they are not shelf-stable and must be stored in the refrigerator.

Notes

NOTE: Nutrition data is based on all of the recipe’s ingredients, including the brine. This is due to the recipe software. 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: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2880mg | Potassium: 577mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1085IU | Vitamin C: 14.1mg | Calcium: 164mg | Iron: 2mg

35 Comments

  1. Im going to try that now that I have too many cucumbers in my garden

    1. Katie Berry says:

      This summer has been wonderful for cucumbers, hasn’t it?

  2. thats a beautiful pic of you on facebook

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thanks. I figured it was time to update my personal photo. 🙂

  3. 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.

  4. Hi, This recipe looks awesome! Does apple cider vinegar work as well?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I haven’t tried using ACV with this, so I can’t say yes or no from personal experience. It seems to me, though, that as long as it has 5% or more of acidity it should work. A homemade ACV probably isn’t sufficiently fermented, though, so stick with the commercial stuff.

  5. 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.

  6. Marilyn Gellert says:

    5 stars
    I canned about 12 jars of dill pickles with someone else’s different recipe and had to throw them out as they all went soft.
    I was using the wide mouth jars but thought maybe for some reason they didn’t seal.
    I would like to know if the lids could be fault where air got inside them.
    I always boil my lids & tops but put the jars in the dishwasher.
    Can you please tell me what I am doing wrong?
    Marilyn

    1. Katie Berry says:

      There are all sorts of reasons why a home-canned pickle doesn’t come out crunchy. Most of the time, it’s due to letting the temperature get too high or processing them for too long, and unfortunately, that’s easy to do. Adding a grape leaf to each jar, or using a product like “Pickle Crisp” can help. I’ve found in my own kitchen that I need to work fast when canning pickles, so the lid goes loosely on top of the canner once I put the jars in to help it come back to boiling temperature quickly. Once it returns to a boil, I take the lid off and start my timer. Hope that helps!

  7. Does the grape leaf have to be fresh?? Or can it just but the ones you buy in a jar??

    1. Katie Berry says:

      They need to be fresh, sorry.

  8. Tammy Perrin says:

    Where can I get a grape leaf and what does it look like. If I can’t get or locate any grape leaves what else is available to take its place?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      They’re often for sale at grocery stores and farmer’s markets. If you can’t get grape leaves, don’t fret — many people say their pickles turn out crunchy without them, so long as you keep an eye on the pressure and time.

  9. Marie-pPaule says:

    Can I use pickling spice instead of dill seed. What about allum Do we not need to use it anymore

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Yes, you can use pickling seed but your recipe will taste different than mine. Alum has fallen out of favor for a number of reasons, one of which is the bitter taste it can impart.

    2. Cathrine Gabriel says:

      I have been making Dill Pickles for decades and i never ever process them in a water bath . I make sure my brine is close to boiling , my lids are boiled for a half an hour so they are good and soft, my jars are clean and kept in the oven at 275*, my dills are very cold when I start packing and I do move quickly. As long as my brine is hot I get a very good seal rate. Almost 100% if a jar does not seal it goes in the fridge. This year I have done 120 quarts so far and still pickling. I sell them at my local Farmers market along with many other pickles and home Made Ice Cream .

  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. 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.

  12. Should I process them in the water bath to adjust for altitude. We live on ver 3200 ft above sea level?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Sue,
      Since I don’t live at a high altitude, I don’t have any experience adjusting water bath canning times. However, the National Center for Home Food Preservation advises adjusting times as follows:
      1,001 to 3,000 feet, add 5 minutes
      3,001 to 6,000 feet, add 10 minutes
      6,001 to 8,000 feet, add 15 minutes
      8,001 to 10,000 feet, add 20 minutes

      Hope that helps!

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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