How to Make Dill Pickles

My Gherkins are going crazy – as usual. So it’s time to get out the pickling jars. I did make Dill Pickles last year, following recipe that I found online. While they tasted great (very Dill-like and everything) they weren’t crunchy. Call me old-fashioned but I like my pickles to have a bit of crunch. That’s the whole point isn’t it.

So, I went on the hunt for a new recipe. Blimey! What a can of worms that is? There are literally thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of recipes available. And, I’m sure it’s not just me, but they all seemed to be slightly different. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive ‘right way’ to make Dill Pickles.

So, what’s a girl to do? Make one up of course! The recipe below is a half-way house between what most recipes suggest you do and what actually worked for me last year. Some recipes tell you to boil the cucumbers before bottling but some say use them raw. I’ve opted to use them raw because that seemed the most likely way to conserve the elusive crunch.

I’m using mostly Gherkins but I also threw in some of my Crystal Apple Cucumbers that are ready now (seeds courtesy of Victoriana Nursery. Thanks!)

My Dill Pickle Recipe

This roughly makes one jar. If you want to increase the amounts just remember that you need double the amount of water to vinegar.

  • 1 cup of pickling vinega
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Dill (heads will do)
  • Pickling jar
  • 2 tablespoons of salt dissolved in 400ml of water


Soak the Gherkins overnight in a salt-water solution. Make sure the water covers them.

Boil your jar or run through the dishwasher on sterilise.

Put in one teaspoon of mustard seeds, a peeled clove of garlic and the Dill. Pack in your Gherkins.

Put the vinegar and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Pour into the jar until the Gherkins are covered. Seal and process (boil the jar upright in water) for 30 mins.

17 Comments on “How to Make Dill Pickles

  1. Are these the sour kind that you get in the US? And can’t find anywhere in the UK? (All the UK ones seem to be sweet… even the ones that claim to be sour, or dill).

    Please tell me these are sour pickles… like the ones you get on burgers at burger joints, only whole…

  2. great recipe – thanks for posting, i had never heard of the overnight soak, why is that i wonder? peace for all

  3. Nah! they’re not sour. They are actually rather sweet cucumbers. Could you be talking about the bitter melon, which looks like a cucumber?

    I’m in the US (NW) and have never tasted other than regular, cheap cucumbers on burgers (with skins like leather usually) but there is a (relatively new) superb gourmet cucumber that we get in some stores here (and for which I happily pay through the nose). They are small, 4″ to 6″ ish, and not gherkins. Wish I could find the variety name.

    Any cuc will go bitter if it’s water-deprived.

    Say…the so-called ‘English’ cucumber is very popular here. The foot long ones with less tough skin.

  4. Should have mentioned, we call those ‘apple’ cucumbers ‘lemon cucumbers’ here.

  5. They look so nice in the jars it will be a shame to open them. My mom used to make some really crunchy dill pickles that weren’t cooked or processed at all I think. You had to keep them in the fridge.

    I love dill in the garden. The only pleasant thing about trimming the grass in our humid summer heat is when you hit some stray dill or basil and release the wonderful herb smells.

  6. This post had me nodding in agreement from the first words: there are so many variations on dill pickles! I got quite flustered looking on the internet, so like you, I just made it up based on the basic proportions of the recipes I found (to keep the safety of the canning). I canned using my regular gherkins, but you’ve got me thinking of branching out to other cucumbers now too! Lemon cukes could be very tasty….

  7. Did you soak the cucumbers in the 2 cups of water 1 teaspoon of salt or the 2 tablespoons of salt dissolved in 400ml of water overnite? Thanks.


  8. Hi Garden Girl – yes they are the sour kind that you get on burgers.
    Hi David – It’s the ‘2 tablespoons of salt dissolved in 400ml of water’ the other one should be two separate items (I’ll fix that now).

  9. Hi! I’ve never pickled before but have a glut of cucumbers so would love to give it a go! I have a few questions that I hope you can help me with!

    Can I use the above recipe with sliced cucumbers?
    How long will this pickle last?
    Should I store it in fridge or pantry?
    Do you have to fill up jars so there’s no air at all in there?
    When you boil jars after do you completely cover with water?

    Hope someone can help me, I’m keen to have a go!

    Gemma x

  10. Great pictures, and thanks for the recipe we will have to try this next year when we grow some cucumbers!!

  11. It’s great to find a recipe for making just a small batch of pickles. I want to try making them this year but I didn’t want to make a huge amount my first time. Have you tried yours yet? Are they as crunchy as hoped?

  12. At last a recipe that looks simple and easy.Added a little sugar for my sweet taste.

  13. Pingback: My Tiny Plot » Blog Archive » Gherkins Almost Ready to Plant

  14. not a bad recipe, about to make another batch of them. I did find that they were a bit salty so I think I will omit the extra salt in the final bit. otherwise Great, Oh and I also did it without the final boil in the jar, just left them in the fridge for a few days, worked great.