Homemade dill pickles are easy to make and taste so much better than store-bought pickles. Once you try making this homemade dill pickles recipe, you will never buy it from the store again.
Why you should make homemade dill pickles
I am pretty picky with my pickles. I love pickles with a bit of a crunch to it that are not overly briny or salty, which is hard to find in a jar of store-bought pickles. In my opinion, they are usually limp and overly salty, where you can’t taste any other flavors but the brine.
I’ve learned that I like refrigerator dill pickles and not canned dill pickles (see below on what is refrigerator pickles). The best dill pickles I’ve had are usually at a fancy deli served on a fancy charcuterie board or getting them at a specialty store. That generally cost three times the price, and I go home feeling sad that your family finished the whole jar in one sitting (the struggle is real).
So I set out to make my own homemade dill pickles to ensure I have an endless supply. This pickle recipe is simple, crisp, and flavors of garlic, black peppercorns, and dill. All you need are 1-quart jars (wide-mouth mason jars) and a few simple ingredients:
- Kosher salt
- Rice vinegar
- Filtered water
- Garlic cloves
- Whole black peppercorns
- Fresh dill sprigs
How to make refrigerator pickles
Canned Pickles – they go through the canning process where the pickles are put through a hot water bath that will help create a vacuum seal for the jars. With a sealed jar lid, the canning pickles are safe to be shelf stored and do not need refrigeration until opened.
Refrigerator Pickles – are preserved in vinegar and do not go through a canning process. They have to be stored in the refrigerator from when they are made.
While a few recipes use boiled pickle brine, pouring the hot brine directly onto the cucumbers will make it lose the crunch. It is the same concept as cooking vegetables. Once you apply heat to vegetables, they start to get soft.
I recommend following the step of using hot filtered water while making the brine. The heat will help blend the salt and sugar together and balance some of the acidity in the vinegar. But make sure the brine is cooled before pouring it onto the cucumbers.
If you want to use this brine for other vegetables that are not as delicate as cucumbers, like carrots and daikon, using a hot brine will be a good option.
Pickling cucumbers, Persian, and English cucumbers had worked the best for me. The longer it sits in the brine, it will gradually get soggy. So using a type of cucumbers that are firmer and with thicker skin is best.
Persian cucumbers or pickling cucumbers are great for pickle spears since they are smaller and fit the quart jars best. You can make dill pickles in any shape or size you want. I found the pickle chips tend to keep the crunchy texture the best and go well in sandwiches, of course.
I am a huge fan of rice vinegar, and you will find it used in many Asian dishes. It is mild in flavor and will not overpower the dish, and it’s versatile to use with different flavor profiles. A good substitute for rice vinegar is apple cider vinegar. It has a similar sweet and acidity profile but is cloudy in color. You can also use white vinegar, but I recommend adding an extra tablespoon of sugar.
Yes! You can add some slices of jalapenos or some red pepper flakes to this dill pickle recipe. Add Thai red chili pepper to the brine if you like extra heat. How hot you want to make it is up to you.
Refrigerator pickles are the best the first three days they are made. They can stay in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks. Removing the fresh dill from the pickles after a few days can also help preserve the shelf life.: Always use a clean utensil to grab pickles from the jar.
My kids love homemade pickles, so we can go through a jar in a few days. Instead of making a new jar, I reuse the brine by adding more cucumbers. Here are a few tips for reusing the brine:
– Always use a clean utensil to get pickles which will help preserve the brine.
– Remove the fresh dill.
– Add cucumbers.
– Add one sprig of fresh dill with the new cucumbers.
Fresh dill sprigs are the best, and it is easily removable. But if you do not have fresh dill, you can substitute one tbs of dried dill for pickles.
Recipes to go with the pickles
Refrigerator Dill Pickles Recipe
- Large capacity measuring cup the spout makes it easy to pour brine into mason jar
- 5 cloves garlic
- ½ tbsp peppercorns
- 4-5 sprigs fresh dill
- 1 English cucumber -sliced
- ½ red onion -sliced
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- 1 cup filter water
- Slice cucumber and onion.
- Place garlic cloves and peppercorns in the bottom of the mason jar.
- Layer onions and cucumbers by placing half of the onion on top of the garlic and peppercorns, then half of the cucumbers, then the rest of the onions, and the rest of the cucumbers right on top.
- In a large capacity measuring cup or a bowl with a spout, add the sugar and salt followed by the water and vinegar. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. This is the brine.
- Pour the brine into the mason jar with the cucumbers.
- Top the jar off with fresh dill. Use a fork or a set of chopsticks to push the dill into the brine. Secure the jar with the lid.
- Over the sink, rotate the jar upside down 2-3 times.
- Refrigerate immediately and for at least 2 hours before serving.