Classic Dill Pickles

Steve Legato
  • Yield: 4 pieces


2cups apple cider vinegar
3teaspoons pickling salt
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
4teaspoons dill seed, divided
2teaspoons black peppercorns, divided
1pint pickling cucumbers, left whole or sliced into spears


  1. Prepare the boiling water bath and 4 regular-mouth 1 pint jars.  Place the lids in a small saucepan, cover them with water, and simmer over very low heat.
  2. Combine the vinegar, 2 cups water, and pickling salt in a pot and bring the brine to a boil.
  3. Add 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon dill seed, and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns to each sterilized jar.  Trim off the blossom end of the cucumbers and pack them firmly into the jars.  You don’t want to damage the cukes, but you do want hem packed tightly.
  4. Slowly pour the hot brine over the cucumbers in each jar, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Gently tap the jars on a towel-lined countertop to help loosen any bubbles before using a wooden chopstick to dislodge any remaining bubbles.  Check the headspace again and add more brine if necessary.
  5. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes.
  6. Let these pickles cure for at least 1 week before eating.

NOTE:  Make sure to stick with pickling cucumbers (also called Kirby cucumbers) for this recipe.  Using other cucumbers will often result in a disappointing pickle, as they don’t hold their structure as well.  Also, don’t skip trimming off the blossom end.  It contains enzymes that can lead to limp pickles.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars (Running Press, 2011.)