Garlic Kosher Dill Pickles

I can't believe I added the salt the way I did

I absolutely love pickles. And to me, the best pickles are dill pickles. I’ve been known to pick something different for lunch simply because it comes with pickles. One of the best things that the cafeteria at my workplace did was to add sliced dill pickles to the make-your-own sandwich bar.

I’ve made refrigerator dill pickles in the past (meaning last year) and, while quite good (some of my friends lust after them), there was something not quite with them. Either they ended up too spicy (they had jalapeños in the) or too sweet or too sour. Or they just weren’t perfect.

So I’ve started my own personal search for the perfect dill pickle recipe. I figured that if refrigerator pickles are in some sense a modern short cut, I’d go back to a natural fermentation recipe instead of only using vinegar to pickle them. I also wanted to can them so that they’d be easy to give out and would take up room in my refrigerator.

Except I screwed up. I realized part of the way through preparing these to be canned that I was going to run out of brine. I do know that when canning acidity level is very important so I just mixed up some more brine as was done in the third step of the recipe. Anyone spot my mistake yet? At some level, I knew it as soon as I did. See, I added in the salt again this time. When I opened the first jar, the pickles were intolerably salty. So, if you make these and run out of brine, leave out the salt.

So why did I post this? Partially, so Angela can no longer claim I only posts the successes. But I also didn’t screw up all the jars and, when I tried the pickles prior to canning, they were really quite good. Were they the best ever? I don’t know yet. I’ve already got another batch of dill pickles in my fridge fermenting away.

So, if you like pickles, stay tuned as I try to find my favorite recipe.

I kept walking into our living room and wondered what smelled good, then realized it was the pickles brining

Garlic Kosher Dill Pickles
Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preservation 400 delicious and creative recipes for today

5 lbs. pickling cucumbers
6 tbsp pickling spice
2 bunches dill
3/4 cup kosher salt
1 cup white vinegar
8 cups water
3 garlic cloves

  1. Rinse the cucumbers. Cut the ends off the cucumbers and then cut them into 1/4″ thick slices.
  2. In a large ceramic, stainless steel, or glass container, place half of the pickling spice and one bunch of dill. Place the cucumbers on top.
  3. In a large stainless steel pot, add the salt, vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil and dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  4. Pour the pickling liquid into the crock. Place the remaining pickling spice and dill and the garlic on top. Place a plate on top of the cucumbers and then a jar filled with water on top of the plate.
  5. Put the container in a cool dry place and cover it with a tea towel. Allow it to ferment for 2 to 3 weeks or until the cucumbers have achieved a pickled flavor. Remove any scum from the top of the container every day.
  6. Prepare the canner, jars, and lids.
  7. Drain the pickles, reserving the brine, and remove the dill, pickling spice, and garlic. Bring the brine to a boil in a stainless steel pan and boil for 5 minutes.
  8. Pack the pickles into the jars leaving 1/2″ head room. Pour the hot brine into the jars to cover the pickles leaving 1/2″ head room. Secure the lids onto the jars.
  9. Process the jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, allow to cool, and then store.

Makes about 8 pint jars.

Homemade Pickling Spice
Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preservation 400 delicious and creative recipes for today

1 cinnamon sitck, broken into pieces
5 bay leaves, crushed
2 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp whole allspice
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp dill seeds
2 tsp cardamom seeds
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp whole cloves

  1. Combine the ingredients together and mix well. Store in a sealed container.

Makes about 1/2 cup


17 Responses to “Garlic Kosher Dill Pickles”

  1. 1 Easy healthy recipes June 3, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    Sounds good. Thanks for sharing the recipe

  2. 2 chiff0nade June 4, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Another pickle recipe?

    Looks good, but isn’t it exactly like another pickle recipe that I read on the blogs?

    However, your photos are nice.

  3. 3 Matt June 4, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    I haven’t posted any other pickle recipes. Others may have but that’s their prerogative. I just post the things I’m interested in.

  4. 4 Elle June 4, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    I’d love your refrigerator pickle recipe! If your friends lust after it, it must be good. I like a lot of spice and garlic in pickles. These look really good, but canning makes me very nervous.

    Oh, and if you google the name chiff0nade, you’ll see that he/she is a blog troll.

  5. 5 Matt June 4, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    It’s not really my refrigerator pickle recipe, it comes from the Dinosaur Barbecue Cookbook. I probably will post it later in the summer.

    You also don’t really need to can these pickles. Simply put them in jars and refrigerate them. The canning, however, isn’t particularly difficult and means they’re shelf stable (the pickles do get to be softer and not as crisp this way).

    And chiff0nade may or may not be a blog troll. I really don’t know (or care). I try not to delete comments unless I absolutely need to.

  6. 6 Debra June 4, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    I just stumbled upon your blog and had to comment – these pickles look sooooo good – I will have to work up the guts to try them someday, and it’s always nice to see that there are fellow pickle-lovers out there! Your blog is fantastic – I can’t believe you have made your own pancetta and bacon, amazing!

  7. 7 Matt June 4, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Debra, thanks for the kind words. I’m pretty sure there are more pickle lovers out there than just us. And, in my opinion, homemade pickles beat the pants off store bought ones. Plus, they’re not very hard. The bacteria do all the work of fermenting.

    As for the pancetta and bacon, it’s really just a question of the right ingredients and giving it time. It’s hard to get more bang for your buck than either of those. In fact, I recently made more pancetta and bacon.

  8. 8 The Jew & The Carrot June 4, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Hey Matt,

    Found you on Tastespotting – those pickles look amazing and I agree, dill is the way to go. (I never personally understood sweet pickles. Sweet is for dessert, not brined cucumbers!).

    Anyway, if you’re into home fermenting, I thought you might like this interview with fermenting guru, Sandor Katz.

    Keep up the good pickling!


  9. 9 helloworldbea June 4, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Interesting recipe. I might try it out myself sometime!

  10. 10 SLR June 20, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Ok I just have to jump in on this one.

    I am a dill Pickle freak.. Yes its true. I have been putting up for over 15 years and the best pickles I have ever eaten are mine… As a mater of fact I am making some tomorrow… I have 5 lbs of freshly picked (from our) garden pickling cucumbers and they are swimming in kosher as I type. I am a teacher in Cerritos, a mother of 2 kids (one lives with his wife in Long Beach.

    How do I make my Dills? Easy. I follow the Morton kosher salt recipe and omit all pickling spices.(yes its true) I feel that the spices take away from the pickles bite.. I add 2 dried red whole chile, and one clove of fresh garlic sliced in thirds, and a nice sprig of Dill to each jar and several pepper corns . Thats it in a nut shell. They are the best pickles in the world. Boy are they full of garlic and a nice hot bite of chile, bringing a nice spice to the pickles.

    Just remember to follow the directions on the Morton kosher web site. I also dont process as long as morton says. Its a matter of experience for me when they look perfect, meaning crunchy not soggy…
    Ok enough. SLR

  11. 11 Matt June 21, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    SLR, I may have to give your pickle recipe a try. I’ve already got a second batch fermenting in the fridge so yours will have to wait for a little bit.

  12. 12 joe July 13, 2008 at 9:01 am

    i like my pickles whole have you tried your recipe this way and if so how was it

  13. 13 Matt July 13, 2008 at 9:16 am

    I haven’t made them whole but the original recipe actually specified whole pickles so you should be fine just using the whole cucumbers in place of the sliced ones. It may be a tad bit harder to put them in jars, however.

  14. 14 irvin schauer September 19, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    i am looking for a very simple dill pickle formula. as i remember it, everything goes into a ice cream pail. the cukes are cut into 3/4 inch chunks, put a cover on the pail and put it in the fridge for a week or so, they were so delicious. hope you can help me, my sister gave me a ton of cukes from her garden. thanks

  15. 15 Matt September 22, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    There are a lot of different dill pickle recipes out there; some more complicated than others. I’d suggest you do a Google search and find one that you like.

  16. 16 Michael Beyer August 18, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Thanks–I’ve been looking for a great dill pickle recipe.
    These are my favorite bread and butter pickles. They are what grandma would have made:

  17. 17 Stephanie August 18, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    So it is ok to make more brine solution if you are running low to top off your jars before going in the canner to be processed? I made bread and butter pickles and was a little short on brine so I mixed up 1/3 of all the ingredients in the brine (salt was not one of them….it was just cider vinegar, sugar, tumeric, mustard seed, celery seeds) and then made sure the jars were filled with the appropriate amount of headspace and processed as directed. How do I know if this is ok?

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