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How to Make Homemade Pickles

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How to Make Homemade Pickles | Homemade Pickles Recipe | Fast Homemade Pickles | Easy Pickle Recipe | Dill Pickles | Sweet Pickles Recipe

When I was pregnant with my younger daughter Annie, my best friend Alysha gave me a basket of homemade goodies for Christmas, including a jar of pickles she had canned herself. It was all good, but those pickles were the best thing I had ever tasted and I ate the entire jar in one sitting. I couldn’t stop. And then I asked for another jar. And another. And thus began a lifelong (well, okay, 3 year) obsession with homemade pickles.

Since then I have begged, pleaded, & even cried to her and all my other pickle-making friends for more pickles. I have to avoid farmer’s markets because if I see them for sale, I am compelled to pay $6 a jar, and while normal people may stop at one jar, I will buy as many jars as I have cash in my wallet.

And I know what you’re thinking:  Why not just learn how to make your own homemade pickles?

I’ll tell you why. It’s because of this man right here. This mean, mean, horrible man:

How to Make Homemade Pickles

He was afraid I would poison us. Also, knowing my tendency to lean towards overdoing, well, everything, he was also afraid I would go completely overboard and fill our house with 5,000 mason jars, pressure cookers, lids, utensils, cookbooks, and all the other canning “essentials.”

So he said no, absolutely not.

Even when friends gave me pickling books for Christmas and my birthday, he said no.

Even as, through the years, I collected my very own little collection of mason jars and rings, refusing to throw away even a single one, he said no.

Until one day I met this girl:

Homemade Pickles Recipe

McKenzie was tragically born about 7 decades too late, but the girl can pickle & can like nobody’s business. And when she heard my sad story she took it upon herself to throw a pickling extravaganza–complete with chocolate martinis– with the sole purpose of teaching me, once and for all, how to make homemade pickles.

Fast Homemade Pickles

Before I go any further,  let me just say….Best. Night. Ever. Pickles rock my world!

And who knew they were SO easy?

And so, without further ado, here is how to make homemade pickles:

Easy Pickle Recipe

1.  Sterilize your jars & lids.  Heat a big pot of boiling water, then carefully lower your jars into the water using a jar lifter. Let them boil for at least 5 minutes, then lift them out and place them on a clean dry towel. After the jars have been sterilized, place the jar lids in the boiling water to sterilize them as well.

Dill Pickles

2.  Prepare your vegetables.  Slice your cucumbers & carrots, chop your cauliflower, or prep whichever other vegetables you plan to pickle. If you plan to make a lot of sliced pickles (or other sliced vegetables), a salad shooter is definitely a worthwhile investment–so easy and fun to use! Be sure to peel lots of garlic too.

3. In a separate pot, boil your vinegar mixture. Mix 2 cups water with 2 cups vinegar and 1/4 cup salt. (You can double or triple this if necessary.)

Sweet Pickles Recipe

4. Fill your jars.  For basic dill pickles, just pack cucumbers into the jar with a few springs of dill and garlic cloves. Pack them in as tight as you can, but try not to touch the inside of the jar.

How to Make Easy Homemade Pickles

For sweet pickles or other variations, it helps to have a pickling or canning cookbook, but you can just experiment if you prefer. You can pickle other vegetables too–we did a few jars of jalepenos, peppers, radishes, cauliflower, & hot carrots (with jalepenos) in addition to the cucumbers.

Fast Homemade Pickles Recipe

5. Place funnel over jar and carefully ladle vinegar mixture over pickles until full. Retrieve a lid from the boiling water using a magnetized grabber, then carefully place it on the jar and screw ring on to hold it in place. Repeat until all jars are filled.

7. Use jar lifter to place filled jars back in boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool.

Easy Sweet Pickles Recipe

 8. Wait for the lids to pop as they cool.  Once they’ve popped, you know they are sealed. When you tap the tops of the lids you will be able to hear the difference between the sealed lids (a dull sound) and the unsealed lids (more of a tinny sound.)  Wait 30 days for your pickles to ferment. (This is the hardest part!) If, for some reason, you don’t hear a pop when you open them then don’t eat them!

Simple Homemade Pickles Recipe

 Can you believe how easy that is? And they make such cute gifts–I am pretty sure that everyone I know will be getting pickles for Christmas this year! What about you–have you ever made homemade pickles or done your own canning? If so, do you have a favorite recipe or special tricks?

How to Make Homemade Pickles | Homemade Pickles Recipe | Fast Homemade Pickles | Easy Pickle Recipe | Dill Pickles | Sweet Pickles Recipe



  1. August 23 at 11:23AM

    Oh my gosh! I just wrote up a big ole post about my canning and gardening this year so far! IT has by far exceeded my expectations and I’m having so much fun!

    Here’s all the details:

    but I’ve canned so much, I’ve lost count everything from tomatoes to pickles to beets to green beans! Even made some cowboy candy!

    • Ruth
      August 29 at 08:30AM

      Wow Debbie, your garden looks AMAZING! I am so impressed! And all that canning….I am such a newbie! 🙂

  2. August 23 at 03:40PM

    I am so happy you got to make pickles!

    • Ruth
      August 29 at 08:31AM

      Thanks Alysha. 🙂 That doesn’t mean you can stop sending them though!

  3. Hallie
    August 24 at 08:40AM

    I have always wanted to learn how to make pickles too. How fun that you got together with friends to do it! It does look pretty easy…..maybe I’ll finally have to give it a try. Thanks for the post!

    • Ruth
      August 29 at 08:31AM

      We had so much fun…I HIGHLY recommend a pickling party! I can’t wait until our next one!

  4. Sandra
    August 24 at 09:03AM

    YUM!!! Those look SO DELICIOUS!!!!!! Can you add me to your Christmas list??!!!!

    • Ruth
      August 29 at 08:32AM

      I’ll see what I can do. 😉

  5. Tricia Brown
    August 24 at 03:18PM

    I tried making pickles for the first time this summer too, but made the refrigerator variety. They were really delicious and I can’t wait to try it this way. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Ruth
      August 29 at 08:33AM

      I’ve never tried refrigerator pickles–how are they different from regular ones?

      • Angela
        March 21 at 10:03PM

        It’s basically the same, but easier because there’s no canning involved. Make your brine, slice your cucumbers (or other veggie) put it all in the jar together as you did, screw on the lid & put into the refrigerator. My family eat them so fast I leave the brine in the jar (BIG) & continue adding veggies to pickle for a couple weeks or more. They are of the sweet variety though, not dill. I haven’t tried it with dill yet.

  6. Claire
    August 25 at 10:59PM

    Those look SO good!!! We have a very festive cucumber plant out back – will have to try this!
    THanks Ruth!

    • Ruth
      August 29 at 08:33AM

      You’re welcome Claire! Let me know how they turn out! 🙂

  7. Nell
    June 27 at 04:02PM

    Oh,they look so delicious!Yum!Doesn’t it matter if the jars or lids are wet while closing them?I thought they need to be completely dry so they will seal properly..I would love to learn canning my own vegetables..

  8. Tiffany
    July 8 at 07:17PM

    Can you use whole cucumbers? If so, is the fermenting time longer?

  9. August 6 at 08:20PM

    I have always wanted to try canning. tell me please, what danger was your husband worried about? I don’t know what to watch out for 🙂

  10. Anonymous
    December 29 at 04:22PM

    How do you do pickled carrots? My kids love them, but I can’t find a good recipe.

  11. Anonymous
    June 17 at 06:49PM

    I can’t seem to find fresh dill here. Do you know how much dried dill seed I would need to use to replace the fresh dill? I have looked high and low for a good dill pickle recipe. I am definitely going to give this a try!

  12. August 25 at 12:44PM

    How long do they last after canning?

  13. Tricia
    September 21 at 09:57PM

    Do you let them sit out for 30 days or put them in the fridge for 30 days?

  14. Anonymous
    December 1 at 07:05PM

    How many cucumbers do you typically use for the 2 cups water with 2 cups vinegar and 1/4 cup salt mixture…and how many medium sized jars does this typically fill up? Excited to use this recipe for Christmas gifts!

  15. Harry Hunt
    June 4 at 01:31PM

    How do you keep the pickles crisp. Doesn’t boiling them make them soft.

  16. Mark
    September 27 at 01:30PM

    at the end of the season some people throw out the green tomatoes. make green tomatoes pickles. they are great.

  17. October 27 at 12:21PM

    What a great story of how you went from not being able to pickle to finally being able to pickle! Love it! Thanks for sharing your story and your guidance on how to make our own homemade pickles!

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