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How to Pickle Cucumbers: A Step-by-Step Guide

Pickle cucumbers, commonly known as pickles, have been a beloved culinary tradition for centuries. These tangy and crunchy treats are not only delicious but also easy to make at home. If you’re a pickle enthusiast or just looking to try your hand at homemade pickling, this article, will guide you through the simple process of creating your own delectable pickled cucumbers.

1. What kind of cucumbers to use?

When it comes to pickling cucumbers, there are a few different varieties to consider. Kirby cucumbers, known for their small size and bumpy skin, are a popular choice for pickling.

Personally, I prefer using Persian cucumbers for pickling. They are smaller in size and have a thin skin, which works well for my taste. However, if I can’t find Persian cucumbers, I opt for English cucumbers, which also have a thin skin that is not waxy.

For those who enjoy extra crunchy cucumber pickles, here’s a helpful tip: After slicing up the fresh cucumbers, place them in a colander with some ice cubes for about 20 to 30 minutes. Then, simply drain and pat them dry before pickling. This little trick has proven to give me the extra crunch that I love in my pickles.

What kind of cucumbers to use
What kind of cucumbers to use

2. Flavoring pickled cucumbers

As you pack the cucumbers into jars, you have another opportunity to infuse even flavor. Here are some options to consider:

  • Fresh or dried herbs: Dill is my personal favorite and works wonderfully, but you can also try adding fresh thyme, oregano, or rosemary to the jars for added aroma and taste.
  • Garlic and Onions: To enhance the flavor profile, chop up some garlic cloves and green onions (both the whites and greens) and add them directly to the jars. As the pickling process takes place, these ingredients will impart their delightful flavors to the cucumbers.
  • Whole or sliced hot peppers: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, consider adding your favorite hot peppers. Personally, I like using jalapenos, slicing them into halves or rings before adding them to the jars. This gives the pickles a pleasant spicy kick.

By incorporating these additional elements into the pickling process, you can create a diverse and delightful array of flavors that will elevate your cucumber pickles to a whole new level. Feel free to experiment with different combinations to find the perfect blend that suits your taste preferences. Happy pickling!

3. How to pickle cucumbers

Pickling cucumbers is a wonderful way to preserve their freshness and create tangy, flavorful pickles. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to pickle cucumbers:


  • Fresh cucumbers (pickling cucumbers or small-sized cucumbers work best)
  • Pickling salt or kosher salt (avoid iodized salt with anti-caking agents)
  • Distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • Water
  • Pickling spices (optional) – you can use a pre-mixed blend or create your own with spices like mustard seeds, dill seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, and peppercorns.
  • Fresh dill (optional)
  • Garlic cloves (optional)
  • Grape leaves or oak leaves (optional, for crispness)


  • Pickling jars with lids (mason jars work well)
  • Boiling water canner or a large stockpot with a rack
  • Canning tongs or regular kitchen tongs
  • Canning funnel (optional)
  • Clean kitchen towels or paper towels

Step-by-Step Guide:

  • Select Cucumbers: Choose fresh, firm cucumbers that are small to medium in size. Avoid overripe or soft cucumbers, as they may not hold up well during pickling.
  • Wash Cucumbers: Rinse the cucumbers thoroughly under cool water to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Prepare the Brine: In a large pot, combine 3 parts water and 1 part distilled white vinegar. For every 4 cups of brine, add 1/4 cup of pickling salt (or kosher salt). Bring the brine to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt.
  • Prepare the Jars: While the brine is heating, wash the pickling jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Rinse them well and keep them warm until ready to use. You can also sterilize the jars by boiling them in a canner or a large pot of water for about 10 minutes.
  • Add Flavorings (Optional): In each jar, add pickling spices, fresh dill, garlic cloves, and a grape or oak leaf (if using) for added flavor and crispness.
  • Pack the Cucumbers: Pack the cucumbers tightly into the prepared jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace at the top.
  • Pour the Hot Brine: Carefully ladle the hot brine into the jars, covering the cucumbers completely, leaving the 1/2 inch of headspace. Use a canning funnel if available to avoid spillage.
  • Remove Air Bubbles: After filling the jars, use a non-metallic utensil (like a chopstick or plastic spatula) to remove any air bubbles trapped in the jar.
  • Seal the Jars: Wipe the jar rims clean with a damp cloth or paper towel to ensure a proper seal. Place the lids on the jars and screw the bands on until they are fingertip tight.
  • Process the Jars (Optional): If you want to store the pickles at room temperature for a longer shelf life, process the jars in a boiling water canner. Submerge the jars in boiling water for the recommended processing time (varies depending on your altitude and the jar size). Refer to canning guidelines for specific processing times.
  • Cool and Store: Once the jars are processed (if applicable) or if you plan to store them in the refrigerator, allow the jars to cool at room temperature. As the jars cool, you should hear a “ping” sound, indicating that the jars are sealing properly. After cooling, store the jars in a cool, dark place (for canned pickles) or in the refrigerator (for refrigerator pickles).
How to pickle cucumbers
How to pickle cucumbers

Note: Refrigerator pickles are ready to eat after a few days of pickling. For canned pickles, it’s best to wait a few weeks for the flavors to develop fully.

Enjoy your homemade pickles on sandwiches, burgers, or as a delightful snack! Remember to follow proper canning safety guidelines and store the pickles appropriately for food safety.

4. FAQs

What are pickled cucumbers, and how are they made?

Pickled cucumbers, also known as “pickles,” are cucumbers that have been preserved in a brine or vinegar solution. They are made by soaking cucumbers in a mixture of water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and spices.

What type of cucumbers are best for pickling?

The best cucumbers for pickling are typically small to medium-sized, firm, and have thin skins. Varieties like Kirby or Persian cucumbers work well for pickling due to their texture and flavor.

Can I pickle cucumbers without using vinegar?

While vinegar is a traditional pickling ingredient, you can also use lacto-fermentation to pickle cucumbers. This involves using a brine of water and salt, which naturally ferments the cucumbers.

How long does it take to pickle cucumbers?

The time required to pickle cucumbers depends on the method used. Quick pickles can be ready within a few hours, while traditional fermented pickles may take several weeks.

How should I store pickled cucumbers?

Store pickled cucumbers in the refrigerator in a sealed container. Fermented pickles can last for several months when properly refrigerated.

>>> See more: How to cook steak in a soft pan as delicious as a restaurant

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Isabella Taylor

Hello, My name is Isabella Reagan. I’m a content Writer.

One Comment

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