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Homemade Dill Pickles

July 18, 2022

We’re putting a spin on the phrase “as cool as a cucumber” with these crunchy, tangy, homemade dill pickles.


a large jar of homemade dill pickles next to two small jars of homemade pickles stacked on top of each other on the counter
Photography by Gayle McLeod

The Best Homemade Pickles You’ll Ever Make

We love pickling! Especially, when it means we get to enjoy a crunchy bite of a homemade pickle. And you should, too! It’s rewarding and a surefire way to use your abundant summer harvest of cucumbers you’ve picked up at your local farmers market – or grown yourself! You’ll be glad to say goodbye to buying jars of pickles from the grocery store once you’ve tasted these crispy, refreshing, and dill-filled, homemade pickles. In fact, we think these easy-to-make dill pickles will be your new favorite summertime recipe. Pop off the lid and grab one (or two!) for a zesty snack. Making multiple jars at a time ensures that on the hottest summer days when you don’t feel like cooking in the kitchen, you’ll have the quickest addition to any backyard BBQ dish.

sweet onion, cucumbers, dill, garlic, mustard seed, peppercorn, white vinegar, distilled water sugar and salt on the counter

What Type of Cucumber Makes the Best Pickle?

If you’re wondering what makes a good pickle, the answer is selecting the right cucumber! While this task may seem daunting at first – we’re here to break it down for you! The bread and butter of selecting cucumbers consists of knowing the two varieties: slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers. Slicing cucumbers are the most common - such as English cucumbers - and have thinner skin and are not as crunchy. These are great for salads, such as in our easy cucumber salad recipe. Pickling cucumbers have thicker skin, are a bit shorter, and contribute a crunch and snap to your perfect homemade pickle! Look for varieties such as Kirby - sometimes even known as the pickling cucumber - or Boston Pickling. Make sure you choose cucumbers that will fit in your jar if you decide to pickle spears, but for these easy dill pickles we will be slicing them into rounds.

sliced sweet onion and sliced cucumbers in a jar surrounded by bowls of sliced onions, cucumbers, garlic and dill

How Long Does It Take To Turn A Cucumber Into A Pickle

With this easy homemade refrigerator pickle recipe, in about 24 hours you’ll have the perfect, tangy pickle. The best part? They’ll keep for about 4 weeks, but we doubt they’ll last that long. You’ll find traditional canned pickles take much longer, but with our quick pickling recipe, in half the time you’ll have the same delicious flavor!

mustard seeds and peppercorns being crushed in a mortar and pestle
water being poured into a sauce pan with crushed mustard seeds, peppercorns, vinegar, sugar and salt

Is Pickle Juice Just Vinegar?

For a quick answer to your question, no. But picking does require vinegar! Enter, brine. A brine is a basic mixture of vinegar, salt, and sugar. Most of the time, spices are added to zest up the flavor, as seen here in our homemade pickle recipe. Making a brine is required for pickling and beautifully preserves the cucumbers, attributing to the flavor and the bite. But what type of vinegar is best for pickling? For our homemade pickles, which use a quick pickling method thanks to the refrigerator, we use good, old-fashioned, distilled white vinegar. This common pickling vinegar is mellow and one-noted. It adjusts the acid level of the brine without the addition of too many complex flavors or colors, keeping your pickles tangy and bright. Other choices for vinegar include apple cider vinegar which has a more distinct flavor and color. You can learn more about all the different types of vinegar through our Pantry Essentials Guide to Vinegars.

homemade brine being poured into a jar full of sliced onions, cucumbers, dill and garlic to make homemade dill pickles

How to Make Homemade Dill Pickles

  1. Select the Perfect Pickle! For the best homemade pickles, make sure you ask your local grocer (or farmers market!) for a specific type of pickling pickle such as Kirby or Boston. If you grew them yourself, even better!

  2. Slice your Sweet Onions and Cucumbers! Adding thinly sliced onions to your pickles is basically a 2 for 1! You can use the onions on burgers, salads, and more for the perfect bite. When slicing your cucumbers, be sure to cut them into 1/4 inch thick, even rounds.

  3. Crush your Spices! Using a mortar and pestle to crush fresh spices will elevate your pickle game and give these homemade pickles a burst of flavor.

  4. Make Your Brine! Combine the salt, sugar, distilled white vinegar, and spices together to create a flavorful brine for your soon-to-be pickles.

  5. Pack and Relax! Once your pickles are packed to brim and sealed with a tight-fitting lid, sit back and let the refrigerator do the work! We know it’s hard to wait, but in 24 hours you’ll have perfect pickles.

a large jar of homemade dill pickles next to two small jars of homemade pickles stacked on top of each other on the counter

Tools You’ll Need To Make The Best Homemade Pickle Recipe

Recipes To Make With Your Homemade Dill Pickles

These pickles are amazing on their own but also add a crunchy cool umph to any meal. Some of our favorite pairings include:

But, if you love pickling as much as we do, you can also try your hand at making these fun variations too:

a fork scooping scooping a sliced pickled out of a jar of homemade dill pickles

These are a Pretty Big Dill!

Snap a photo or maybe even a video of your freshly made Homemade Dill Pickles! Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

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Homemade Dill Pickles

  • Serves: 10
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  5 min
  • Calories: 24


  • ¼ sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ pounds pickling cucumbers, washed, cut into ¼ inch-thick rounds (about 7-8 cucumbers)
  • 1 big bunch of fresh dill
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 quart size Mason jars with lid (or other heat proof containers with tight fitting lid)


  1. Divide the sliced onion between mason jars. Pack cucumbers in jars. Top each jar with half of the dill and 2 garlic cloves each.

  2. Using a mortar and pestle (or resealable plastic bag and mallet) crush the mustard seeds and peppercorns together.

  3. Place the crushed spices in a saucepan along with vinegar, water, sugar and salt.

  4. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. When sugar is dissolved, ladle mixture evenly over cucumbers. Taking care to evenly disperse the seeds and peppercorns among each jar. Make sure all your cucumbers are completely covered in liquid.

  5. Leave uncovered on the counter for 30 mins. After the brine has had a chance to cool, cover the jars with tight fitting lids, and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Can be stored in the refrigerator, with a tight fitting lid for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories24
  • Protein0 g
  • Carbohydrates5 g
  • Total Fat0 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium358 mg
  • Total Sugars3 g

Homemade Dill Pickles

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Laura

    Can you use ground mustard instead of mustard seed?

    That should work ok! Thanks Laura!

  • Patti

    Can you omit the sugar?

    Yes, you most definitely can.

  • Krystal

    We loved these, however they were a little too vinegary for my daughter. Would it be okay to do 1 c vinegar and add more water?

    Yes of course! You can also use apple cider vinegar for a hint more sweetness. Enjoy.

  • Jenn

    These were very simple and so good. The whole family loved them!

    Thanks Jenn, glad you enjoyed them!