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Dill Pickles Homemade Recipe

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Do you love dill pickles as much as I do?   After canning our own for a couple of years now, it’s really hard to eat one that is commercially made.

Summer is coming, which means backyard barbecues, and nothing goes better with a cookout than a great big jar of dill pickles. They are not only great by themselves as a snack but also a fantastic side to potato salad, burgers, chicken, and more.

Dill Pickles Homemade Recipe

Makes –  4 Quarts or 8 Pints


  • 12 lbs 4-6 inch cucumbers
  • 3/4 cup sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Canning Salt (see note at the bottom)
  • 1 quart 5% white vinegar
  • 1 quart of water
  • 4 Tbsp.  spoons Pickling Spice (see my recipe below)
  • Green Dill Heads (one per jar) 

Dill Pickle Spice Recipe

3 jars of fresh canned dill pickles. Make homemade dill pickles with text overlay that reads How to Can Homemade Dill Pickles

Mix Together:

  • 2 Tbls Whole Pepper Corns
  • 2 Tbls Mustard Seed (yellow)
  • 1 Tbls Allspice
  • 2 Tbls Coriander
  • 2 Tbls Dill Seed
  • 8 Bay Leaves

Once all this is mixed, just set it aside.

Processing Cucumbers

Begin by washing cucumbers in cold water and cutting about a one-sixteenth (1/16) inch off the ends, just enough to remove the blossom mark.  Let them drain.  Once well-drained, cut cucumbers into long slices and set them aside.

I choose long slices because the smaller you cut the cucumber, the softer it becomes when processing.  You may cut them into round slices if you choose.   Experiment and try both.  (See note at the bottom)

Sliced cucumbers laying on a white cutting board with a knife getting them ready for canning dill pickles
Sliced Cucumbers for canning Dill Pickles

Place canning jars into a large saucepan of water and bring a high heat in order to sterilize them.

2- 1 quart mason jars in a pan of hot water for sterilizing
Canning Jars being Sterilized in Boiling Water

RELATED: Use “The Complete Beginners Guide To Home Canning” and get comfortable with home canning.

Cooking Ingredients

Meanwhile, combine together sugar, salt, vinegar, and water into a large saucepan over medium-high and bring to a boil.   Stir until sugar is dissolved, and reduce heat to simmer.  Add in the pickle spice mixture and continue to simmer.

Remove jars from boiling water and place a large dill head into each jar.

Filling Canning Jars

Pack sliced cucumbers tightly into the canning jar, avoiding any large empty space leaving a one-quarter (1/4) inch head space.

Sliced cucumbers packed into quart jars for making dill pickles
Sliced Cucumbers Packed for Dill Pickles

Using a large ladle, fill jars with hot vinegar sugar/salt liquid leaving a half-inch (1/2) head space.  Remove air bubbles, wipe the jar rim with a clean, dry cloth, and put on a new lid and band.

Great news!  Planning on eating them quickly?  Just place them into the fridge, and allow them to “sit” for 2-3 weeks before eating.  You’re all done!

Refrigerator pickles will keep for about 2 months tops.  If you plan to store them longer, you will need to process them.  Here’s how:

Dill Pickles in a Jar. How to Can Dill Pickles. Hidden Springs Homestead

Processing Cucumbers for Making Dill Pickles

Place jars of sliced cucumbers into a water-bath canner on the rack.  Lower the rack into the canner and fill with water to about 1 inch above the jar lids.  Need help? Take a look at my canning guide here   I would also highly recommend the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving if you are new to canning, in addition to my canning guide.

Place the lid on the canner over medium-high heat, and bring to a rolling boil.  Process pints and quarts for 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat, and gently remove the lid – AWAY from you, to prevent steam from hitting your arm and face.

Let jars sit, in the canner, uncovered for about 15-20 minutes.

Using a jar lifter, remove jars from hot water and place them on a towel or cloth on the counter.  (Note: If hot jars are placed directly onto a cold surface, tile, marble, stone, Formica, etc you chance the drastic temperature change of breaking the jar)

Resisting the temptation to tighten bands, leave them as they are and let jars sit undisturbed for 12 hours.

Label, date, and store.

People Have Asked

How Long Can I Store Pickles After Canning?

Homemade canned pickles can be safely stored for years, actually.  The flavor can change over time.  For more information on storing homemade dill pickles, take a look at this article from Food in Jars here.

Tips and Notes:

I Don’t Use Crisping Agents

Pickling Crisp agents.  I can remember my mom using it when I was growing up at home.  I’m not comfortable using it.  It’s made of calcium chloride (not a natural ingredient).   We grow an organic garden here on our homestead and try to eat as clean as possible.  I do my best to provide my family with safe, chemical-free foods to eat.

Please let this be your choice if you would like to use it.  If you want to learn more about it, look at this article from Live Strong.  They have done some pretty in-depth studies.

Note about Salt

Canning salt is different from table salt.  Canning salt doesn’t contain the additives that table salt does.  The additives can discolor your pickles.  I use Ms. Wages canning salt available here.  Regular table salt can turn your pickles dark, and the water can become cloudy. Do not use Kosher salt; it is a completely different salt.

More Water Bath Canning Recipes

Yield: 8 pints or 4 quarts

Dill Pickles - Homemade Recipe

2 jars homemade dill pickles on a table

You'll love these crunchy homemade dill pickles. Make either simple refrigerator pickles or process them for long term shelf life.

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 12 lbs  4-6 inch cucumbers
  • 3/4 cup sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Canning Salt
  • 1 quart 5% white vinegar
  • 1 quart of water
  • Green Dill Heads (one per jar)

Dill Pickle Spice Recipe

  • 2 TBL Whole Pepper Corns
  • 2 TBL Mustard Seed (yellow)
  • 1 TBL Allspice
  • 2 TBL Coriander
  • 2 TBL Dill Seed
  • 8 Bay Leaves


Prepping Cucumbers:

1) Wash cucumbers in cold water and cutting a off ends. Let drain and slice cucumbers into long slices and set aside.

2) Sterilize canning jars.

3) Meanwhile, combine sugar, salt, vinegar and water into large saucepan bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved, reduce heat to simmer.  Add in pickle spice mixture and continue to simmer.

4) Stir in pickle spice and allow to simmer 15 minutes.

5) Carefully remove sterile jars from water, set on a towel on counter, and place large dill head into each jar.

Filling Jars:

1) Pack sliced cucumbers "tightly" into canning jars. Avoiding any large empty space in the jar, leaving a ¼ inch head-space.

2) With a large ladle, fill jars with hot vinegar sugar/salt solution making sure to add floating spices to the jar. Leave a ½ head space. 

3) Remove air bubbles, wipe jar rim with a clean damp cloth and put on lid and band finger-tight.


Canning Pickles: (Long Shelf Life)

1) Place filled jars into water-bath canner rack. 

2) Lower rack into hot simmering water making sure to fill to 1 inch above jar lids. 

3) Cook on medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil.  Process both pints and quarts for 15 minutes. 

4) Turn off and remove cover carefully, lifting away from you. Lift rack and let jars cool 5 minutes.

5) Remove from rack, place on counter and allow to cool for 12 hours. (Don't tighten lids)

6) Label and store.


Processing is not necessary for refrigerator pickles. Fill jars and leave sitting on counter for 24 hrs before eating. Store in refrigerator.

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52 thoughts on “Dill Pickles Homemade Recipe”

  1. Hi,
    I’m new to canning but i have used this recipe twice this year. Once with sugar and once with out. My kids didn’t care for the ones with sugar they thought they were too sweet and they were also very mushy. I thought maybe this was because I sliced them instead of making Spears and they were just too thin. The second time around I did Spears the flavor profile is on point they’re delicious but they’re still mushy. Any advice? I followed your recipe to the tea minus the sugar.

    1. Hi Ashley,

      I’m sorry your pickles are mushy; however, there are a few reasons I can think of, so I’ll throw some thoughts your way.

      **Were your cucumbers large? Always choose the smallest cucumbers; they are crunchier and remain crunchy.

      **Did you preserve them AS SOON as you picked them? Cucumbers will soften while waiting to be canned. They should be processed and canned within a few hours after picking them up.

      **You could add some tannins to the jars when canning. These will help to keep pickles crunchy. Tannins are grape leaves, or oak leaves will work too. Just wash the leaves and put a couple in each jar before processing.

      **The variety of cucumbers also can make a difference. I use a pickling cucumber marked on the seed packet as a pickling cucumber. Several varieties don’t preserve well; a few popular ones are the Parisian or Marketmore.

      Beyond these thoughts, I can only think of them being processed too long. Possibly your stove is hotter than most? I use an electric stove. If you are preserving on a gas stove, that may be hotter.

      I hope this can help you figure it out. I’m happy to answer more questions and discuss this with you so we can figure this out to keep it from happening again.

  2. Can you substitute dry dill for fresh dill heads? If so, how much? I will be processing this batch in pints.

    1. Hi Judy,

      Great question! And yes, you can substitute dry dill. The average is one dill head (3-5″) sprig is about 1/4 teaspoon of dried dill. I looked it up, and the National Center for Home Food Preservation says for each quart, use 1-2 tablespoons of dill. So if you are processing pints, use 1/2 this amount. So, therefore, I would use one full tablespoon per pint jar minimum.

      I’ll be totally transparent, I dry dill for other recipes but have never used dry for making pickles. If you really like dill, as we do, I would even go with 1 1/4 tablespoon for that little extra punch.

  3. This is the third year in a row that I have used this recipe to make pickles. By far, it produces my family’s favorite. In making my pickles this year, I noticed you talk about the flavor changing over time. I just opened pickles from my original bath (3 years ago) and was blown away by the flavor. It is amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Crystal Boudreau

    If you want a natural pickle “crisp” ingredient Grape leaves have alum in them naturally and will make and keep pickles “crisp”

    1. Hi Sandra,

      I use whole Allspice. I love to see the spices floating around in the bottom of the jars – I think it is attractive. Yes! Pickling spice from the store is also optional. I have done this myself when in a crunch for time. Let me know how they turn out.

      Happy Canning,

      1. Thank you for your reply. Im excited to try this recipe! When making a recipe for the first time I make it as author wrote, then I tweak. So for my next batch I make, when using picking spice what amount would you suggest to use?

  5. My husband tried the leftovers that didn’t fit in the jars and said they are too salty to eat…. where did I go wrong. I used the same measurements.. simmered to long?

    1. Hi Courtney,

      The pickles need to sort of marinate for a few weeks after they are canned and give the cucumber time to absorb the solution. I’ve never tried them immediately, I would imagine the salt/sugar/spice mixture would be pretty strong. I’m sorry he had a bad experience. Let them set for a few weeks and then give them a try. I bet he will love them!

  6. Hello,
    Made this recipe for 10 jars. 2 Refridgerator method and 8 boiling method.
    I haven’t put the ones for the fridge in the fridge yet. How long until we can eat those? I was a bit confused from the 2 statements made above as they were different.
    Also, how long before you can eat the boiled ones?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Kathleen,

      Sorry you were confused. Both the refrigerator and boiled pickles need minimum 2-3 weeks before eating any of them. The longer they sit, the more the flavor will marinate.

      The boiled pickles can go on the shelf if the jar is sealed and last for a couple years sealed. If a seal did not seal, put them in frig to eat first. Same thing with the boiled ones, the longer you allow them to sit, they better they taste. So give them minimum 2-3 weeks as well before you open them. BUT – please take notice – the refrigerator pickles will only last a couple months total- so finish these 2 jars off BEFORE opening the boiled ones.

      Does this help? If not, let me know.


      1. yes, very helpful. Thank you! Can’t wait to enjoy them, but will wait. I’m sure it will be worth it.


  7. Hi Dianne,
    I am new to canning. I noticed that your recipe doesn’t call for soaking the cucumbers in a canning salt and icecubes method like many of the other recipes I’ve looked at.
    I’m assuming the reason you don’t soak your cucumbers in the canning salt and icecubes is because your method (spices etc.) allows for whatever process takes placein the icecubes method.

    Is this correct?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Gayle,

      The ice water and salt are said to make for a crispier pickle. I have tried this method a couple times and honestly I don’t notice a difference in the crispness. So I skip this step and this makes canning the pickles faster since they are not soaking for hours before. But by all means, try it both ways and decide which way your family prefers them.

      Happy Canning,

    1. Hi Angie,

      Yes, you can do this. I’m not sure how much to tell you to use. I’d make a note on the recipe you print and save it for next year. So you know if it is enough or maybe too much. Let me know how they turn out.


  8. Looking forward to trying these. I may be missing it, but don’t see the way to print the recipe only. Can you adjust this?

    1. Hi Linda,

      You’ll should find the printable version at the bottom of the post. Sorry about that, it was missing. You’ll love these!

      Thanks for asking,

  9. Hello tried this recipe but didn’t use the spices. Opened a jar after one week but it’s nit sweet at all. What can I do to spice it up! I have 10 jars.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Maria,

      It takes pickles about 4 weeks to cure after canning, but yours are not going to taste like the recipe since you didn’t use the spices. I don’t have any idea of what you can do with them now at this point. Let them sit for a few weeks to cure and then “hopefully you can grow to like the flavor better”. If not, then put them in the compost and try again. The spices are the main ingredient for getting the flavor of the dill pickles.

      When you are canning, it is EXTREMELY important to follow the recipe exactly as you could make yourself very sick otherwise. I hope it works out.

  10. This recipe is wonderful. I am a new farmer with a bunch of fall canning cukes coming off and I’m so glad I chose your receipe. I’ve broken it down to be able to do two pint jars at a time of spears since I planted just a few vines.

      1. Hi Daphne

        You can do only 2 pints by dividing each of the ingredients by 4. But keep the safety measures of simmering and such the same. These don’t change no matter the amount you are canning. You’ll love them – they are delicious!

        Happy Canning,

  11. What does the sugar do for the recipe? I love dill pickles, but hate sweet ones. Does it give it a sweet taste?

    1. Hi Rebekah,

      I don’t think the sugar makes them sweet. It helps to give them that “tart” and not “pucker-up-dill” taste. The dill alone is a bit bitter and it combined with the sugar makes a perfect “tart & dilly” pickle. Of course the sugar is optional. My family prefers the sugar, but yours may not. Maybe even cut the amount of sugar back.

      Happy Canning,

  12. Does the coriander and Mustard seed need to be fresh or can it be dried? I am assuming Dill seed should be fresh.

  13. Often my dill pickles get soft. I haven’t followed your recipe but a similar one from many years ago. Is it in the processing?

    1. Hello Juanita,

      I normally make enough pickles to last about 2 years. They are pretty crunchy for this amount of time, of course we have a couple extra jars every other year and they are ok. The texture is going to be a bit different from those purchased in the stores because they use different powders and sprays to keep the crispy longer. My recipe is made with just real food items and no preservatives. So it very well could be in the processing, I really don’t know. Sorry I’m no more help. Give them a try. They are crispy and delicious.

      Thanks for asking,

    1. Hi Susan,

      I’m so glad you are considering my recipe.

      No, I don’t crush them, I leave them whole. The bay leaf flavor simmers with the other spices. I use a ladle to pour the liquid into the jars. The recipe makes 4 quarts – so I’ll put 2 leaves in a quart or it makes 8 pints and pints get only one leaf. I manually make sure of this. Hope this helps. They are delicious.


    1. Hello,

      No I don’t crush them. I leave them whole. The recipe makes 4 quarts or 8 pints. So when using a ladle to pour hot spice vinegar liquid into jars, I make sure to separate the leaves. Quarts get 2 each and Pints gets 1 each. Hope this helps.

      Thanks for reading,


    1. Hi Michelle,

      Yes you can store the brine in the frig. It is a vinegar brine so it is safe to do this. When you use it though, it does need to be hot.

      Hope this helps,

  14. I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but bay leaves do act as a criping agent. They contain tannins similar to what grape leaves have, so you are crisping your pickles without using chemicals. Oak leaves also can be used, but I’ve read information about oak leaves leeching a toxin after soaking so I wouldn’t recommend them.

    1. Hi Delta,

      You can alter the amount of salt if choose, I would not advise it and here’s why: The recipe does use vinegar, this too helps with the preservation. But the salt is what makes the brine that helps to set the dill flavor in the pickles. Without enough salt flavor the vinegar will over power the dill and your pickles will taste more like vinegar.

      Hope this helps. I’d love to know how they turn out.
      Happy Canning,

      1. Don’t know where to leave a question so I thought this was the best spot to add it. We use Redmond real salt from Utah. It is an unrefined sea salt & the natural minerals are not stripped from it. We eat clean like you do. Do you think we could use this salt instead?

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