Mastering Kosher Garlic Dill Pickles: Tradition & Recipe Tips

Imagine biting into a crisp, tangy kosher garlic dill pickle, its flavors bursting with a perfect balance of garlic and dill. Originating from the traditional Jewish cuisine, these pickles are not just a side dish but a cultural artifact, preserved through generations. They’re made using a simple, time-honored process that involves fermenting cucumbers in a brine of water, kosher salt, dill, and garlic.

This beloved pickle variant stands out for its use of specific ingredients that adhere to kosher dietary laws, making it a staple in many Jewish households, especially during festive occasions. Whether you’re looking to recreate a taste of your childhood or simply want to try your hand at pickling, mastering the art of making kosher garlic dill pickles can add a delightful touch to your culinary repertoire. Let’s dive into the world of pickling where each crunchy bite tells a story of tradition and flavor.


To recreate the cherished flavors of these kosher garlic dill pickles, you’ll need a combination of fresh and simple ingredients, carefully chosen to adhere to kosher dietary laws.

Pickling Cucumbers

  • 2 pounds of fresh pickling cucumbers (also known as Kirby cucumbers), washed and dried

Fresh Dill

  • 1 large bunch of fresh dill, thoroughly washed or a couple of dill heads


  • 6 to 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and gently crushed

Pickling Spices

  • 1 tablespoon of mixed pickling spices (typically includes mustard seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and maybe a few allspice berries or a bay leaf)

Vinegar and Water Mixture

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar (ensure it is at least 5% acidity for preservation)
  • 3 tablespoons of kosher salt (ensure it is non-iodized as iodine can turn pickles dark and alter their flavor)

Required Tools and Equipment

To ensure your success in making kosher garlic dill pickles, having the right tools and equipment is crucial. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

Canning Jars

You’ll require several canning jars, specifically quart-sized, to store your pickles. Ensure the jars are made of glass and come with airtight sealing lids to perfectly preserve the flavor and crunch of your pickles. Sterilize them thoroughly before use to eliminate any bacteria that could spoil your pickle batch.

Large Pot

A large pot is essential for preparing the brine and sterilizing your canning jars. It should be large enough to hold multiple jars and have enough space to cover them completely with water. A stainless steel pot is ideal as it does not react with the salty or acidic components of the brine.


Tongs are necessary to handle the ingredients like cucumbers and garlic while preparing them for the jars. Opt for stainless steel tongs that can withstand the heat when sterilizing and are easy to clean.


A funnel will help you pour the brine into the jars without spilling. Choose a funnel with a wide mouth to ensure it fits well into the mouth of your canning jars, making the process cleaner and more efficient.

Jar Lifter

Finally, a jar lifter is indispensable for safely removing the hot jars from the boiling water after sterilization. This tool ensures you can grip and lift the jars securely without risking burns or slipping.

Prep Work

Before diving into the heart of pickling, you must prepare your ingredients and equipment. This ensures everything is ready and safe for use, allowing the process to run smoothly.

Cleaning the Cucumbers

Start by selecting fresh, crisp pickling cucumbers. Ensure they are free from bruises and blemishes for the best results. Wash the cucumbers under cold running water, scrubbing gently with a soft brush to remove any dirt or residues that may be on the skins. This step is crucial as it prevents any unwanted bacteria from contaminating your pickles. Once washed, pat the cucumbers dry with a clean towel, and set them aside on a clean surface.

Sterilizing the Jars

Sterilization is key to preventing microbial growth in your pickles. Begin by washing the canning jars, lids, and rings with hot, soapy water. Rinse them thoroughly to remove any soap residue. Next, to sterilize the jars, submerge them in a large pot of water, ensuring they are completely covered. Bring the water to a boil and let it boil for at least 10 minutes. Use a jar lifter to carefully remove the hot jars, handling them by the neck to avoid contamination. Place them on a clean, dry surface to air dry. Make sure the jars are completely dry and still warm before you start filling them with cucumbers and brine.

Pickling Brine Preparation

Now that you’ve prepped your cucumbers and jars, let’s move on to preparing the all-important brine that will inject your pickles with their classic tart and garlicky flavor.

Mixing the Ingredients

Start by gathering all your brine ingredients. You’ll need:

  • Water: 1 gallon
  • Vinegar: 3 cups (use white vinegar for a clean, sharp taste)
  • Kosher salt: 1 cup (ensure it’s non-iodized as iodine can turn pickles dark and alter their taste)
  • Pickling spices: 2 tablespoons (these typically include mustard seed, black peppercorns, coriander, and a bay leaf)
  • Fresh dill: 1 large bunch (don’t skimp here—the dill is a star player in flavor)
  • Garlic: 8-10 cloves, peeled and smashed (adjust according to how garlicky you like your pickles)

Combine the water, vinegar, kosher salt, pickling spices, dill, and garlic in a large cooking pot. Make sure the water is cold before you start adding the other ingredients, as this will ensure that the flavors meld together well.

Heating the Brine

Place your pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the salt dissolves completely. The aromas of dill and garlic will start to fill your kitchen, signaling that your brine is on the right track.

Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to infuse deeply into the liquid. This simmering process is crucial—it’s where the magic happens, and your brine becomes a flavorful bath ready to transform plain cucumbers into crisp, tantalizing kosher garlic dill pickles.

After simmering, turn off the heat and let the brine cool slightly. It’s best to use the brine while still warm to ensure the cucumbers pickle properly, achieving the perfect balance of crunchy and tangy.

Packing the Jars

Now that your brine is fragrantly simmering and the cucumbers are ready, let’s get to the exciting part: packing the jars. This step is crucial for ensuring your pickles are perfectly flavored and crisply preserved.

Layering the Spices and Dill

Start by sterilizing your canning jars to prevent any bacteria from affecting the pickling process. Once done, begin the jar preparation by adding a generous teaspoon of pickling spices to the bottom of each jar. Next, layer several sprigs of fresh dill over the spices. This base layer is essential, as it provides the foundational flavors that will infuse into the cucumbers.

Adding the Cucumbers

Carefully place your cucumbers into the jars. Pack them vertically, and tight enough to prevent excessive movement but not so tight that they are crushed. The arrangement of cucumbers should allow for the brine to circulate freely, ensuring each cucumber is evenly seasoned and pickled.

Pouring the Brine

Finally, pour the slightly cooled pickling brine into the jars, covering the cucumbers completely. The brine should reach just about 1/2 inch below the rim of the jar to allow for expanding when they ferment. After pouring, tap the jars gently on your countertop to remove any air bubbles trapped in the jar. This step ensures that the pickles ferment evenly and helps in maintaining the overall texture and flavor of the pickles.

Sealing and Storing

Once your jars are filled with brine and cucumbers, it’s time to secure everything for the fermentation process.

Sealing the Jars

Ensure each jar is wiped clean around the rim to remove any brine or spices that might prevent a secure seal. Place the sterilized lids on each jar, screwing on the bands until they are fingertip tight. This allows air to escape during the fermentation process, which is essential for developing the perfect kosher garlic dill pickles. Do not overly tighten as this can interfere with the necessary gas exchange.

Cooling and Storing

After sealing, let the jars cool to room temperature, which typically takes about two hours. Once cooled, check to ensure each lid has sealed properly by pressing down in the center. If the lid does not pop back, it’s sealed correctly. Store your jars in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cellar, to allow the flavors to develop. The optimal fermentation period is usually between six weeks to two months before opening. Ensure the storage area’s temperature is consistently below 75°F to maintain the best quality of your pickles.


So there you have it—you’re now well-versed in the art of making kosher garlic dill pickles! Whether you’re aiming to add a tangy twist to your meals or want to dive into a rewarding DIY project these pickles are a perfect choice. Remember patience is key as those cucumbers transform into crunchy delicious delights. Happy pickling and enjoy the fruits of your labor with every crispy savory bite!

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