No-vinegar Dill Pickles

"Posted in response to a request for dill pickles made without vinegar. This recipe is per quart; make as many quarts as you like. These are excellent, and very easy to make. The hardest part about making pickles is scrubbing the cucumbers, and I'm not kidding. I prefer fairly small pickling cucumbers, and pay a premium to get them. Dump them in a sink, cover with cold water, then start fishing them out and scrubbing them THOROUGHLY with a soft brush. Get every bit of grit and dried-out cucumber blossom off of them, or they will not taste so good. When you have scrubbed every last blessed cucumber, rinse them again. Now you are ready to start - or maybe two-thirds done."
photo by Jenny Sanders photo by Jenny Sanders
photo by Jenny Sanders
Ready In:
1008hrs 30mins
1 quart


  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices
  • 1 clove garlic (optional)
  • 1 quart fresh small pickling cucumber
  • 1 -2 head of fresh green dill seed
  • filtered water, at room temperature


  • Put the quart jar (s) in a large pot, cover and bring to a boil.
  • Boil them for 10 minutes.
  • Remove and empty them.
  • Put the salt, spices and garlic in the bottom of a sterilized quart jar.
  • The amount listed is for one jar.
  • Add a little water to dissolve the salt.
  • Pack- I say PACK!
  • -with cucumbers and a couple heads of dill, as tightly as possible, without breaking the cucumbers.
  • Leave a little headroom.
  • Fill up with water, leaving 1" headroom at the top.
  • Cap lightly for 24 hours, then tighten and store for 6 weeks in a cool dark place.
  • Use sterilized lids and rings to cap.
  • (Boil both for 5 minutes.).
  • Place on newspaper in case they leak while fermenting.
  • Store in a cool dark spot- a basement is ideal.
  • I make these every year for fear that my father might disown me if I failed to make him 6 or 8 jars for his Christmas present.

Questions & Replies

  1. I have made this recipe for a few years. Usually, the jars fizz and the lids self-suction to make a seal, usually within the first day or two. This time, no fizzing and several jars' lids are still popping up; they didn't seal. It's now been a week. What did I do wrong? Do I need to toss the unsealed ones?
  2. How long before they are ready. I have them in a dark place and tasted them after 4 days and they don't taste very nice and are soft (I used firm cucumbers) ?
  3. Can this recipe be done as a refrigerator pickle?
  4. Can I cut the cucumbers? Mine are huge and I would like to pack the jars full!


  1. I have not tried this recipe yet. I would like to share my tip for cleaning cucumbers. I use a sponge designed for non-stick cookware. When wet they curve around the cukes nicely and are just right for washing away all those pesky little pricklys. CAA
  2. Excellent recipe! It is really important to use crispy cucumbers--I used a couple that were a little soft and they were mushy in the finished product so follow the recipe and use only your best cucumbers. Thanks!
  3. If you have trouble with bowed metal lids like Stan1223 you need to find glass lids. We have been making these pickles for 40 years. The white sediment on the bottom has always been normal. In fact this is a byproduct of the fermentation. We did have problems with bowed "metal" lids as these were readily available. Some jars were sealed using the OLD glass lids and rubber rings on medium mouth jars. We have never had a jar spoil using the glass lids. We now use "only" glass lids for our no vinegar pickles and have great success. We do 48 quarts each year and they are stored in a root cellar without any hot water canning process. They last an entire year until the new cucumbers come into season. Some jars actually fizz like soda pop when first opened. These I consider the best and still enjoy a glass of pickle juice.<br/> I do not know if you can buy these glass lids anymore, we keep our eyes open at garage sales and also if some older folk decide that they are not canning anymore and want to give away their jars.
  4. Great tasting pickles. Wish I had made more! These are very similar to the 'salt dills' that are a favorite with several family members and are on the request list each year. The tablespoon of pickling spice is more then in my recipe and found it made for a nice touch! I used garlic and of course the fresh dill. I was very impressed with your instructions. I highly recommend this recipe for the making of delicious dills. Thank you Jenny.
  5. I used to make lots of dill pickles and in the washer they would go,I would stop it just before the spin. It sure saved a lot of work.


I love to garden, both perennials and vegetables. I am always looking for recipes to fiddle with, especially good simple vegetable dishes. I try to use organic ingredients as much as possible.
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