Dill Pickle Recipe

Dill Pickle Recipe: Made In A Crock

Did you know dill pickles were supposed to taste this good? I didn’t until the year I decided to try this old-fashioned way of making pickles from the multitude of baby cukes coming up in the garden.

Making dill pickles in a crock look like this.

My family loves pickles, but refuses to eat the store-bought version. They’re happy to simply go without if there aren’t any home made, crock dill pickles in the house!

So every year I set aside a large plot in the garden to grow pickling cucumbers. I grow them just 3" or under, collect them from the garden daily and throw them into the crock with the rest of the ingredients from my dill pickle recipe. This ensures that the pickles will all be the same size and consistency. And they taste incredible.

This recipe makes 6 pints of delicious baby dills. If you think you’ll have more, or if you need to make more, simply double or triple the recipe as required.

You’ll also need a pottery crock to make these. Or a very large glass jar kept in the dark while the pickle recipe brines the cucumbers.

Dill Pickle Recipe


  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt (coarse)
  • 1 gallon pickling cucumbers 2-3" in length
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 6 fresh dill heads or sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 2 small hot peppers (fresh or dried)
  • 1 cup white pickling vinegar


  1. Prepare The Cucumbers: Scrub and drain cucumbers removing blossom end (this end contains enzymes which can cause your pickles to be soft or, at worst, rot).
  2. Prepare The Solution: Place water, vinegar and salt into crock, stirring to dissolve salt. Add remaining ingredients. Place a weighted plate in the solution to keep cucumbers immersed. Cover crock with a tight fitting plastic bag or plastic wrap.
  3. Waiting: Keep the crock in an area where the temperature is about 68 degrees F. Check the contents daily and remove any floating scum. Do this for 7 days.
  4. Then Can: Strain spices out of the brine and boil brine for 5 minutes. Immerse glass mason jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. If using self-sealing lids boil these as well for 5 minutes.
  5. Into hot (now sterilized) jars distribute fresh spices and the cucumbers from the crock. Pour in the hot brine to within 1/2" of jar top.
  6. Wipe jar rim before securing lids.
  7. Process jars in a hot water bath for 5 minutes.

Shelf Life of Dill Pickles

Store jars in a cool, dark place and let set for 1 week before opening. Consume within 12 months.

Grow Your Own Dill for Best Results

Dill grows easily in your garden and requires next to no care. Grab a pack of seeds from your local garden center or home store and toss them into garden soil about 1/4 inch from the surface. Water well to start. Grow other fresh herbs too as they’re fun to cook with and easy to grow.

The dill plant seems to be ready when you are. Even in our short growing season I’ve never been at a loss for ready to use dill when it’s time to pickle.

If you have any left over dill in the garden, pull it out by the roots and hang it upside down to dry (more flavor comes to the head of the plant by doing so).

About Laura Childs

Country Living enthusiast Laura Childs was a downtown city girl for many years before heading to the hills to live a sustainable lifestyle, raise her daughter, get back to the land, and learn the time tested traditions of a simpler era.

Throughout her farm life adventures of raising animals, working from home, home schooling her daughter, and being more green, Laura Childs has been sharing on the GoodByeCityLife website through articles and personal musings since 1998.

Connect with Laura Childs


  1. mila tellez says:

    I just did your recipe and my canned pickles all are very cloudy from the brine. Is this normal? i canned them last night and they are still cloudy and not clear this morning. I thought they would clear up over night but they didn’t.

  2. In reply to mila tellez.

    Hi Mila!

    Hard to say since I wasn’t there with you and can’t really see the pickles, but I do remember one year mine were cloudy when I canned them. It settled in a few days to the bottom of the jar. As long as you removed the 1/4″ end and boiled the brine (and all other instructions) you should find that they settle soon.

    Cheers, Laura

  3. help me 3rd year my crook pickles came out soft the flavor is there my brine is water vinegar dill garlic i put in crook add weight to plate to keep them submerged is it too much weight or should i add a chemical to make them chrispy im lost

  4. Roger A rbogast says:

    rich, my brother just told me today as I am going to make crock pickles, he had that problem and some one told him to give the pickles a ice water bath for a half hour before putting in crock for crispness. let me know how it worked. good luck, arbo

  5. If you can get a hold of a few grape leaves which contain tannin naturally, place these at the bottom of your crock. This will keep them crisp. The other tip is to start with fresh cukes. I like to place them in large baggies of ice water in the fridge for 2 days before I put them in the crock for fermentation.

  6. M Mitchell says:

    It isn’t clear if you use a new set of spices (fresh spices) in step 5 or the fresh spices that you speak of are the ones that you have strained out of the brine before you boil it for 5 minutes

  7. M Mitchell, my apologies. Sometimes I write these things down for myself and then forget that the whole world is going to see them. By “fresh”, yes I do mean “new”. I’m not sure how the old spices and dill could ever be considered “fresh” as they are limp and soggy at that point.

    Also I’m not sure what causes a pickle to be soggy. I’ve been making them this way for over 13 years and never had a soggy batch. The cukes come right from the garden, get their blossom ends scrubbed or cut off and into the crock they go. No chilling, no tannin, no extra chemicals.

    Finally…you need a pickling vinegar. This is not the average white distilled vinegar that is probably in your cupboard right now. The pickling vinegar has a higher % than standard.

    Hoping these notes help, Laura

    Could it be that I am in Canada and I pick my cukes in the morning. The dew is still on the plants (which means a high water content in the vegetables) and I always use a stoneware crock or a big glass jar.

  8. My daughter made these cukes. On the outside of the crock there is a brownish salt like residue. I something wrong with the crock or is it temperature?
    The brine seems to be Ok

  9. In reply to Doris.

    Hi Doris!

    It is hard to say what caused that without seeing it. My first guess would be that you live by the sea and there is a high salt content in the air (as it is on the outside of the crock). However, not knowing your crock…is it a standard pickling crock, sand colored on the outside, dark brown on the inside…it could be the crock is pourous and the salt is leeching through the crock wall. Another guess would be that the water used in the brine had a high mineral content. Either way, if the brine seems okay and the pickles are delicious there is very little that can go wrong with this recipe. The pickles should be crisp and flavorful.

    On a side note I don’t worry too much about the temperature. The coolest spot in my house, also the darkest spot, is where I cure my pickles every year. When I lived in Toronto and visited the St. Lawrence Food Market every weekend there was a seller with a massive crock (4′ high) on the main floor of the market – he cured his cucumbers this same way in all types of temperatures and weather and they were awesome.

  10. Edward Biter says:


    I have been crocking pickles the same way for several years now. At the same time, I add cukes, water, vinegar, dill, garlic and peppercorns in a 5 gallon crock. After weighting down the cukes and covering the crock with cheesecloth, I leave them be for 2 weeks until I remove them. It probably isn’t necessary, but I quickly wash the brined cukes in water, slice them into spears and put in clean jars using a new brine mixture that duplicates the original. Then, imediately into refrigeration where they stay their whole life. My pickles have always been great. Is there anything in my process that could be dangerous. Almost every recipe that I see now mentions the “hot boiling water” part of the process.

  11. Ms. Childs,

    When you say “use pickling spices” I am assuming they are the ones with cloves, mustard seed, black peppercorns, dill seed, cardamom, cassia, ginger, coriander, allspice, chili pepper, & bay leaves (Ball mixed pickling spices). Is this the mix you want us to use? I ask because I can only find sporadic things for canning in our area. I have never tried crock pickling before & it seems like something I might like to try.

  12. In reply to Linda.

    Yes, the pickling spice mixture. But you can use your own in whatever ratio you choose. These are just for an added level of flavor and as such can be blended to taste.

  13. In reply to Preston Boomstra.

    I don’t know about ‘forever’ but I personally wouldn’t hesitate to leave them in the crock (as long as the room was moderately cool) for 4 months. I can mine as I like to put projects away – up on the shelf – and not have to maintain or watch crocks and contents.

  14. jerry dorfman says:

    We have had some kirbys soaking in a pickeling brine since Aug 29th. We notice that floating on top of the brine, there is a white residue present that we are wondering about. Is it a warning that the batch has failed and needs discarding or just a process of the pickeling?

  15. mary determan says:

    Laura, I have been making crock pickles for years simply because they are soooo tasty. I do grow my own dill or purchase at farmers market. I wanted to share with you something that you don’t mention and you should try it. to keep the pickles crisp try using grape leaves. I layer the grape leaves, dill and pickles in a fairly large crock along with the salt and seasoning. I swear by it, you should try it.

  16. Preston Boomstra says:

    Can I leave my new dill pickles in the brine in the crock forever? Until they’re gone? I did that with some sweet pickles I made last year. Or, must I ‘can’ the dills using a hot water process? Just picked up a few pickles to dill this evening. Thanks.

  17. This will be the first year making crock brine pickles. Typically when making jarred pickles I like to add carrots and beans. Do you or anyone else know whether that will create any fermentation problems???

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