Fermented Kosher-Style Dill Pickles


These old-fashioned deli-style pickles are created entirely by fermentation without using vinegar. This fermented dill pickle recipe produces a quantity that fills a 1/2-gallon mason jar. If you like, add a few nontraditional chile de arbol peppers for their red visual appeal (and spiciness)!

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
5 mins
Additional Time:
2 days
Total Time:
2 days 20 mins
2 quarts


  • ½ gallon water

  • 2 pounds Kirby cucumbers

  • 1 cup tap water

  • cup kosher salt

  • 5 cloves fresh garlic, or more to taste

  • 1 bunch fresh dill, stems trimmed

  • 3 dried chile de arbol peppers


  1. Pour 1/2 gallon water into a large container or pot. Cover loosely and allow to sit for 24 hours to allow dissolved chlorine to escape.

  2. Crisp cucumbers by storing in the refrigerator or soaking in very cold water for 1 hour.

  3. Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add salt and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.

  4. Wash cucumbers in cold water and remove any blossoms clinging to them. Quarter large cucumbers lengthwise; cut medium cucumbers in half lengthwise; leave gherkin-sized cucumbers whole.

  5. Peel and gently crush garlic cloves, but don't splinter them into fragments.

  6. Pour cooled salt water into a 1/2-gallon mason jar. Add cucumbers, garlic, dill, and dried chile peppers, arranged attractively. Pack cucumbers tightly; they will shrink as they pickle. Fill the jar with dechlorinated water until cucumbers are just covered to avoid overly diluting brine.

  7. Loosely cover the jar and set it aside at room temperature; set the jar on a dish if it is full to catch any dribbles. Let sit undisturbed until fermentation begins, 12 to 24 hours.

  8. Refrigerate pickles in brine and loosely covered as they approach the pickling stage you prefer: new, half-sour, or sour. Don't overshoot the mark, as refrigeration slows but does not stop fermentation.

Cook's Notes:

Letting tap water sit for 24 hours removes the chlorine, which inhibits fermentation.

Ideally, choose small cucumbers of a similar shape and size.

Fermentation results are more variable than those of any other food preparation method. They can be affected by the ratios of salt to water, brine to cucumbers, cucumber size, cucumber quality (freshness, growing conditions, weather, cultivar/variety, etc.), ambient temperatures during fermentation, and the mysterious behavior of lactobacilli. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Pickles are fickle!

Try to keep the cukes immersed in the brine. Submerge, rotate, or upend the top pickles daily, as needed.

If the pickles ferment too fast, refrigerate or add a little more kosher salt. If still not fermenting after a day or so, cut off a piece of submerged cuke and taste it. If too salty, add more plain water. (Salt slows and impedes fermentation.) Remove some brine to make room for the additional water. Allow 24 hours for the adjusted saltiness to equalize.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

30 Calories
0g Fat
6g Carbs
1g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 16
Calories 30
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g 0%
Sodium 1906mg 83%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 5mg 24%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 102mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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