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Russian Dill Pickles

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This easy Russian dill pickles family recipe is made with herbs, garlic, and peppercorns and gives you crunchy, refreshing, flavorful, and healthy marinated cucumbers that everyone will love!

Russian dill pickles in a bowl

Dill pickles are probably the most popular Russian pickles, usually being present at every celebration table as a part of zakuski (hors d’oeuvres) together with pickled tomatoes and homemade sauerkraut

Homemade dill pickles are so much easier to make than most people realize. And if you’ve never pickled anything before, you’re in for a treat! These quick pickled cucumbers are so simple, you don’t need any prior experience.

Moreover, this is the best dill pickle recipe you’ll ever try!

An opened jar with Russian pickles

What Are The Best Cucumbers For Marinated Pickled Recipes?

One of the most important steps in making this simple Russian pickle recipe is choosing the right cucumbers.

The “normal” big cucumbers with their thick skins are pretty watery, which also means they don’t have a great flavor.

However, short bumpy cucumbers? SO.MUCH.FLAVOR. And perfect for making marinated cucumbers, especially picked fresh out of the garden.

These are called gherkins, and they really do make the best homemade dill pickles.

The types of cucumbers that are great for pickling are Kirby, Northern pickling cucumber, Ashley, Marketer, Marketmore 76, Muncher, Salad Bush, Boston pickling, Bush pickle, Calypso, Carolina, Fancipak, National pickling, Pick a bushel, Surpemo, etc.

Cucumbers for Russian pickles

Health Benefits Of Pickled Cucumbers

There are lots of nutritional benefits to pickling cucumbers. 

Aside from the benefits of the cucumbers themselves, the fermentation (or pickling) process is also very beneficial to your body.

Pickled foods facilitate digestion because of lactic acid, which is created during the brining (especially important during holidays – that’s why they are always served at celebrations) and activate the body’s metabolic processes. 

Together with pickled tomatoes, dill pickles are a traditional accompaniment to cold vodka, while the salty pickling liquid is known as the best hangover cure.

Also, many people will drink pickle juice as a fast acting electrolyte drink; it’s even great for kicking the keto flu faster.

Ingredients

Remember, the first step is getting your gherkins. Ideally, your cucumbers should be short (up to 10 cm or 4 inches long), bumpy, thin-skinned, mat and firm. 

You probably won’t find these kinds of cucumbers outside of the season (which is July – August for Europe and North America) or if you will, they will be more expensive than their watery counterparts. 

So while you can enjoy your homemade dill pickles year round, summer is the best time to make them.

The next important ingredient is dill. You will need the whole plant, including umbrellas. 

I grow my own dill on the balcony (which works great for me) but I’ve seen it also in my local Russian and Turkish shops. Farmers markets are another easy place to find, as well as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

The rest of the ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry or kitchen. They include salt, your favorite herbs (I used thyme), garlic, bay leaves, chili pepper, allspice and black pepper. 

Traditionally, Russian dill pickles are made with horseradish leaves, which are quite hard to find. I pickled gherkins with and without horseradish leaves and I found that it had no considerable effect on the taste. 

However, if you can find them or want to grow them, they are healthy and add a hint of flavor you’ll enjoy.

Ingredients for Russian dill pickles

Pickling Preparations

Start by sterilizing your jars before pickling. I usually boil them (together with lids) for at least 15 minutes and then let them dry.

Next, wash your cucumbers thoroughly and cut off the ends. 

This way they will soak the brine easier, so your pickles will be ready sooner

Then, prepare the brine by boiling water with coarse sea salt. 

While you are bringing your brine to a boil, roughly chop the herbs, finely chop the chili pepper (you will only need a few slices) and slice the garlic. 

Sterilized jar for pickles

Jarring Your Cucumbers For Marinating

Transfer the cucumbers into a fitting sterilized jar, placing herbs, chili and garlic slices, bay leaves, allspice and black pepper in between the cucumbers. 

While the brine is boiling, pour it into the jar and close the lid. 

Pouring brine into a jar with cucumbers

Turn the jar upside down and let it cool slowly (I usually put it on the couch and cover with a blanket). 

Once it’s cooled, let it rest for about 4 days in a cool place. 

The dill pickles should be ready after that. You will see when they are ready when they change the color (see the pictures). Store an opened jar in the fridge for about two weeks.

A jar of Russian pickles upside down

Learning How To Can

If you are interested in canning but don’t really know how to start, let me introduce you to the expert canner, Jenny Gomes from The Domestic Wildflower. 

She covers everything you need to know about canning in her canning course for beginners. In the course you will have step by step video lessons, clear instructions, and foolproof recipes.

Take advantage of her wisdom and reap the health benefits of canning, save time and money by skipping the frustration and go straight to the expert source. 

The best thing about this course: it’s FREE!  

Serving Your Homemade Dill Pickles

Now that you’ve made your pickles, you can serve them all year long.

They are great additions to your favorite charcuterie board, tossed in a salad, or eaten on a sandwich. 

They’re also great out of the jar.

And now that you know how to make quick pickled cucumbers, you can follow the same steps with other vegetables. Try making a jar with cucumbers, onions, carrots, and cabbage strips for a pickled salad.

Pickled cucumbers served in a bowl

Top Tips

  • Making these Russian pickles is a great way to preserve your garden cucumber harvest. Make sure to check my grandma’s pickled tomatoes recipe as well.
  • Summer is the best time to make these pickles.
  • These dill pickles have lots of nutritional benefits, while being naturally gluten free and vegan.
  • Short bumpy cucumbers are perfect for homemade pickles. The types of cucumbers that are great for pickling are Kirby, Northern pickling cucumber, Ashley, Marketer, and more (see the whole list above).
  • You’ll need the whole plant of dill for this recipe, including umbrellas. If you can’t find it, use fresh leaves combined with dried dill seeds.
  • To quickly sterilize your jars, boil them (together with lids) for at least 15 minutes and then let them dry.
  • These homemade pickles are great out of the jar or as an addition to your favorite charcuterie board, tossed in a salad, or eaten on a sandwich. 
  • Store an opened jar in the fridge for about two weeks or in the pantry for up to a year.

Recipe Variations

  • You can follow the same steps for pickling other vegetables. Try making a jar with cucumbers, onions, carrots, and cabbage strips for a pickled salad.
  • You can skip horseradish leaves if they aren’t available to you.  I found that it had no considerable effect on the taste. 
  • The main ingredients are cucumbers, salt, peppercorns and dill that should always be present in this recipe. You can adjust other ingredients according to your taste, experiment with herbs, skip chili or garlic if you prefer. You can also add sliced onions instead.

If you tried this recipe, I’d really appreciate you giving it a star rating below! I’m always happy to see your feedback on my recipes.

 
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5 from 2 votes

Russian Dill Pickles

This easy Russian dill pickles recipe is made with herbs, garlic, and peppercorns and gives you the most crunchy, refreshing and flavorful pickles!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Russian
Keyword dill pickles, dill pickles recipe, easy dill pickle recipes, gherkin pickle, how to make dill pickles, marinated cucumbers, pickled cucumbers, quick pickled cucumbers
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings (2 gherkins each)
Calories 17kcal
$5

Ingredients

  • 800 grams or 1.8 lb cucumbers see notes above
  • 800 ml or 3 1/3 cups water
  • 30 grams or 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 3 stems dill with leaves and umbrellas
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 horseradish leaf optional
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 thin slices red chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/3 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 l or 2 qt canning jar sterilized (see notes above)

Instructions

Sterilize jars

  • Start by sterilizing your jars. Boil them (together with lids) for at least 15 minutes and then let them dry on a clean kitchen towel.

Assemble the jars

  • Wash the cucumbers thoroughly and cut the ends. Prepare the brine: In a medium pot bring water with coarse sea salt to a boil. Meanwhile, roughly chop the herbs and a horseradish leave (if using), finely slice the chili pepper (you will only need a few slices) and the garlic.
  • Transfer the cucumbers into a fitting sterilized jar, placing herbs, chili and garlic slices, bay leaves, allspice and black pepper in between the cucumbers.
  • When the brine is boiling, pour it into the jar and close the lid.

Let it cool

  • Turn the jar upside down and let it cool slowly (You can put it on the couch and wrap tightly with a blanket for best results). Once it's cooled, let it rest for about 4 days in a cool place.
  • You will see when they are ready when they change the color (see the pictures). Store an opened jar in the fridge for about two weeks. Enjoy!

Notes

Top Tips

  • Making these Russian pickles is a great way to preserve your garden cucumber harvest. Make sure to check my grandma's pickled tomatoes recipe as well.
  • Summer is the best time to make these pickles.
  • These dill pickles have lots of nutritional benefits, while being naturally gluten free and vegan.
  • Short bumpy cucumbers are perfect for homemade pickles. The types of cucumbers that are great for pickling are Kirby, Northern pickling cucumber, Ashley, Marketer, and more (see the whole list above).
  • You'll need the whole plant of dill for this recipe, including umbrellas. If you can't find it, use fresh leaves combined with dried dill seeds.
  • To quickly sterilize your jars, boil them (together with lids) for at least 15 minutes and then let them dry.
  • These homemade pickles are great out of the jar or as an addition to your favorite charcuterie board, tossed in a salad, or eaten on a sandwich. 
  • Store an opened jar in the fridge for about two weeks or in the pantry for up to a year.

Recipe Variations

  • You can follow the same steps for pickling other vegetables. Try making a jar with cucumbers, onions, carrots, and cabbage strips for a pickled salad.
  • You can skip horseradish leaves if they aren't available to you.  I found that it had no considerable effect on the taste. 
  • The main ingredients are cucumbers, salt, peppercorns and dill that should always be present in this recipe. You can adjust other ingredients according to your taste, experiment with herbs, skip chili or garlic if you prefer. You can also add sliced onions instead.

Equipment

chef's knife
cutting board
2 qt (1.8 l) canning jars
medium pot

Nutrition

Calories: 17kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1461mg | Potassium: 158mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 133IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
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About Elena Szeliga

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Elena Szeliga is the founder of Happy Kitchen.Rocks, where she shares delicious and healthy vegetarian and vegan food, from weeknight dinners to veganized classics and gourmet appetizers. Her recipes have been featured at Better Homes & Gardens, BuzzFeed, Country Living, The Kitchn and Reader’s Digest. Her mission is to help cook easy vegetarian and vegan meals with simple and fresh ingredients. Read more about Elena.

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