ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Food and Cooking»
  • Cooking for Smaller Numbers

Dill Pickles for Two

Updated on August 3, 2016
The Dirt Farmer profile image

Jill is an avid reader of cookbooks and cooking magazines. She enjoys cooking and experimenting in her own kitchen.


Refrigerator Pickles in Four Quick Steps

Making your own pickles is surprisingly easy.

  1. Clean 2 lbs. of young, small cucumbers.
  2. Slice them & place them in clean canning jars.
  3. Pour a boiling mixture of vinegar, water and spices over them.
  4. Seal the jars with rings and lids.

When they're cool, place the jars in the fridge, and enjoy homemade pickles (without artificial additives and preservatives) for up to two months or more.

Rate it!

5 stars from 2 ratings of Small Batch Dill Pickles

Prep time will vary depending upon cleaning method

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 5 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: 2 quarts

What you'll need

  • 2 lbs. small, young cucumbers, sliced or quartered
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar, 5% solution
  • 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. white granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. spices of choice, (See suggestions below.)
  • 1 head garlic (optional), peeled whole
  • 2 quart canning jars
  • funnel
  • 2 each lids and rings


  1. Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it comes to a boil, place the jars, rings and lids in the water and boil for ten minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, clean the cucumbers using one of the methods described above and slice them.
  3. Remove the jars, lids and rings from the water and place on a clean cloth to cool.
  4. In a large saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt and spices of your choice, and bring to a boil. If using apple cider vinegar, be aware that it will darken the pickles.
  5. Meanwhile, pack the jars with sliced cucumbers and, if using, garlic cloves.
  6. Pour the boiling vinegar mixture into the packed jars to cover the cucumbers.
  7. Top each jar with a lid and screw a ring onto each.
  8. Once cool, write the date on the lids, and place jars in refrigerator.
  9. Enjoy homemade pickles for up to two months or more.

Step 1: Clean


Wash the Cucumbers

Cleaning the cucumbers well is extremely important. Cucumbers, as well as other fruits and vegetables, are likely to be covered in pesticides and other chemicals no one should eat. (See the Environmental Working Groups "Dirty Dozen.")

Even if your cucumbers are organic, they are likely to have bacteria, parasites, insect eggs and droppings, and other contaminants on them.

Store-bought Wash

If you use a store-bought vegetable wash, such as Veggie Wash or Rebel Green's Fruit & Veggie clean, follow the directions on the label.

Homemade Clorox Bath

You can also detoxify the cucumbers with Clorox (sodium hypochlorite) using a method created by Dr. Hazel Parcells.

Fill your sink with a gallon of water, add one teaspoon of Clorox, and then soak the cucumbers in the mixture for 30 minutes. This will effectively remove parasites, bacteria, pesticides, etc. from the cucumbers.

A 30-minute Clorox bath also works well for other thick-skinned vegetables and fruits, like potatoes and apples. For thin-skinned produce, reduce the soaking time to 15 minutes.

Clean Jars, Lids and Rings


While the cucumbers are soaking, clean the canning jars and lids as well as the funnel you'll use when pouring the pickling solution into the jars.

Run the lot through the dishwasher or boil them in water for 10 minutes to sterilize them. The latter is per the recommendation of the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Although sterilizing is not strictly necessary as the pickles will be refrigerated rather than preserved, I do it anyway, and it seems to extend the refrigerator life of our pickles.

Step 2: Slice


If the cucumbers are very small, you may leave them whole, merely trimming the ends.

However, for a more intense dill flavor, slice or quarter the cucumbers.

Cutting the cucumbers into smaller pieces allows them to soak up more of the pickling solution for a stronger "pickle" taste.

Step 3: Make the Pickling Solution


At its most basic, the pickling solution consists of four ingredients:

  • water
  • 5% solution vinegar
  • white granulated sugar
  • kosher salt.

You can experiment with this, adjusting the vinegar to water ratio if you like. In general, the more vinegar, the crisper and more tangy the pickle.

You may also try apple cider vinegar rather than white vinegar. Be warned, however, that apple cider vinegar will darken the color of the cucumber, giving it an amber color.

To the vinegar solution, add your favorite spices and bring the mixture to a boil before pouring over the sliced cucumbers.


A Few Spice Mixtures to Try

It's fun to experiment with different spice mixtures. Here are a few of my favorites.

Five-Alarm Dills

For spicy pickles, try 1 Tbsp. whole peppercorns, 2 tsp. dill seed, 3/4 tsp. mustard seed and 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes. (For even more of a kick, add a pinch of red pepper flakes and a pinch of turmeric— but not too much! Turmeric can be bitter.)

Add whole cloves of garlic to the sliced cucumbers before pouring the spicy pickling solution into the jars. If the garlic cloves are young, they may turn green or blue. This does not make them inedible; it's just a chemical reaction due to the high level of alliinase in them.

Spicy Dills

Add 1 Tbsp. peppercorns and 1 Tbsp. dill seed to the pickling solution as well as stalks of fresh dill. Pour over sliced cucumbers with whole garlic cloves added.

Licorice Dills

Add 1 Tbsp. peppercorns and 2 tsp. fennel seeds and 1 tsp. whole cloves to the pickling solution. If that too licorice-y for you, reduce the amount of fennel to 1 tsp. and add 1 tsp. of dill seed.

There are three teaspoons in a tablespoon.

Spices for Dill Pickles

hot and spicy
Dill Seed
Fennel Seed
pungent, sometimes bitter
Mustard Seed
Red Pepper Flakes
hot, pungent

© 2016 Jill Spencer


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 14 months ago from sunny Florida

      Great clear, easy to follow instructions. This reminds me of my youth, Jill. My Momma used to make dill and sweet pickles every year from the abundance of cukes we grew. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

      Hope you have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving Angels are on the way to you ps

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 16 months ago from United States

      Thanks for the comment, pagesvoice. Good to hear from you. Have a great one! --Jill

    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 16 months ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      I really enjoyed your article and I learned something new today. I have canned pickles for years, but never before did I know about the Clorox bath. Thank you for educating me.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 16 months ago from United States

      You're welcome, Peggy. Thanks for sharing the article. This weekend I'm going to try making bread and butter pickles using my aunt's recipe. A little more complicated than this, but they'll last longer. All the best, Jill

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 16 months ago from Houston, Texas

      This pickle recipe sounds easy to make and versatile as to what flavor combinations can be used. I'll save this and share it with others on HP, twitter, Pinterest, etc. Thanks Jill.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 17 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thanks for your reply and the useful advice.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 17 months ago from United States

      You're very kind, Faith Reaper. Thanks so much for commenting. Cleaning fruits and veg really is a good idea. It just takes a little time, but the Clorox method is cheap, and you can do a bunch of produce at once. All the best, Jill

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 17 months ago from southern USA

      This made my mouth water the entire time I was reading it. Love pickles and want to give this a try.

      Thanks for the tips on washing veggies and fruits too! Wow, that is important to know.

      Good stuff!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 17 months ago from United States

      Sure would, Blossom SB, but it will turn your pickles a little yellow.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 17 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      Enjoyed reading this. I wonder if apple cider vinegar would work as well?

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 17 months ago from United States

      Hi Lee! Thank you for dropping by. Yes, I agree, choosing the flavors you like is the best thing to do. I know licorice isn't most people's favorite, but I've always loved it. Hope you're keeping cool in FLA. --Jill

    • bat115 profile image

      Tim 17 months ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I need to do this., Thank you for posting!

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 17 months ago from Citra Florida

      Hey Jill

      I've made pickles a couple of timeD when I had too many fumes to use up.

      I really like your spice suggestions. With a modicum of forethought you can come up with flavors you like. I'm impressed with your idea of using fennel, I never even considered that. I have a second crop of cucumbers starting now so I'll be trying your ideas

      As usual, great Hub


    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 17 months ago from United States

      Hi Larry. It's a tasty way to get some vinegar into your diet! (: Thanks for stopping by, Jill

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

      I have never made pickles, though I've wanted to. I'll have to give your recipe a try.