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An Easy "Sweet Dill" Pickle Recipe

Updated on December 8, 2014

A Family Recipe for Easy "Sweet Dills"

It is at great risk to my marriage and family relationships, that I am sharing my husband's recipe for "Grandpa's Pickles" that we gift every Christmas to neighbors, friends and (ALWAYS) family. We have turned it into our tradition every holiday season to make these pickles together.

Years ago I tried making bread and butter pickles from scratch using a water bath pot. It took all day and was really messy and hot so I vowed to never do that again. When my husband got it "in his head" that he wanted to make his mom's recipe for "Sweet Dills", I was not a happy homemaker.

Little did I know that the recipe was so easy and did not take long at all. It also did not involve a huge hot pot of boiling water and a lot of equipment that we did not have in the cupboard. He, also, did all the work--the first time!

His pickles were wonderful and the grandchildren just loved "Grandpa's pickles" and were always wanting to take some home.

The only extra equipment involved is having an empty shelf in your refrigerator for your jars of homemade "Sweet Dills" (very much like "bread and butter" pickles).

All pickle making images belong to Me! Mickie Gee! The Amazon product images are from Amazon.com.

This recipe has a specific brand name for pickles that Grandpa's mother says is the best. We tried other labels, but The Vlasic pickles do seem to be the very best choice. Watch for them on sale and stock up.

Notice that you should include the instructions to keep the pickles in the refrigerator and not in the pantry.

The grandkids named the pickles after their "Grandpa".

Recipe Makes 2 quarts or 4 pints.

This recipe is printable; look for the "printable version" link below the recipe's instructions.

Cook Time

Prep Time:

Total Time:

Serves: 4 families get a 1 pint jar

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sugar (Grandpa uses white refined sugar)
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 pinch (a little less than 1/8 tsp) mixted pickling spices (or to taste) brand of your choice
  • 2 - 46 fluid oz. jars of whole Vlasic Spicy Dills
  • (Grandpa's mother liked to use the "Spicy" Vlasic dills with minced garlic pieces visible in the jar.)

Instructions

  1. Copied from the recipe card that Griff (Grandpa) got from his mother:
  2. Remove dills and garlic. Drain the juice [and discard].
  3. Cut [whole dills] in Chunks. [Put pickle chunks in jars. Four 1 pint jars or two 1 quart jars.]
  4. Bring [first three] above ingredients to boil and pour over dill pickles in the jars. [Put the lids on the jars.]
  5. Let stand all day or over night [on the counter at room temperature].
  6. Put in the refrigerator until crisp. [Usually 24 hours.]
  7. My (Mrs. Grandpa) additions to and explanations are in brackets. [....]
5 stars from 1 rating of Grandpa's Pickles Recipe:

What is a "pinch"?

The amount of spice you can gather between your thumb and pointer finger.

Some say it is just less than 1/8 of a teaspoon.

Choosing the right jar for your homemade pickles:

Pint (16 ounce) jars make a nice gift giving size.

My husband prefers the regular mouth jar seen in the photo on the right. The funnel, that we already own, fits it perfectly. The wide mouth jar is wonderful for the "mixes in a jar", too.

Grandpa's Sweet Dill Pickles - On top of it all:

Grandpa's Pickles Label from Zazzle. Go do a search and buy some for your jar lids.
Grandpa's Pickles Label from Zazzle. Go do a search and buy some for your jar lids.

I designed the label to go on the lid of the wide mouth jar used for Grandpas Sweet Dill Pickles. I think it looks nice. This particular label was designed and ordered from Zazzle. It is shiny and probably a little thicker than the CafePress labels.

Grandpa's preferred pickle jar: - This size makes a perfect homemade gift.

My husband prefers the pint regular mouth canning jars because we have a funnel that fits.

You can use this sticker (the one used above) on the top of the jar:

Grandpa preferred the wide mouth jars for his pickles!

Ball Wide Mouth Pint Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 12
Ball Wide Mouth Pint Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 12

The label above will fit on the top of these wide mouth Ball jars. These wide mouthed jars are also easier to fill with the delicious sweet dills.

 

CafePress is a good site to find labels for your gifts.

Zazzle and CafePress Pickle Labels side-by-side!

Zazzle and CafePress Pickle Labels side-by-side!
Zazzle and CafePress Pickle Labels side-by-side!

Gift Tags for giving the pickles to friends and family:

The first year we made the pickles, I did not check the ink in my printer and the reindeer turned out greenish. Since it was the Christmas season and we were in a rush, the effect was deemed OK. In the image to the right, the tag with the ribbon is what the tag should look like. I made sure I had enough ink to make the colors turn out correct! I am also glad that I have a round hole punch.

I also used these two-sided cards added to the gift jar of pickles:

Avery Two-Side Printable Clean Edge Business Cards for Inkjet Printers, Matte, Ivory, Pack of 200 (08876)
Avery Two-Side Printable Clean Edge Business Cards for Inkjet Printers, Matte, Ivory, Pack of 200 (08876)

These cards work very well as tags. If you go to the Microsoft templates or the Avery site, you just enter in the product number to find templates that will work. Yes, both companies realized early on that the business cards would be used as "gift tags", too.

 

Wide-mouth funnel for putting pickling juice in the jars:

If you do not have one of these funnels, you should seriously think about getting one. My husband likes it because it helps him put the pickles and juice in the jars with precision. Because of the high sugar content of the juice, it can be a sticky mess if you do not have a canning funnel to guide your packing of the jars with your homemade pickles. This funnel can also be used if you are making muffin and cookie mixes that go in jars for gift giving, too.

Cuisinox Canning Funnel
Cuisinox Canning Funnel

My funnel (pictured above with the pickle jars) is over 20 years old and is pretty beat up. Wish I had bought a stainless steel one way back then.

 

Making the spiced sugar and vinegar mixture:

See the cloves floating in the syrup?

Grandpa has used various types of pickling spices. We have a Penzey Spice shop in our city, so I bought the last batch of spices there. You can use the pickling spices that you find in your supermarket, too. I must tell you that the spices we had on our shelf when we made our first batch of pickles was really old--I cannot remember how long they had been there. The funny thing is, Grandpa liked that spice better than the new stuff!

Scroll down to find a link to a site that tells you how to make your own pickling spices.

Photos to show you how to make this delicious recipe for Grandpa's Sweet Dill Pickles:

Fill the jars with chopped Vlasic pickles. You can stuff them in leaving room for the pickle juice.

Grandpa likes to cut his whole dills about 2 inches long. I think you could cut the whole dills in half length-wise and then cut them into 1 or 2 inch pieces. It is OK for you to experiment.

NOTE: Grandpa reused the Vlasic pickle jars this go around.

Pour hot spiced pickling syrup in the jars over the chopped dills:

Canning Funnel helps you pour with accuracy!

The pickle juice is very sticky, so to keep the mess at a minimum, we use the canning funnel and a glass measuring cup.

Turn the filled pickle jars upside down until cooled:

Then store them in the fridge until gift giving time!

Grandpa likes to turn the jars upside down for a while. When they are cool, he turns them right side up. His explanation is that it makes the spices get to all the chunks. Note: We reused the Vlasic jar to store our own pickles.

A Pickle Jar with gift tag:

As you can see, the jar is empty. Cannot keep Grandpa's pickles in stock because they are so good! We tell the recipients that when the jar is empty, return it so we can fill it up again.

Does this recipe for "Sweet Dills" sound like Bread and Butter Pickles? I think they taste a lot like the ones I made from scratch many years ago. We always have some in the refrigerator. Grandpa likes to put them on a saltine cracker that is spread with peanut butter. That combination really tastes great, honest.

I often take the pickles to a friend's home when invited over for dinner. A nice change from wine, don't you think?

Can you think of another occasion to make pickles?

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    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 3 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      Mickie, these are soooo good. Remember that jar you guys gave us? I got one pickle -- ONE! Bo ate all the rest of them! Thanks again for them, and thanks for publishing his recipe.

    • profile image

      angelab55 3 years ago

      Awesome sauce, Mickie. Thanks for sharing the pickles at your home, and for sharing the recipe. I am amazed at the simplicity. Bet your gherkin we'll be making some soon. Wonder how it will work with Splenda? That way I can snack guitless over the diabetes.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Awww that's really a great way to make pickles. I like re-purposing existing products in this way, and this is one of the best I've heard. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @Sylvestermouse: Grandpa is actually my hubby. He does make the best pickles and the grandchildren crave them.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 3 years ago from United States

      I used to help my grandmother "set up" pickles. I will bet your Grandpa's recipe is fabulous!

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

      @norma-holt: Thanks for the new year's visit and blessing.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 4 years ago

      A new blessing on this lovely lens and may you have a wonderful, successful and happy 2013. Hugs

    • BowWowBear profile image

      BowWowBear 5 years ago

      MMMmmm! Love Pickles! Great easy recipe that I will be trying soon! Thanks for sharing!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      Nice recipe. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012-2 and also on Squidoo LOTD Lenses-2. Hugs

    • profile image

      kayla_harris 5 years ago

      Thank for sharing! I will make a try!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks, I will use this recipe

    • kerilovesadeal profile image

      kerilovesadeal 5 years ago

      Every time I get sweet dill pickles for hamburgers, I use some on hamburgers, but I find other reasons to use them up and don't have any left. Then, I seem to go months without buying them again. I don't know why. :) (Is eyeing the jars from Amazon.) Thanks for sharing! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love sweet pickles! Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.

    • BorderCollie LM profile image

      BorderCollie LM 5 years ago

      I will have to try out this recipe for sure. Thanks to the both of you

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love it on my hamburgers.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks, I will use this recipe/

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 5 years ago from Vermont

      Tangy sweet pickles are my absolute favorite and a secret ingredient in my potato salad. Thank you for this delicious recipe! And thank you, too, Grandpa!

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      @chairmann3: I love watermelon rind pickles. There was a place near Tuscaloosa that served them, I think it was called "The Cotton Patch". Oh, so good.

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      TamarWrites 5 years ago

      I love the gift of something homemade. It speaks from the heart, not from the wallet. I am bookmarking this recipe!

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi I am always looking for easy recipes, I use to be a cook all the food was home made very good but, a lot of work.Thanks for sharing this easy recipe, I love sweet pickles. Blessed by Squid Angel flinnie and added to my lens Squid Angel flinnie. Congrats on Lotd and Purple star.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      @Margaret Schindel: You are correct! One does not need an excuse to make this easy recipe. It is good to have pickles on hand to use everyday!

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your family recipe. This brings back so many memories of my mom putting up pickles from our large garden. Congrats on the Purple Star and LotD! ~~Blessed~~

    • chairmann3 profile image

      chairmann3 5 years ago

      Thanks for the recipes, I know how to make watermelon rine pickles, but not sweet dill

    • Im Horse Crazy profile image

      Im Horse Crazy 5 years ago

      I love this lens. I love making pickles and my mom loves eating them!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Who needs an occasion to make delicious bread and butter pickles? Fantastic lens! Congrats on your well deserved LotD and purple star award. Blessed! :)

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 5 years ago from California

      Excellent lens. Well deserving of a LOTD. Congrats. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      @SheldonBole: Yeah, in the USA we just have so many choices--sometimes, too many.

    • profile image

      SheldonBole 5 years ago

      I might not enjoy pickles, but I enjoyed the lens!

      Congrats on LotD!

      Here in South Africa we have two or three different types of pickles, we call the Gherkins.

      I remember, when I was on a trip in the US, a group of us went to buy "gherkins" and spent 20 minutes going through all the different varieties in the supermarket before deciding which ones to get!

    • profile image

      jackyad6688 5 years ago

      I'll be using this recipe from now on

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      @ohcaroline: Just try it! I was reluctant at first, but it is really quite good!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! yummy my mouth is watering...the recipe sounds easy enough to make!

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      Congratulations on Lot D - This one's a keeper for sure! Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 5 years ago

      I'm not sure about that saltine cracker spread with peanut butter...but the pickles sound yummy. I think they would be great to serve as a relish on Thanksgiving Day.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Reading this brought back lots of memories. I remember all the summers out on my aunt and uncle's farm during canning season. Watching my grandmother, mother, and aunts slave over a hot, boiling pot for days did not seem like very much fun. Of course, as kids, we sure enjoyed the fruits of their labors. Now I am having an urge to begin to preserve some of my own food (for gifts and for family). It was interesting to see how to make these pickles. Much less complicated. Thanks for sharing your special recipe and congrats on LotD!

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 5 years ago from USA

      Oh yea, that cracker with pickles and peanut butter. Gotta try that one...yum! Thanks for the pickle recipe. And the pickling spice recipe at the link looks good, too! Congratulations on an informative lens and LOTD!

    • Susan300 profile image

      Susan300 5 years ago

      I'm so hungry for pickles now! :) These look delicious and easy to make. Great clear instructions and photos. *Angel Blessed* :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love sweet dills, and this recipe lens is delightful.

      Congratulations on LortD, Blessed! :)

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I love to receive homemade gifts like this. Thanks for sharing your family recipe. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 5 years ago from Washington State

      Any time is good for such delicious pickles. Congratulations on LOTD! I learned a lot.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      @Natural_Skin_Care: I am lucky that Grandpa likes to cook sometimes.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      @MartieG: This recipe is truly easy to make. The only trouble comes when cleaning up after Grandpa. Thank goodness I told him about the funnel. It made the mess smaller.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      @GabStar: They are great pickles, as my grandkids will confirm.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      @Faye Rutledge: That sounds like a "cool" alternative! Thanks for sharing that pickle tip!

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Make sure you try them on a peanut butter saltine cracker!

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Looks easy and yummy! Congrats on LotD too! :>)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm not much on cooking but these sound like they'd be fun to eat. Congratulations on getting LoTD!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

      I have made a similar recipe, but used the plain Vlasic dills, not the garlic. I agree, these are the easiest and the BEST pickles you'll ever taste, and do taste like the bread & butter ones. :) I do not boil the mixture, but just layer pickle slices & sugar in jar and pour vinegar over all. Let set at room temp until sugar is dissoved (occasionally turn jar upside down to distribute) and then refrigerate to crisp. Congratulations on LotD!!

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 5 years ago

      Love your story of this treasured family recipe. I'm sure this recipe will be passed down to the upcoming generations. And the pickles sound delicious! Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I don't usually like pickles, but these sound interesting. Enjoyed reading your lens - very entertaining!

    • TK2012 LM profile image

      TK2012 LM 5 years ago

      I've never tried making pickles before but this doesn't seem too tough. Thanks for sharing!

    • weakbond profile image

      Nnadi bonaventure Chima 5 years ago from Johanesburg

      Thanks for revealing grandpas revered secret .great information ,congrats

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 5 years ago

      I so want to try this recipe. I've made pickles before and these sound especially yummy!

    • GabStar profile image

      GabStar 5 years ago

      They sound yum, well done!

    • ifeelgod lm profile image

      ifeelgod lm 5 years ago

      Hi,

      I really am not a dill pickle - e however I love sweet relish and want to try "sweet" pickles.

      Congrats on your LOTD

      In Him,

      JMb <><

      http://ifeelgod.org

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This recipe is so simple, even I may try it. I like sweet pickles on top of an American cheese sandwich instead of lettuce and tomato. Nice lens.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Peanut butter and pickles - actually that sounds really good! Love the recipe, but especially the story behind it. Great pictures, great family story! Congratulations on your well-deserved Lens of the Day!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Well illustrated and I like the larger print so it was easy for my older eyes to read. Well done!

    • KandDMarketing profile image

      KandDMarketing 5 years ago

      Sounds interesting. My Grandmother, for sure the farmer's wife, always had two crocks of pickles in the corner of her kitchen, next to the pantry door. One was sweet pickles, the other was dill. For years, she kept a picture of me and my sister at about 4 and 3 years of age, butts in the air, heads in the pickle crocks! Thanks for bringing back the memories!

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! The best recipes are the ones passed down to us. These look great.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Great pickle how to. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were "Grandpa's" pickles. My dad also made pickles, and it is one of the great memories we have of him. Nicely done, and congratulations on LOTD.

    • starfairy lm profile image

      starfairy lm 5 years ago

      I love pickles.....gotta try this out

    • GODis4me profile image

      karen vance loudermilk 5 years ago from charleston wv

      good job, I love sweet pickles thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Looks pretty fantastic to me! Thanks so much for sharing - blessed by a SquidAngel, and congrats on LotD!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 5 years ago from USA

      Congratulations, this "sweet" lens was selected as LotD today. You can read all about it at SquidooHQ: http://hq.squidoo.com/lotd/how-to-make-easy-sweet-...

    • SootheCity profile image

      SootheCity 5 years ago

      I love dill pickles so I'll be using this recipe from now on! Thanks for sharing it!

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 5 years ago

      congrats on the LOTD

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      What a great recipe! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • oooMARSooo LM profile image

      oooMARSooo LM 5 years ago

      I'm not usually a pickle kind of guy... but this lens was excellent enough that I almost reconsidered. Momentary lapse of judgement. ;-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Fermented foods like pickles are great for digestive health so eat as many as you like.

    • profile image

      Childbirth_Educator 5 years ago

      Unfortunately, I've eaten more than my fair share of pickles over the years. You're a lucky woman.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Love that you're sharing a family recipe.

    • profile image

      cishemant 5 years ago

      I just love pickles and these are awesome tips for preparing pickles.

    • profile image

      Natural_Skin_Care 5 years ago

      Pickles are a rare gift. You're a lucky woman!

    • texan203 lm profile image

      texan203 lm 5 years ago

      sounds wonderful. I really like pickles. I will have to try these. To me they sound like a year-round winner.

    • cgbroome profile image

      cgbroome 5 years ago

      I love pickles and will definitely try this recipe out! Thank's for sharing grandpa's recipe!

    • TheresaMarkham profile image

      TheresaMarkham 5 years ago

      Oooh, makes me want to start cookin'! Love having bread & butter pickles in the fridge!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I bet these are so good! I love dill pickles but a bit of sweet added would be mighty tasty too! And they indeed look very easy to make!