How to Make Crispy Pickles

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The easiest way to make a sandwich exponentially better is to add toppings. And the best toppings are fresh with some tangy zip, like pickles. Potbelly Sandwich Works has fabulous pickles. Whenever I get toppings on my sandwich from there, I always ask for lots of pickles. They are very thin with just a bit of sour taste and slightly crispy.

Wanting to duplicate the taste and texture, I did some research on how to make pickles. Did you know that there are two basic ways of making pickles, only one of which involves using vinegar? I thought the pickling process of cucumbers always used vinegar but I was wrong. Another way to make crispy pickles is to ferment them. Yes, fermenting, which is simply placing spices and cucumbers in a brine, then letting them sit and ferment.

After reading about fermented pickles I realized that this was probably the taste I was looking for. But, I am a coward and really did not want to eat fermented food {unless it was in the form of a drink}. Also the instructions for these indicated that one may need to scrape mold off of the top of the brine. I am not into eating moldy food. So I combined the methods and came up with delicious, crispy, tangy pickles in 2 days! Want to know how? Read on.

Tasty Quick Sandwich Pickles
4 medium thin skinned or young cucumbers
6 cups water
1 cup white distilled vinegar
1/3 cup coarse salt
2 tablespoon dried dill weed
2 teaspoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 bay leaves
2 16 ounce canning jars, sterilized

1. Rinse cucumbers and place in ice water for 2-6 hours. Replace ice as needed to keep cold. I read that this really helps to make crisp pickles. These were crisp, believe me.

2. Place water, vinegar and salt in pan. Bring to a boil. While water is heating, slice cucumbers. I love thin sliced and just pile them on sandwiches, but choose your thickness. Place half of the cucumber slices in each jar. To sanitize the jars, simply wash them in the dishwasher or in very hot water.

3. Pour the boiling brine over the sliced cucumbers. Evenly divide the dill, peppercorns, garlic, mustard seeds and bay leaves between the two jars of sliced cucumbers and brine. Secure the lids. Keep jars in refrigerator for at least two days before enjoying. Actually, my husband starting eating these the same day and loved them. I waited two days and they were fantastic!

These would probably be even better with fresh spices and herbs, but I had to use what I could find. I had a pickle craving and used what there was.

If you used whole cucumbers, you would want them to pickle a few days longer to soak up the flavor.

There are many different recipes for pickling spices, this is just what I came up with and thought it tasted great.


  1. Wow, I never thought making pickles could be so easy - I will definitely have to try this. Do you have any idea how long they will last?

  2. Hi Sheila, you have a lovely blog. I looked at your banana pudding and I have a good mind to try that. It looks so creamy and real pudding like. It must surely taste soo good. It looks like ice cream too!

    Your pickles look good. I love pickles too.

  3. Anne~ If they are kept in the fridge they should keep at least 2 months. Since it has salt and vinegar, I would say for quite a bit longer, too. It was far easier than I expected; I think it will be quite awhile before I buy pickles at the store because these were super easy and good.

    Zurin~ Thank you:) The banana pudding is very creamy. At home everyone said it looked like ice cream too. It was very creamy and thick, almost a mousse. Let me know if you try it and like.

  4. I love pickles!

    Very nice looking blog you have here. All professional looking.

    Just stopping by to say "Hi," just because you have a real blog. I told you I would.

    I'll send the link to my sister. She'll like this blog.

    I guess I'll see you again when Rachel gets married, but I hope before. It was nice to talk to you, and I had a great conversation with your husband at the wedding reception.

    God bless,


  5. Anonymous1:14 PM

    I just made these and they are turning out quite yummy and its only been a day. :) Thanks for sharing.

  6. sheila,
    i've gotten so many compliments on these. it's wonderful!

  7. these pickles look amazing. i love seeing something that makes me want to rush right to the market and get started. speaking of school lunches ... these would be awesome. thanks - can't wait to try.

  8. Anonymous7:32 PM

    Can you water bath can these??

  9. I would think so. This was my first time making pickles and I purposefully chose a method in which I wouldn't have to do a water bath. But, it starts out with hot liquid so I do not think it would ruin the pickles. The key is keeping the pickles in ice water before you pickle them. Hope it goes well!

  10. I think I will start making my own too. This is a great recipe and technique, easy enough for me to follow!! I like that there is not sugar too like the purchased kinds which have way to much sugar. Are you going to try other flavors or other veggies? I imagine we can do about anything- onions, carrots, cauli, etc. Are you eating these with ice cream?!;-)

    1. I would love to try this with banana peppers, which I absolutely love! I really like that these are ready to eat the next day; there is no waiting necessary for delicious, crispy dill pickles.

      Nope, no ice cream with these. Though sometimes a chocolate chip cookie!

  11. Anonymous4:18 PM

    These were amazing! My husband and I made a bunch of them with this year's harvest, thank you for the great recipe.

    1. I'm getting ready to make a batch myself. Happy you enjoyed them.

  12. Anonymous7:41 PM

    Curious how closely these compared to Potbelly's?

    1. In my opinion, they were about the same. I really couldn't tell the difference. Slicing them thinly really helps. Maybe Potbelly uses more garlic.

  13. Anonymous7:59 PM

    I have been making these pickles since I found your blog last summer.
    We love them I now am giving them to family and friends because our pickle crop in our garden is great. Everyone loves them thank you for a great recipe

    1. Terrific! My brother asks me for these every year at Christmas because they were in a gift basket I made for him one year. I added some fresh baked bread and nice deli meats and cheeses. I'll have to start planting my own pickling cucumbers instead of buying them now.

  14. Anonymous2:40 PM

    I've made one batch so far which was eaten up almost immediately! delicious! Thank you. I'm sort of a cheap skate so I wondered- have you ever reused the herbs & spices only adding new brine to the new batch? Thanks!

    1. I have not done that so I don't know for certain. I have to admit I used to drink pickle juice {as I called it} when I was a kid. The flavors were strong so perhaps it would work. Try it with one cucumber and see if it works!

  15. Anonymous9:40 PM

    This might be a silly question... But, do the pickles have to be stored in the fridge?

    1. It is not a silly question at all. The The answer depends on how you jar or can the pickles. If you get a seal (The lid of the jar is indented), then you do not need to refrigerate them. I do not like to worry about whether I have a good seal or not, so I keep my pickles in the refrigerator.


Catching my breath. Be back ASAP.