These pickles are so easy to make! You’ll find the full recipe below, but here’s a preview:
Slice your cucumbers as desired.
Whisk together a basic brine made of water, vinegar and seasonings.
Pack the cucumbers into a jar, add some dill and garlic, and pour the brine over it all.
Refrigerate until the pickles taste sufficiently “pickled!”
Note: Most of my other pickle recipes start with a hot vinegar brine, which helps the brine permeate tough vegetables. These pickles are made with a room temperature brine, which means that you can skip the stovetop step (and the intense vinegar smell that comes with it). Cucumbers are delicate and readily absorb flavor, so a cool brine yields pickles with the best flavor, texture and color.
Cucumber Slicing Options
You can use this recipe to yield any pickle shape, depending on how you slice your cucumbers. Thin slices will taste fully pickled sooner than thick spears (about one hour vs. three).
For cucumber rounds (or “chips” as they call them on the grocery shelves): Simply cut the cucumbers into thin slices (around 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick) .
For spears: Slice your cucumber in half lengthwise, then slice the halves into quarters. Finally, slice the quarters into eighths so they yield wedge-shaped spears. If you’re using a long cucumber, cut all the slices in half through the middle so they fit into your jar.
For sandwich slices: Slice off a strip of cucumber running the length of its long side. Turn the cucumber so it rests safely on the flat side. Then slice the cucumber, lengthwise, into 1/4-inch thick slices. Depending on the length of your cucumber, you might slice them in half or into thirds to suit your purposes.
1 medium-to-large cucumber or 2 small cucumbers (ideally 12 ounces total)*
½ cup water, at room temperature or cooler
½ cup rice vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup or sugar
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
20 twists of freshly ground black pepper
2 leafy sprigs of fresh dill, roughly chopped (about ¼ cup)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf
For pickle rounds (“chips”), slice the cucumber(s) into thin rounds, about ⅛-inch thick. Or, for spears, slice them in half lengthwise, then slice the halves lengthwise into quarters, then slice the quarters lengthwise into eighths. If your spears are long like mine (from one long cucumber), slice them through the middle so they’re not too tall for your jar. Set aside.
In a liquid measuring cup or bowl, combine the water, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, red pepper flakes (if using) and black pepper. Stir until most of the salt has dissolved into the liquid, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside.
Place the cucumbers into a wide-mouth jar about 3 to 4 inches in diameter, tall enough to offer at least 1 inch of extra space on top (for pickle spears, it’s important that all the pickles fit snugly, vertically—a wide-mouth pint-sized mason jar would work well).
Top the cucumbers with the dill and garlic. Tuck the bay leaf into the side of the jar. Pour the all of the liquid over the cucumbers so they’re fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (for pickle rounds) or at least 3 hours (for pickle spears). The flavor will continue to develop over the next couple of days. These pickles will keep for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.