Fermented Sour Pickles Recipe

Making a sour pickle recipe is easier than it seems.  After mixing up the brine, you simply let the pickles sit for about a week until they are half or full sour to your preference.  Fermenting pickles is a great way to preserve the summer harvest!

Sour Pickle Recipe

The story of pickles in our home is very complex.  I grew up eating  your basic dill pickles out of the jar. It was a major revelation when I discovered bread and butter pickles at a friend’s house. I really never gave pickles or pickle recipes  much thought.

My husband was raised on Long Island in New York.  His family is Jewish.  He grew up eating half-sour and full sour pickles from the kosher deli, probably made right on the premises.

When we got married our pickle histories collided.  Seriously. Pickles (or the lack of) are a BIG DEAL around here! I refer to my husband as a “pickle snob” because he will not anything other than a full sour pickle.  Full sours are hard to come by in our grocery stores and even if I can find them, they are expensive.

Sour Pickle Recipe

I had to  find a sour pickle recipe and make them myself. How hard can it be? It’s a cucumber put in something, right?  It turns out that his half and full sour pickles are actually fermented pickles whereas the dills I grew up eating are seasoned pickles.   We let this batch sit for about a week and they were really still half-sour.  Next time we’ll go 10 days and see how they turn out.

Sour Pickle Recipe

For this batch I used some smaller cucumbers I found at Costco and they weren’t the best for pickling.  I’m planning to pick up some proper pickling cucumbers at the farmer’s market soon so I can preserve the summer harvest!

Pickle Recipe for Sour Pickles
  • 2 pounds pickling cucumbers
  • 6 cups water
  • ¼ cup sea salt
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorn
  • 3 fronds dill
  1. Place pickles, garlic, coriander, peppercorn and dill in a large food safe container.
  2. In a bowl dissolve salt in water. Pour salty water over the pickles and spices.
  3. Fill a quart or gallon sized freezer bag about half full of water. Place on top of pickles to keep them covered with the salt water.
  4. Cover lightly and set aside.
  5. In a few days scum will start to form at the top of the water. Use a slotted spoon to remove.
  6. Pickles will be half-sour in about 4-7 days and full sour in about 7-10 days. Remove water bag and any addition scum. Refrigerate and pickles will keep for a few months.



  1. Debb says

    Just finished my first batch and at 7 days they are delicious! I used sea salt and the water ended up quite cloudy. Making another batch today with pickling salt and we’ll see if that makes a difference. I did rinse the current batch and will add some fresh brine today because I just felt it would look more appetizing to set the jar out on the table. Thanks for this recipe. This will become a staple in my pickle recipes.

    • says

      Hi Debb! Thank you for stopping by to share! I’m so glad they are working for you. The liquid does get quite cloudy, but I noticed that in the store bought sours we buy as well. Let me know how the pickling salt works. I haven’t tried making them that way. Happy pickling!

      • Debb says

        Still very good using the pickling salt. My brother, who makes lots of sour pickles, recommended rinsing the pickles when they were fermented to the desired sourness and then adding a TBS or 2 of vinegar and the strained brine back to the jar. Going to try that with this batch. I’ve never seen the hubby and friends like pickles so much!

        • Debb says

          They’re bringing back good old memories. The very first time I ever tasted a brined pickle I was 11 years old. I was visiting my best friend’s grandparents on their farm in Illinois. We snuck down the stairs into the musty cellar where there were all manner of strange things covered with cobwebs. My girlfriend slid an old crock out from under the bottom step, pushed the scum aside and offered me a pickle. I hesitated because of the creepiness of it all, but after a bite of hers, I went in for my own. We wiped them on our shirt tails and crunched them down. I’m sure that we didn’t get away with sneaking pickles, the way our shirts smelled at the dinner table. But the joy of that plate of fried chicken and mashed potatoes and green beans from the garden . . . oh to be 11 again.

  2. Celeste B. says

    I made these on Friday and had one today. Yummy, however they are SUPER salty. And I am a salt loving person. Bought another pack of the small cucumbers at the store today and am going to make another batch with less salt. I know the first batch will disappear quickly even if they are too salty.

    • says

      Yes, they are salty. I’ve found that to be the difference between a dill pickle and a sour pickle. Lots of salt! But totally change up the amount of salt to get them to your taste. Let me know how they turn out!

  3. says

    I use to adore pickles when I was younger. A good friend of mine always had a jar in her fridge and I’d snack on them every time I went over. It’s been a long time since I had one and I bet your homemade version is way better than anything storebought. These look great!

  4. says

    My MIL just got back into home made pickling, she use to do it when she was younger. I am going to have to send her this recipe the herbs you have added here sound incredible.

  5. says

    I love pickles! I have to admit, I had never had a bread and butter pickle until just a couple of years ago lol. I can’t wait to try your sour pickle recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  6. says

    I’ve yet to make a batch of pickles that my husband likes. My cousins and brother have all loved the ones I’ve made but my husband isn’t much of a sweet pickle person. These sound right up his alley.

  7. says

    I’ve never made pickles. However, I think once I do I’ll start with a recipe like this. I do enjoy sour pickles from a deli.

  8. says

    I’ve never tried to make my own pickles, either, Camille, but I have pickled beets and okra and I imagined the process is much the same. I’m curious about what makes a cucumber a pickling one or not. I always thought the little ones WERE for pickling. I await your further instructions.

    • says

      These were labeled as cocktail cucumbers and I think they are even smaller and skinnier than a pickling cucumber. They certainly worked, but they weren’t quite as round or plump as I would have preferred!

  9. says

    I’ve never tried to make my own pickles, either, Camille, but I have pickled beets and okra and I imagined the process is much the same. I’m curious about what makes a cucumber a pickling one or not. I always thought the little ones WERE for pickling. I await your further instructions.


  1. […] Of course back yard summer barbecues always include hot dogs – and Hebrew National are our favorites!  I love that Hebrew National are all beef, with nothing artificial.  My husband, who grew up eating kosher hot dogs in New York, is super fussy about his dogs and Hebrew National is the only brand he’ll let me buy.  He’s almost as fussy about his hot dogs as he is about his pickles! […]

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