Sweet Pickles are the perfect thing to do with the plethora of cucumbers in your garden! They can be water bath canned or cold packed (quick pickled), for shorter storage!
I have about half a ton of cucumbers this year in my garden! So I need to do something, anything, with them all! I hate wasting food! I have given them to friends and family and they still keep coming! This Sweet Pickles recipe has come to my salvation more times than I care to say! Want to learn my secrets to growing so many cucumbers from 4 plants? See my How to Plant a Vegetable Garden Series for tips and tricks!
How to ensure your pickles are crispy
As everyone who likes pickles knows, the key to a good pickle is that they are crispy! Soggy pickles? No, Thank YOU!
To this end, I utilize a few tricks to make them extra crispy.
- Make pickles the same day you pick them.
- Salt cucumbers to remove some of the water from the pickle.
- Use black tea to help the pickles stay crisp.
- Additional tips for crispy pickles.
How to make sweet pickles
- Wash pickles well.
- Slice into spears, lengthwise. See recipe notes for quantities.
- Pickles can also be sliced about 1/8″ thick, by hand or carefully, with a mandolin. Add salt to pickles.
- Toss cucumbers around with hands to distribute the salt among all of the cucumbers. Let cucumbers sit, in a colander, over a bowl, on the counter, or in the refrigerator, overnight.
- Place water and vinegar and sugar to a pot.
- Add spices. Heat over high heat, stirring until sugar is melted. Heat until the mixture boils. Reduce heat until ready to use.
- Rinse the cucumbers well and allow to drain for a few minutes.
- Load cucumbers in hot, sterilized jars. To load spears, lay jar on it’s side and lay the pickles in.
- Squeeze as many sliced cucumbers per jar as you can fit.
- Ladle hot vinegar mixture into jars. Wipe rims of jars clean with a damp towel. Attach lids and tighten bands, finger tight.
Process in water bath canning pot for 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts. Turn off heat and allow jars to sit in hot water for another 5 minutes. Carefully remove from canning pot and let sit on counter overnight. Then check lids. If they flex up and down in the center, store in the refrigerator. If they are fully sealed, store in a cool dark place for up to 12- 18 months.
What to do with sweet pickles
Sweet Pickles are great for more things than just a side for burgers or sandwiches.
- Chop and add to salads, like potato, macaroni or tuna for an added kick.
- Use them in your holiday or hostess gift baskets.
- Chop and add to mayonnaise or ketchup for a new condiment.
- Add to pizzas or casseroles to make a burger themed dish.
- Use them in easy appetizers, with ham and cheese rolled around the pickle.
- Add to chef’s salads.
- Make a cheese ball with pickles.
Other delicious pickled recipes
- Pickled Peppers
- Pickled Red Onion
- Sweet Pickle Relish
- Pickled Garlic Scapes
- Pickled Radishes
- Kosher Pickles
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Tools I use to make sweet pickles
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That’s how easy it is to make Sweet Pickles. Thanks for stopping by today!
Enjoy! And have fun cooking!
- 1/4 cup Salt kosher or canning salt
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 4 bags black tea
- 3 pounds cucumbers about 10 cups of slices
- Slice cucumbers, by hand or (very carefully) with mandolin3 pounds cucumbers
- Add cucumbers and salt to bowl. Toss to coat all cucumber slices with salt.1/4 cup Salt
- Cover bowl and stand on counter, or in refrigerator overnight.
- Next morning, place in bowl and rinse salt off of cucumbers. Rinse the cucumbers well or they will be salty! Allow to drain.
- In a sauce pan, add sugar, vinegar, water and spices. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.1 cup Sugar, 2 cup cider vinegar, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon celery seed, 1 teaspoon mustard seed, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- Reduce heat and high simmer or low boil, for about 30 minutes.
- Sterilize jars in canning pot.
- Remove hot jars, one at a time and drain water. Cut open black tea bag and add 1 bag per pint jar.4 bags black tea
- Pack cucumber slices into hot jars, within a 1/2 inch of top of jar.
- Pour hot canning liquid into jar leaving ½" headspace.
- Wipe rim of jar with wet towel. Attach hot lids and tighten bands finger tight. Return to canning pot.
- Process jars for 15 minutes per pint, adjusting for altitude. Allow to rest in hot water 5 minutes after turning heat off.
- Remove jars from canning pot and let sit on counter overnight.
- Check seal in the morning, if lids flex up and down, when pressed in center, jar is not properly sealed. Store any that didn't seal in refrigerator.
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Love Gardening? If you love growing your own produce, these posts are packed full of information about how to get that big harvest by the end of the season! Don’t miss How to Start a Garden Series! The first part is Planning Your Garden!
Second is Preparing the Garden Site.
The third is Choosing Plants and Planting Your Garden.
The fourth is Garden Maintenance, and the last is Harvesting a Garden and Preserving the Harvest, this post has over 100 FREE recipes for preserving your harvest!
On #12 Processing time difference between recipe and print out. Almost lost a complete batch. Please correct asap. I caught and had already processed for 30 min. All has sealed but haven’t tried yet.
We don’t see the error. Step number 12 says to process pints for 15 minutes. Can you be more specific?
Angela R Raum
Looks good. just to clarify you boil brine for 30 minutes & then start packing cukes in jars. **Or do you boil then continue to simmer while you pack cukes in jars?
Thanks Angela. Bring the brine to a boil, then reduce the heat to a high simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Then pack the cukes and pour the hot brining liquid over them, leaving the headspace.
Want to try this with whole small pickles. Will salting them still work.?
Sorry we missed your question. The salt will remove some of the water but not as much as if you slice them. They may not be as crispy but will still be tasty.
Commenting again to change my star rating!
I did have to double the brine. I made 2 quarts and 1 pint.
These taste amazing, almost like bread and butter pickles! Very pleased. Thank you.
Your welcome Becca. I’m glad you like them!
I followed this recipe to a T and the brine didn’t even make enough to fill 1 quart jar. So now I have to wait 30mins to fill my jars with enough brine.
Perhaps you cooked the brine down further? I have made this recipe at least 100 times and always have enough brine or more than I need.
Looking to make the in slices. However my question is how did you get the ripple/crinkle cut on the cucumbers on the slices? What slicer did you use?
I have a mandolin with a crinkle cut blade. They have hand slicers with waffle cut too. Thanks for checking out the recipe Mike!
I have my cukes in the salt now and will make these in the morning. I just want to clarify the use of the black tea. Do I cut open the tea bag and dump the contents into each pint jar? I want to make quart jars – should I use 2 tea bags? I can’t wait to get these made and try them in a few weeks!
Do you have a dill pickle recipe you use?
Hi Jane, Yes I just dump the teas bags in them. One bag should be plenty for a quart. I hope you like them! Here is a dill recipe. Kosher Pickles
The tea bags I have are orange pekoe and black tea. Is that ok or should I just leave them out?
The pekeo and black mixed should be fine. Orange pekoe is just a different cut of black tea. Thanks for checking out the recipe Angie!
Hi. I’m getting things together to make your sweet pickle recipe. I make dill pickles all the time and I use Pickle Crisp to keep pickles crisp. Can this be used in place of black tea or in addition to black tea?
Sure. You can absolutely just eliminate the black tea. Thanks for checking out the recipe Dave. Let me know how you like the pickles!
Beth, I’m making your pickle recipe right now. Question is how long must the pickles remain in the jar before peak flavor has been reached? I have heard that dill pickles should remain at least two weeks but how about sweet pickles?
I usually leave them at least a couple weeks to develop their flavor. I prefer them after a month or so but sometimes we can’t wait for them! 🙂 Let me know how it goes Dave! Thanks.
Thank you Beth for getting back so quickly.
Next question – can I prepare a large batch of sugar, vinegar, water and spices and store in the refrigerator to process cucumbers as the plants produce?
I would say that if it is a sterilized jar that you store it in, it would last 3-4 days. Maybe a week. Be sure to boil it thoroughly for at least 5 minutes when you go to use it. It may last longer but I would hate to tell you it will and then you get some contamination of the final product and it makes someone sick.
Thanks again, Beth. You said the magic words…..’make someone sick.
I believe I’ll just follow the recipe as is 🙂
Yes. That’s probably best. With canning there is no reason to risk it. Botulism is still a serious disease. It’s really easy to make too. 🙂
Hey there! I followed the recipe. I rinsed the cucumbers and let them drain but they are so so so salty. Will their saltiness decrease with time? How should I fix this? They’re canned already, I just opened a jar to try them. Thank you.
Did you rinse off the salt? That is an important step. If you didn’t, the only thing you can do is rinse them before eating. You will lose some of the flavor but I suppose it is better than too salty. I will put the rinse step in bold to help others. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
What about the potato trick?
I haven’t actually heard of the potato trick. Enlighten me.
What size tea bags do you use per pint jar?
Just a regular sized tea bag. Thanks for checking out the recipe Patricia.
Makings this Recipe today. It looks real easy. I was Wondering on the size of cucumbers to use. I do have a few big cucumbers and can I use lemon cucumbers in this recipe? Thank you can you respond asap please.
If you have some larger cukes, just cut them to a size that will fit your jars. I haven’t used lemon cukes, but I see no reason that they won’t work. Thanks for checking out the recipe. Le
t me know how it goes!
lisa c wescott
want to make these today however your pictures show spears in qrt. jars but recipe and hot water bath instructions for pints. I want to make qrt. jars as my cukes are on the long side. Also can white vineger be used in place of the cider vinegar? I’ve got everything ready right now. Hope you can get back to me ASAP!
I prefer cider vinegar, for the flavor, but certainly the white will work as well. The photos in the post show both spears and slices. You can do either. If you want spears, definitely use the quarts. The pints won’t be tall enough. Let me know how they turn out!
Mary J Catton
In step # 12, “process jars for 15 minutes per pint”. I assume this means 15 minutes for a batch of pint jars? Thanks
Yes, absolutely. Sorry I will make that more cleat. Thanks Mary!
Hi, I didn’t can mine, just refrigerator pickles, and they were so good I ate them all straight from the jar (spears). I want to make a lot more and can them this time, but is 1/4″ enough headspace? Did you mean 1/4″ from the lid?
I noticed the pickles absorbed a lot of the liquid in mine when I left it sit overnight in the fridge, the liquid was not even to the bottom ring on the jar anymore, So is that the reason?
You can use a 1/2″ headspace as well. I usually leave at least 1/2″, or more. I’m going to revise the recipe. That was a typo. Thanks for finding it! But like you said, the pickles do soak up a lot of liquid though, and I like them covered, when canning.
I’m making these right now. I read your recipe to mean add the 1/4 salt to the cucumbers and refrigerator overnight. I did that yesterday, now when reading the recipe it says to add the SALT vinegar and spices to a pan. Should that read SUGAR and vinegar and spices? Or did I mess up adding the 1/4 cup of salt to the cukes and refrigerating? They are pretty salty! I am thinking of making the brine without any salt as they are so salty. But not sure that will work! HELP!
You are Totally right! Add the sugar. Make sure you rinse the salt off of cucumbers well. Sorry! I’ll fix that right now!
How long should I store the pickles after canning, before we eat them? Is there a minimum time that the pickles should set to absorb full flavours?
I let them sit at least a month. They are still good before that, but get better with age. Thanks for your question Jeff!
I was wondering if I am to add a cup of water to the brin mix
Sorry Gail, yes you add it to the brine mix. I’ve corrected the recipe card. Thanks for checking out the recipe!
I’m going to try this Recipe. But have a few ? I have pickle cucumbers does it matter how big. the cucumbers are and have you tried lemon cucumbers in this recipe can i leave the onions out.
Yes, you can leave the onions out.
Totally agree … soggy pickles are … yuck.
Thanks for the tips on keeping them crisp.
ps – such pretty photos you’ve gotten!
Thanks so much Noel! I really appreciate that!
Thank you so much, Noel! I really appreciate that! Thanks for checking out the recipe!
Great way to use up cucumbers and not let them go to waste! I’ve never made my own pickles but I sure do have some cucumbers on hand! Can’t wait to try!
They are really very easy Tisha! Thanks for checking out the recipe!
Heidy L. McCallum
Fab sweet pickle recipe. I made this the other day and we are about to have some for lunch today. I am super excited to taste them!
I’m so glad you like them, Heidy! That is great to hear!
Oh this is absolutely fantastic. Sounds like something I need to try asap. I love pickles but never tried sweet ones. Thanks for this wonderful recipe. Can’t wait to make this.
We are crazy about them! Thanks for checking out the recipe Natalie!
I LOVE pickles, so I know I am going to adore this recipe. Can’t wait to make up a big batch! My family are going to love them too 🙂
We love them too! Thanks Alexandra! Let me know how it goes!
Hello, can I make this without the black tea.
Yes, you certainly can!