If you are searching for the best sweet pickle recipe, you have found it. This recipe is not only easy to make, but it makes the absolute best sweet pickles that you have ever tasted!
Although they often get confused with bread and butter pickles, these pickles have their own unique taste. Both varieties are similar in that they are both sweet in taste, however, there is a definite difference among the two.
Bread and butter pickles, although a version of a sweet pickle, typically tend to be sweeter and the brine is thicker. They can be made as an Overnight Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe or canned and stored on a pantry shelf for up to a year.
On the contrary, standard sweet pickles require just a few basic ingredients and can be made in just 15 minutes! All you need is vinegar, sugar and a few spices.
Ready To Eat In Only 2 Hours!
Best part of all, you don’t have to let them sit overnight before you can eat them. They only need to sit in the brine for 2 hours before they are ready to consume.
These two hours provide enough time to allow the flavors of the brine and spices to penetrate the slices of cucumbers to achieve great flavor.
However, they are even better if you wait at least 2 days before eating them. But who can wait that long??
Every time that I have taken jars of these pickles to my family and friends and they are always begging me to make more. Even those who don’t like bread and butter pickles love these pickles.
Although, before you get started making this recipe or any other pickle recipe, there are a couple of things you need to know to make them the best pickles around.
What Type Of Cucumbers Make The Best Sweet Pickles
Before you make pickles it is crucial that you choose the right variety of cucumbers. Although all varieties of cucumbers can be turned into pickles, there are some that are better than others.
Keep the large cucumbers that you find in the produce section of your grocery store for salads, such as Cucumber, Tomato & Onion salad, or a standard garden or Cobb Salad.
Instead, grow or purchase cucumbers that are identified as pickling cucumbers. They are significantly smaller in size and have a much smaller seed cores than the larger cucumbers.
There are several different cucumber varieties that are ideal for making pickles. We love to grow and use National Pickling Cucumbers and Boston Pickling Cucumbers, both which makes the best sweet pickles.
When To Pick Cucumbers For Pickling
If you grow cucumbers and you want to make pickles, you need to know when is the right time to pick them. Avoid the common gardening theory of ‘Bigger is Better’.
We have all been there when a coworker or neighbor is showing you a huge cucumber or 2 foot long zucchini that they picked out of their garden. Yes, they may be big, but their flavor and functionality is minimal.
Instead, cucumbers that are going to be used to make pickles should be picked when they are about one inch in diameter and 4-5 inches in length. In this case, the smaller the better!
When the cucumber harvest begins, be sure to check the vines daily. You will be surprised how fast they grow. And if left in the garden for days, many of the tiny cucumbers you first noticed a few days ago will be too big for pickling.
And for best results, be sure to make the pickles the day that you pick the cucumbers. Fresh picked cucumbers result in the best sweet pickles!
The Best Sweet Pickle Recipe
*Complete recipe instructions including specific measurements, cook temperatures and times are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.
- 2 cups sliced Pickling Cucumbers, approximately 1/4-inch thick
- 1/2 cup Sweet Onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 cup Water
- 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 teaspoon each of Celery Seed & Mustard Seed
- 1 teaspoon Non-Iodized Salt
The first step in making sweet pickles is to wash the cucumbers and cut off each end and discard, or save it for your compost bin. Then slice each cucumber in 1/4 inch round slices.
Place the cucumbers in a heat safe, medium size bowls. Then add the thinly sliced onions to the bowl with the cucumbers. Set the bowl aside while you prepare the brine.
In a medium saucepan add the apple cider vinegar, water, granulated sugar, celery seed, mustard seed and non-iodized salt. Mix the ingredients together and place over medium-high heat.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar and salt. Reduce the heat and let the liquid simmer for 5 minutes.
Then pour the hot brine liquid in the bowl with the cucumbers and onions. Stir gently so that all of the cucumbers are coated in the pickling brine.
If the pickles begin to float to the surface, add a weight to the top surface to keep them submerged. You don’t need anything fancy, a simple plate and bowl will do the trick.
Let the sweet pickles cool and then place them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before eating. However, you will get the best tasting sweet pickles if you let them sit in the refrigerator, undisturbed for 2 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long will sweet pickles last in the refrigerator?
If stored in an air-tight container, the pickles will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. However, I can almost guarantee you that you will eat them all, way before then!
2. Can I can sweet pickles so that they last longer?
If you would like to make these pickles shelf stable so that they can be stored in your homemade Canning Pantry, in your basement, or on your kitchen cabinet shelves, then you must can them.
Fortunately, pickles are one of the easiest items to can. Instead of letting the pickles cool, ladle them into pint or half pint sterilized jars.
Wipe the rim clean, remove any air bubbles, and add the lid and band. Then process the jar of pickles in a water bath canner for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude as necessary).
3. I have a lot of cucumbers, do you have an other pickle recipes?
All of our favorite pickle and relish recipes can be found under the Recipe Index tab at the top of this article. Scroll to the Canning header and right underneath there you will find a page with all of our favorite Pickle/Relish Recipes.
Mary and Jim
To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up below for our free email list. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. This article may contain affiliate links.
Sweet Pickle Recipe
- 2 cups sliced cucumbers, approximately 1/4-inch thick
- 1/2 cup sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon non-iodized salt
- In a heat safe, medium bowl add sliced cucumbers and onions. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan mix the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Pour hot liquid over the cucumbers and onions. Let cool or process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude as necessary).
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
- Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator up to 2 months.
Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms