Tangy and sweet, these sweet and sour pickled cucumbers are the perfect balance of zesty and freshness. Embrace pickling with this easy-to-follow recipe and enjoy this popular condiment at home.
Explore the world of pickling with this mouthwatering recipe for sweet and sour pickled cucumbers. They are infused with vinegar, mustard seeds, maple syrup, dill, and pepper, making them a delicious addition to sandwiches, burgers, and more.
If your garden is full of cucumbers or you got a great deal at the farmers market, this pickled cucumber recipe is the way to go. Enjoy the abundance of cucumbers by transforming them into delicious pickles with ease.
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What are pickled cucumbers?
Pickled cucumbers, also called pickles, are vegetables preserved in a seasoned liquid. This liquid typically consists of vinegar, water, salt, sugar, spices, and herbs.
Pickling involves submerging cucumber slices or whole cucumbers in the pickling liquid and allowing them to marinate for some time. The pickling time can range from a few hours to several weeks, depending on the pickling method.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Flavorful and tangy – The combination of white wine vinegar, maple syrup, spices, and herbs in the pickling liquid creates a delicious flavor profile that enhances the natural taste of the cucumbers.
- Versatile – These sweet and sour pickled cucumbers are versatile and can be used in various dishes. They make a great side dish, a tasty topping for sandwiches and burgers, a refreshing addition to salads, or a healthy snack.
- Preserves fresh produce – If you have an abundance of fresh cucumbers from your garden or a great deal at the market, pickling them is an excellent way to preserve them.
- Health benefits – Cucumbers are low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals. Pickling retains much of its nutritional value, making them a healthy option.
- Get creative – While this recipe provides a flavorful blend of ingredients, pickling is a creative process. Use different vinegar, herbs, or spices to create your desired taste.
- Long shelf life – Sweet and sour pickled cucumbers last several weeks when stored in the refrigerator.
- Cucumbers – Choose fresh, firm, and preferably organic cucumbers for the best taste and texture. English or pickling cucumbers work well for this recipe due to their crispness.
- Vinegar – I use white wine vinegar in this recipe. However, you can also use apple cider or rice vinegar for a slightly different taste profile.
- Maple syrup – If you prefer a different sweetener, substitute it with honey, agave nectar, or granulated sugar.
- Mustard seeds – You can use ground mustard or omit them if you prefer.
- Dill – Fresh dill offers the best flavor, but you can use dried dill if fresh is not available.
- Pepper – Feel free to adjust the amount of pepper to suit your taste preferences. You can also use crushed red pepper flakes for some extra heat.
- Salt – Use a high-quality, non-iodized, such as kosher or pickling salt, to ensure proper pickling and flavor distribution.
- Water – Use filtered or bottled water to avoid any impurities that might affect the taste of the pickles.
- Optional additions – Get creative by adding other spices. Add cloves, cinnamon sticks, or allspice berries to the pickling liquid. Feel free to experiment with flavors that complement your taste.
See recipe card for quantities.
Tips & substitutions
- Slice the cucumbers uniformly – To ensure even pickling, slice the cucumbers to a consistent thickness. Using a mandoline slicer or a sharp knife will help achieve uniform slices.
- Adjust sweetness and tanginess – If you prefer sweeter pickles, increase the amount of maple syrup. For a tangier result, use a bit more vinegar.
- Sterilize the jar – Make sure the glass jar is clean and sterilized before filling it. Boil the glass and lid in water for a few minutes or run it through a hot dishwasher cycle.
- Store in the fridge – This recipe is for refrigerator pickles, meaning they are not canned for long-term storage. So, store them in the fridge, and consume them within a few weeks.
How to pickle cucumbers
Step 1: Wash the cucumbers thoroughly and slice them into thin rounds.
Step 2: In a small saucepan, combine the white wine vinegar, maple syrup, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, salt, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir until the salt and maple syrup is fully dissolved.
Step 3: Arrange the cucumber slices and chopped dill in a clean glass jar. The glass should be large enough to fit all the cucumber slices and pickling liquid.
Step 4: Carefully pour the hot pickling liquid over the cucumber slices in the jar, ensuring they are fully submerged.
Step 5: Let the jar cool to room temperature. Once cooled, seal the jar tightly and place it in the refrigerator. Allow the cucumbers to pickle in the fridge for at least 24 hours before consuming. Wait 2 to 3 days before enjoying the pickled cucumbers. The longer they sit, the more flavorful they will become.
For extra flavor, lightly toast the spices before adding them to the pickling liquid. When you toast the mustard seeds and black peppercorns, the natural oils are released, which results in a fragrant taste.
How to store pickled cucumbers
Allow the pickles to cool to room temperature before sealing the jar. Then, store the sealed jars of pickled cucumber slices in the refrigerator. Refrigeration is essential to slow down any further fermentation or bacterial growth. This keeps the pickles safe to eat and preserves their quality.
While it may be tempting to try the pickles immediately, wait at least 24 hours before consuming. The resting period allows the flavors to meld and intensify.
Note: Homemade pickled cucumbers are not processed using traditional canning methods, so their shelf life is shorter. Consume the pickles within a few weeks for the best taste and quality!
What to serve with pickled cucumbers
These pickled cucumber slices can be served as a tangy side dish, added to sandwiches, or enjoyed as a snack. Here are my suggestions:
- Burgers – Top your burgers with pickled cucumber slices for a burst of tanginess and a refreshing contrast to the savory flavors.
- Charcuterie boards – Pickles also make a great addition to charcuterie and cheese platters. Serve them on this easy easter charcuterie board to add flavor and visual appeal.
- Rice and grain bowls – Pickles can be a delightful addition to rice or grain bowls, adding a tangy component to the mix of flavors and textures.
- Sandwiches – Pickles are a classic and delicious addition to sandwiches. They add a crunchy element that complements various fillings, such as deli meats, cheese, grilled vegetables, or plant-based options.
- Tacos and wraps – These pickled cucumber slices also add a bright and tangy touch to tacos, burritos, and these harissa chicken wraps.
- BBQ meats – Serve these pickled cucumber slices alongside grilled and roasted meats like chicken, ribs, or pulled pork as a fresh and crunchy side.
- Asian dishes – In Asian cuisine, pickles are served as a side or condiment with dishes like sushi, sashimi, this salmon teriyaki grain bowl, or noodle dishes.
Whether you peel the cucumbers before pickling or leave the skin on is a matter of personal preference. Cucumber skin contains valuable nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals. By leaving the skin on, you retain these nutrients.
However, some cucumber varieties are slightly bitter, especially their skin. Peeling the cucumbers can help reduce any bitterness and result in milder-tasting pickles.
These homemade pickled cucumber slices, also known as refrigerator pickles, are a faster pickling method. This method typically takes around 24 hours for the cucumbers to develop their flavor. This resting period allows the flavors to meld.
These homemade pickled cucumbers are healthy, especially when compared to store-bought pickles. It includes fresh cucumbers, a natural sweetener, and a good balance of spices and herbs.
Pickles are usually enjoyed as a condiment. While this recipe contains healthier ingredients, consume them in appropriate serving sizes.
More cucumber recipes
Sweet and Sour Pickled Cucumbers
- 1 medium cucumber
- 120 ml white wine vinegar (½ cup)
- 4 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ tablespoon mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoon fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 250 ml (filtered) water (1 cup)
- Wash the cucumbers thoroughly and slice them into thin rounds.
- In a small saucepan, combine the white wine vinegar, maple syrup, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, salt, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir until the salt and maple syrup is fully dissolved.
- Arrange the cucumber slices and chopped dill in a clean glass jar. The glass should be large enough to fit all the cucumber slices and pickling liquid.
- Carefully pour the hot pickling liquid over the cucumber slices in the jar, ensuring they are fully submerged.
- Let the jar cool to room temperature. Once cooled, seal the jar tightly and place it in the refrigerator. Allow the cucumbers to pickle in the fridge for at least 24 hours before consuming. Wait 2 to 3 days before enjoying the pickled cucumbers. The longer they sit, the more flavorful they will become!
Nutritional values are estimates only calculated with the recipe calorie and nutrition calculator provided by verywellfit.com. The author of this website is not a nutritionist nor a doctor. All nutritional data provided in the recipes and correspondent blog posts are for informational purposes only. Do not use the information as nutritional or medical advice.