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Authentic German Dill Pickles Recipe (Gewürzgurken)

Authentic German Dill Pickles Recipe (Gewürzgurken)

An authentic German recipe with step-by-step photos and lots of tips on how to make German dill pickles. Made with fresh dill flowers, carrots, onions, horseradish root, hot peppers, pickling cucumbers and German pickled cucumber spice mix canned in the oven (water bath).

These homemade pickles are a family favorite. They are crunchy, flavorful, spicy, not too sweet and not too sour and not too salty.

Every year my mum in law, Beate makes them, and we enjoy them throughout the year for Brotzeit or when making meat salad, pasta salad or beef roulade for instance. My 1- and 4-year-old daughters enjoy snacking them.

Beate’s German pickled cucumber recipe is a combination of two recipes: from her mum and her mum in law. Apparently, her mum makes her pickled cucumbers a bit sweet, whereas her mum in law’s were always sour and spicy, since she adds horseradish root and hot peppers and she only adds a little bit of sugar.

A few days ago, we harvested pickling cucumbers, horseradish, peppers, onions and of course dill with flowers from the garden to make German pickled cucumbers also known as Gewuerzgurken, Sauergurken or Essiggurken.

Making this German style pickles recipe is super easy and the ingredients can be adjusted to your liking.

What you’ll need to make pickled cucumbers

  • 4 kg (8.8 lbs) pickling cucumbers (Gherkins, mini cucumbers, snack cucumbers)
  • 3 tablespoons fine salt

For the brine

  • 500 g (1.1 lbs/ 2 ½ cups) sugar
  • 1 ½ l (about 1 ½ quarts/ 6 ¼ cups) white wine vinegar (Wein Branntweinessig)
  • 1 ½ l (about 1 ½ quarts/ 6 ¼ cups) cold tap water

You’ll also need

  • 4 medium onions
  • 5 medium carrots
  • about 50 g (1.8 oz) horseradish root
  • 2 fresh chilli peppers
  • Pickled cucumber spice mix, 3 teaspoons per 1 liter (1 quart) jar
  • 4  – 5 large fresh dill stems with flowers (about ½ dill stem and flowers per 1 liter (1 quart) jar)

How to make German style pickled cucumbers

Soak the pickles in water and wash them very well while brushing/ rubbing them with a vegetable brush to remove all the dirt/ sand and tiny bits of dirt. Next, minimally cut off both ends.

Cut the pickling cucumbers from top lengthwise, such that the ends are still connected. Sprinkle with salt in the slit and let the cucumbers steep for at least 2 hours. Salt draws out water from the cucumbers.

Meanwhile wash dill and shake off excess water. Wash the carrots, peel, and cut them into rough chunks. Then peel and cut the onions into eighths.

Next wash and dry the hot peppers and cut them into large pieces. Now wash horseradish very well, peel it and cut into thin chunks. For the brine, simply mix the water with the sugar and vinegar.

Pack the jars with veggies, pickling spice mix and brine

Pack cucumbers, onions, and carrots into eight 1-liter (about 1 quart) jars. First layer pickles in the jars, followed by a tiny dill flower heads and a roughly chopped dill stem and leaves (see photos), a piece of carrot, an eighth onion and a teaspoon of pickling spice.

Repeat the process until the jars are almost fully packed, leaving a little space for pepper, horseradish, and brine. We had three layers of everything in each 1-liter (1 quart) jar. Add a slice of hot pepper and a slice or two of horseradish.

Pour the prepared brine into the jars, until the brine covers the veggies. Dry the rims of the jars with paper towels to prevent mold and then close the jars very tightly. Since we have used preserving rubber jars, they were additionally closed with fixed clips.

How to can jars in the oven (water bath method)

Put a baking sheet in the cold oven (on the lowest rack position). Arrange the pickling cucumber jars on the baking sheet. Don’t forget to leave enough space between the jars. Fill the baking sheet with cold tap water and switch on the oven and set it to 150 °C (302 °F) in a circulating air oven (or set the oven to 170 °C (338 °F) with both up and low heat, if your oven does not have circulating air option.).

Let process until you see small bubbles rising in the jars. Very important, otherwise your pickles will get overcooked and become soft and less crisp. When the bubbles rise in the jars, immediately turn off the oven and leave the pickled cucumbers in the turned off and still closed oven for 25 minutes.

Remove the jars from the oven and put them on the kitchen countertop lined with a kitchen towel. Let cool to room temperature, preferably overnight.

Remove the clips if you have some like us and store in a cool, dark place for up to one year. The pickled cucumbers can be consumed immediately, though it’s advisable to let them sit for a couple of days for the flavors to meld together.

After around 12 months the pickles get less flavorful and soft. Once opened the jar should be stored in the fridge and used within one month.

Authentic German Dill Pickles Recipe (Gewürzgurken)

An authentic German recipe with step-by-step photos and lots of tips on how to make German dill pickles. Made with fresh dill flowers, carrots, onions, horseradish root, hot peppers, pickling cucumbers and German pickled cucumber spice mix canned in the oven (water bath).
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr
Steep Time2 hrs
Total Time4 hrs
Course: Appetizer, condiment, Snack
Cuisine: Europa, German
Keyword: German dill pickle recipe, German pickles, German style pickles recipe, how to can pickles in the oven
Servings: 8 liters (8 quarts)
Author: Ester | esterkocht.com

Equipment

  • Baking sheet
  • 8 1-liter (about 1quart) jars with lids

Ingredients

  • 4 kg (8.8 lbs) pickling cucumbers (Gherkins, mini cucumbers or snack cucumbers)
  • 3 tablespoons fine salt

For the brine

  • 500 g (1.1 lbs/ 2 ½ cups) sugar
  • 1 ½ l (about 1 ½ quarts/ 6 ¼ cups) white wine vinegar (Wein Branntweinessig)
  • 1 ½ l (about 1 ½ quarts/ 6 ¼ cups) cold tap water

You'll also need

  • 4 medium onions
  • 5 medium carrots
  • 4 – 5 large fresh dill stems with flowers (about ½ dill stem and flowers per 1 liter (1 quart) jar)
  • about 50 g (1.8 oz) horseradish root
  • 2 fresh chilli peppers
  • pickled cucumber spice mix 3 teaspoons per 1 liter (1 quart) jar)

Instructions

  • Soak the pickles in water and wash them very well while brushing/ rubbing them with a vegetable brush to remove all the dirt/ sand and tiny bits of dirt. Next, minimally cut off both ends. Then cut the pickling cucumbers from top lengthwise, such that the ends are still connected.
  • Sprinkle with salt in the slit and let the cucumbers steep for at least 2 hours. Salt draws out water from the cucumbers.
  • Meanwhile wash dill and shake off excess water. Wash the carrots, peel, and cut them into rough chunks. Then peel and cut the onions into eighths.
  • Next wash and dry the hot peppers and cut them into large pieces. Now wash horseradish very well, peel it and cut into thin chunks. For the brine, simply mix the water with the sugar and vinegar.
  • Pack the jars with veggies, pickling spice mix and brine into approximately eight 1-liter (about 1 quart) jars. First layer pickles in the jars, followed by a tiny dill flower heads and a roughly chopped dill stem and leaves (see photos), a piece of carrot, an eighth onion and a teaspoon of pickling spice. Repeat the process until the jars are almost fully packed, leaving a little space for pepper, horseradish, and brine. We had three layers of everything in each 1-liter (1 quart) jar .Add a slice of hot pepper and a slice or two of horseradish.
  • Pour the prepared brine into the jars, until the brine covers the veggies. Dry the rims of the jars with paper towels to prevent mold and then close the jars very tightly. Since we have used preserving rubber jars, they were additionally closed with fixed clips.

How to can jars in the oven (water bath method)

  • Put a baking sheet in the cold oven (on the lowest rack position). Arrange the pickling cucumber jars on the baking sheet. Don’t forget to leave enough space between the jars.
  • Fill the baking sheet with cold tap water and switch on the oven and set it to 150 °C (302 °F) in a circulating air oven (or set the oven to 170 °C (338 °F) with both up and low heat, if your oven does not have circulating air option.). Let process until you see small bubbles rising in the jars. Very important, otherwise your pickles will get overcooked and become soft and less crunchy.
  • When the bubbles rise in the jars, immediately turn off the oven and leave the pickled cucumbers in the turned off and still closed oven for 25 minutes.
  • Remove the jars from the oven and put them on the kitchen countertop lined with a kitchen towel. Let cool to room temperature, preferably overnight. Remove the clips if you have some like us. The pickled cucumbers can be consumed immediately, though it’s advisable to let them sit for a couple of days for the flavors to meld together.
  • Store the pickled cucumbers in a cool, dark place for up to one year. After around 12 months the pickles get less flavorful and soft. Once opened the jar should be stored in the fridge and used within one month.

Did you make this German dill pickles recipe? I’d love to hear from you! Simply write a comment and add rating to it. 

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