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Donna’s Dill Pickles


Have you tried Bubbie’s pickles? They’re super good, fermented, and really good for you.
I have eaten so many of these pickles that I decided to make my own version of them and came up with this recipe. They taste just like Bubbie’s pickles and I make jars and jars of these dill pickles.

I eat pickles everyday. But I eat them the most when I ‘m discouraged, frustrated, or nervous. They are comfort food for me. I do this so often that even my web manager will tell me to go eat some pickles when things are going crazy with our website. Recently, we moved our server to a bigger server and it made me a nervous wreck to transfer my website. It made my site go down so that no one had access and I hated that. I sat there that night trying to be patient and wondered if this was a good move. Will this make my site faster? Did I do the right thing?  It cost three times the money to move to this bigger server. I’m not very patient and waiting for the files to transfer took hours.  Before our website was done transferring, I had consumed a whole jar of pickles. Yes, it was a good move! Yes, the pickles helped me through the move.

Pickles are comfort food no matter what anyone says. Keep them handy they can keep you sane.

Want Extra Crunchy Pickles?

Donna's Dill Pickles
If you have ever had Bubbies Pickles, then you will like these pickles. You can even use these ingredients to make Dilly Green Beans.~Donna
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  • 1packet Cutting Edge Culturesor 1 cup kefir whey
  • 1cup Waterto mix starter culture
  • 3-4pounds pickling cucumbers3- to 5-inch is ideal, but if all you have is large cucmbers, cut them into spears
  • 3tablespoons Celtic Sea Salt
  • 2cloves garlicseparated into cloves, peeled, and chopped
  • 3tablespoons whole dill seed
  • 2tablespoons whole coriander seed
  • 1teaspoon whole mixed peppercorns
  • 1teaspoon juniper berriesOptional
  • 1/2teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1teaspoon dill weed
  • filtered water
Servings: gallon
  1. If using the starter culture, stir together the culture and water. Let the mixture sit while you prepare the ingredients—around 10 minutes. If using kefir whey, add it when the recipe calls for culture.
  2. If you're wanting spears, chop cucumbers in half. Place flat side down and cut into spears. You can also use whole little cukes made for pickling.
    If you're wanting spears, chop cucumbers in half. Place flat side down and cut into spears. You can also use whole little cukes made for pickling.
  3. Mix all seasonings and spices in a bowl with a spout for easy pouring.
  4. Place cucumbers in jar. (Some of the seeds fall to the bottom.)
  5. Add seasonings & spices, Cutting Edge Culture, or kefir whey, and cover with water, leaving an inch or two at the top.
    Add seasonings & spices, Cutting Edge Culture, or kefir whey, and cover with water, leaving an inch or two at the top.
  6. Seal the container and let it sit on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight, for three days. After three days, place the container in the refrigerator.
  7. Check the vegetables every day to make sure they are fully submerged in the water. If they have risen above the water, simply push them down so they are fully covered by the water. If any white spots formed because the veggies rose above the water, do not worry. Remember, this isn’t harmful. Just scoop out the vegetables that have the white spots on them and push the rest back under the water.
Recipe Notes

Storage note: These pickles can be kept in a covered airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to nine months.

66 Responses to "Donna’s Dill Pickles"
  1. I made a batch of these, and only one had a slight white film that I removed. I let them out only three days in warm but dark area. This is day 5 for being in my refrigerator and I decided to try them. They are not sour, and taste more like I may have added a butter oil or something of an odd nature. They taste no where near dill, and I’m wondering if something went wrong. I used well water, because ours have chlorine and who knows what in it.

  2. These are the best dill pickles, I have ever eaten! I am going to make a third batch today. Even the skeptics in my family love them.

  3. My pickles turned out all mushy. I did use whey from homemade kefir. Followed your instructions thoroughly. After being in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks, they fell apart into a jar of mush. What would have gone wrong. The cucumbers were from my garden, no chemicals, the kefir was made from raw milk. They also had no taste. I used all the spices you listed. So disappointing. But I want to try again. so any help would be appreciated.

    • Many times there is an enzyme in the blossom end of fresh cucumbers that will dissolve the cucumbers. Make sure you cut off that end. It could also be that you used to much kefir whey or you kefir whey was too strong. Try using less kefir whey.

  4. Hi Donna – I tasted the pickles after just one day (knowing they aren’t ready) and noticed that they are 1) very, very salty and 2) they are only salty at the bottom – in other words all the salt/spices are sitting at the bottom of the jar. I’m wondering 1) if the saltiness will reduce as they ferment and 2) if I can/ should shake the jars to redistribute the spices or if that would interrupt the fermentation process? Thanks!

    • Go a head and shake it it won’t hurt anything. The saltiness won’t reduce but if you don’t like it you can remove some of the brine and add water and use the brine you removed to make more veggies.

  5. Thank you for this recipe and for all of the wonderful information that you pass along. I have a question about the 4 quarts of pickles I started yesterday. Some of the pickles are now poking up through the surface of the brine. How do I keep them down below the brine? I don’t want to get mold. I don’t have grape leaves and haven’t yet sourced them (will do in the future). My family thinks that I am a mad scientist with my Kombucha (your starter culture is amazing) and my Kefir (your grains). I can’t get them to eat either so I am hoping the pickles will get them started but if they see mold they will freak out. Thank you so much.

    • Just let them poke up. Cucumbers really float and mine to do but they seem to do fine even if they do. The secret to keeping the white yeast away is getting really fresh cucumbers.

      • Perfect! I bought my cucumbers from an organic farmer at a farmer’s market so they were fresh. BTW, my man is actually eating a pickle a day. It’s a beginning! He even ate one of the daikon radishes that I picked in the same recipe. they are semi crunchy. I love them!

  6. I have just made 2 batches from your dill pickle recipe in your book. The recipe calls for 6 Tablespoons of salt and the one on the site calls for 3 Tablespoons. I am eating them but feel like the salt is ripping up the insides of my mouth. I guess 3 Tablespoons is better. Anyway to calm the salt down now that they are in the fridge?

  7. I love Bubbies pickles and have kept the juice from numerous jars. Can it be used to ferment vegetables or make pickles?


  8. I am new to cultured foods and have been only taking them in for a couple of months. So glad I have them in my life. Question, have you noticed in the past of a cleansing period of mucus coming up at first? Just wanted to know if I am just thinking I am sick, but I DO NOT feel bad, or is this a cleansing as my husband is experiencing the same thing.

  9. Hello Donna, I have some questions on filtered water. Would you mind sharing what brand do you use, or what brand of filter, if you filter your own? I’m asking because I’ve been using the Zerowater filter for awhile now for our drinking water, and recently I’ve found out that that in addition to removing chlorine and fluoride, it also removes most minerals as well. I was disappointed to learn this because other filters I’ve tried still left a chlorine taste. I did 2 batches of veggies using Zerowater filtered water, and they bubbled, but not like in your picture. But I did add the Ancient earth minerals to both batches as well as the Body Ecology. Just wondering what your thoughts are on this, and what type of water you would recommend for the best results. Thank you so much for your help!

  10. Hi Donna,
    Thank you so much for everything you do to spread the probiotic word.

    Can one use black tea leaves for the crisp factor? Teas have tannins..be great for winter pickle making.


  11. Hi Donna,
    I have so many food sensitivities and was looking to make a ‘salad dressing’ without oil, vinegar, and a whole list of things I can’t eat…I was experimenting and found that pickle juice, milk kefir, 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon juice, avocado and turmeric (or whatever spices you prefer) makes a great salad dressing! Once I made it really thick and my boyfriend dipped his chip in it and loved it! (I was super surprised b/c my food limitations make me love and appreciate so many more things that ‘normal’ people don’t always find tasty haha). Now he ASKS me to make it! Funny thing is, he won’t drink milk kefir. At least I can get the probiotics in him with this! I have also used sauerkraut juice and that is good too. Thanks for your inspiration and ideas about how to be creative with cultured foods!

    • That salad dressing sounds great! What proportions of pickle juice and kefir etc do you use? I’m going to try this!

      • I have never actually measured anything…I do this in my vitamix, so I add the avocado first, then the milk kefir…maybe about 1 cup to start with, then probably about 1/3 cup of pickle juice, then the lemon juice, etc, blend and taste. It starts out pretty thick and I just add a little more kefir and pickle juice until I like the taste and consistency. Have fun with it and I hope you like it! I even put it on scrambled eggs with sauerkraut (when I make it thick). I have even used it as a dip for baked potato chips! yum 🙂

  12. I have fibromyalgia and arthritis. I am in a lot of pain. I have had part of my colon removed also. Can cultured food help with the fibro pain? I buy kabucha, yogurt, and kefir at the store but still have extreme fibro pain.

    • Hi Diane. I too suffered fibromyalgia-like symptoms for over six years, including a nine-month headache that never went away. Wearing magnetic insoles took the headache and body pain away within the first day. Of course this may or may not work for you as we all require different healing modalities because each of us who experience fibromyalgia experience it uniquely. Still, if you haven’t tried magnetics, it might be worth a try. You can buy them online. Too, I found that water fasting (not juice fasting) helped in combination to eating fermented foods when you’re not fasting. Today my diet is 80-90% fermented foods & beverages, mostly raw and organic. Periodic water fasting for 10-40 days in combination with yoga hip openers not only cured me of arthritis in hips, knees & shoulders, but also released deep cellular memory that is often associated to fibromyalgia. When your body goes into a state of ketosis, usually after the third day, it begins to search out non-body protein sources including bad bacteria, viruses, tumors, waste product in the blood, buildup around the joints, and fat. Water fasting puts the body into a state of detoxification, repair, and regeneration, which is why so many people recover from illness & diseases like arthritis, diabetes, and cancer as a result of water fasting. If you’d like to learn more about water fasting I highly recommend you read The Transformational Power of Fasting by Stephen Harrod Buhner. Amazon sells it in both hardcopy and kindle. All the best to you.

  13. I noticed that dill seed is mentioned twice in the recipe – “3 Tbsp whole dill seed” and “1 tsp dill seed”. Is that correct or is one of those supposed to be dill WEED??? Thanks!

    • I get them in spice section of health food stores and you can leave them out if you can’t find them because it enhances the flavor but won’t ruin the taste if you leave it out.

  14. Hey Donna,

    I have a quick question on the jars. It says use 4 4 quart jars, so we’d be making 4 gallons, correct? I’m wondering why we only use half a pouch of Caldwell’s in this case since it says one pouch is 4.5 gallons? I just want to make sure I do it right, since this sounds awesome!

    I just got a bunch of cucumbers too that I wasn’t sure what to do with, so it’s perfect!


      • Sorry Donna, I don’t mean to be a pain, but I have a couple more things I’m wondering about.

        I’m just comparing this recipe to the “Need Cruncy Pickles?” one, and in that one it also says 4 – 4 quart jars, which I was guessing would also be 1 quart jars? And it is using 1 packet of Caldwell’s for that recipe or 1/2 cup of kefir whey, which is double the amount of this recipe.

        Sorry to nit-pick, just want to make sure I have everything correct before making it 🙂

        Thank you!

  15. I thought pickles get extremely mushy without grape or raspberry leaves, I tried once and they were awful without them.

  16. Donna,
    I have tried bubbies pickles and they were very mushy. Are yours crisp or mushy? I have read you can use a folded grape leaf to keep veggies under the brine. What about the juniper berries- would it effect the taste if you leave out- i’m not sure where to purchase them. You have inspired me to try these!

  17. If my family were to finish off a jar of these and I had more cucumbers on hand could I just add in new cucumbers to the remaining ‘pickle juice’ and re-culture?

  18. Donna’s Dill Pickles | Cultured Food Life I was recommended this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem. You are wonderful! Thanks! your article about Donna’s Dill Pickles | Cultured Food LifeBest Regards Craig

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