Hello, I want to make dill pickles using the recipe in OSU pickling...

Asked September 5, 2018, 1:12 PM EDT

Hello, I want to make dill pickles using the recipe in OSU pickling vegetables canning book but would like to add just a bit of sugar. Can I safely do that? If so, how much? Also, would it be safe to add a head of dill to the bread and butter pickles (recipe in the same book)? And can I cut back on the sugar in that recipe? Thank you.

Benton County Oregon food safety home food preservation

1 Response

Vinegar based pickle recipes do provide some room for altering sugar, herbs and spices in the recipes to make them unique as long as the vinegar to water ratio remains at least 1:1 (more vinegar in some recipes.)
https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/pnw355 Here is the latest version of the recipe and instruction publication.


For the Quick Kosher Dill recipe, you could add sugar and not affect the safety of the product. Some sugar helps mellow the sharpness of the vinegar. You might try 2-3 tablespoons in the first batch to see how much difference that makes. You could safely add more. If you want a true sweet pickle, I would use the recipe for Quick Sweet Pickles and you can substitute the dill for the celery seed and allspice called for. If a pickle recipe is very sweet it usually has much more vinegar than water.

For the Bread and Butter pickles, you can add the dill for flavor. That one has a straight vinegar brine, which is the safety and preservation ingredient in the recipe, so you could reduce the sugar. Keep in mind that if you reduce the sugar too much the vinegar will seem sharper.

If you have more questions, remember our toll-free food preservation hotline is open for the summer at 1-800-354-7319. 9am – 4 pm, Monday – Friday through October 12, 2018.