Side dish
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Pickled Dilly Beans

Here is the recipe that started me on my pickling kick: Dilly Beans. This recipe gives you a sweet and dill combination that goes well with the flavor of the beans. I brought my first batch to a friend’s party as an appetizer.* Everyone loved them, but Diane couldn’t keep away from them. We ate the whole quart jar of beans, and Diane ate at least half of them.
*Hi, Pam and Dave! Thanks again!

I saw this recipe in Cook’s Country magazine, the less uptight, younger sibling of Cook’s Illustrated. It is a good way to use up beans; as you can see in the pictures, I had a lot of beans to use up. I tripled the recipe, and made three quarts of dilly beans.*
*It’s a week later, and we have a quart and a half left. Did I mention that Diane loves green beans?

Recipe: Pickled Dilly Beans



  • 1 pound beans, stems trimmed (I had a mix of green, yellow and tiger beans)
  • 2 Crushed cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Sprigs of Fresh Dill
Pickling Liquid:
  • 0.5 cups water
  • 1.5 cups white vinegar
  • 0.75 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 tablespoons dill seed

Click here for the basic technique of pickling vegetables.
1. Prep the vegetables: Trim the stem ends off of the green beans. Put the green beans, crushed garlic and dill sprigs in your jar.

2. Make the pickling liquid: Combine the Pickling Liquid ingredients in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes to open up the flavor of the spices.

3. Combine the liquid and the vegetables: Carefully pour the pickling liquid into the jar until the vegetables are covered. (Optionally, pour pickling liquid through a fine mesh strainer first, to strain out the herbs and spices; your pickled vegetables will look less rustic that way.)
*I pour the pickling liquid from my sauce pan into my Pyrex 2-Quart Measuring Cup, and from there into the jar. The spout on the measuring cup makes this much less messy.

4. Refrigerate: Let cool at room temperature, close the lid on the jar, and refrigerate. It’s best to refrigerate for at least one day, and preferably one week. They will last, refrigerated, for up to 3 months.

This is how I preserve 3 pounds of beans…

*Blanch the beans to set their color. In the original recipe, they blanched the beans. Before step 1, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the beans for 3 minutes. Remove to a bowl of ice water to cool. Remove from the ice water, drain, and continue with recipe.

*Add some spices other than dill. In the original recipe, you add 1 tbsp of mustard seeds and 1 tbsp of peppercorns. And…I forgot to add them. The recipe turned out great regardless. Another good option would be pickling spices, a mix of spices that, well, they go well with pickling.*
*That’s kind of how the got the name…

*[Update 9.12.2009] Or go with a less sweet dilly bean.  See this comment on GetRichSlowly for Kris’s award winning Ginger Pickled Beans.  []

*Use as an appetizer or side dish, or as part of a vegetable salad.

*These pickles will keep for about 3 months; the vinegar acts as a pretty strong preservative. Watch out for fur or fuzz growing on top of the liquid in the jar. When you see that, it’s time to throw them away.

*I had a hard time packing the beans in tight with the narrow mouth jar. I would recommend using wide mouth jars for this recipe. Or, just living with the fact that you need an extra jar.

*This recipe has a high proportion of vinegar to water (3:1 vinegar to water). Next time, I’m going to try more water, along the lines of the basic technique, just to see what happens. I’m also going to try cider vinegar, since I think it will add some flavor to the recipe. Oh, and I’m going to remember the mustard and peppercorns…

Questions? Comments? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:
Click here for my Pickled Vegetables basic technique.

Adapted From:
Cooks Country Magazine: Dilly Beans (June 2009 issue)

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Filed under: Side dish


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Sean says

    I love this recipe! I leave the sugar out for a more pungent garlic/dill flavor. How much salt should I add to the water for blanching before I pickle them?

    • As much as you would add for pasta. It doesn’t have to be exact, but the water should be salty.

  2. John kinnaman says

    Could I use my earthen clay pickling jar to pickle the bean and asparagus?

    • Not with these recipes. Search for “lactic acid fermentation” (or lacto-fermentation) recipes for use in your pickling jar.

  3. Reader Jackie asked: How much peppercorns do you add in the variation?

    I add 1 tbsp of peppercorns. I’ve updated the recipe for clarity.

    Thanks, Jackie!

  4. I just made 2 quart jars with apple cider vinegar. I bought the wide mouth ones as you suggested. I will let you know how it turns out!

  5. Travis Hanna says

    Yeah, I’ve never worried about the acidity for refrigerator pickles. AFAIK, it’s only important when canning and attempting to do true preserves. I’m making up a batch of the pickled dilly beans tonight. I have several 1/3’rd full bottles of different vinegars so I’ll probably just mix them and use this recipe to kill them off.

    Our conversation at the cottage got me in the mood to try some new pickles so I’ve been looking for my Tsukemono book on and off since I got back. Unfortunately I seem to have thoroughly misplaced it. The pickled dilly beans ought to be a good substitute though :). Thanks for posting this.

  6. Thanks for the idea, Travis!

    I have a pickled asian carrot slaw recipe that uses rice wine vinegar. It didn’t fit into pickling week; I think you’ll be seeing it in the near future.

    From Alton Brown’s “American Pickle” episode: you have to be a little careful when substituting rice wine vinegar in pickling recipes; it tends to be less acidic than white/cider vinegar. That being said, from the variations in acidity I’ve seen in the recipes I did this week…I don’t think it will be a big deal.

  7. Travis Hanna says

    You might consider giving rice wine vinegar a shot while you’re at it. It’s usually my first choice for refridgerator pickles. Apple cider vinegar is great too (I use it for bread & butter pickles) but it needs to be balanced by a lot of spice IMHO.

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