August 20, 2022

Homemade Sweet and Spicy Pickles

If you’re craving big flavor, make these homemade sweet and spicy pickles. This quick and easy recipe comes with plenty of flavor from ketchup, garlic, tabasco and fresh herbs from your garden. Just like these dill pickles, they are perfect for snacking or as a side dish to just about any meal and offer garden-fresh flavor. 

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Homemade sweet and spicy pickles

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Easy Homemade Pickles Recipe

This easy homemade pickle recipe is just the thing to make when you have too much of garden cucumbers on hand. It’s a very simple recipe and you will enjoy them for a year once pickled. It’s the perfect end of summer project, if you can call that.

My sister Alla shared this recipe for sweet and spicy pickles with me. She had been canning these for several years now. They have the perfect balance of sweet, tangy and spicy. While I never saw the point of making homemade pickles myself, I finally caved and so glad I did because homemade pickles are tastier than store-bought.

Here’s Why You’ll Love These Homemade Pickles:

  • Quick and easy
  • Simple and fresh ingredients, yet so much flavor
  • Perfectly spiced
  • Wonderful plain, served as sandwich toppers, in salads or as a side dish
  • Prep ahead of time – cook and seal later
  • Minimal effort, maximum flavor
  • Easy recipe to halve or double

Homemade sweet and spicy pickles

Tell Me About These Homemade Pickles

  • Texture: Hello, crisp! You know when you bite into a pickle, and you hear that loud crisp? That glorious texture is the main ingredient of today’s recipe.
  • Flavor: These homemade pickles are sweet, spicy, tangy and herbed, plus there’s garlic and some peppercorns. Each satisfying bite leads to another bite.
  • Ease: Prepping the pickling brine is easy and can be made even the day before. It doesn’t have to be hot before adding into jars, as the jars are cooked in the pot anyway. Cucumbers can be packed into jars hours before sealing, making this recipe easy to work with.
  • Time: Cooking the jars with cucumbers usually takes 15 minutes after the pot comes to a boil. The time it takes to pack the jars with cucumbers depends on the size and shape of how you cut the cucumbers. Whole cucumbers will take minutes, while slicing into rounds or wedges and packing will take slightly longer. Whatever cut you choose, you cannot go wrong here.

10 Simple Ingredients for Homemade Pickles:

Cucumbers play the main role in this recipe. You will need small pickling cucumbers to can as wholes or slice large cucumbers into rounds or wedges. Here are other ingredients you need and why they’re integral to the recipe:

  • Water: You need water for the brine and more water to fill the pot for processing jars with cucumbers.
  • Distilled White Vinegar: A 5% or 6% acidity works best.
  • Ketchup: Original ketchup is used, but can be substituted for chili ketchup. Just omit tabasco if you do.
  • Tabasco Sauce: A tablespoon of tabasco goes a long way. For spicier flavor, increase the amount. If you don’t have tabasco sauce on hand, you can use sriracha instead.
  • Granulated Sugar: Sugar balances the savory flavors of the pickles.
  • Fine Salt: While many homemade pickle recipes call for picking salt, fine salt works just as great and it’s the one that most of you already have in your kitchens.
  • Fresh Herbs: Leaves from black currants or grape bushes and/or cherry tree leaves work the best. Use a mix of 3 if possible, for the maximum flavor in each jar.
  • Fresh Garlic: For extra flavor, add 3 garlic cloves per jar with cucumbers.
  • Black Peppercorns: Whole peppercorns are used for milder taste compared to ground pepper.

Ingredients for homemade sweet and spicy pickles

Home Canning Tools Needed:

  • 32 oz sized (wide-mouth) Mason jars with rings and new lids
  • Large stock pot (20qt+)
  • A towel to line at the bottom of the pot (if not using rack)
  • Jar lifter to safely transfer the jars

Overview: How to Make Homemade Sweet and Spicy Pickles

  1. Sterilize Jars: Wash all jars and lids with warm soapy water. Sterilize the lids fully submerged in water for 4-5 minutes after the water starts boiling; carefully dry lids with paper towel. Preheat the oven to a 215°F and place jars upside down onto oven racks. Dry jars for 20 minutes or until completely dry.
  2. Make the Brine: In a large pot, combine and stir water, vinegar, sugar, salt, ketchup and tabasco sauce. Bring to a boil, remove from heat making sure salt and sugar are dissolved.
  3. Fill the Jars: Wash and cut off both ends of the cucumbers. Fill the bottom of each jar with pickling spices (fresh herbs, garlic cloves and black peppercorns). Tightly pack jars with whole or sliced cucumbers. Slowly pour the pickling brine into jars over cucumbers and cover with lids, but do not seal.
  4. Process the Jars: Place packed jars into the canning pot and fill with water, about 2 inches below jars. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and process jars for about 15 minutes or until cucumbers turn light green.
  5. Seal the Jars: Close the lids tightly and flip jars upside down. Cover jars with bath towels or blankets as you go. Allow them to sit at room temperature undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Store pickles in cool place.

Filling mason jars with sliced cucumbers and fresh herbs.

How to process pickles on the stove.

Homemade Pickles: Helpful Notes

  1. Trimming cucumber ends is mandatory. The ends carry a ripening enzyme that promotes softening even after they’re pickled.
  2. Pack jars tightly, cutting cucumbers into smaller pieces to fit. You may need to cut some of the larger cucumbers into half, rounds or wedges to fill in the empty spaces in each jar. All sizes work great in this recipe.
  3. Avoid over-processing the pickles. If you keep them for too long in the water bath, they will become soft. They will continue cooking once out, underneath the blanket of towels.
  4. Refrigerate open jars. Once you open a jar, store it in the refrigerator. The moment seal is broken, cucumbers become more perishable.

How Long Do Homemade Pickles Last?

When canned properly and stored in a cool place, these sweet and spicy homemade pickles can keep for up to 1 year at room temperature. Once you break the seal, make sure to store them in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Homemade sweet and spicy pickle recipe.

Ways to Serve Tabasco Pickles

While these pickles are great straight out of the jars, there are other ways you can incorporate them into your meals.

  • As a side dish: Serve on a side to mashed potatoes or pasta along with some meat.
  • Charcuterie boards: Slice pickles into wedges or rounds (if not already sliced) and serve them on the cheese and meat board.
  • Sandwiches: Add pickles to just about any sandwich for a fresh pop of sweet and spicy flavor.
  • Fresh salads: Try adding pickle rounds to your garden-fresh salads (they go well with tomatoes).

Canned cucumbers in jars.

More Garden Vegetables Salads You’ll Love:

Homemade sweet and spicy pickles recipe comes with plenty of flavor from ketchup, garlic, tabasco and fresh herbs from your garden. They are perfect for snacking or as a side dish to just about any meal and offer garden-fresh flavor.

Homemade Sweet and Spicy Pickles

5 from 6 votes
Servings: 6 (32 oz jars)
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Homemade sweet and spicy pickles recipe comes with plenty of flavor from ketchup, garlic, tabasco and fresh herbs from your garden. They are perfect for snacking or as a side dish to just about any meal and offer garden-fresh flavor.

Ingredients

Canned Cucumbers

  • 10 pounds cucumbers* (approximately), well rinsed with ends trimmed
  • 1/2 tablespoon peppercorns (5 per jar)
  • 18 garlic cloves (3 per jar)
  • fresh herbs (grape leaves, black currant leaves, cherry tree leaves), chopped

Pickling Brine

Instructions

  1. Sterilize Jars: Wash all jars and lids with warm soapy water. Sterilize the lids fully submerged in water for 4-5 minutes after the water starts boiling; carefully pat dry lids with paper towel. Preheat the oven to a 215°F and place jars upside down onto oven racks. Dry jars for 20 minutes or until completely dry.

  2. Make the Brine: In a large pot, combine and stir: 6 cups water, 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup ketchup and 1 tablespoon tabasco sauce. Bring to a boil, remove from heat making sure salt and sugar have dissolved.

  3. Fill the Jars: Wash and cut off both ends of the cucumbers. Fill the bottom of each jar with pickling spices (fresh chopped herbs, 3 garlic cloves and 5 black peppercorns per jar). Tightly pack jars with whole or sliced cucumbers to the top. Slowly pour the pickling brine into jars over cucumbers up to the rim (leaving 1/2-inch of space at the top) and cover with lids, but do not seal the jars. A 1/4 measuring cup works great for pouring pickling brine.

  4. Process the Jars: Line a kitchen towel or a microfiber towel at the bottom of the pot if not using rack. It is very important that the bottom of jars are not touching directly the pot or jars will crack when heated. Place packed jars into the canning pot and fill with warm water, about 2 inches below jars. Cover with lid, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and process/boil jars for about 15 minutes or as soon as cucumbers turn light green.

  5. Seal the Jars: Carefully remove jars one by one from the water using jar lifter and tightly close lids (use kitchen towel or rubber oven mitt for best results). Flip the jars upside down and cover them with bath towels or blankets as soon as you flip them over (the more layers the better). Allow them to sit at room temperature undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. You may hear a pop when the jars fully seal. Store pickles in a cool place.

Recipe Notes

  • Cucumbers: The amount of cucumbers needed is based on whether you are canning whole cucumbers or sliced. Tightly packed jars will require less pickling brine, but the cucumbers will still marinate properly. You will end up with less or more than 6 (32oz) jars - it all depends on what size you cut the cucumbers and how tightly you pack the jars.
  • Pickling Brine: You can make the brine a day ahead, cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature when ready to use.
  • Trim: Trimming cucumber ends is mandatory. The ends carry a ripening enzyme that promotes softening even after they’re pickled.
  • Cut to Fill: Pack jars tightly, cutting cucumbers into smaller pieces to fit. You may need to cut some of the larger cucumbers into half, rounds or wedges to fill in the empty spaces in each jar. All sizes work great in this recipe.
  • Over-processing: If you keep cucumbers for too long in the water bath, they will become soft. They will continue cooking once out, underneath the blanket of towels. 
  • Storing Cucumbers: When canned properly and stored in a cool place, homemade pickles can keep for up to 1 year at room temperature. Once you break the seal, make sure to store them in the refrigerator for up to a month.

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Comments

  • Meghan Seal

    This recipe is a winner. I do pickles every year, several varieties. I followed this recipe exactly and added chili pepper to couple jars. They turned out amazing. I’m saving this recipe for next year and years after.

  • Ariel

    This recipe is so amazing! Crisp, crunchy pickles. My favorite! Thanks for sharing.

  • cody

    i’ve been trying different homemade pickles every year and every year i choose a new recipe. i came across yours and was surprised how easy these are. we couldn’t wait until winter to try, our friends came over last night unexpected and we didn’t have any salad on hand.they were really enjoying these pickles with just a slice of bread and we shared your recipe with them

    • Olga in the Kitchen

      Thank you for sharing that with us, Cody and thank you for the wonderful review!

  • Martha Kubach

    I made these pickles last week and doubled recipe since I was positive this was another very yummy recipe of yours. I didn’t change a thing and we opened a jar today to test it for taste and I wasn’t wrong. These are very delicious. They are not too spicy, not too sweet, not too salty, The flavors are perfect, just the perfect amount of everything. I would give it 10 stars if that was an option here. Thank you, Olga!

    • Olga in the Kitchen

      Thank you for sharing that with us, Martha and thank you for the wonderful review 🙂

  • Lisa W

    Absolutely outstanding and beyond simple. I made these the next day you posted this recipe and we already ate 3 quart jars. I will be making more tomorrow because I have a bucket of cucumbers again from my garden. Thank you so much, Olga!

  • Katie

    These pickles are wonderful! I only recently conquered my fear of canning. Turns out, nothing to be nervous about. But despite being over my fears, I definitely will be making these pickles again. I opened a jar to taste and they are so good, I almost opened another one but decided to save for winter and make more. Thank you for another awesome recipe!

    • Olga in the Kitchen

      So happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe, Katie and overcame your fear – welcome to my world 🙂

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