Sweet and Spicy Pickles

Sweet and Spicy Pickles, before.

I cannot believe I’m going to utter the following words.



sweet pickles.

Yikes!  I said it!  There are not many foods that I don’t like.  I have a very very diverse palate.  Hello, I love liver. I would order it in a restaurant when I was a kid.  Escargo?  Yes please!  There are actually only 2 foods that come to mind when asked what my least favorite foods are.  Peas and sweet pickles.  (You’ll read about my experience with peas on a future post).

33 years of strongly disliking a food to all of a sudden liking said food is very disturbing.  Very.  I am always open to change, willing to try new things.  I’ve seen people post on Facebook about making bread and butter pickles and them tasting incredible so I had to give it a shot.  Maybe lactofermenting them is the difference.  Maybe not making them sickeningly sweet was the trick.  I don’t know but I sure like them.  Still not the level of adoration that Hot Pickles hold but close.

I like to have fun mixing and matching different spices but feel free to use a pickling spice blend if you don’t have all these spices on hand.  I also experimented with the brine.  I did one with 3.5% brine like I do for my kosher dills and another with a 2% solution.  We use a stronger brine for cucumbers normally because they are prone to spoilage but 3.5% seemed like it might be too salty for a sweet and sour pickle.  I do like the taste of the 2% brine better and had no spoilage but if you’ve had trouble in the past with spoilage, you might want to try a higher percentage brine like 2.5-3%.  Also please note, if you use honey, you’ll want to heat it up to kill the natural occurring yeast and bacteria.  I know, bummer, that’s good stuff.  But it might make the ferment wonky so I opted for better safe than sorry.

Sweet and Spicy Pickles, after.

Sweet and Spicy Pickles

  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes (I like things HOT! Use less, more or none at all if it suits you)
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2L of cucumbers, sliced
  • a few tannin rich leaves (grape, oak, raspberry, horseradish, tea leaves…)
  • 2-3.5% brine (see my note about brine above)

Heat up about 1 cup of brine and melt honey/syrup/sugar in it.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temp.  In your fermenting jar, place your tannin rich leaves and spices.  Pack cucumber slices in as tightly as you can and layer with onion slices, fill to no higher than the shoulder.  I like to mix a few whole red peppers in for prettiness.  Make sure your sweet and salty brine is cool and pour over everything.  Add more brine as needed, filling to just above the shoulder making sure everything is submerged.  Using a Dunk’R, push everything under the brine.  Secure the top, fill your airlock and leave at room temp for 5-7 days or until bubble activity stops.  Place in cold storage and enjoy!

ETA: These don’t seem to keep very long.  They continue to ferment in the fridge and eventually turn sour.  These are best eaten up within a month, maybe 2 months.



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18 comments to Sweet and Spicy Pickles

  • Do you think I could substitute yellow squash for cucumbers? I’ve found sweet pickled squash at my farmers’ market but have never been able to find a good recipe to replicate it. I’d love to make it myself, because $5 a pint jar adds up!

  • Oh what do you know? I am planning to make pickles today. And have everything on hand. Gee. 🙂 🙂

  • […] from Pickle Me Too has a great recipe for Sweet and Spicy Pickles. Add a little zip to your sweet pickles! Check out all of Melanie’s fermented food recipes […]

  • Anita

    Am I just missing it? I’m not finding where you told what size the jar is that you used? Quart? Half gallon? I have Pickl-It jars, too.

  • Sebastian

    Looks fab 🙂 Can you use dried leaves or dothey have to be fresh?

  • Arlyne Bischof


    I assume you would use a 2 Liter Pickl-It for this recipe, right?

    Also, what are the names of the types of cucumbers that are best for these fermented pickles? I don’t know much about cucumbers, so when going to the store it would help to know what to ask for.



  • Angela

    Everybody I have let try these pickles love them. I had some sneaky hot slices that caught some people off guard because the slice they had before was not hot at all…made for some fun faces to watch! 🙂 My child loves bread n butters and isn’t much for anything lactofermented except sauerkraut so she wasn’t as happy to eat these as she is my regular canned bread n butters. With that said, I am about to make another batch because my farmers market had pickling cukes and I could only think of making yours again! 🙂

  • TATN3712

    This is my first time fermenting (unless you count kefir which I made for the first time last week.) 😀

    When you talk about brine, I sadly don’t know what that is.

    Is there a recipe for the 2% and the 3%?

    Thanks so much! I can’t wait to try your pickles …. as soon as I know how to make/find brine. 😉

  • Susie

    I love your blog and you are adorable, Melanie! I’d like to pin this recipe, but there are no images coming up when I use the Pin icon at the end of your post. Could you enable your images for pinning? Thanks!!

  • Howdy! I understand this is somewhat off-topic but I needed
    to ask. Does running a well-established website such as yours
    require a lot of work? I am completely new to operating
    a blog however I do write in my diary every day. I’d like to start a
    blog so I can easily share my own experience and thoughts online.
    Please let me know if you have any suggestions or tips for new aspiring
    bloggers. Appreciate it!

  • Lisa Spang

    Can you make dill pickle sliced like this?

  • Lisa

    Just took these out to try them. They’ve been in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks continuing to bubble fervently whenever I moved them. When I opened the jar it smelled alcoholic. After tasting one my husband dubbed them “beer pickles” and told me not to eat them before driving. Did I do something wrong?

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