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An Easy "Sweet Dill" Pickle Recipe

Mickie Gee is a retired librarian and a grandmother. She knows a little bit about a lot of topics. Life experiences are wonderful.

Grandpa's Pickles: A Holiday Tradition

Mickie Gee designed these tags all by herself!

Mickie Gee designed these tags all by herself!

A Family Recipe for Easy "Sweet Dills"

It is at great risk to my marriage and family relationships, that I am sharing my husband's recipe for "Grandpa's Pickles" that we gift every Christmas to neighbors, friends and (ALWAYS) family. We have turned it into our tradition every holiday season to make these pickles together.

Years ago I tried making bread and butter pickles from scratch using a water bath pot. It took all day and was really messy and hot so I vowed to never do that again. When my husband got it "in his head" that he wanted to make his mom's recipe for "Sweet Dills", I was not a happy homemaker.

Little did I know that the recipe was so easy and did not take long at all. It also did not involve a huge hot pot of boiling water and a lot of equipment that we did not have in the cupboard. He, also, did all the work--the first time!

His pickles were wonderful and the grandchildren just loved "Grandpa's pickles" and were always wanting to take some home.

The only extra equipment involved is having an empty shelf in your refrigerator for your jars of homemade "Sweet Dills" (very much like "bread and butter" pickles).

All pickle making images belong to Me! Mickie Gee! The Amazon product images are from

This recipe has a specific brand name for pickles that Grandpa's mother says is the best. We tried other labels, but The Vlasic pickles do seem to be the very best choice. Watch for them on sale and stock up.

Notice that you should include the instructions to keep the pickles in the refrigerator and not in the pantry.

The grandkids named the pickles after their "Grandpa".

Recipe Makes 2 quarts or 4 pints.

This recipe is printable; look for the "printable version" link below the recipe's instructions.

Cook Time

Prep Time:

Total Time:

Serves: 4 families get a 1 pint jar


  • 3 cups sugar (Grandpa uses white refined sugar)
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 pinch (a little less than 1/8 tsp) mixted pickling spices (or to taste) brand of your choice
  • 2 - 46 fluid oz. jars of whole Vlasic Spicy Dills
  • (Grandpa's mother liked to use the "Spicy" Vlasic dills with minced garlic pieces visible in the jar.)


  1. Copied from the recipe card that Griff (Grandpa) got from his mother:
  2. Remove dills and garlic. Drain the juice [and discard].
  3. Cut [whole dills] in Chunks. [Put pickle chunks in jars. Four 1 pint jars or two 1 quart jars.]
  4. Bring [first three] above ingredients to boil and pour over dill pickles in the jars. [Put the lids on the jars.]
  5. Let stand all day or over night [on the counter at room temperature].
  6. Put in the refrigerator until crisp. [Usually 24 hours.]
  7. My (Mrs. Grandpa) additions to and explanations are in brackets. [....]

What is a "pinch"?

The amount of spice you can gather between your thumb and pointer finger.

Some say it is just less than 1/8 of a teaspoon.

Scroll to Continue

Choosing the right jar for your homemade pickles:

Pint (16 ounce) jars make a nice gift giving size.

My husband prefers the regular mouth jar seen in the photo on the right. The funnel, that we already own, fits it perfectly. The wide mouth jar is wonderful for the "mixes in a jar", too.

Grandpa's Sweet Dill Pickles - On top of it all:

Grandpa's Pickles Label from Zazzle. Go do a search and buy some for your jar lids.

Grandpa's Pickles Label from Zazzle. Go do a search and buy some for your jar lids.

I designed the label to go on the lid of the wide mouth jar used for Grandpas Sweet Dill Pickles. I think it looks nice. This particular label was designed and ordered from Zazzle. It is shiny and probably a little thicker than the CafePress labels.

Grandpa's preferred pickle jar: - This size makes a perfect homemade gift.

My husband prefers the pint regular mouth canning jars because we have a funnel that fits.

You can use this sticker (the one used above) on the top of the jar:

Grandpa preferred the wide mouth jars for his pickles!

Zazzle and CafePress Pickle Labels side-by-side!

Zazzle and CafePress Pickle Labels side-by-side!

Zazzle and CafePress Pickle Labels side-by-side!

Gift Tags for giving the pickles to friends and family:

The first year we made the pickles, I did not check the ink in my printer and the reindeer turned out greenish. Since it was the Christmas season and we were in a rush, the effect was deemed OK. In the image to the right, the tag with the ribbon is what the tag should look like. I made sure I had enough ink to make the colors turn out correct! I am also glad that I have a round hole punch.

I also used these two-sided cards added to the gift jar of pickles:

Wide-mouth funnel for putting pickling juice in the jars:

If you do not have one of these funnels, you should seriously think about getting one. My husband likes it because it helps him put the pickles and juice in the jars with precision. Because of the high sugar content of the juice, it can be a sticky mess if you do not have a canning funnel to guide your packing of the jars with your homemade pickles. This funnel can also be used if you are making muffin and cookie mixes that go in jars for gift giving, too.


Making the spiced sugar and vinegar mixture:

See the cloves floating in the syrup?

Grandpa has used various types of pickling spices. We have a Penzey Spice shop in our city, so I bought the last batch of spices there. You can use the pickling spices that you find in your supermarket, too. I must tell you that the spices we had on our shelf when we made our first batch of pickles was really old--I cannot remember how long they had been there. The funny thing is, Grandpa liked that spice better than the new stuff!

Scroll down to find a link to a site that tells you how to make your own pickling spices.


Photos to show you how to make this delicious recipe for Grandpa's Sweet Dill Pickles:

Fill the jars with chopped Vlasic pickles. You can stuff them in leaving room for the pickle juice.

Grandpa likes to cut his whole dills about 2 inches long. I think you could cut the whole dills in half length-wise and then cut them into 1 or 2 inch pieces. It is OK for you to experiment.

NOTE: Grandpa reused the Vlasic pickle jars this go around.


Pour hot spiced pickling syrup in the jars over the chopped dills:

Canning Funnel helps you pour with accuracy!

The pickle juice is very sticky, so to keep the mess at a minimum, we use the canning funnel and a glass measuring cup.


Turn the filled pickle jars upside down until cooled:

Then store them in the fridge until gift giving time!

Grandpa likes to turn the jars upside down for a while. When they are cool, he turns them right side up. His explanation is that it makes the spices get to all the chunks. Note: We reused the Vlasic jar to store our own pickles.

Perfect Packaging!

Oh, such a pretty sight!

Oh, such a pretty sight!

A Pickle Jar with gift tag:

As you can see, the jar is empty. Cannot keep Grandpa's pickles in stock because they are so good! We tell the recipients that when the jar is empty, return it so we can fill it up again.

Does this recipe for "Sweet Dills" sound like Bread and Butter Pickles? I think they taste a lot like the ones I made from scratch many years ago. We always have some in the refrigerator. Grandpa likes to put them on a saltine cracker that is spread with peanut butter. That combination really tastes great, honest.

I often take the pickles to a friend's home when invited over for dinner. A nice change from wine, don't you think?

© 2012 Mickie Gee

Can you think of another occasion to make pickles?

MariaMontgomery from Coastal Alabama, USA on July 20, 2014:

Mickie, these are soooo good. Remember that jar you guys gave us? I got one pickle -- ONE! Bo ate all the rest of them! Thanks again for them, and thanks for publishing his recipe.

angelab55 on July 19, 2014:

Awesome sauce, Mickie. Thanks for sharing the pickles at your home, and for sharing the recipe. I am amazed at the simplicity. Bet your gherkin we'll be making some soon. Wonder how it will work with Splenda? That way I can snack guitless over the diabetes.

Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on July 18, 2014:

Awww that's really a great way to make pickles. I like re-purposing existing products in this way, and this is one of the best I've heard. Thanks for sharing.

Mickie Gee (author) on June 30, 2014:

@Sylvestermouse: Grandpa is actually my hubby. He does make the best pickles and the grandchildren crave them.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on June 28, 2014:

I used to help my grandmother "set up" pickles. I will bet your Grandpa's recipe is fabulous!

Mickie Gee (author) on January 04, 2013:

@norma-holt: Thanks for the new year's visit and blessing.

norma-holt on December 31, 2012:

A new blessing on this lovely lens and may you have a wonderful, successful and happy 2013. Hugs

BowWowBear on August 30, 2012:

MMMmmm! Love Pickles! Great easy recipe that I will be trying soon! Thanks for sharing!

norma-holt on August 15, 2012:

Nice recipe. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012-2 and also on Squidoo LOTD Lenses-2. Hugs

kayla_harris on August 13, 2012:

Thank for sharing! I will make a try!

anonymous on July 31, 2012:

Thanks, I will use this recipe

kerilovesadeal on July 30, 2012:

Every time I get sweet dill pickles for hamburgers, I use some on hamburgers, but I find other reasons to use them up and don't have any left. Then, I seem to go months without buying them again. I don't know why. :) (Is eyeing the jars from Amazon.) Thanks for sharing! :)

anonymous on July 29, 2012:

I love sweet pickles! Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.

BorderCollie LM on July 29, 2012:

I will have to try out this recipe for sure. Thanks to the both of you

anonymous on July 29, 2012:

I love it on my hamburgers.

anonymous on July 29, 2012:

Thanks, I will use this recipe/

Lee Hansen from Vermont on July 27, 2012:

Tangy sweet pickles are my absolute favorite and a secret ingredient in my potato salad. Thank you for this delicious recipe! And thank you, too, Grandpa!

Mickie Gee (author) on July 26, 2012:

@chairmann3: I love watermelon rind pickles. There was a place near Tuscaloosa that served them, I think it was called "The Cotton Patch". Oh, so good.

TamarWrites on July 26, 2012:

I love the gift of something homemade. It speaks from the heart, not from the wallet. I am bookmarking this recipe!

Gloria Freeman from Alabama USA on July 25, 2012:

Hi I am always looking for easy recipes, I use to be a cook all the food was home made very good but, a lot of work.Thanks for sharing this easy recipe, I love sweet pickles. Blessed by Squid Angel flinnie and added to my lens Squid Angel flinnie. Congrats on Lotd and Purple star.

Mickie Gee (author) on July 25, 2012:

@Margaret Schindel: You are correct! One does not need an excuse to make this easy recipe. It is good to have pickles on hand to use everyday!

JoyfulReviewer on July 25, 2012:

Thanks for sharing your family recipe. This brings back so many memories of my mom putting up pickles from our large garden. Congrats on the Purple Star and LotD! ~~Blessed~~

chairmann3 on July 25, 2012:

Thanks for the recipes, I know how to make watermelon rine pickles, but not sweet dill

Im Horse Crazy on July 25, 2012:

I love this lens. I love making pickles and my mom loves eating them!

Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on July 25, 2012:

Who needs an occasion to make delicious bread and butter pickles? Fantastic lens! Congrats on your well deserved LotD and purple star award. Blessed! :)

Frankie Kangas from California on July 25, 2012:

Excellent lens. Well deserving of a LOTD. Congrats. Bear hugs, Frankster

Mickie Gee (author) on July 25, 2012:

@SheldonBole: Yeah, in the USA we just have so many choices--sometimes, too many.

SheldonBole on July 25, 2012:

I might not enjoy pickles, but I enjoyed the lens!

Congrats on LotD!

Here in South Africa we have two or three different types of pickles, we call the Gherkins.

I remember, when I was on a trip in the US, a group of us went to buy "gherkins" and spent 20 minutes going through all the different varieties in the supermarket before deciding which ones to get!

jackyad6688 on July 24, 2012:

I'll be using this recipe from now on

Mickie Gee (author) on July 24, 2012:

@ohcaroline: Just try it! I was reluctant at first, but it is really quite good!

Delia on July 24, 2012:

Congratulations on LOTD! yummy my mouth is watering...the recipe sounds easy enough to make!

Chazz from New York on July 24, 2012:

Congratulations on Lot D - This one's a keeper for sure! Thanks for sharing.

ohcaroline on July 24, 2012:

I'm not sure about that saltine cracker spread with peanut butter...but the pickles sound yummy. I think they would be great to serve as a relish on Thanksgiving Day.

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on July 24, 2012:

Reading this brought back lots of memories. I remember all the summers out on my aunt and uncle's farm during canning season. Watching my grandmother, mother, and aunts slave over a hot, boiling pot for days did not seem like very much fun. Of course, as kids, we sure enjoyed the fruits of their labors. Now I am having an urge to begin to preserve some of my own food (for gifts and for family). It was interesting to see how to make these pickles. Much less complicated. Thanks for sharing your special recipe and congrats on LotD!

kimbesa from USA on July 24, 2012:

Oh yea, that cracker with pickles and peanut butter. Gotta try that one...yum! Thanks for the pickle recipe. And the pickling spice recipe at the link looks good, too! Congratulations on an informative lens and LOTD!

Susan300 on July 24, 2012:

I'm so hungry for pickles now! :) These look delicious and easy to make. Great clear instructions and photos. *Angel Blessed* :)

anonymous on July 24, 2012:

I love sweet dills, and this recipe lens is delightful.

Congratulations on LortD, Blessed! :)

KimGiancaterino on July 24, 2012:

I love to receive homemade gifts like this. Thanks for sharing your family recipe. Congratulations on LOTD!

MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose from Washington State on July 24, 2012:

Any time is good for such delicious pickles. Congratulations on LOTD! I learned a lot.

Mickie Gee (author) on July 24, 2012:

@Natural_Skin_Care: I am lucky that Grandpa likes to cook sometimes.

Mickie Gee (author) on July 24, 2012:

@MartieG: This recipe is truly easy to make. The only trouble comes when cleaning up after Grandpa. Thank goodness I told him about the funnel. It made the mess smaller.

Mickie Gee (author) on July 24, 2012:

@GabStar: They are great pickles, as my grandkids will confirm.

Mickie Gee (author) on July 24, 2012:

@Faye Rutledge: That sounds like a "cool" alternative! Thanks for sharing that pickle tip!

Mickie Gee (author) on July 24, 2012:

@anonymous: Make sure you try them on a peanut butter saltine cracker!

MartieG aka 'survivoryea' from Jersey Shore on July 24, 2012:

Looks easy and yummy! Congrats on LotD too! :>)

anonymous on July 24, 2012:

I'm not much on cooking but these sound like they'd be fun to eat. Congratulations on getting LoTD!

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on July 24, 2012:

I have made a similar recipe, but used the plain Vlasic dills, not the garlic. I agree, these are the easiest and the BEST pickles you'll ever taste, and do taste like the bread & butter ones. :) I do not boil the mixture, but just layer pickle slices & sugar in jar and pour vinegar over all. Let set at room temp until sugar is dissoved (occasionally turn jar upside down to distribute) and then refrigerate to crisp. Congratulations on LotD!!

Dianne Loomos on July 24, 2012:

Love your story of this treasured family recipe. I'm sure this recipe will be passed down to the upcoming generations. And the pickles sound delicious! Congrats on LOTD!

anonymous on July 24, 2012:

I don't usually like pickles, but these sound interesting. Enjoyed reading your lens - very entertaining!

TK2012 LM on July 24, 2012:

I've never tried making pickles before but this doesn't seem too tough. Thanks for sharing!

Nnadi bonaventure Chima from Johanesburg on July 24, 2012:

Thanks for revealing grandpas revered secret .great information ,congrats

Kay on July 24, 2012:

I so want to try this recipe. I've made pickles before and these sound especially yummy!

GabStar on July 24, 2012:

They sound yum, well done!

ifeelgod lm on July 24, 2012:


I really am not a dill pickle - e however I love sweet relish and want to try "sweet" pickles.

Congrats on your LOTD

In Him,

JMb <><

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on July 24, 2012:

This recipe is so simple, even I may try it. I like sweet pickles on top of an American cheese sandwich instead of lettuce and tomato. Nice lens.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on July 24, 2012:

Peanut butter and pickles - actually that sounds really good! Love the recipe, but especially the story behind it. Great pictures, great family story! Congratulations on your well-deserved Lens of the Day!

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on July 24, 2012:

Well illustrated and I like the larger print so it was easy for my older eyes to read. Well done!

KandDMarketing on July 24, 2012:

Sounds interesting. My Grandmother, for sure the farmer's wife, always had two crocks of pickles in the corner of her kitchen, next to the pantry door. One was sweet pickles, the other was dill. For years, she kept a picture of me and my sister at about 4 and 3 years of age, butts in the air, heads in the pickle crocks! Thanks for bringing back the memories!

agoofyidea on July 24, 2012:

Congratulations on LOTD! The best recipes are the ones passed down to us. These look great.

pawpaw911 on July 24, 2012:

Great pickle how to. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were "Grandpa's" pickles. My dad also made pickles, and it is one of the great memories we have of him. Nicely done, and congratulations on LOTD.

starfairy lm on July 24, 2012:

I love pickles.....gotta try this out

karen vance loudermilk from charleston wv on July 24, 2012:

good job, I love sweet pickles thanks for sharing

JoshK47 on July 24, 2012:

Looks pretty fantastic to me! Thanks so much for sharing - blessed by a SquidAngel, and congrats on LotD!

Robin S from USA on July 24, 2012:

Congratulations, this "sweet" lens was selected as LotD today. You can read all about it at SquidooHQ:

SootheCity on July 24, 2012:

I love dill pickles so I'll be using this recipe from now on! Thanks for sharing it!

poldepc lm on July 24, 2012:

congrats on the LOTD

Clairissa from OREFIELD, PA on July 24, 2012:

What a great recipe! Thanks so much for sharing.

oooMARSooo LM on July 24, 2012:

I'm not usually a pickle kind of guy... but this lens was excellent enough that I almost reconsidered. Momentary lapse of judgement. ;-)

anonymous on July 24, 2012:

Fermented foods like pickles are great for digestive health so eat as many as you like.

Childbirth_Educator on July 24, 2012:

Unfortunately, I've eaten more than my fair share of pickles over the years. You're a lucky woman.

WriterJanis2 on July 24, 2012:

Love that you're sharing a family recipe.

cishemant on July 23, 2012:

I just love pickles and these are awesome tips for preparing pickles.

Natural_Skin_Care on July 23, 2012:

Pickles are a rare gift. You're a lucky woman!

texan203 lm on July 23, 2012:

sounds wonderful. I really like pickles. I will have to try these. To me they sound like a year-round winner.

cgbroome on July 23, 2012:

I love pickles and will definitely try this recipe out! Thank's for sharing grandpa's recipe!

TheresaMarkham on July 23, 2012:

Oooh, makes me want to start cookin'! Love having bread & butter pickles in the fridge!

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on July 22, 2012:

I bet these are so good! I love dill pickles but a bit of sweet added would be mighty tasty too! And they indeed look very easy to make!

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