Traditional Lacto-Fermented Pickles

Eastern European style fermented pickles. Perfect for beginners.

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Cucumbers have their own natural lactic bacterial culture, which makes them very easy to ferment. This traditional fermented pickle recipe will fill 2 mason jars. Feel free to scale it up if you want to make a larger batch. I usually do around 16 lbs of cucumbers each August. We really love fermented pickles!


Units Scale
  • 2 lbs pickling cucumbers
  • 4 cups of water (chlorine-free)
  • 1/4 cup of non-iodized salt (flaked pickling salt is best)
  • 2 dill flowers or sprigs of dill weed
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp pickling spices (optional)
  • 2 tbsp grated horseradish root (see notes for alternatives)


  1. Wash the cucumbers and trim 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) off the blossom ends to help prevent the cucumber from going soft.
  2. Cut larger cucumbers, as required, to fit in your fermentation container.
  3. Pack cucumbers into a fermenting container (see the section above for options). Add in the spices, dill, garlic and horseradish root. The recipe is scaled for two 1-quart mason jars with 2 cloves of garlic, 1 sprig of dill, 1 tsp of spice and 1 tbsp of horseradish root in each jar.
  4. Combine the water and salt to make a brine.
  5. Pour the brine over the cucumbers.
  6. Allow the pickles to ferment somewhere cool and dark for 2-7 weeks.
  7. If you are doing open-air fermenting, check the pickles every 2-3 days. Skim off the foam/scum and top up with non-chlorinated water as needed.


  • Fermented pickles will become soft and mushy over time. To prevent this, add a natural source of tannins to each mason jar. For example, 1 tbsp of grated horseradish root, a grape leaf or a pinch of black tea.
  • Pickles need to ferment for at least 2 weeks, and usually much longer to develop their flavour. That also provides more time for your ferment to turn into a weird science experiment, so keep it clean and sanitize your jars before fermenting.
  • Store the finished pickles in the fridge and eat within 4 months. Alternatively, you can preserve them for long-term storage. They won’t be probiotic, but they will have that traditional pickle flavour. If you want probiotic pickles that you can ferment for several months, then I recommend my Grandma’s Fermented Pickle Recipe.

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