I was very excited to use my water bath for the first time, as so far I have only made refrigerator (cucumber) pickles. This was also the first time I did not use sugar in the brine (just wanted to see the taste difference) but they came out NOT as crispy as my refrigerator pickles. Is this because maybe the water was too hot in the water bath? I only left them in for 10 or 15 minutes. Or is this because I did not use sugar this time? Also is there anything I can do at this point? By that I mean can I add something like pickle crisp to the now opened jar or is it too late?

  • What's this water bath you talk about here? Link, maybe? Sugar helps, but AFAIK is not essential, full procedure I use under another of your questions.
    – Mołot
    Jul 10, 2015 at 8:08
  • 1
    @Mołot : OP talks about watherbath canning (= long-term preservation) as opposed to refrigerator pickles (short-term).
    – Stephie
    Jul 10, 2015 at 11:51
  • @Stephie oh. Everyone I know do it using just a big pot, no special hardware. But I guess basic proecdure is just the same.
    – Mołot
    Jul 10, 2015 at 11:58
  • To have crispy pickles there is no hot water bath. Just heat your water with whatever spices you use and cool the water or just put the spices in cold water and put the pickles in it. Make sure you have a good and tight seal. After 2-4 days outside, maybe 5 depending on how cold the weather is, put in the fridge. Notice in the markets or shops, crispy pickles are in the fridge and not so crispy, limpy ones are on the shelf. I asked a few friends of mine and they all agreed with this answer. As for fixing what you have made, just enjoy and maybe cut them up in rounds and use them for sandwiches
    – user33210
    Jul 11, 2015 at 6:10
  • I know using a water bath is not necessary for pickles you will eat within a month, but if you want to make some for long term storage you need to use a water bath
    – Tara R
    Jul 12, 2015 at 20:26

2 Answers 2


First off, processed and canned pickles are almost always going to be less crisp than refrigerator (acidified) pickles or those fermented at room temperature. If you really like crisp pickles, I'd recommend against canning. Recipes with proper levels of salt and acidity can keep for several months in the fridge without noticeable quality degradation. Also, reputable traditional brined/fermented pickle recipes should maintain safety for a year or more in the fridge, though they too can begin to soften after a few months, depending on the exact processing and storage conditions.

If you don't have room to store in the fridge or want to can for some other reason, this page has some tips on maintaining crispness. The lack of sugar in your batch should not have made a significant difference. The temperature of the water is, however, important. If you want to maintain crispness as much as possible, I'd recommend trying a low-temperature pasteurization bath (as described, for example, here), where you process for 30 minutes at 180F. Please note that this method should only be used with recipes from reputable sources and is only recommended for people experienced in pickling; it does require very careful monitoring and exact temperature control to prevent spoilage.

As for what you can do now? Not much. Soft processed pickles have essentially been "cooked" by the processing. There's no way to restore their crispness. Personally, if the lack of crispness was bothersome, I'd consider slicing them up in smaller pieces where the lack of crispness would be less noticeable or chopping them and using them for relish or something.


unfortunately it is too late for you to do anything now. Cause any cooking of the pickle will further makes it more soft. So you want to avoid it. Also to your first point of being soggy it is definitely not the sugar too. I am thinking that could either you missed to add vinegar or the vegetable must be of soggy kind. Sugar only helps staying it for long time along with vinegar.

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