I'm looking for a bare-bones dill pickle brine recipe (for safe canning, and long-term storage—not for refrigerator pickles). When I look online, I see all these really fancy recipes that try to jazz things up, but I don't see any basic recipes. How do you make basic dill pickle brine? I know I need to use water, vinegar, salt and dill, but I don't know the proportions. I would prefer not to use alum, if at all possible.

The brine will be for use with cucumbers, peppers, squash, okra and other things.

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    This is a recipe request, and therefore off-topic I'm afraid.
    – GdD
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 7:43
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    Recipe requests are indeed off topic, but questions about a basic ratio for something standard are OK. I edited the question to ask for that. I don't know if such a thing exists at all, because I doubt anybody will guarantee you that an existing brine which was laboratory tested with one vegetable will work with another one, but I've made wrong assumptions before, so let's see if somebody knows of such a thing.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 11:19
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    You could worse than to start here nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/prep_foods.html but they are of the "tested recipe for each" mindset. Usually not all that jazzed up, and you could (I won't for you) review all the recipes for all the things you want to pickle and find the ones with the highest acid proportion to make your one-size-fits-all brine. Note that aside from canned and refrigerator pickles, there are also fermented pickles, where salt is important to retard bad bacteria until the lactic bacteria make enough acid to keep things safe.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


Essentially, food pathogens cannot grow below 4.0 pH and vinegar is significantly more acidic that that. If you go here and scroll down a bit, there is a good, succinct explanation. They use brines of 38 and 44 percent vinegar "for taste and safety". With this basic information, it would be easy to create brines that are safe and suite your taste. You really don't need salt, sugar, spices or herbs for safety for vinegar pickles (though you do need salt for lacto-fermented pickles). The acidity alone will do it. Of course, you probably want your pickles to taste good, so those other ingredients will be necessary. I should also add, that the site I linked to adds a cook step. This makes the pickles safe immediately after cooking. Without a cook step, the pickles will become safe over time, as the vinegar permeates the product, but may not be safe immediately. It seems that the addition of a low temperature cook step is an interesting innovation that improves safety and the ability to maintain a crunchy product.

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