I just tried my first batch of vinegar pickles and chose what is supposedly a high-quality, accurately diluted apple cider vinegar with an acidity of 5%. I followed a very basic recipe which called to dilute that with an equal amount of water when making the brine, which I did. According to the recipe I used, and also according to the official Ball guide on pickling, that should have produced a mellow taste and allowed the spices and garlic I included to really show through.

However, everything just tastes and smells like vinegar, even two weeks later.

According to the recipe and to Ball, I did everything right and should have ended up with a nice, simple, somewhat spicy batch of pickles. But the overwhelming vinegar flavor makes me think I probably chose the wrong vinegar. Is there a better one I should be using? Should I dilute it further next time?

  • 1
    Keep adding water, wait 2 days and see what happens. I think it's usually an almost 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar ratio.
    – mroll
    Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 15:05

1 Answer 1


While you could certainly use plain white vinegar, there's not all that much difference between that and cider vinegar if "vinegar" is the taste you're objecting to.

If you are canning the pickles, changing the recipe could kill you. The vinegar helps to produce an acid environment where botulism does not grow.

So, if it turns out you don't like pickles in vinegar, stick to "refrigerator pickles" if you want to reduce the vinegar further. That is, keep them in the refrigerator the entire time.

You might also want to look into lactic (naturally fermented) pickles where an appropriate salt level keeps things safe until the lactic acid bacteria make enough acid to further keep things safe. Those are refrigerated when complete, typically.

Waiting longer (rather than throwing away) may help the ones you have - it takes some time for the exchange between the inside of the cucumber and the brine to be complete. Or, a refrigerated dip in fresh water for overnight or a few days might help them suit your taste.

  • 3
    Thanks for the advice, I'll check out some of the alternative methods you've described. The recipe actually is for "refrigerator pickles" though it notes they're just as good for canning purposes. I went the refrigerator method for my first shot. I actually really like canned and refrigerator pickles from the store, I've rarely had a complaint about the vinegar, which is why this caught me a little off guard. Looks like it's time to try the natural fermentation method, I love brewing beer so anything involving fermentation is right up my alley ;)
    – thanby
    Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 14:55

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