Homemade Hot Pickle Recipe: A Spicy Delight for Heat Seekers

Video old-fashioned hot pickle recipe

If you’re a fan of fiery and flavorful food, then this homemade pickles recipe is perfect for you. These hot pickles are made with fresh cucumbers that are sliced and soaked in a brine infused with peppers, providing a mouthwatering and spicy kick. Not only do we enjoy these pickles as a condiment for sandwiches, but they also make a quick and satisfying afternoon snack on busy days. And for those seeking an extra fiery twist, we even add these pickles and their juice to our Saturday morning Bloody Mary drinks to amp up the heat.

Hard to Find Spicy Pickles at the Grocery Store

Searching for spicy pickles at the grocery store can be quite a challenge. Most stores only carry options like dill pickles, sweet pickles, or bread and butter pickles. However, with the growing popularity of spicy foods, some larger supermarkets are starting to offer a couple of brands of hot pickles. But instead of relying on store-bought options, we’ve taken matters into our own hands and started making our own delicious hot and spicy pickles.

Tips For Crafting Hot & Spicy Pickles

1. Selecting Fresh Cucumbers

When making any pickle recipe, it’s essential to start with fresh cucumbers that have just been picked. The firmer the cucumbers, the crunchier your pickles will turn out. It’s always better to use pickling cucumbers rather than salad cucumbers. Pickling cucumbers have a smaller seed core and a tougher outer skin, ensuring that your pickles stay crunchy even after the canning process.

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2. Preparing the Cucumbers

To prepare the cucumbers, make sure to cut off and discard both ends. The blossom end contains an enzyme that can make the pickles go limp during the pickling process. By slicing off both ends, you can ensure that your pickles retain their crispness. Slice the cucumbers into 1/4 inch rounds, using a crinkle cutter for an added touch of elegance or any knife or mandoline slicer you have on hand.

3. Creating the Flavorful Brine

To make the pickle brine, combine vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and turmeric in a large stockpot. Wrap your dill and pickling spices in a tied cheesecloth bag and place it in the liquid. This makes it easy to remove the dill and pickling spices from the brine later on. If you don’t have a cheesecloth bag, you can strain the brine using a fine mesh colander instead. Bring the mixture to a boil and then let it simmer for 5 minutes.

4. The Canning Process

While the brine is heating up, prepare your canning jars. In each sterilized and cooled jar, place peppercorns, garlic, and red chiles. Pack the jars full of sliced cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace at the top. If you prefer a spicier pickle, feel free to add red pepper flakes and extra chiles to each jar. Once the brine is ready, remove the cheesecloth bag and pour the liquid into each jar, ensuring to leave 1/2 inch of headspace. Use a plastic utensil to remove any air bubbles trapped in the liquid and add more brine if needed. Wipe the jar rims clean, apply the lids, and tighten the bands to finger tightness.

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5. Checking the Seal and Storage

Place the jars in a hot water bath canner with approximately 1-2 inches of water above the top of the jars. Heat until the water begins to boil, then process the jars for 8 minutes, adjusting the time based on your altitude. Once the processing time is up, turn off the heat source and carefully lift the lid away from you. Allow the jars to sit in the hot water for 5 minutes before using a jar lifter to remove them. Place the jars on a thick towel and let them cool for 24 hours. Afterward, check each jar to ensure it has properly sealed. If the lid doesn’t move when pressed down, the jar is sealed and can be stored in a cool, dark place. If the lid pops up and down, refrigerate the jar as it hasn’t sealed properly and should be consumed soon.

6. The Waiting Game

The most challenging part of the entire process is waiting at least 2 weeks before opening the jar. This waiting period allows the pickling process to occur fully and allows the flavors to penetrate the pickles. Although it may seem like an eternity, the wait is undoubtedly worth it!

Hot & Spicy Pickles Recipe

*For detailed measurements, cook temperatures, and times, refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.

YIELD: Approximately 8 pint jars


  • 30-40 medium-sized pickling cucumbers
  • 4 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 3 quarts water
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 6 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spices
  • 1 garlic bulb, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 32 red dried hot chili peppers (4 per pint jar)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
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  1. Sterilize the canning jars and let them cool until they can be easily handled. Note that most canning jar lids no longer require heating, but be sure to follow the instructions on the package for safe canning practices.
  2. Prepare the water bath canner according to the manufacturer’s instructions (skip this step if you plan to store the pickles in the refrigerator).
  3. Clean the cucumbers, cut off and discard the ends, and slice them into 1/4 inch rounds.
  4. In a large pot, combine water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and turmeric. Place the dill sprigs and pickling spices in a cheesecloth bag, tie the ends, and add it to the pot.
  5. Bring the liquid to a boil to prepare the brine solution. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. In each pint jar, add a few peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic, and 4 dried red chili peppers. For an extra kick, add crushed red pepper flakes.
  7. Fill the jars with cucumber slices, then pour the brine solution into each jar, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Refrigerate immediately or proceed with water bath canning.
  8. If using the water bath canning method, remove any air bubbles by sliding a plastic utensil along the inside of each jar. Add more brine if needed, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
  9. Wipe the jar rims with a clean cloth, place new lids on top, and screw on the bands until finger tight.
  10. Using a jar lifter, place the filled jars into the water bath canner, ensuring that there is 1-2 inches of water above the lids. Once the water bath reaches boiling point, process the jars for 8 minutes.
  11. Remove the jars from the canner and let them rest on a thick towel for 24 hours.
  12. After 24 hours, press the center of each lid to check if the jars are properly sealed. Jars with lids that do not move are sealed and can be stored in a cool, dark place. Jars with lids that pop up and down should be refrigerated and consumed promptly.
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Enjoy your homemade hot and spicy pickles!

Mary and Jim

Zucchini and sausage skillet

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