Author's Notes: This recipe produces those wonderful, garlic-flavored “not quite cucumber, not quite pickle” treats served with sandwiches at authentic delis in the bigger cities. They are a delightful garnish and surprisingly easy to make. The recipe makes a 1-gallon jar. Use glass or food-grade plastic with a lid. Use only small cucumbers that are well formed.

Deli Style Half-Sour Pickles Print Recipe

Yields 1 jar • Ready in 24hr


  • 5 Lbs. (enough to fill a 1-gallon jar) Pickling Cucumbers
  • 2 to 6 Garlic Cloves (to taste)
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 Large Bunch of Fresh Dill
  • ¼ Cup Pickling Salt (or ¼ cup plus 2 tsp of kosher salt)
  • 2 Tsp. Gryffon Ridge Yellow Mustard Seed**
  • 2 Tsp. Gryffon Ridge Black Mustard Seed**
  • 4 Tsp. Gryffon Ridge Pickling Spices**
  • 1 Small Dry Hot Chili Pepper (optional)


  1. Wash cucumbers in cold water. Drain well. Put a quarter of the dill and a quarter of the onion in the bottom of the jar. Layer a third of cucumbers on top. Repeat twice with two more layers of dill, onion (quarter each) and cucumbers (third each). Place the final quarter of dill and onions on the top of the last layer of cucumbers. Fill the jar with water until it reaches the very top of the jar.
  2. Place the salt in a pan big enough to hold all the water from the jar. Peel the garlic and put it through a garlic press or Microplane** grater, letting the pressings fall on the salt. Then mash the garlic into the salt and mix well. Pour the water from the pickle jar into the pan, stir and bring almost to a boil. It will foam over if left unattended. Let cool to about 170˚F. If the water is hotter than that it may break the jar, melt the plastic and/or cook the cucumbers.
  3. Place the mustard seed, pickling spice and chili pepper on top of the cucumbers. Shake the jar to get some of the seeds down. Ladle the still hot salt-garlic-water mixture very slowly over the cucumbers. This should fill the jar right to the brim. Screw lid on jar. Let the jar stand at room temperature for 24 hours or overnight. The next day, place in a refrigerator and after two days begin sampling. The pickles should be ready after about a week and remain delicious and edible for much longer.
**Available at LeRoux Kitchen