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14 Different Types of Pickles to Eat

Satisfy your pickle cravings with the classics and some unusual pickle flavors.

Pickles are in the running for the most popular snack enjoyed by history’s most influential people.

Preservations Conservation Salted Pickled Cucumbers

The humble fermented cucumber was a favorite of historical figures such as George Washington, Cleopatra, Napoleon, Christopher Columbus, and many, many more, possibly yourself! 

A refreshing snack that perfectly accompanies burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, charcuterie boards, and many other summer-time staples, the pickle has been around for more than 4000 years and promises to stick around for at least another 4000. 

The charm of a pickle is its ability to endure. From cross Atlantic voyages to imprisonment in your refrigerator, pickles are a trusty snack that promises to remain cool, crisp, and refreshing regardless of how long it is stored. 

Pickles are not only delicious but nutritious. Cleopatra supposedly credited her beauty to a pickle-dense diet, and the electrolytes in Pickle brine are full of electrolytes that can ease muscle tension.

Types of Pickles

Today we will pay homage to modest pickle by reviewing 14 timeless pickle picks. Learn about them below!

Dill Pickles

Dill pickles are cucumbers cured in salt or vinegar brine.

Dill pickles are the most popular pickle in America, found in slices, chips, or whole, they are a common topping on sandwiches, cheeseburgers, and when minced, on hotdogs.

Dill pickles get their name from the fresh dill used in the brine that imparts an herbaceous taste to the pickle. Shelf-stable dill pickles are cured in a vinegar brine. 

Dill pickles stored in a refrigerator at your local deli are cured in salt brine. Other common ingredients in dill pickles are mustard seeds, pepper, and salt.

Grillo’s, a company that has been making pickles for over 100 years, makes the most popular fresh dill pickle.


Bread and Butter Pickles

Folklore has it that bread and butter pickles got their name during the depression.

Rumor has it that the fermented vegetable was one of the three primary ingredients used in a butter and pickle sandwich.

Although the butter and pickle sandwich has fallen out of fashion since the depression, bread and butter pickles themselves have withstood the test of time. 

Commonly found on sandwiches and burgers, bread and butter pickles are brined with vinegar, salt, onion, pepper, and pickling salt.

Bread and butter pickles are versatile pickles willing to accept a variety of flavor profiles. Add some red pepper flakes to your bread and butter pickles for a kick. 

Try adding an extra cup of cane sugar to your bread and butter pickles for a sweet treat. Vlasic makes some of the most iconic bread and butter pickles on the market.


Cornichons

Cornichons, pronounced kȯr-nē-ˈshōns, are pickled baby gherkin cucumbers.

The french cornichon is pickled with a variety of aromatics including dill, tarragon, cloves, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, and pearl onions. 

The small, bumpy, and mildly sweet cornichon is a usual suspect amongst charcuterie plates. I highly recommend pairing cornichons with smoked meats and savory cheeses for a decadent, satisfying snack. 

If you are new to cornichons or have no idea what a charcuterie plate is, try some Maille cornichons.

Maille cornichons have a rich heritage and are likely the pickled snack Napoleon enjoyed while on campaign in Europe.


Kosher Pickles

Kosher pickles are the most political pickles on this list.

The kosher designation of kosher pickles comes from the kosher salt used in the brining process of Kosher pickles, not a blessing from a Rabbi as is commonly believed.

Jewish delis are credited with popularizing Kosher pickles. 

The kosher tag was adopted by non-Jewish deli patrons as a way to differentiate the garlicky profile of kosher pickles from the flavor of run-of-the-mill dill pickles.

Pickles must be brined in kosher salt and contain dill and garlic to be considered kosher; the kosher designation has more to do with a cultural tradition of Jewish delis than with strict religious doctrines. 

The most popular and widely available kosher pickle is Claussen’s.


Gherkin Pickles

England and France are bitter rivals, but one thing they can agree on is the delicious taste of pickles.

Gherkin pickles are English Cornichons, or Cornichons are French gherkins.

Whatever your regional preference, gherkins are small cucumber vegetables related to the pickling cucumbers used for American pickles. 

Gherkins have a bumpy exterior and are small, typically one to two inches in length.

Gherkins share the same crunch and mild flavor as cornichons but lack the dill characteristic of its French relative.

Gherkins are delicious on their own but also pair well with various dressings when finely chopped.


Sweet Pickles

Sweet pickles are, as their name suggests, sweet. There are few requirements for cucumbers to become sweet pickles.

The essential ingredient in sweet pickles is a potent sweetener. Cane sugar is the most common sweetening agent used in sweet pickles, but syrups can also be used. 

In addition to a sweetener, sweet pickles typically contain sweet onions, peppercorns, mustard seed, celery seed, salt, garlic, and bay leaves.

Because of their limited ingredients, sweet pickles have an overwhelmingly sweet and mild profile that pairs well with savory meats and cheeses.

I recommend Mt. Olive’s Sweet Mix as a refreshing summertime snack.


Refrigerator Pickles

Thankfully the modifier refrigerator does not refer to a flavor profile. Instead, refrigerator refers to the cucumber pickling process.

Unlike their shelf-shelf stable counterparts, whic most are familiar with, refrigerator pickles are fermented without the use of a hot water bath. 

Refrigerator pickles can be kosher, sweet, sour, or even candied. As long as the pickle is not processed using a hot water bath, it is a refrigerator pickle.

Refrigerator pickles are usually brined in vinegar to increase their longevity. 

Refrigerator pickles contain the usual pickling suspects, mustard seed, onion, salt, celery seed, and garlic.

Claussen’s pickles are the most common and widely available refrigerator pickles in the US.


Sour Pickles

Unlike the other pickles on this list that are preserved in vinegar or salt water, sour pickles are fermented exclusively in salt water.

Sour pickles come in two varieties: half-sour and sour. Half-sour pickles are brined for a little over a month, while sour pickles ferment for two months or more. 

The extended pickling time gives sour pickles a tart taste that will have you sucking your tongue to your palate.

The use of salt brine during fermentation is all that differentiates a sour pickle from any other type of pickle.

Ingredients in sour pickles may also include dill, tarragon, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and onion. Sour pickles are uncooked, so they are found in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores.


Hungarian Pickles

Unfortunately, Hungarian pickles are little-known outside of their native Hungary.

Hungarian pickles are similar to state-side pickles but contain one unusual ingredient that many non-European pickle lovers will find exotic: yeasty bread. 

Hungarian pickles are topped with yeasty bread because yeast accelerates the fermentation process that gives pickles their sour taste.

Hungarian pickles are also unique because they are cured in the sun rather than in a cool, dark place. 

You will not find Hungarian pickles in traditional supermarkets. I recommend seeking out an international deli or making them yourself.


German Pickles

Like their Central European counterparts, German pickles lack a commercial following abroad.

What sets German pickles apart from mainstream pickles are the aromatics and spices used during the pickling process. 

German pickles may also have their skin removed to allow more flavor to penetrate the cucumber during the brining process.

German pickles are flavored with onion, dill, mustard seed, juniper berries, allspice berries, and coriander seeds. 

The unique aromatic blend used in the German pickling process gives German pickles their sweet, tangy, spice-laden flavor.

German pickles are less difficult to find than Hungarian pickles but are nowhere near as popular as kosher or dill pickles. I recommend taking a crack at German pickles with this recipe.


Candied Pickles

Candied pickles are preserved in a sweet syrup, usually made of sugar, sometimes corn syrup.

Candied pickles are a specialty item enjoyed during holidays or special occasions.

The candied pickle is related to the sweet pickle but lacks many of the aromatics used to make sweet pickles. 

The primary ingredients in candied pickles are sweetened brine consisting of a sweetener dissolved in vinegar and pickling cucumbers.

Candied pickles have a niche market, so they are hard to come by in the grocery store. Sechler’s makes a candied dill strip available at Walmart and Amazon if sweet pickles fail to satisfy your sweet tooth.


Kool-aid pickles

Kool-aid pickles are the pride and joy of Mississippi. Kool-aid pickles are the creation of an ingenious snacker who poured Kool-aid powder into their pickle juice.

Kool-aid pickles are an ad-hoc creation with no formal recipe. 

Some picklers use kool-aid in drink form as a pickling agent, while others use kool-aid powder as a seasoning agent in existing pickles.

Let your pickles sit for at least 24 hours if you decide to season your pickles with kool-aid. Kool-aid pickles are sweet, refreshing treat. 

Finding Kool-aid pickles, or Koolickles, is difficult unless you live in the Magnolia State.

I recommend making Kool-aid pickles yourself or taking a trip down to Mississippi to taste the real thing if you have the time.


Lime Pickles

I love pickles not only for their tart, refreshing taste but also for their texture. Lime pickles are some of the crunchiest you can get your hands on.

The lime used during the fermentation process gives lime pickles a satisfying crunch that is great for charcuterie boards or snapper hot dogs. 

Common ingredients in lime pickles include vinegar, salt, celery seed, pickling spice, and lime. Some lime pickle recipes call for pickling lime, also called food-grade calcium hydroxide.

I recommend using regular lime juice if you can; the citric zest that real lime juice imparts to a lime pickle is unmatched.


Cinnamon Pickles

Cinnamon pickles are a distant relative of the pickled cucumber family; they only seem to pop up around the holidays.

Cinnamon pickles are a holiday tradition in some southern American families. 

Cinnamon pickles are fermented with a traditional brine of salt water or vinegar, pickling lime, cinnamon sticks (or flaming red hots for the particularly adventurous), and food coloring.

Cinnamon pickles have a small but devout following. Their niche popularity means you will be hard-pressed to find cinnamon pickles in-store. 

Most cinnamon pickles savants make their own because of a lack of commercial availability.

I recommend using real cinnamon sticks and skipping the food coloring for a more digestible pickle.


Types of Pickles

  1. Dill Pickles
  2. Bread and Butter Pickles
  3. Cornichons
  4. Kosher Pickles
  5. Gherkin Pickles
  6. Sweet Pickles
  7. Refrigerator Pickles
  8. Sour Pickles
  9. Hungarian Pickles
  10. German Pickles
  11. Candied Pickles
  12. Kool-aid pickles
  13. Lime Pickles
  14. Cinnamon Pickles

Final Thoughts

Their lasting popularity makes pickles one of the most endearing human food creations.

Whether you’re a purist who enjoys the heritage of a historical pickle like Maille’s or an adventurous gastronome ready for a Koolickle road trip, pickles are sure to satisfy.

Learn about other food on our blog, like common tomato varieties or delicious types of grapes to enjoy.

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One Comment

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  1. Hmm, it would have really been a much better article, if the author would have posted specific recipes to some of those pickles that are not going to be found in any of the food stores, in the US of A, … Now, I’ve got to go to YouTube to attempt to find a video of making these homemade versions of the differing pickles, … dang, why ya gotta make me work at it, for anyway

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.