Gewürzgurken – German pickled cucumbers









Market stalls in Germany are brimming with pickling cucumbers and bunches of stunningly fragrant dill flowers in summer to make the traditional Gewürzgurken, German dill & spice pickled cucumbers. If you have never tried them, you definitely should. Less sharp than cornichons but with an equally pleasant crunch and a soft interior, their balanced aromatic notes are perfect company to cold cuts, fish, anything smoked or cured, paté, cheese, well, the list is endless.

I love the complex dill flavours the cucumbers absorb from dried dill, seeds and the wonderful fragrant (and very pretty) dill flowers and it is hard to find comparable examples outside of Europe. These pickles are smaller than their American cousins but bigger than cornichons or gherkins and have a decidedly mellower vinegar flavour than all of those who punch high in the acid class without being sweet as bread-and-butter pickles and the like.

Pffh, this discourse should be worthy of another Erwin Wurm cucumber and this time it is a veritable Gewürzgurke.





Gewürzgurken – German pickled cucumbers

For about 5 Weck jars.


5½ lbs. / 2½ kg pickling cucumbers / small Kirby cucumbers
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon / 120g salt
4⅓ cups / 1 litre water

a generous 1 lb. / 500g onions, sliced
a few sprigs dill flowers (use 1-2 per jar)
½ spice mixture, recipe below

6⅓ cups / 1.5 litre white wine vinegar
6⅓ cups / 1.5 litre water
1⅔ cups / 375g sugar
1½ teaspoon salt


Thoroughly wash & scrub the pickling cucumbers. Dissolve the salt in water and submerge the cucumbers. Marinade overnight or for about 12 hours.

Fill cucumbers and sliced onions in sterilized glass jars, add 1 or 2 sprigs dill flowers and divide the spice mixture between the jars.

Make a brine from vinegar, water, salt and sugar and bring to the boil. When salt and sugar have dissolved fill the boiling liquid into the jars completely covering the vegetables. Close jars and keep in a dark, cool place for 4 weeks until the pickles are ready to eat.


To store the pickles in Weck or other jars for up to one year: place the filled and closed jars into a large pot or two (place a folded tea towel or cloth onto its bottom to prohibit the glasses rattling and possible damaging each other) and cover with hot water. Heat until a temperature of 90°C / 195° F has been reached and cook for 30 minutes. Leave the pickle jars in the water for 5-10 minutes after which you may gingerly lift them out. There is a handy tool for this but I make do with tongues and spatulas. Leave to cool and check if the jars are sealed properly by trying to lift the glass lids of your Weck jars. If that’s not possible, the jars are perfectly sealed and can be stored for up to a year.


Spice mixture

2½ tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon dried dill (if possible dry it yourself or try finding longer fronds rather than using finely chopped dried dill dust, it will cloud the brine)
¼ teaspoon dill seeds
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon black pepper corns
¼ teaspoon dried ginger pieces
6 cloves
6 all spice berries
1-2 bay leaves, crumbled

Mix all spices together and use half of this recipe for 5 lbs. pickling cucumbers.




Deutsches Rezept:

pickled cucumbers with dill flowers


Für 5 Weckgläser


5 Pfund Einlegegurken
120g Salz
1 Liter Wasser

1 Pfund Zwiebeln, in dickere Streifen geschnitten
Dillblütenzweige (1-2 pro Glas)
½ Gewürzmischung
1,5 l Weißweinessig
1,5 Liter Wasser
375g Zucker
1½ TL Salz
Gurken gründlich abbürsten und waschen. Salz im Wasser auflösen und Gurken über Nacht oder für mindestens 12 Stunden einlegen.

Gurken und Zwiebeln in sterilisierte Gläser füllen, 1 bis 2 Dillblütenzweige hineingeben und die Gewürzmischung auf die Gläser verteilen.

Weißweinessig, Wasser, Zucker und Salz zum Kochen bringen. Wenn sich Zucker und Salz aufgelöst haben, die kochende Flüssigkeit in die Gurkengläser randhoch einfüllen und diese verschließen. Dunkel und kühl für 4 Wochen lagern bis die Gurken eßreif sind.


Gewürzgurken einwecken und bis zu einem Jahr haltbar machen: Befüllte (und geschlossene) Gläser in einen großen Kochtopf, dessen Boden mit einem Geschirrtuch oder ähnlichem ausgekleidet ist (so daß die Gläser während des Kochens nicht aneinanderschlagen), stellen und komplett mit warmem Wasser bedecken. Erhitzen bis eine Temperatur von 90°C erreicht wurde und 30 Minuten bei dieser Temperatur einkochen. Weckgläser weitere 5-10 Minuten im Wasser leicht abkühlen lassen und dann vorsichtig aus dem heißen Wasser herausheben. Dafür gibt es natürlich eine spezielle Zange, aber ich behelfe mir hier mit Bratenlöffeln, Pfannenwendern etc. Gewürzgurken abkühlen lassen, dann überprüfen ob sie richtig geschlossen sind. Dazu versucht man den Glasdeckel abzuheben, geht dies nicht, ist das Glas korrekt verschlossen und man kann die eingekochten Gewürzgurken bis zu einem Jahr lagern.



2½ EL gelbe Senfkörner
1 TL getrockneter Dill (wenn möglich selbstgetrocknet oder intakte Dillzweige anstatt klein gerebelter Dill, der das Gurkenwasser trüben würde)
¼ TL Dillsamen
¼ TL Koriandersamen
¼ TL schwarze Pfefferkörner
¼ TL getrockneter Ingwer (in Stückchen)
6 Nelken
6 Pimentkörner
1-2 Lorbeer, zerkleinert
Alle Gewürze vermischen und die Hälfte dieses Rezeptes für 5 Pfund Gewürzgurken verwenden.


27 thoughts on “Gewürzgurken – German pickled cucumbers

    • Gerlinde, genau, los geht die Gurkenproduktion!
      If it get’s too much, there used to be German butcher shop in Mountain View (moved to Palo Alto now) who carried all the other things terrible missed in those Heimweh moments: Persil, German Nutella, Blattgelantine, Pudding and the like. He comes from your neck of the woods too, if you like to speak some Plattdeutsch. N xx

  1. Oh, Gurken mit Dill! Die liebe ich sehr, aber mein Mann ist leider so überhaupt GAR kein Dill-Fan! Super Rezept, das merke ich mir trotzdem 🙂

  2. What a great recipe. And such beautiful photos. I really love pickles and love reading all the different ways to make them. The dill flowers are so pretty. I like the use of ginger here. That’s different and I imagine it would be amazing. I’m also a huge fan of coriander seeds. So good!

  3. Hello, thank you for the wonderful recipe. It is just what I was looking for. I have a question regarding the canning directions. Is the canning step done after the 4 weeks in the dark or instead?
    Thank you,

    • Hi Teri, sorry to get back to you so late. It’s canning first, then keep in a dark place for about 4 weeks (they are perfectly fine to eat before hand) for the flavours to develop.

      • Thank you, That is what I did. I couldn’t wait. It has been two weeks and I cheated. They taste great but are a bit soft in texture. I will give it another go. Thanks again.

      • Hi Teri, impatience is understandable when dealing with pickles if you ask me. I am slightly puzzled about the soft texture, did you use pickling cucumbers / gherkins? The smaller ones with skin like an alligator?

  4. Yes, I used the right type of cucumbers. However, I am questioning the time in the water bath. Similar recipes call for 15 min. of processing for quart jars. The first batch has an over-cooked feel to them. I have the next batch soaking in marinade right. If they are good they won’t last long enough to spoil. Thank you for the quick response.

    • Hi Teri, just had a moment inbetween crying. That’s strange indeed: overcooked gherkins, not so good. I’ve been using this recipe for decades now, never had anything like this happening. Good luck, hopefully the next batch turns out better. Let me know would you? N

  5. I was thrilled to find your site with recipe and beautiful photos. Ive never made pickles before so I followed instructions and made a sample jar at 25% of recipe. Couldn’t stop nibbling them! Yum! So I made a full batch. Now, a few weeks later, the pickles in my test jar are bitter. Any thoughts would be appreciated as I don’t know what I did wrong.
    PS- the water used was well water (naturally soft water) that went through reverse osmosis filter.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Dorie, thank you so much for your nice words and sorry for getting back to you absolutely late. Hhhm, not sure what could have gone wrong there. The pickles are a little bitter and tart though if unpleasantly bitter, I would not recommend eating them. I can only guess since this has never happened to me in all the years I have made these. My guesses are that either the jars might not have sealed properly, wrong cucumbers (pickling gherkins should be the ones), the scaled down version might have played havoc with the spices… Would you like to send me a photo, maybe I can see something there.

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