This post will teach you how to make my easy lacto-fermented pickle recipe at home. These pickles are loaded with gut-friendly probiotics — and packed with flavor. You can make them in just about a week from start to finish.

Once you get into a pickle-making groove, you can always have a jar fermenting and a jar that’s ready to eat in the fridge. Beats the pants off of buying $$$ pickles at the grocery store.

The best part?

You can customize the recipe with a bunch of different flavors. My recipe below produces a pretty traditional garlic- and herb-infused dill pickle. (Bonus? The garlic cloves get pickled, too, so be sure to use them in cooking and salads, etc.)

I make a really good smokey pickle with paprika and other spices. I’ll post that recipe up soon.

What is lacto-fermentation?

So, lacto-fermentation is a simple way to ferment veggies at home, without any fancy equipment.

It’s how traditional, fermented things like pickles, saurkraut, and kimchi are made.

Simply mix up a brine with salt and water, add your veggies, cap the jar, and set it aside for about a week.

The salt keeps harmful bacteria at bay, while allowing beneficial bacteria (Lactobacillus, the kind that’s good for your gut) to thrive.

Ingredients and equipment for lacto-fermented pickles

All you need is good salt (skip the iodized salt and opt for sea salt or pink Himalayan salt), water, and some veggies (cucumbers, in this case). Use filtered or bottled water. City water contains chlorine, which can inhibit your fermentation.

For equipment, it couldn’t be easier. Get a few wide-mouth, quart-sized mason jars. I buy them at my local hardware or grocery store (usually cheaper here in Salem), or on Amazon.

As pickles ferment, they give off a little gas.

That means you either need to “burp” the jar by opening it and letting that gas escape every day, or use a special, reusable fermentation lid. There are a bunch on the market, most are really inexpensive. You can do it either way, you just need to make sure you let that gas out, or the jar can potentially crack or explode.

You can also get fermentation weights to keep the pickles submerged in the brine (which keeps mold from potentially developing).

I’ve honestly found that the weights aren’t really necessary for these quick pickles. I just shake the jars a few times a day, which seems to prevent anything funky from growing on top (where the bacteria on the veggies could be potentially exposed to air). To play it safe, use the weights.

If you want to get them, I like the Pickle Pipes from Mason Tops or the fermentation lids from Trellis.

I’ve used both consistently with good success.

Mason Tops also sells great glass fermentation weights. All are reusable, and good to have on hand if you go down the fermentation rabbit hole. (And BELIEVE ME, there’s a rabbit hole there if you get into fermenting…)

OK, let’s get pickling!

Lacto-Fermented Pickle Recipe

Mini cucumbers, sliced into spears
Whole garlic cloves, peeled
Fresh rosemary
Fresh dill
A few fresh bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 quart water
3 Tablespoons sea salt or Himalayan pink salt

Makes 2 quarts of pickles

  1. Combine the water and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir until the salt is dissolved.
  2. Divide the sliced cucumbers evenly between 2 quart-sized mason jars.
  3. Add garlic, rosemary, dill, bay leaf, peppercorns to each jar.
  4. Fill each jar with salt water, leaving about 1/2 inch head room at the top of the jar.
  5. Drop a fermentation weight on top of the pickles if you have them, then top with a fermentation lid or a mason jar lid.
  6. Set on the counter in a cool place out of direct sunlight for about week. Shake the jar a few times a day. If you aren’t using a fermentation lid, open the jar once a day to “burp” it and let any gas out.
  7. After a week, give them a taste. If they’re sour enough, move your jar into the fridge to halt the fermentation. If you’d like them a little more sour, leave them out to ferment for a few more days. Enjoy!

Explore more fermentation magic

Check out my other posts and recipes on fermentation.