Dill vs Sour Pickle: Differences and Varieties Explained

The two most common ones are sour and dill pickles. These two pickles might sound similar, but they are very different. Here, we have mentioned about dill vs sour pickles: difference and preparation.

When someone mentions pickles, we usually assume they are referring to pickled cucumbers. That’s because we love them in our sandwiches and burgers. But many varieties of pickled cucumbers are available, each with its own taste.

What is the Difference Between Sour Pickles and Dill Pickles?

Dill Pickles vs Sour Pickles

While sour and dill pickles are made through the brining process, they have different bases. Dill pickles are made with salt-base brine and vinegar. In contrast, sour pickles have salt-based brine with no vinegar.

These two pickles have different subtypes. Furthermore, you can customize your pickle by adding a few more ingredients.

Before you choose this perfect pickle for purchasing or to make at home, you must familiarize yourself with the brining process and optional additives.

If you want to purchase the best sour dill pickles, here are some options;

Best Sour Dill Pickles

What are Sour Pickles?

Sour pickles are made by fermenting in saltwater brine. Thanks to the slow fermentation, these pickles have a refreshing sour flavor with a salty edge, which is irresistible.

Many people add garlic, horseradish, dill, and pickling spices to the brine to get a deeper flavor.

Sour pickles are divided into two types: sour and half-sour pickles. These pickles achieve a crunchy texture and tangy taste through fermentation. Sometimes it can be called lacto fermented pickles as mentioned in our recipe for spicy lacto fermented pickled zucchini.

Half sours have a shorter fermentation process, which gives them a milder taste. In comparison, full sour pickles achieve lip-puckering tartness because they have a longer fermentation process.

RELATED  What Is Spiced Pickling Vinegar

What are Dill Pickles?

One of the most popular types of cucumber pickles is dill pickles, which gets its name from the dill herb used in the recipe. This herb is added to salt brine or vinegar brine along with other pickling spices, like pepper and mustard seeds. This method is further explained in our post on can you pickle herbs: best herbs to pickle and how to do it properly?.

Refrigerated dill pickles are likely to be fermented in the salt brine. In contrast, shelf-stable ones are made using vinegar brine.

Basically, in dill vs sour pickles, sour pickles have salt-based brine with no vinegar, and dill pickles have salt-based brine and vinegar.

How to Make Sour Pickles?

Sour pickles are crunchy and refreshing. When the pickles are fermented in salt-based brine, a bacteria called acetobacter releases its own vinegar into the brine.

In older days, sour pickles were left to ferment at room temperature from a few months to a year, allowing the growth of probiotics. But now, sour pickles can be made in the refrigerator in around three days.

The acidic and salty water of the pickle acts as a strong preservative, which keeps them crunchy and good for a long time. Ideally, sour pickles can be kept in the refrigerator for anywhere between one to two years.

Sour Pickles Recipe

  1. Purchase pickle cucumbers, wash them, and cut off the blossom end. If the pickling cucumbers are not fresh, you can soak them in ice-cold water. This process will help the cucumbers to restore their freshness and crunch.
  2. Mix sea salt in 2 liters of water to create a brine. Stir until thoroughly dissolved.
  3. Put vine leaves, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, fresh chilies, garlic, and dill in a clean jar. If you do not have vine or grape leaves, we have mentioned some in our article on grape leaves alternatives for pickles.
  4. Then add as many cucumbers as you can without bruising them.
  5. Add brine to the jar and cover the lid properly. Once the cucumbers are submerged in water, they will shrink a little in the brine.
  6. Keep the jar in a cool place so the cucumber starts fermenting.
  7. Make sure you regularly check your pickle jar. If you see white mold around the top, remove it. But if the mold is pink, blue, or green in color, discard the batch. It’s a sign that the pickles are contaminated because the jar was not properly cleaned.
  8. The fermentation process starts when the pickling liquid becomes bubbly.
  9. After a few days, try a pickle to know whether or not the flavor suits you. If the flavor is good, move the pickle jar into the fridge, so the fermentation becomes slow.
RELATED  Keto Desserts by Kelley Herring Review (Tried & Tested)

How to Make Dill Zucchini Pickles?

Dill Zucchini Pickles Recipe

Dill zucchini pickles differ from the usual sour pickles because their brine includes vinegar. Besides this, the dill herb is also an important ingredient.

To make dill pickles, you need water, vinegar, or salt-based brine. Put the pickle in the refrigerator for a few weeks. You can also add dill fronds or dill seeds at the end of the pickling process to get that yummy flavor.

Ideally, people use dill seeds and not dill fronds because the seeds give out most flavors. For more flavors, you can add mustard seeds, peppercorn, and minced garlic to zucchini, salt water, vinegar, and dill.

Compared to sour pickles, dill pickles are less crunchy. But dill pickles are loaded with more flavors.

Here’s a simple dill zucchini pickles recipe;

Dill Zucchini Recipe

  1. Purchase zucchini and wash them. You can slice the zucchini lengthwise into quarters for pickle spears. Or you can make pickle chips by slicing zucchini horizontally. Put zucchini in ice-cold water for an hour.
  2. Put the sliced zucchini into a clean jar. Add garlic, peppercorns, dill sprigs, and mustard seeds to the jar.
  3. Take a pan to make brine. Heat water, salt, sugar, and vinegar over medium heat. Stir the mixture properly for a minute, so everything gets combined. Keep the pan aside, so the brine cools down. Then pour it over the zucchini and store the pickles in the fridge.
  4. In two days, pickle spears get lightly pickled, but the right flavor comes after 5 or 6 days. Similarly, pickle chips get light favors in a day. Keep the pickles in the fridge for many weeks, so they develop the best flavors.
RELATED  How is Pickling Vinegar Made?


Are Dill Pickles Sour or Sweet?

Dill pickles have a sour taste and snappy texture with a crisp, so they are hardly sweet. They are a common variety made with dill seeds or dill weed. But the pickles are neither mushy nor soggy. They have a perfect balance of dilly, salty, and briny flavors.

Health Benefits of Sour Pickles and Dill Pickles

Sour pickles contain a probiotic called lactobacillus because they are made through fermentation. This bacteria helps in having a healthy gut and aids digestive health.

Also, dill and sour pickles have high antioxidants, which help them detoxify the system and fight free radicals.

Dill vs Sour Pickles Summary

Both these pickles taste delicious, and making them is super easy. By following the quick preparation process, you can prepare dill or sour pickles at your home.

Of course, you can get the best sour dill pickles from the store, but the homemade ones are loaded with all sorts of health benefits.

Photo of author

Eve MayHew

Eve Mayhew is a stay-at-home Mum, graphic designer and wife who takes more of a relaxed and practical approach to her lifestyle. She prefers to live a more stress-free life and enjoys food and drink in moderation by counting her blessings rather than counting the calories or feeling guilty over the odd soft drink or fast food fix every now and then. (Contact Author)