Recipe: Texas-Style Quick Pickles

Recipe: Texas-Style Quick Pickles

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Patty Catalano
Jul 27, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

It's a cruel joke that canning homemade pickles comes right in the middle of summer, when the last thing you want to do is stand over the stove. That's why smart pickle-lovers take a shortcut and start with a jar of dill pickles — no steam bath required. Thanks to a cup of sugar and fiery heat from jalapeños, the simple pickles transform into a sweet-and-spicy Texas-style snack.

I dare you to find an easier pickle recipe than this — especially since the pickling is already done for you. You don't need any special equipment, and we love that you can use the pickle jar to store the pickles instead of hunting down a large Mason jar.

Although we can't imagine giving these away, Texans often wrap the pickle jars in red and green and give them as gifts during the holiday season (you'll often see them called Texas Christmas pickles). You can find them all over Texas, as well as some other parts of the South and Midwest. An ode to Texans' love of all things spicy and sweet, this thrifty recipe feels like it came straight from Granny's recipe box.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Pick the Perfect Pickle

Instead of starting with pre-sliced pickles, which are rather flimsy, opt for a large jar of whole baby dill pickles. Then, slice them thick and, while you're at it, slice a jalapeño. Drain the pickles but save the pickling liquid for later.

For the Best Pickles, Don't Skimp on the Sugar

Considering these pickles are from a region known for syrupy sweet tea, it's no surprise that they require a lot of sugar. But thanks to the lip-tingling addition of jalapeños, the sweetness is balanced by a kick of spiciness. Don't worry if the pickles aren't totally submerged in pickling liquid — by the end of three days, the sugar will have dissolved in the brine and drawn out moisture from the pickles. Serve on sandwiches, burgers, BBQ, or eat straight from the jar.

Texas-Style Quick Pickles

Makes 1 (24-ounce) jar pickles; serves 12

Prep time: 10 minutes

  • 1 (24-ounce) jar

    whole kosher baby dill pickles

  • 1

    medium jalapeño

  • 1 tablespoon

    pickling spice

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 3 cloves

    garlic, smashed

Drain the pickles into a colander set over a bowl. Reserve the pickle brine and the pickle jar.

Slice the pickles and jalapeño crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the pickling spices in a small square of cheesecloth, pull up the sides of the cloth, and tie closed with kitchen twine to form a pouch; set aside.

Place the pickles, jalapeño, sugar, and garlic in a large bowl and toss to combine. Transfer half of the sugar-pickle mixture into the empty pickle jar. Place the spice pouch in the jar. Add the remaining sugar-pickle mixture to the jar, pressing down on the pickles if needed to add all of the pickles to the jar.

Pour 1/2 cup reserved pickle brine into the jar, leaving 1/4-inch headspace at the top of the jar. Tightly seal the jar and shake.

Refrigerate for 3 days, shaking and flipping the jar at least 1 time each day. The pickles are ready in 3 days, once all of the sugar has dissolved.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate for up to 2 months.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
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