How to Make Dilly Beans
Words Rick Field
Rick from Rick’s Picks shares a spicy take on the classic pickled green beans recipe.
I grew up making pickles with my Mom and Dad in the summertime in Vermont. This spicy version of pickled green beans — also known as Dilly Beans — comes with a little extra heat, using cayenne and fresh dill for an unusually fresh flavor.
Eat them on their own, use as a garnish for a refreshing Bloody Mary, add to a cheese plate, or top a salad with them. Once you start pickling green beans with this twist, you won’t want to go back to the regular way. But if you prefer a little less heat, adjust the cayenne pepper to your taste (or omit entirely for a classic dilly bean recipe).
Dilly Beans Recipe
- 3 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
- 3 cups water
- 6 tbsp. kosher salt
- 6 large, mature dill heads or 6 tbsp. dill seeds and 24 fresh dill sprigs
- 6 tsp. cayenne pepper (or a few small fresh chilies, abundant in farmers’ markets in late summer)
- 12 cloves garlic
- 4 lb. green beans (or enough to fill 6 one-pint jars)
Sterilize 6 one-pint jars and lids, either by immersing in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes or by running the jars through a dishwasher cycle. In a non-reactive saucepan, combine vinegar, salt and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt.
Meanwhile, in each jar, place 1 dill head (or 1 tbsp. dill seeds and 4 dill sprigs), 1 tsp. cayenne (or 1 fresh chili pepper), and 2 garlic cloves. Use ½ tsp. cayenne for a less spicy result. Trim beans so they are ½ in shorter than height of the jars, then divide and pack the beans as tightly as possible in each jar. (Pro-tip: It may help to hold the jar horizontally and use a chopstick to compact the beans as you add more).
Ladle the hot brine into each of the jar, leaving about ½ inch of headspace. Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with lids. Process the jars for 7 minutes in a boiling water bath. Remove the jars and let them stand undisturbed for 24 hours, then set them aside for an additional 2 weeks to let the flavors develop.
The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. If any seals fail, store that jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.