Domowe Ogórki Kiszone

My First Polish Dill Pickles (like, EVER!)

Wait, am I about to admit that as a 30-something Pole (born & bread) I never fermented any cucumbers whatsoever.
Yikes. But there it is.

In my defense, I’m a keen consumer of these crunchy & delicious pickles aged in brine. Buying quite a lot of that stuff, one might think I’m addicted.
Why buy ready made then? – you may ask.

Good question.
Well, for some reason I always thought it’s a rather difficult art (or – science, or – perhaps both?), better left in the experienced hands of professionals. 
But recently my mind was changed, and I’ll tell you why you should give it a go yourself.

Jar of cucumbers with garlic, dill and horseradish in a jar, ready to be pickled for Polish-style dill pickles in brine.

Homemade Pickles: Is It Worth It?

There are a few reasons why it is!:

  • The quality of a store-bought ogórki kiszone can differ significantly. Why risk buying some dodgy ones, when we can make them properly at home? That way you’ll know for sure what’s inside the jar.
  • The whole process is EASY. Or at least that’s what they claimed on the “Food Network” (the Polish edition) last night ????.
  • So far, I can confirm – cucumbers in brine ARE easy to prepare. But please bear with me for another 2 weeks to see if the results are actually edible ????. And the results were great first time round!
Polish Dill Pickles on a white plate, well fermented.
  • There is a massive hype around the world about all-things-fermented. And no wonder, they’re a superfood. Your gut will thank you for consuming them.
  • It’s worth remembering that the Polish folk were (and still are) a total fermentation experts for CENTURIES. This is how we roll! If you’re of Polish decent (or simply wanna emulate our awesome Slavic style ????), just give it a go!

Polish Dill Pickles How-To’s

Before my first attempt, I equipped myself with a book by an expert – a well known Polish chef Aleksander Baron. In his book “Kiszonki i Fermentacje” (“Pickling and Fermentation”), he presents an array of recipes for all-things-pickled. The photos in the book look promising, so I’ve decided to give this method a try.

Pouring brine over cucumbers

I cannot post any FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), since I have more Q’s than A’s at this point… But the key pointers are:

  • To pickle cucumbers, use a common rock salt. It has tons of minerals, which enrich the brine and promote better fermentation. Avoid iodised salt and salt with anti-caking agents.
  • It’s best to place the cucumbers tightly, under a slight slant, in layers.
  • And lastly – a touch of sugar helps too, it maximally prolongs the period of proper fermentation.
    1 to 2% of sugar (or honey) in the brine is enough to amp up the production of the lactic acid.
Young Boy holding a Jar of Polish Style Dill Pickles in Brine
Polish Dill Pickles in Brine

Ogórki Kiszone: Polish Dill Pickles in Brine

Yield: 25
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 14 days
Total Time: 14 days 5 minutes


  • 6.6 lb (3 kg) cucumbers (small, short & bumpy kind)
  • 0.5 gallon (2 litre) water
  • 5-6 tbsp (80-100g) common salt (non-iodized!)
  • 4 horseradish leaves (optional)
  • 4 stems fresh dill (with seeds)
  • 6 oak leaves
  • 10 cherry tree leaves
  • 1 horseradish root
  • 1-2 heads of garlic
  • 1 tbsp honey (optional)


  1. Boil water with salt, leave aside to cool completely.
  2. Place cucumbers, leaves, horseradish root, garlic and honey into a large jar.
  3. Pour in the water.
  4. Cover with a lid. The author recommends using a fermentation lid (such as this one), but I used a regular lid and it worked just fine.
  5. Set aside and... wait.
  6. You can start tasting them after 3 days or so. But for a proper dill pickle in brine, you'll need to wait longer.
  7. For the first 2 weeks, cucumbers should be stored at room temperature, then transferred to a cool place to slow down the fermentation process. Ideally, pickles should be stored at a temperature of about 50°F (10°C), in a cool pantry or a basement.


  • This recipe is adapted from Aleksander Baron's cookbook "Kiszonki i Fermentacje" Pub. Pascal, 2016, p.86

"Kiszonki i Fermentacje" (Pickling and Fermentation) cookbook by Aleksander Baron

Jar full of Cucumbers Pickled in Brine

Recommended reading:

Save this “Polish Dill Pickles” recipe to your “POLISH PICKLES” Pinterest board! And let’s be friends on Pinterest!

Polish name:
Cuisine: Polish
Region / Subregion: all-Polish
Recipe source:
Other traditional or regional names:
Also known as (including misspellings):

Illustrated portrait of Kasia relaxing on a deckchair

Kasia Kronenberger writes from Warsaw, Poland.
Her writing is focused on the intersectionality of food, culture and identity.

about Kasiaabout the Polonist
sign up for updates