Polish Sweet-and-Sour Pickles

Cucumber pickles with parsley
Matilda Lindeblad / Getty Images
Prep: 30 hrs
Cook: 0 mins
Marinate: 3 hrs
Total: 33 hrs
Servings: 256 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
17 Calories
0g Fat
4g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 256
Amount per serving
Calories 17
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 223mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 2mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Eastern Europeans love the combination of sweet and sour just about as much as they love to preserve foods. Put it all together and you get our wonderful and easy recipe for sweet-and-sour Polish pickles. They're crunchy, flavorful pickles that you can serve with all sorts of foods, or eat on their own if you enjoy these strong flavors. Onions, garlic, turmeric, cloves, celery seeds, mustard seeds, and peppers make a mouthwatering flavor base for the cucumbers. No canning, boiling jars, or difficult cooking techniques required. Simply marinate the vegetables, boil the brine of vinegar, salt, and sugar, cover the pickles with it, and let cool. The longer you wait to eat them, the more flavorful they will be, so if you can, give it at least three to five days before trying them. Always keep refrigerated and use a clean utensil to remove the pickles you eat. The pickles will last up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

In Polish, these pickles are known as słodko-kwaśnym ogórkiem (SWOHD-koh KVASH-nim oh-GOORR-kyem). Because they don't require a hot-water bath, they are a cherished recipe of home cooks because they can make and refrigerate them to have pickles at hand at all times. Delicious with sandwiches, chopped in spreads, served with fatty meats, or skewered with charcuterie and cheeses, these pickles might become your new favorite. There is nothing like a homemade pickle, without additives and preservatives, always crunchy and fresh.

There are many types of cucumbers you can use for pickling but we recommend Kirby by far. This type of cucumber is an all-time favorite of pickle enthusiasts because they have a thick skin and won't lose their texture once the boiling brine hits the jar. Thin-skinned cucumbers might become mushy and soggy in the brine. A second-best would be either some Boston pickling cucumbers or some National pickling cucumbers—both excellent and crunchy. Choose equal size cucumbers or chop or slice the cucumbers into similarly-sized pieces, and always use non-waxed cucumbers to ensure the best flavor and quality. If the cucumbers aren't great, neither will your pickles.


  • 25 medium pickling cucumbers, washed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 6 medium onions, cut into thin rings
  • 2 green peppers, washed and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt, or kosher salt
  • 3 cups cider vinegar, or white vinegar
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine cucumbers with onions, green peppers, garlic, and salt in a large, non-reactive bowl. Let sit for 3 hours.

  3. Drain the cucumber mixture from any liquid that has developed after the 3 hours, reserving the liquid in a small bowl.

  4. Mix vinegar with sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, cloves, and turmeric in a large non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat.

  5. Add the reserved cucumber liquid to the saucepan and bring back to a boil over high heat.

  6. Fill up to 8 sterilized quart jars with the sliced cucumbers and vegetables, packing tightly and dividing evenly between jars.

  7. When vinegar mixture returns to the boil, immediately pour it into the jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Cover with sterilized lids and rings, screwing them on.

  8. Turn the jars upside down on a clean cloth and allow to rest until they reach room temperature. Refrigerate cooled pickles until ready to serve.