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Homemade Wickles: How to Make Hot, Sweet, Garlic-Butter Pickles

How to make wickles

How to make wickles

Wickles Pickles Recipes

Anyone who lives in the South can tell you that there's a "wickedly delicious pickle" sold in our stores that is made using a "secret family recipe." While I didn't steal the recipe, I did manage to simulate it at home.

Due to the expense of making the brine (the secret), I have published this recipe to make pickles in bulk (makes a great gift; pickle lovers will beg for more)! This recipe will yield approximately 24 pint-sized jars, but buy 36 so you can use any extra brine to pickle some okra!

Storing and Serving

  • Store for two weeks, and then test before giving as gifts.
  • Yield: 24 pint-sized jars (Hint: Keep spares handy)


  • A 5-gallon bucket
  • About 5 pounds of cleaned, sliced cucumbers (Look for small, prickly ones without wax. Homegrown or farmer’s market cucs are best. It's easiest to slice these using a mandoline. The cucumber should fill up the 5-gallon bucket about 70% of the way. For me, this was about 40 to 50 cucumbers.)
  • 2 cups pickling salt (Kosher and ionized salts will cloud brine.)
  • 2 tablespoons dried, minced onion
  • 2 tablespoon whole mustard seed
  • 2 tablespoon whole black peppercorn (If you whack these just a bit before you use them, you'll get a much better flavor out of them.)
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric (ground)
  • 2 teaspoons whole clove
  • 2 teaspoons whole allspice
  • 2 teaspoons whole juniper berries
  • 2 teaspoons whole dill seed
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 dried, crumbled bay leaves
  • 4 small, dried hot red peppers, crumbled, seeds and all
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root
  • 9 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cup white vinegar
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1/2 t. minced garlic
  • 2 small fresh, red hot chili peppers (slit both sides) per jar
Homemade hot, garlic, butter pickles!

Homemade hot, garlic, butter pickles!


Step 1: Prepare the Pickles

  1. Fill 5-gallon bucket about 3/5ths of the way full with sliced cucumbers (a mandoline is a must!), salt, and water. Let sit for 3 hours.
  2. Drain in “batches” (one pot at a time). Do not remove/rinse until ready to pickle/jar.

Step 2: Prepare Pickling Spices

  1. Put cinnamon and ginger root in Ziploc, and pound until broken medium-fine.
  2. Put minced onion, mustard seed, peppercorn, celery seed, turmeric, clove, allspice, juniper berries, dill seed, coriander seed, mace, cumin, bay leaves and hot red peppers in a bowl. Stir to mix.
  3. Set aside.

Step 3: Prepare Your Vinegar Infusion

  1. Put apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, water, and pickling spices in stock pot, and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn off heat, and let infuse for 2 hours.
  3. Strain spices from vinegar (run through a colander over stock pot, and then strain again through mesh filter or cheesecloth).
  4. Return to stock pot.
  5. Add 7 cups granulated sugar to infused vinegar.
  6. Dissolve sugar completely in vinegar infusion (no additional heat needed).

Important Notes

  • Divide the Brine: Divide the brine into four equal batches. Section off a small amount to taste once cooled (a little will do; you're only using it as a comparison taste sample).
  • Add Chilis Cautiously: Add hot chili peppers to the first batch of liquid you prepare, and bring back to a simmer. Turn the heat off, and let it steep for two hours (at which point it should be cool enough to taste). If it does not have the "heat" you are looking for, add another pepper and repeat until the brine is just less of what you want. Peppers are added to the jars prior to canning so don't go overboard with hot-peppering the brine. If you do, the pickles will be too hot to eat. At which point, continue as you would below.
  • Smaller Batches Keep Better: The brine will keep better if you attempt smaller batches. This also gives you a chance to sample the heat factor before making pickles with the remaining three portions of brine. It's a great way to add a little, subtract a little, and perfect the pickles to your tastes/preferences.

Step 4: Prepare Jars for Canning

  1. Boil jars and lids in water for 15 minutes; remove from heat with tongs, and let cool on cooling rack.
  2. Add 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic and two small, fresh red hot chili peppers (slit both sides) per jar.
  3. Place in bottom of cooled jars.

Step 5: Ready for Pickling

  1. Place one 1/2 pot of cucumbers completely submerged in brine over medium heat, and bring to a simmer only (do NOT boil); once semi-soft, remove from heat.
  2. Fill prepared jars with cucumbers using a jarring funnel, and divide liquids evenly in jars to within 1/2 inch of top.
  3. Place lid on jars with rings, and process (place in pot of simmering hot water, completely submerged) for 15 minutes.
  4. Lids will “pop” seal when completely cooled.

Variations You Can Try

  • Try a different pepper: Experiment with different peppers to find your favorite. Different peppers are going to taste differently, of course.
  • Use the leftover brine to pickle the okra: Follow the same procedure, but with some okra!