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How to Make Pickled Green Beans, A.K.A. Dilly Beans

Joilene has been gardening and preserving food of all kinds for many years, and she thrives on the creativity involved in these processes.

I started with French Filet green beans, a super-crisp, sweet bean perfect for pickling and regular snap bean recipes.

I started with French Filet green beans, a super-crisp, sweet bean perfect for pickling and regular snap bean recipes.

Pickled Green Beans

Making dilly green beans, a.k.a. pickled green beans, is one of the simplest canning projects you can do. The almost addictive results are great for everyday use or as part of a holiday menu. They are delicious for relish trays, on their own, or straight out of the jar.

To make dilly bean pickles, you will need:

  • 1 or more lbs. of green beans per quart of pickles
  • Canning salt (contains no iodine and can be found in the canning section of most supermarkets)
  • Vinegar (white is best, as it does not compete with the other flavors in the pickles)
  • Drinking quality water
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Fresh garlic cloves (minced pickled garlic will also work)
  • Fresh or dried dill seeds

You will also need basic canning supplies:

  • An enameled water bath canner, steam canner, or suitable large pot with a rack in the bottom
  • Canning jars, either pints or quarts—ball brand canning jars are very good
  • Jar rings and self-sealing lids
  • A jar lifter
  • A narrow spatula or something similar for releasing air bubbles from the filled jars
  • A small cake pan or saucepan to scald the lids in
  • Tongs, for lifting lids from the water
  • A draft-free area in which to let your finished jars cool
  • A towel to cool the jars on and hot pads or oven mitts to help you handle them
  • A large saucepan or pot in which to heat the canning solution
  • 2-3 hours of time per canner load

A Relish Tray Menu Including Dilly Bean Pickles

For a winning relish tray, arrange:

  • Dilly beans
  • Red beet pickles, sweet or somewhat savory
  • Orange or yellow pickled carrots (use baby carrots or slender, tapered sticks)
  • Sweet pickle sticks (cucumber pickles)
  • Pickled onions (use baby onions or thinly sliced rings)
  • Pickled cherry peppers, both red and green

This selection offers something for almost every taste and has a wide variety of colors and shapes. If you have room for just three or four relishes, try the dilly beans, beet pickles, and sweet cucumber sticks, with whatever you like best coming in fourth.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can I use riper beans to make pickled green beans?

Answer: You could, but if they are too mature, they'll probably pickle with a somewhat tougher, chewier texture, just as they might be tougher when fresh-cooked. In any case, pickled beans usually are not crisp.

Question: How many dill seeds should I use to pickle green beans?

Answer: In the thumbnail pics in my article, you'll see about one head or a big sprig of dill per jar. I think this works out to about one teaspoon per quart. A little more or a little less won't matter incredibly. It all depends on how much you love dill! Add right before you cap your jars, that is, dill is the last ingredient to go in.

Question: My Dad has mentioned using these green beans, cooking them down in a skillet, but that's all he remembers. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: I've never used these as part of a cooked dish, except for with roast beef perhaps. But I'll keep my eye out for any such ideas! I suppose you could saute them in a heavy skillet, just like fresh green beans, or add them in a roast, etc. I can't imagine they would need much dressing up, since they have garlic and are strongly pickled...and technically already cooked.

© 2009 Joilene Rasmussen