Fruits & Vegetables - Preserving the Harvest

How to Make Brine Cured Dilly Beans

dilly beans
dilly beans in jars
These jars are not processed, just stored in the refrigerator until we eat them.

Making Brine-Cured Dilly Beans

My Mom cans a batch of delicious Dilly Beans every year and my family loves them. I think I like them better than canned dill pickles, to be honest. While we really enjoy the canned recipe, I’ve started making brine-cured dilly beans from my own fresh green beans and I like them even better. These pickled beans are crispy and super yummy right from the jar!

I usually make 3 or 4 quarts of these in summer when our beans are producing like crazy. They stay right in our refrigerator until we eat them up without getting too soft. It is important to keep the beans beneath the brine solution to prevent them from going bad. However, we’ve had these brined beans in the refrigerator for up to one year without any problems.

Read my post How to Make Brine-Cured Pickles for more brine-cured pickle recipes.

dilly beans
Brine-cured dilly beans after 5 days in the refrigerator.

What is Brine-Curing?

Brine-curing is a method of preserving food in a solution of salt water, or salt water and vinegar. The salt and the acidity of vinegar prevent the growth of bacteria that might spoil your food. Some vegetables are commonly preserved by salting them to draw the water out, creating a brine solution. The most common example of this is sauerkraut.

Brine curing can be done in your fridge, or you can use a crock or glass bowl in a cool spot out of direct sunlight. This is how people made pickles in the old days. They didn’t have refrigeration and canning wasn’t common until the early 1900s. A large crock was kept in a cool place and pickles were dipped out with a clean spoon as needed. I remember my grandmother fetching pickles from the crock in her basement.

Check out my pickle crock.

Brine-Curing Dilly Beans in a Crock

When I have a large batch of beans to pickle, I might can them for long-term preservation or I use my old pickle crock to make a batch of brine-cured dilly beans. When they reach the right texture and flavor, I pack the beans into quart jars, cover them with the brine solution, and store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 year. You can also cure your dilly beans right in the jars in your refrigerator.

You might also be interested in learning How to Ferment Food in Small Batches.

To brine-cure string beans (or other vegetables) in a crock:

  • Wash the crock thoroughly
  • Clean and snip (or trim) your veggies
  • Cover the vegetables completely with the brine solution
  • Weigh the veggies down with a non-reactive plate to prevent spoilage
  • Place the crock in a cool spot out of direct sunlight
  • Check the vegetables every day and weigh down any that are not completely submerged in brine
  • Test the veggies after 4 or 5 days for flavor and texture.
  • Throw away any vegetables that get moldy or slimy

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Brine-Curing Dill Beans in the Refrigerator

Life is busy in summer, so sometimes I fill quart jars with onions, dill weed, string beans, and brine then stick them in the fridge. This keeps them clean and prevents bad bacteria from ruining veggies above the brine solution right away. After five days I usually pull a few beans from the jar and taste-test… it’s hard to wait!

This is a great way to make a few pickled beans when you don’t have a large harvest. You can add other vegetables to your beans. Sometimes I add sliced zucchini and yellow crookneck squash. Hot peppers are another nice addition if you like a little spice in your pickles! Pickled onions are also delicious and you can even slice some garlic into the jars… just make sure that all of your vegetables are completely submerged in the brine to prevent spoilage. Check the jars each day and always wash your hands when touching the jars or adjusting the contents.

What Beans Should I Plant for Pickling?

I’ve used several different varieties of string beans to make this recipe and all of them came out tasty. I can’t say that any variety of beans is best for this purpose. You may use green, yellow wax, purple, or speckled string beans and each will have a slightly different appearance but the flavor will most likely be about the same. Try a variety that grows straight with thin, stringless pods for beans that fit more easily into a quart jar and will have a tender texture. I’m interested in trying this recipe to pickle some Rattlesnake Pole Beans and Oriental Yard Long Beans (#ads) from Mary’s Heirloom Seeds. 🫘

I’ve used the following varieties of string beans with fairly straight, tender pods (#ads) from Mary’s Heirloom Seeds with good results:

As an affiliate for Mary’s Heirloom Seeds, I may earn a small commission from qualified purchases but you won’t pay any extra.

dilly beans
Mmmm, dilly beans!
dilly beans

Brine-Cured Dilly Beans

Lisa Lynn
These dilly beans are crunchy and delicious, and don't need to be canned! Just keep them in the refrigerator for up to one year.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Course Condiment


  • 3 quart canning jars
  • 3 qt saucepan
  • 3 plastic jar lids


  • 2 1/2 quarts string beans washed and snipped
  • 2 medium onions sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups dill leaves loosely packed
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups vinegar distilled white or apple cider
  • 1/2 cup non-iodized salt pickling or sea salt
Keyword pickles, dill pickles, dilly beans, fresh pack pickles

Brine Cured Dilly Bean Recipe

Makes 3 quarts of pickles

  • green beans snipped and washed
  • onions, sliced
  • dill weed, fresh
  • 4 cups vinegar (I used distilled white vinegar, but you can use apple cider vinegar)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sea salt (or any non-iodized salt)

Loosely pack three quart-sized canning jars with beans, onions, and dill weed (I used several bunches of leaves for each jar). Set aside. Boil water and add salt. Stir until salt dissolves. Add vinegar, stir, and pour into jars of beans. Make sure that veggies are covered with brine solution. Use plastic lids to close jars and store them in the refrigerator.

Notes: I added some sliced zucchini to my dilly beans. You can add any veggies that pickle well. You don’t have to refrigerate these if they are covered and the veggies are kept under the brine solution. It takes a few days for the flavors to mature and for the beans to assume the texture of crisp pickles. When they taste good, put them in the refrigerator and eat them up! You could can them if you’d like to keep them long term. I have kept brine-cured dill pickles in the refrigerator for up to one year with good results. However, I can’t say that this will be your experience if you choose to keep brine-cured pickles in your refrigerator long-term.

Do you make brine-cured pickles? What is your favorite kind? Leave a comment!

6 Comments on “How to Make Brine Cured Dilly Beans

  1. I made brine cured green beans this year, for the first time. They turned out great, using a pickling spice mixture and garlic cloves. Thanks for your harvest ideas, the extra yellow squash is going into the mix tonight!

  2. I was wondering– it sounds like you can continue to add veggies as room allows (you eat some, add some into the jar), is this true?

    1. Hi Bethany…yes! I do this all the time. Just keep your eyes open for any slimey texture or off flavors. I originally read about this from a recipe in my old Stocking Up book.

  3. Hi Lisa, this sounds awesome. I’m learning, have canned a couple of times years ago and have never done a brine. I’m going to try all as my goal is to be self sufficient in the next couple of years. I love your newsletters. Keep up the good work.

    1. Hi Debbie,
      I’m happy to share! Let me know how your brine pickles turn out 🙂 Best wishes with your journey to self sufficiency and thanks so much for reading!

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