Pickled cucumbers


I once wrote that Latvians would pickle, marinate or otherwise preserve anything that grows (or breathes). While summer is in full bloom and gardens and markets full of fresh produce, Latvians just can’t help themselves and insist on pickling small, crunchy cucumbers. Most books would mark them as for “immediate consumption”. “Immediate” is the key word here: they are so delicious that they will not last for long, and, trust me, they can be consumed immediately after marinade cools down (my favourite way, try it!)

Pickled cucumbers

Pickled cucumbers


  • 1 kg small cucumbers
  • 1 bunch of dill
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1l water


  1. Wash cucumbers and dill.
  2. Place garlic, peppercorns, half of dill in the bottom of a large, heatproof jar.
  3. Place cucumbers in the jar alternatively with the rest of the dill.
  4. Add sugar and salt to the water and bring to the boil, then pour the hot liquid in the jar. Cover the jar (no need to seal).
  5. Cucumbers are ready to eat once the marinade has cooled down.


You can add blackcurrant and cherry leaves to the jar for extra flavour. Larger cucumbers (like Lebanese cucumbers) will also work for this recipe. If cucumbers are very thick, cut them in half lengthways. Garlic and peppercorns are optional. You may need to adjust the volume of liquid, depending on the size and shape of the jar and cucumbers. Just keep the proportion of salt and sugar, it will turn out well. Recipe works best with simple cooking salt (not sea salt).



  1. Dzintra
    January 12, 2016

    Labdien! Thank you for this recipe! Could you please tell me how long these cucumbers last once cooled down. Is there a way of storing them? Daudz Paldies!

    1. Liva
      January 15, 2016

      These cucumbers would last 3-4 days in the fridge. The longer you keep them, the less crunchier they get.
      To keep them long term (over winter), you would need to add vinegar to the marinade (6 tablespoons for 1 litre of water) and place cucumbers in sterilised jars (with screw on lids).

  2. Dzintra
    January 15, 2016

    Thank you so much…I put a batch on this afternoon!

  3. Sandy (Grauds) Wilson
    September 2, 2016

    I can’t wait to make these I hope they are like the ones they have at the Riga market!

  4. stephanie
    August 30, 2017

    It’s not so much that the blackberry or cherry leaves give flavour but the tannin in the leaves helps keep the pickles crisp.

  5. Muns
    February 6, 2020

    My family are Lithuanian and we make these pickles exactly the same way except we also add cloves of garlic and a bay leaf. You can also use horse radish leaves or if you can’t get them or cherry leaves or blackberry leaves then grape leaves will do to keep the pickles crisp plus add some flavour. Skanaus!


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