Christmas Pickles: Recipes for the Season

Published October 11, 2019
Preserving Organic Cucumbers in Jars

Make your Christmas celebration extra special and unique by serving Christmas pickles. You can choose from several delicious Christmas pickle recipes created for the holiday season.

Short Cut Refrigerator Cinnamon Pickles

Create what's known as refrigerator pickles if you'll be eating them within a week or two. This recipe is for a single pint jar (8 ounces). These pickles are sure to be hot Christmas treat that's sweet and tasty! This shortcut recipe skips all the time-consuming steps of the traditional recipe (which is found at the end of this article). These pickles will have the same kind of kick and taste but won't have the same texture or look as the traditional recipe. You will need to use these pickles within 7-10 days.


  • 1 pint-sized canning jar with lid and ring
  • Knife, to cut cucumber spears
  • Medium size saucepan
  • Wooden spoon


  • 3 to 4 cucumbers, medium size
  • 1/4 cup Red Hots
  • 1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  1. Rinse cucumbers.
  2. Pour Red Hots into jar. Cut cucumbers lengthwise into spears, but don't peel them. Place spears lengthwise into the jar.
  3. Set jar in sink.
  4. On medium heat combine water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a medium size saucepan.
  5. Stir with wooden spoon until mixture comes to a rolling boil.
  6. Remove saucepan from heat and pour mixture into jar in sink. Fill to 1 inch from rim of jar.
  7. Carefully place lid over jar and screw on ring. Lift from sink with jar lifter and place on a trivet, potholder or small towel until cools. You'll hear the lid make a pinging sound as the jar seals.
  8. Place jar in refrigerator for 8 hours before eating. Store in refrigerator. The pickles need to be eaten by 10 days since they aren't reserved like bathwater canned pickles.

Pickles With Horseradish Recipe

This Christmas treat is easy to make and may become a year-round favorite! You can keep this in the refrigerator for up to two months, if the pickles last that long!

Jar of pickled cucumbers


  • 2 pint canning jars with rings and lids
  • Canning jar funnel
  • Sieve and bowl to hold drained picked juice
  • Medium size saucepan
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle


  • 1 quart jar of dill pickles, chips (your favorite brand)
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
Horseradish roots and a glass jar


  1. Drain the juice from the pickles into a bowl and hold it in reserve for later.
  2. Empty the drained pickles into a large bowl.
  3. Add the chopped onion.
  4. Stir with a wooden spoon.
  5. Place the funnel into one jar and ladle pickles and onions to about 1 inch from rim.
  6. Repeat with other jar.
  7. Over low heat, stir together vinegar, horseradish and sugar until sugar is melted and ingredients thoroughly mixed together.
  8. Measure and add 3/4 cup of pickle juice to mixture.
  9. Continue to stir for about 5 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat.
  11. Using the funnel and ladle, add mixture from saucepan into the jar, covering the pickles and filling the jar to one inch from the rim.
  12. If you run low on the mixture, just add some of the remaining pickle juice to finish filling the jars.
  13. Wipe jar rim clean with a damp paper towel.
  14. Run dry sheet of paper towel over rim.
  15. Place lid on jar and screw on ring.
  16. Allow liquid to cool and then place in refrigerator.
  17. Wait 8 hours before eating.
  18. Keep pickles stored in refrigerator.

Pickles and Maraschino Cherries Recipe

This recipe combines sweet and spicy/tangy tastes for a wonderful holiday condiment. Serve toasted banquette slices with goat cheese and topped with your pickle/maraschino cherry recipe for a great party hors d'oeuvre.


  • 2 pint canning jars with lids and rings
  • Sieve
  • Medium size saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large bowl
  • Funnel
Jar of pickles and maraschino cherries


  • 1 - quart jar of dill pickle chips (your choice)
  • 1- 10 ounce jar of Maraschino cherries
  • 2 cups sugar, granulated
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • Celery seed (1/2 teaspoon per jar)


  1. Drain pickles through sieve, discard liquid. Place pickles in large bowl.
  2. Drain cherries, discard liquid. Place cherries in bowl with pickles.
  3. Gently stir to mix, carefully not to damage cherries.
  4. In the saucepan, combine water, sugar, vinegar, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Don't add celery seeds.
  5. Cook over low heat, constantly stirring with wooden spoon until sugar melts. Bring mixture to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Place the funnel in one jar and spoon pickles and cherries into jar. Leave 1" headroom.
  9. Carefully pour mixture in saucepan into jars, one at a time. Until the mixture is about 1" from the jar rim.
  10. Add 1/2 teaspoon of celery to each jar.
  11. Place lids on jars and tighten rings.
  12. Shake jars to allow celery seeds to mix well.
  13. Store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days before serving. You can keep this holiday pickle in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Koolickles Christmas Pickle Recipe

This easy recipe can be used with any of your favorite Kool-Aid flavors. You can use cherry for one recipe and then lime for another one and serve red and green pickle chips. If your Christmas table colors are non-traditional, you may decide to make several batches using different Kool-Aid flavors.

Jar of pickles and packet of cherry drink mix


  • Wooden spoon
  • Sieve
  • Large bowl


  • 1 (32 ounce) jar dill pickle chips
  • 2/3 cup sugar, granulated
  • 1 envelope unsweetened Kool-Aid, cherry or your favorite flavor


  1. Drain pickles by pouring juice into a large bowl. Use the sieve to catch any pickles that escape with juice.
  2. Keep juice.
  3. Return pickle chips to jar.
  4. Add sugar and Kool-Aid to the juice in the bowl.
  5. Stir with wooden spoon until sugar is completely dissolved.
  6. Pour pickle mixture into jar.
  7. Screw on pickle jar lid and store pickles in your refrigerator for at least a week before using.
  8. Pickle shelf life for your refrigerator is 2 months.

Garlic Watermelon Jolly Rancher Pickle Recipe

You can make this recipe using any of your favorite Jolly Rancher flavors. Watermelon is a favorite choice for Christmas pickles, but any of these candy flavors can be used.

Pickle Spears in canning jar


  • 2 (8 ounce/pint-sized) canning jars with lids and rings
  • Medium size saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Sieve
  • Large bowl
  • Funnel
  • Food processor
  • Ladle
  • Medium size saucepan
Watermelon flavored hard candy and garlic


  • 1 (1 quart) jar of dill pickles, spears
  • 10 pieces Jolly Ranchers, watermelon flavor
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sugar, granulated
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  1. Drain pickles by pouring juice into a large bowl. (sieve to catch any pickles that escape with juice).
  2. Keep juice and pour into a medium size saucepan.
  3. Place over low heat.
  4. Chop garlic into small pieces. Add to saucepan.
  5. Place the Jolly Ranchers in a food processor and grind into small pieces for easier/faster melting. Add to saucepan.
  6. Stir mixture with the wooden spoon and bring it to a boil.
  7. Remove saucepan from heat.
  8. Place pickle spears in the two pint jars,
  9. Place the funnel in one of the jars and use the ladle to spoon the juice mixture until it is 1 inch from the jar rim.
  10. Repeat with the other jar. Discard any leftover juice.
  11. Place the lids onto the jar, tighten the rings and store in the refrigerators for 1 week before eating.
  12. The pickle shelf life for being opened and stored in your refrigerator is 2 months.

Traditional Red Hots Christmas Pickle Recipe

If you want to start from scratch for a truly homemade cinnamon pickle recipe, and have several days to make this three-part version, you'll end up with a favorite Christmas pickle recipe that's well worth your time. Since you won't be using a typical pickling process, alum is used to ensure crispness. According to the University of Missouri Extension, alum can be used as a firming agent for pickles.

Part 1: Fermenting the Pickles

You will need several supplies and ingredients for the first part of the recipe. This is the most important part of the recipe since it sets the quality and taste, so follow the recipe parts carefully. You will use fresh cucumbers to make the pickles.


  • 5 gallon food grade plastic bucket with a lid
  • Spoon
  • Knife
  • Peeler


  • 2 gallons of large cucumbers ( approximately 8-12)
  • 1 cup pickling lime
  • 1 teaspoon alum
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar


  1. Peel the cucumbers.
    peeled cucumbers
  2. Slide each cucumber lengthwise.
  3. Use a spoon to remove/scrape out the center of each length half, careful to remove seeds and pulp.
  4. Slice each cucumber half in 1/2" pieces(crescent moon shapes).
  5. Place sliced crescent moon shaped cucumbers into 5-gallon bucket.
  6. Mix alum, pickling lime and vinegar together.
  7. Pour mixture over cucumber slices.
  8. Add water until cucumbers are completely cover. (You may need to stir slightly to mix.)
  9. Put lid on bucket and allow to steep for 24 hours.

Drain, Rise, Fill, and Steep

For the next few days, you'll need to rinse the cucumber crescents to wash away the lime. You will need to repeat this process. The process takes just a little over two hours. Some people allow the cucumbers to rest for a day between each rinse and fill. It depends on how much time you have and how quickly you need to complete this recipe.

  1. You will need to drain the bucket and rinse the cucumbers with water.
  2. You can dump the pickles into a sieve and run cold water over them.
  3. The bucket needs to be rinsed to remove any alum and lime residue.
  4. Place the pickled cucumbers back into the bucket and fill with clean cold water. Cover and let stand for 3-4 hours
  5. You will repeat the drain, rinse, fill, and steep process for a total of three times.
  6. Some people allow steeping times to be longer by waiting 24-hour between drains and rinses.

Boil Pickles

At the end of the last steeping process, you'll need to drain the pickles and place in a large stockpot. Fill the stockpot with water until the pickles are completely submerged.

  1. Bring to a rolling boil and reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Allow pickles to cook slowly for two hours.
  3. You may need to add more water as it evaporates. Keep the pickles covered with water.
  4. At the end of two hours, drain the pickles and rinse underneath running water using a sieve.
  5. Return pickles to the stockpot, cover and leave on a cold range while you prepare the syrup.

Part 2: Make the Syrup

You will need to cook a syrup for the pickles to transform them into candies. This part doesn't take very long to complete, but is a vital part in the overall process.


  • Large saucepan or medium stockpot
  • Cooking tongs
  • Wooden spoon


  • 2 cups water
  • 10 cups sugar, granulated
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) Red Hots
  • 5 to 6 sticks of cinnamon
  • Red food dye (optional)
Cinnamon Candy Red Hots


  1. In a large pot or large saucepan, mix water and vinegar.
  2. Stir in sugar with the wooden spoon.
  3. Bring to a boil and add Red Hots.
  4. Stir until the Red Hots melt.
  5. Pour mixture into the bucket of pickles.
  6. Place lid on bucket. Allow to steep for 24 hours.

At the end of the 24 hours, you'll drain the syrup, bring it to a boil once more, pour over the pickles, reseal the bucket with the lid and allow the pickles to steep another 24 hours. You will repeat this one process more time for a total of three times.

Part 3: Making the Pickles Candied

You are nearly finished. You just need to can your candied pickles.


  • Water bath canner with a jar rack, funnel, jar lifter, bubble remover/headspace tool, and magnetic lid lifter (comes in a canning kit)
  • 8 pint-sized canning jars (plain or decorative)
  • Canning lids and rings
  • Ladle
  • Spoon
  • Stockpot (reheat pickles and syrup)
  • Footed sieve or one that fits over a bowl
  • Bowl bigger than sieve


  1. Fill canner about halfway with water. Allow to boil.
  2. The jars need to be hot. Either heat the jars in the canner or wash and dry jars in a dishwasher, removing as soon as the cycle is over.
  3. Return pickles and syrup to stockpot and bring to a boil once more and then reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Place the sieve over or in the bowl.
  5. Pour pickles and syrup into the sieve, careful of the steam.
  6. Lift sieve from bowl allowing the syrup to fill the bowl.
  7. Using the jar lifter, remove jars from canner, pouring water back into the canner.
  8. Set jars a few at a time in the sink or on cabinet on top of a towel.

Water Bath Canning

You will use a typical water bath to can your pickles. You may end up with less or more than 8 jars, depending on the size of the pickles.

  1. Place funnel in one jar.
  2. Using the ladle or spoon, fill jars with pickles, stopping 1" from jar rim.
  3. Once all jars are filled with pickles, carefully ladle the syrup into each jar, using the funnel.
  4. With a damp cloth or paper towel, wipe the rims of the jar.
  5. Use a damp paper towel to make sure each jar rim is dry and clean.
  6. Add lids and tighten rings. Don't over-tighten.
  7. Lower jar rack into water.
  8. Bring water to a boil.
  9. Using the jar lifter, place jars inside the rack.
  10. The water needs to cover the jar lids at least by one inch.
  11. Process jars for 15 minutes.

Remove, Cool and Store Jars

When the time is up for the water bath canner, remove jars using the jar lifter and place on top of a towel on the kitchen counter in an area that won't be disturbed. Space the jars so none are touching each other.

  • You'll begin to hear a ping sound as the jars seal.
  • Don't disturb for 24 hours.
  • Test that the jars are sealed by pressing your finger in the center of the lid. If the lid gives and springs up after the jar isn't sealed.
  • Either place in the refrigerator and use within two weeks or reprocess in the water bath. Check the lid to make sure the rim of the jar is clean, since this can prevent the jar from sealing.

Exploring Recipes for Christmas Pickles

When you explore recipes for making Christmas pickles, you can find fun ways to dress up plain pickles made from cucumbers. Easy recipes that simple use store bought pickles can be real time savers for the busy holidays.

Christmas Pickles: Recipes for the Season