Claussen Knockoffs (Copycat Recipe)

Claussen Knock-off recipe, Claussen pickle copycat recipe, Claussen pickles made at home recipe, homemade claussen pickles recipe

Claussen Knock-offs

Are you a pickle fan, like I’m a pickle fan? Are you overrun with cucumbers (from friends with gardens, or from your own), like I am overrun with cucumbers? Well, then…this simple copycat recipe for Claussen-style pickles is for you! Right here? This is pickle heaven!  

I know several people who have made these Claussen-style pickle knockoffs; I have always wanted to make them too, but just never seemed to have enough cucumbers that I wasn’t stuffing into salads, eating sliced and dipped into some homemade Ranch-style dressing, or putting into Pickled Cucumber Dips.

This year, though, I have been overrun with cucumbers! Before you start congratulating me on the success of my cucumber crop from Saucy’s Wee Kitchen Garden, let me say that the cucumbers I am overrun with are not my own. Yet.

My own cucumber plants are loaded with blooms and I have harvested a grand total of five. I started my garden with seeds and most of my friends started with plants, and got them in the ground earlier than I did. So, the cucumbers I used were from my friend Jack (of Southern-style Mustard Potato Salad fame), and my sister.

We are currently over twenty inches above normal for the year in rainfall. This has resulted in a bumper crop of cucumbers! I was going to an event and riding with Jack and his wife, Donna. Jack asked me if I wanted cucumbers…and never being one to turn down a bag of free produce, I said yes. Until I saw them, that is. They were huge fat cucumbers…just enormous. So, I said to Jack, “I really don’t think I could do anything with all of those monster cucumbers!” There were so many, and they were so large there was no way they would make pickles.

Well, Jack being the ever practical man that he is replied, “You can make pickle SPEARS with them! Duh!” He didn’t really say, “duh.” But he should have…I can’t believe I didn’t think of that myself! So, that load of cucumbers equaled three gallons of Claussen knockoff pickles.

No sooner did I have them in jars brining than my sister brought me an equally enormous basket full of cucumbers from her garden. Seriously, people…I’m going to have my OWN cucumbers soon! Yikes! You guessed it, her batch of cucumbers yielded another three gallons of pickles. Well, plus a quart, in case anyone is counting.

Y’all that is SIX gallons (plus a quart) of pickles! That might, I mean just might, last me six months; just in case you were worrying about what would become of my own cucumbers, I’ll be making enough of these to last a full year. *wink*

Of course, you don’t have to make six gallons of pickles, but you really should try making some of these pickles if you are a fan of Claussen’s. They retain the same really crisp texture, the flavour is absolutely fantastic, they are reeeeeheally easy to make; they are the perfect answer for an overabundance of cucumbers!

The one caveat is: do not use store-bought cucumbers, as they have a wax on the skin and will not work properly. You can use store-bought pickling cucumbers, which are not waxed. Or, head to your local farmer’s market and buy some cucumbers straight from the field.

Also, the recipe is for the brine for a gallon of pickles, you can cut it down for a smaller batch (but you’ll wish you did the gallon of pickles, I promise). If you are using multiple jars, like I did, you will want to strain the brine through a small mesh colander and then evenly distribute the solids into the jars.

Three days later? Ta da! Pickles! Make ‘em!


4.5 from 8 reviews
Claussen Knockoffs (Copycat Recipe)
These super easy refrigerator pickles are unbelievably like Claussen Kosher pickles.
Recipe type: Pickles
Serves: 1 gallon
  • 1½ quarts water
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup canning salt (it's important to use canning or pickling salt)
  • ⅓ cup instant (dehydrated) minced onion
  • 1½ tablespoon peppercorns
  • ½ tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Cucumbers, scrubbed clean with a vegetable brush, cut length-wise either in half, quarters, or eighths (depending on the size)
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed (I doubled this from the recipe and didn't mince them)
  • 6 heads fresh dill (or 4 teaspoons seeds for the gallon)
  1. Sterilize your jars by immersing them in boiling water.
  2. Remove from the boiling water and place on a clean, dry towel.
  3. In a large, nonreactive pan, place the water, vinegar, salt, minced onion, peppercorns, mustard seeds and crushed red pepper flakes.(If you are using dill seed rather than fresh, add the seeds to the pan too.)
  4. Bring the brine to a boil to dissolve the salt, then allow to cool.
  5. If using fresh dill, add it to the sterilized jars along with the garlic cloves.
  6. Slice cucumbers lengthwise into quarters (or eighths as I did with larger cucumbers); pack into the sterilized jars along with the dill and garlic cloves.
  7. If you are using more than one jar, strain the solids from the brine by pouring the brine into another large pan, using a fine-mesh colander to trap the seasonings.
  8. Stir the seasonings in the colander to mix well, then using a spoon evenly distribute them between the jars you are using.
  9. Pour the cooled brine over pickles.
  10. Put the lid on the jar, and turn the pickles a few times to distribute the seasoning through the pickles.
  11. Loosen the lid and allow to sit on the counter for three days, shaking or turning them occasionally,
  12. On the fourth day, refrigerate the pickles.
  13. The recipe says they will keep in the refrigerator for a year...mine won't last that long to test that theory. *wink*


About P ~ The Saucy Southerner

I started cooking when I was ten years old. For me, the process of cooking, from inception of a dish, to the execution, to the washing of the pots is sheer delight. I am now retired from a business I still own, in partnership with my husband. I used to work six days a week and still cook every night. Now, I'm gardening, still cooking, always having fun and hoping to share my joy with you. Thank you for reading...and commenting! P~
This entry was posted in Canning and Freezing, Vegetables. Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to Claussen Knockoffs (Copycat Recipe)

  1. I love these, P! I’m a pickle fan. Also a cucumber fan and I’ve not gotten my hands on near enough cucumbers these days. Wish we were neighbors so I could help you out with those ;)
    addie | culicurious recently posted…Frangelico-Spiked Iced Coffee RecipeMy Profile

    • P~ says:

      I wish we were neighbors too! I’d totally share! I’m down 1 1/2 gallons from this post; I gave one half gallon to my sister, another to another friend and I’ve eaten the third. BUT I made two more gallons just yesterday. Net gain! Woo hoo! P~

  2. dave says:

    too much salt for the pickles, everything else ok. I’ll reduce salt by half. with so much salt these pickles won’t need refrigeration

  3. Aaron Kizer says:

    Is this recipe safe for hot water caning? I know that the crunch won’t be the same, but I love the taste of the brine.

    • P~ says:

      Aaron…the vinegar to water ratio is very important in canning pickles. This recipe doesn’t meet that criteria. What you could do is a two-step pickling process. This would have you brine the pickles in this recipe for at least 24 hours; dump off the brine and can them with a ratio of 1 1/2 quarts of vinegar to 2 quarts of water, along with spices you desire.

      Hot canning will impact the crunch, you’re right. P~

  4. Linda Curley says:

    I want to try these but am wondering if I can use coarse Kosher salt or course sea salt. Whats the dif between those and canning or pickling salt? Also cider or white vinegar?

    • P~ says:

      Linda, I appreciate your question. The vinegar doesn’t matter, and I have seen both used in similar recipes. As to the salt. Picking salt and kosher salt don’t contain any additives, so they are similar in that respect. The difference is in the grain of the salt. Pickling salt is much finer a grain and will dissolve more easily in the brine. Also, because kosher salt is coarser in grind, it will impact the amount you need to use to get the same amount of saltiness. P~

  5. Angele says:

    Just to prevent any goofs…when we say “cider vinegar,” we’re talking apple cider….right?

    • P~ says:

      Yes, Angele…apple cider vinegar. I’ll edit the post to reflect that. Thank you so much for pointing out what could be confusing. I really appreciate it! P~

  6. Amanda says:

    I followed this recipe- however this is my first “canning” experiment and everything I’m reading is talking about the presence of bacteria if the jars aren’t processed or correctly or if the jars/liquid isn’t boiling when added and then directly refrigerated. I followed the receipe above, except that I didn’t loosen the lid. They’ve been on the counter for three days now- but the lids have popped up and there is a cloudiness to them. Did I do something wrong? How do I know if they are safe to eat or not?

    • P~ says:

      With all that salt and vinegar, I can’t imagine they are bad. They do tend to look a bit cloudy.

      • Amanda says:

        So I didn’t mess anything up by sealing the lids to soon? I notice pressue is building, should I just unseal them? It’s about time for them to go into the fridge…

        • P~ says:

          I don’t think it could have hurt them. The recipe I adapted had the lids cracked and that’s what I did too. I’ve been looking online at other counter-top pickle recipes and I haven’t found anything that would indicate that it would hurt them. Of course, I can’t make that determination online. I know that probably doesn’t help much.

  7. Autumn Harris says:

    What is instand minced onion? Does that mean dehydrated minced onion from a shaker? As in the minced onion you buy in the seasoning and spices aisle at the grocery store? Just making sure I use the right thing. I LOVE LOVE LOVE pickles and ESPECIALLY Claussen’s, so I want to do this RIGHT! :)

    • P~ says:

      Yes, dehydrated minced onion is what you need. I’ve edited the recipe in case anyone else questions that ingredient. Thank you for commenting. I hope you love these pickles as much as we do! P~

  8. nate orr says:

    Very good crispy pickle, but not a Clausen copycat. Needs more vinegar in the white variety in place of the cider. If you take a sip of this brine and then a sip of Clausen brine you will find them quite different. Not quite as salty or sour. Still, it is an excellent pickle. Reminds me of the half sours you find in some New York delis where they make these daily to serve on the side for the next days service.

  9. Jennie from west TN says:

    My family loved theses pickles! We have already made 3 batches of them. Claussen pickles are our favorite and I think we actually like these even better. Thanks for the recipe!

  10. Ron says:


    Great recipe, can’t wait to try it. Question: how many jars of pickles is this recipe designed to make? I realize we can simply toss away any remaining brine not used, but since we’re evenly distributing the solids among the jars of pickles, I can’t imagine we’d want to use 12 cloves of garlic and 6 heads of dill split across say two jars of pickles, would we?

  11. TERRY KRAKER says:

    These pickles are fantastic. However, I have eaten several and added raw cuucumbers back to the chilled brine, good or bad? My plants are still producing here and there so I thought I could toss them in with the rest. Every pickle in this batch seems less potent then the originals.

  12. Bob G. says:

    Excellent recipe, I have never made pickles before and followed this pretty closely.

    I used 2 cups of white vinegar rather than apple cider, and i used 3 teaspoons of red pepper flakes as well going for the Clausen hot style taste.

    The pickles were awesome on the first try, not as not as the spicy Clausen but great none the less. I will increase my next batch to 4 teaspoons.

    Also I carefully sanitized the quart jars in boiling water as suggested along with everything that touched them, I had no issues with clouding or white stuff. Another thing when i boiled the brine, I was distracted for about 2 minutes, that may have helped mix the ingredients better, not sure.

    Thanks for the recipe !!!

  13. Erin M. says:

    How many jars did you fill? I am wondering how many cucumbers I should cut and jars I should prepare. Thank you!

  14. Suzy says:

    I am about to make the recipe with one quart jars. How many pickles do you think I will need? Do I measure by the pound or just see how many fit into the jar? Does the apple cider vinegar make them sweeter? What would happened if I used white distilled vinegar?

    • Suzy, the number of cucumbers with depend on their size and shape and how many you’re able to stuff in the jars. I wish I could be more specific. I’ve made them now with both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar. The apple cider does not make them sweet, but the white vinegar does make them more tangy. Hope this helps. P~

      • Suzy says:

        This did help. I think I will try them with white distilled vinegar since the jar of Claussen says it used distilled vinegar. I stuck some pickles in an empty quart jar and realized it may only hold four or five of my cucumbers from the garden. I am really excited to try this out! You’re the best!

  15. Sally says:

    how long before eating? I have never made pickles this way before. My husband loves the claussen pickles and will not eat my other ones. Thank you for this recipe!

  16. John says:

    I followed the recipe to a T. Pickles came out looking and smelling like pickles, but they tasted horrible! Too much salt for one thing. They tasted nothing like Claussen. My friend and I thought they were so bad that we were going to prank someone with them. I don’t understand why everyone else thinks these are even edible? ?

    • John, I’m very sorry you didn’t like them. I suppose not everyone can find them delicious; like with many things, tastes vary. I hope your prank goes off for you…at least they won’t be a total waste of your time. Thanks for commenting. P~

  17. Cadence says:

    Where do you find mustard seeds? I was at Walmart and they did not have them. Should I try a different grocery store that carries more varieties of items than Walmart does?

    • Cadence, I buy mine at my local market, but I know that Kroger and other large chain groceries carry them as well. P~

      • Cadence says:

        I found them finally after 3 stores (good ole wegman’s)!!!! Now another question as these are sitting on the counter should they be in a shady spot of my kitchen or sunny, I have 3 windows in our kitchen so tins fairly bright but a good amount of sunshine comes in, I do have one wall that is completely out of the sun.

        • Cadence, so happy you found the mustard seed. As with any herb, they are best stored in a cool, dry cabinet away from direct heat and sunlight. I keep mine in my pantry, but any cabinet would work. Good luck with your pickles! P~

  18. Patty Brunges says:

    Love, love, love, these pickles. Of course, like most cooks, I made a few changes on my second batch; I used zucchini since that’s our bumper crop this year, used white vinegar, put them in the fridge right away and had to use 1/2 small bunch of fresh dill per jar (no seeds or heads available at my local grocery store). Opened after 4 days and our family ate 3 jars in 3 days :) Thank you for posting such a winner.

    • Patty, that’s just great!!! I’ve made some pickled yellow squash using this brine and added hot peppers to them. They disappear pretty quickly, don’t they? I love that you let me know you all liked them. Thanks for taking the time. P~

  19. Brittany Chiveral says:

    Hello! I absolutely love these pickles. If I’m being honest tho, I don’t think they taste anything like claussen. They are better. My dad made and canned a bunch of pickles when I was younger and we’ve never been able to find the recipe again… but these taste just like them. THANK YOU! I was wondering if you have canned this recipe before or if you can? Thanks so much!

    • Brittany, this brine is not suitable for canning. It is a brined refrigerator pickle. That said, I just canned some hot/sweet pickled cucumbers and yellow squash today…that recipe will be posted soon. I’m in the middle of a remodel on my house and the kitchen starts next week, so it could be a week or two.

  20. JAS says:

    I usually make a Claussen-type pickle that requires them to ferment for seven days and the “foam” to be cleaned off the first few days. They do get quite cloudy, so I suspect the three days on the counter are the fermenting period for this recipe and probably should not be sealed. Also, they are quite salty and actually have less vinegar than most recipes call for (I noticed the half sour pickle recipes do not have any vinegar in the recipes that I was looking at but are not cooked/canned either). I will be trying both soon.

  21. J.P. says:

    What size garlic cloves did you use? I used 3 large clove and minced them. Hope it’s enough. =/

  22. kelly says:

    These are great pickles, but a tad on the salty side. I used white vinegar instead could that be the issue?Also if i wanted to cut the saltiness a bit and added some boiled water to a batch that sat over night would that be safe??? Thanks this recipe is awesome and so easy!

    • Kelly

      You can reduce the salt a bit, if they are too salty for you. You must bring that brine you left sitting overnight to a complete boil before you use it. You might not think it can become contaminated, but it can. Glad you like the recipe. P~

  23. Stacy says:

    This is our first time making any kind of pickles! This recipe was great and easy to follow. It made the house smell like my grandma’s, which brings back many fun times helping her can her cucumbers. Anywho, my question has to do with them sitting on the counter “unsealed” for three days. Me and my boyfriend have a little bickering, lol, over this. Him saying they need to be sealed tightly and of course me saying this is what the recipe calls for! So, how lose do the lids need to be, just sitting on top lose or a few turns tight?! Hope this is a validated question. Hehe
    Thank you for you delish recipe, can’t wait to try them in a few days!

  24. Kristy says:

    I love this recipe but I made one change. Instead of using apple cider vinegar use white, I think the pickles taste more like dill instead of bread and butter pickles. Thanks for the recipe!!!

  25. Melissa Funkhouser says:

    First time making a pickle that wasnt processed in a canner, we like more of a crunch to a pickle. I cooked my brine, put in the fridge and processed the next day by pouring the brine over the cukes, kinda like a cold pack. Sat on the counter and libs never sealed, I stuck them in the fridge, I used 1/4 cup of canning salt, do you think they will be okay to eat, I just love the brine, could almost drink it………….

    • Melissa, as long as you’re not getting signs of spoilage, I think they would be fine. See the response I made to Katie with the information from the Clemson University extension service. P~

      • Ron says:

        So on a related note, I’ll share my experience.

        First time I made this recipe, I was distracted by the kids as I was measuring everything out, and wound up only using 4 cups of water instead of 6. The result was that the brine was really flavorful, but way too salty. But we ate them anyway. :=) The only other change was that I used white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar (just personal preference).

        The next time I made them, I decided to cut the salt in half, but made sure to measure the water correctly. They fermented fine and showed no signs of spoilage, but they were not salty enough, and for my taste, not vinegar-y enough. But again, we ate them anyway.

        So now I’ve modified the recipe where I use 1/3 cup of salt (rather than 1/2) and use 5 1/2 cups water to 2 1/2 cups of vinegar (rather than 6 & 2, respectively), and they come out perfect.

        This is not meant as a criticism of the original recipe, just my personal taste preferences…that’s half the fun of cooking anyway, putting your own personal touch on things!

  26. Katie says:

    We recently made a batch of pickles using this recipe and several jars have cloudy liquid. Are the pickles safe, do you think?

    • Katie, here’s the best advice (since I can’t look at your pickles myself). It comes from the Clemson University extension:

      While fermenting pickles, the brine might become cloudy due to lactic acid bacteria growth during the fermentation period. If a noncloudy appearance is desired, a fresh brine can be used to pack the pickles when they are ready for processing.

      In nonfermented pickles (fresh pack), cloudiness might indicate spoilage. Check the pickles for signs of off-odors and mushiness of the pickles. If these signs are absent, the pickles are safe to eat.

      Sometimes the fillers (anti-caking agents) in regular table salt may cause slight cloudiness, so always use pickling salt.

      Hard water might also cause cloudiness. If soft water is not available, boil the hard water and let it sit undisturbed overnight. Pour off the top portion and use it in the pickling solution.

      I hope this helps. P~

  27. Jaime says:

    I used raw onion instead of dehydrated because I didn’t have the dried version. Will this be a problem?

  28. Matt says:

    Hi, the recipe looks great, but I worry about using the garlic in the recipe as garlic can harbor botulism, which makes things like infused garlic oils dangerous to prepare at home. I feel that the pickle brine might be a hostile environment for botulism, but I’m not sure and wanted to ask what your thoughts were.

    • Matt: Here is the best answer I found to explain why you need not worry about garlic in fermented pickles:

      The reason you don’t have to worry about botulism with this process is that Clostridium botulinum (the bacterium responsible for botulism), is anaerobic, which means it cannot survive in the presence of air. The salt [in the brine] will also inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria, but does not affect the lactobacilli which create the pickling acid.

      If you’ve observed the fermenting vegetables, you’ll note what appears to be a slow fizzing or bubbling. This is the formation of carbon dioxide. Lactic acid is another by-product of this process and is the magic ingredient which turns a vegetable into a pickle. Most bacteria cannot survive in an acidic environment… Botulism doesn’t have a prayer in this environment!

      When vegetables are put into oil, it’s a different situation. Oil locks out the oxygen, giving a very hospitable environment for C. botulinum which forms the lethal toxin. Adding salt wouldn’t help either, since it isn’t soluble in oil.

      I hope that helps with your concerns. P~

  29. J.P. says:

    Hello there again! I made a post a few months ago about what size garlic cloves to use. Well, after that batch, (my first batch), I liked them a lot. Although, my girlfriend thought they were too “garlicky”? I was wondering if it might have been since I minced the garlic instead of mashed them? Also, I am seeing a lot of criticism on the saltiness of the brine. May that be what I’m tasting?

    • JP, if your girlfriend thought they were too garlicky, I’d just cut down on the amount you use. Of course, since you liked them, maybe make a few jars for her with fewer cloves. Personally, I don’t find them too salty, but everyone’s tastes are different and many people love them just as they are. P~

  30. Cara Tari says:

    This are wonderfull!!!!!, Ive tried them both with white vinegar and apple cider vinegar, both with amazing results…. Thank you for sharing this recipe… Last summer i put several quarts up in our storage fridge to last through the winter. My husband loves them!

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