Spicy Dilly Beans


When I planted my tiny garden this year, I never imagined I would harvest enough of any one thing to actually make something besides dinner. I mean, how much food can you actually grow in a 4′ x 8′ box? Well, I have been surprised by this experiment more than once. The pea pods produced like crazy, I grew enough beets to can 6 jars of Swedish Pickled Beets and the swiss chard was the gift that kept on giving. (I just took some over to a friend last night).

But the real winners in my garden this year were the beans. I planted two pole beans, not knowing what to expect. In fact, they were kind of an afterthought. I didn’t even have poles for them to climb on, but it worked out perfectly because just as the pea vines were dying back, the beans took over my string trellis. And, so far, I have picked over 10 lbs. of beans from these two plants – plenty for eating and for making dilly beans.

Two pole beans produced over 10lbs. of beans!

Homemade Dilly Beans are tangy, a little spicy, and super easy to make.

Best of all, a few jars in your pantry ensure that you will have the appropriate garnish for your Bloody Mary when football season rolls around. That’s my thinking, anyway. (GO COUGS!!)

Joy makes some of the best Bloody Marys I’ve ever tasted (strong and zesty!) and this is her Dilly Bean recipe. It’s got a bit of added kick from red chili peppers, lots of fresh dill and just enough garlic to add flavor without overwhelming your taste buds. Joy’s original recipe calls for dried red chili peppers, but I decided to try fresh red jalapeños and the beans turned out nice and spicy, just the way I like ’em.

It is completely safe to process pickled green beans in a simple water bath as long as they are canned in a brine (i.e. vinegar). If you just want to can your green beans, you’ll need to follow a different process. You can read more about canning beans at the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

PS: We’ve got a new giveaway going on… an autographed copy of the James Beard Award Winning Cookbook Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen and some Seattle Gourmet goodies. Enter to win! Winner will be announced 9/1/12.

Spicy Dilly Beans
Author: A Passionate Plate
Serves: approximately 10 pints
The quantities below will make approximately 10 pints of dilly beans. These dillies taste great in a Bloody Mary!
  • 5 lbs. green beans, cleaned, ends snapped off & trimmed to fit your jars
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 6 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 large head fresh dill
  • 1/2 red jalepeno, sliced (or two dried red chili peppers)
  1. Place vinegar, water and canning salt in a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, fill jars with peppercorns, garlic, dill and jalapeños.
  3. Pack the beans into the jars.
  4. Pour hot brine into the jars to within 1/4″ of the rims.
  5. Wipe the rims and sides of jars, then top each with a hot lid.
  6. Screw the lids on firmly and place jars into a boiling water bath (jars should be completely covered with water) and boil for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove jars using tongs and place on a towel-lined jelly roll pan or countertop to cool.
  8. Over the next 12-24 hours you’ll hear a “ping” as the lids go concave signaling a secure seal. If the lids do not go concave, refrigerate the jar and use it first.
  9. Store securely sealed jars in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
  10. Store for at least 2 weeks before opening.


  1. Learning Lisa says:

    Question regarding the peppers.
    With or without the seeds?
    Thank you for sharing; this sounds wonderful 🙂

  2. Melissa says:

    Just finished canning a batch! I couldn’t find red jalapenos so I used green, hoping it doesn’t effect the results! But Seriously, how am I supposed to wait 2 weeks to try them! 🙂

  3. Jeff Bushman says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I picked a bushel of wax beans this morning and will pick a bushel of greens tomorrow. I will be doing a lot of dillies!

  4. […] start with dilly beans as they are delicious! Here are a few recipes to get you intrigued: http://apassionateplate.com/spicy-dilly-beans/  and […]

  5. Corie says:

    This is probably going to be the silliest question, but please keep in mind that I have never canned before. I usually freeze everything, but my husband LOVES Dilly Beans and I would really like to make this. So here goes : Boiling the jars for 10 minutes completes the canning process? Are there any steps that I need to do that are not in the directions? I have heard horror stories about jars exploding and such, so I certainly want to make sure that I do everything right!

  6. Ev says:

    Wonderful recipe and neat site! We’re going to have a bumper crop of green beans this year so in addition to canning and freezing, was thinking about making “green bean pickles,” which I haven’t made in years. Googled for a recipe and there YOU are. Thanks!

  7. Tempest says:

    Thank you Joy!!!!

  8. Tempest says:

    Hey- quick question, should I put the jars in hot water then raise to a boil? Or put jars in already boiling?
    Thank you in advance- really excited to try this recipe!

  9. AnneBG says:

    I’m just back from the Famer’s Market with beans, dill, and garlic and am excited to try out the recipe. I’ve canned before, but nothing pickled. Just curious why the direction to use pickling salt. Is it coarser? What else makes it advisable to use rather than table salt?

    • MaryMiller says:

      Hi, Anne –

      That is a great question. Pickling salt is similar to table salt, but does not contain iodine and the anti-caking additives found in regular salt. Those ingredients can change the color of your pickles, beans, etc. and also make the pickling liquid turn cloudy. Table salt will work – your beans will still taste the same, but they won’t look as pretty in the jar. A good substitute for pickling salt is coarse kosher salt, which also does not contain iodine. Picking salt is more dense than kosher salt, so you’ll need to convert the recipe (you’ll need more kosher salt by volume – but it would be the same by weight). Here is a link to the Morton Salt Company site where you can compare different salts. http://www.mortonsalt.com/for-your-home/culinary-salts/food-salts
      I hope that helps!


  10. Charlene says:

    I just wanted to comment that my Mother has a wonderful garden and perfect timing on your canning recipie. My mom and younger sis Michelle made this last weekend and they are delicious (from what I hear). I get my couple jars in a few weeks and can’t wait : )

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