The Best Pickle Brands For Every Occasion

Originally published by Delish on May 31st, 2023

Written by Gabby Romero 

There’s truly a pickle for everybody.

It’s no secret that we love pickles. We’ve used the salty, tangy snack in guacamolepotato salad, and even as a low-carb swap for sandwich bread. And you can’t forget about the brine either. Why pour that liquid gold down the drain when you can mix it into a salad dressing or brine your holiday turkey? There’s probably a version of any pickle recipe you can think on Delish. When it comes to ingredients, pickles are our bread and butter (pun intended).

Pickling has been used to preserve foods for millennia. Back before we had modern refrigeration, salt was the best way to extend the lifespan of fruits and veggies. But while there are still practical reasons behind this technique, pickles are also enjoyed as a specialty ingredient in their own right. They can be made the old-fashioned way with salt or quick pickled with a vinegar-based brine. And now pickles come in nearly every shape, size, and flavor.

But with such a wide variety, it’s difficult to decide which pickle brand belongs in your fridge. So we did the hard work for you by trying every jar we could get our hands on. Delish hosted a super-scientific taste test to determine which pickles are best for any and every occasion. Whether you need something to stack in a sandwich, a travel-approved snack pack, or the perfect pickle to eat straight out of the jar—we’ve got you covered.

McClure’s came the closest to offering the perfect pickle. These pickles manage to infuse the cucumber with a deeply savory tang without compromising the crunch. The combo of dill and garlic keeps the flavor classic and adaptable for just about any application. One of our editors said it simply: “McClure’s always hits.”

Dill lovers, this one’s for you. We tried many brands of dill pickles only to find that the herb has fallen to the wayside—but not with this jar. The Real Dill infuses their cucumbers with a strong dill flavor that offers an herbaceous counterpoint to the salty, sour tang.

Grillo’s Fresh Dill Pickle Spears CREDIT: SAM’S CLUB

Sometimes we’re craving a pickle that veers closer to a fresh cucumber, and Grillo’s hits the spot. They have a light, refreshing acidity and serious crunch factor. This is also the brand to buy if you’re planning on winning over proclaimed pickle haters. “They’re not too pickly—epic!” says video producer Marc Stauble.

We’ll be honest here: we don’t exactly love bread and butter pickles. Too many of them are cloyingly sweet and blow out our palates with just one bite. But, without a doubt, Bubbies converted everyone in our office.

These pickles are made with cane sugar, unlike the corn syrup you can find in many store brands. The natural source of sweetness is nicely balanced with the brine. “I kept going back for more. I simply love these pickles,” said one of our editors. In fact, many of us even said they could easily eat an entire jar.

Bubbies is back at it again, this time with their spicy kosher dills. The hot peppers provide a spice that “sneaks up on you,” according to one of our editors. “It’s still pickle-y but with a nice kick that doesn’t ruin your mouth,” another added.

Their signature blend of spices creates a pickle that tastes reminiscent of a hot Italian sausage in the best way possible. We could easily see ourselves using these in a sandwich or bringing them to a barbecue.

The key to a solid snap lies in the integrity of the cucumber skin. And no brand came close to the heft of Claussen’s kosher dill spears.

“After eating a lot of squishy, spongey pickles, it was nice to have one with a backbone,” said one of our editors.

When you want a savory low-carb snack, a pickle is the perfect pick. There’s a reason why gas stations offer bagged pickles to enjoy as a road trip treat. But those plastic wrapped cucumbers can’t hold a candle to Rick’s Picks Snacking Pickles.

These individually packaged bags are filled with savory and sour pickle spears that come in a variety of flavors. Our fave is the garlic dill—it captures that classic pickle flavor we know and love.

We considered a few things when it came to pickles for sandwiches, but the most important factor was texture. We need a pickle to stand up to all the other ingredients and bring a refreshing crispness.

Claussen Kosher Deli-Style Pickle Spears CREDIT: WALMART

Claussen’s pickles had the best texture out of any brand we tried. So naturally, their sandwich slices would be our top pick. These pickles are sliced with deep ridges to maximize the surface area and the crunch.

Cornichons are an adorable addition to any charcuterie board, but let’s be real: they’re also the ideal pickle to eat straight out of the jar. They’re crunchy, bite sized, and even come with a built-in strainer so you don’t have to dig your fingers deep into the container.

Maille’s cornichons are the best in the business because of their bright, salty bite and strong mustard seed-infused spice.

If you consider yourself a pickle connoisseur or want to give a salty, briny gift to someone special, you should absolutely splurge on getting a delivery of these pickles from Katz’s Delicatessen.

If you’ve never been to this New York City institution, it’s an iconic deli that’s been slinging sandwiches and Jewish specialty foods since 1888. And it’s even the place where they filmed that iconic scene from When Harry Met Sally—”I’ll have what she’s having.”

Their half sour pickles are made in house the old-fashioned way with salt and lactofermentation. They’re crisp, salty, garlicky, and worth every penny.

Who said pickles can only be made with cucumbers? Brands everywhere are offering up different pickled vegetables to switch up the status quo. And if you want to expand your pickle horizons, you need to pick up a pack of Oh Snap’s Pretty Peas.

These snap peas stay super crisp and pick up a light tang. It has a similarly vegetal flavor that we love in a standard pickle with a boost of natural sweetness. We’d gladly eat these as a snack or chopped up in a salad.