10 Pickle Brands That Are Made With Premium Ingredients

Of all the condiments that pack a satisfying crunch, pickled foods are some of most popular, and they span many cultures. Whether they're shelf stable or refrigerated, pickles come in different types, including dill, kosher, chips, and gherkins. Sure, they may be dominated by cucumbers, but pickled foods are also available in other vegetables, like beets, carrots, onions, and peppers. Not to mention fruit, such as olives, peaches, apples, and currents, and fish, meat, dairy, and eggs. How can they not satisfy any craving when they also come in salty, sour, sweet, and spicy variations? It's no wonder the best pickled foods brands keep coming up with more inventive ingredients and lines.

Be it fermented in brine or soaked in vinegar, pickling has actually been around for a very long time, over 4,000 years to be exact. This preservation process was practiced as early as Ancient Mesopotamia and was reportedly introduced to the Americas by none other than Christopher Columbus. But back to cucumbers. The growing fondness for pickles is such that today, they're consumed by over 250 million Americans, per Statista. There's nothing like pickles to elevate your sandwiches, melts, or burgers. Plus, you can even use pickle brine to concoct bold alcoholic beverages.

Some of the most consumed grocery store pickles include Heinz Genuine whole dills and Mt. Olive kosher baby dills. While the following brands may be more expensive and predominantly found in upscale gourmet markets, each are widely praised for using premium ingredients.

Grillo's Pickles

Though Grillo's Pickles debuted in 2008 on a street cart in Boston, the brand is said to use an original century-old family recipe. Containing no artificial preservatives, the pickles are packed, shipped, and sold refrigerated — and this company is now recognized nationally for its quality products. And in case you're wondering about the difference between shelf-to-table and refrigerated pickled foods, the answer is quite simple: Both exhibit the same sourness and can last you a long time when stored properly, but the latter tend to have a less-salty flavor.

The Grillo's line of pickles is available in many variations — spears, thickles, whole dills, halves, half sours, pickle chips, and even a pickle-based salsa dubbed pickle de gallo. That company claims that its cucumbers are always garden-fresh and carefully selected. Then, they're packed with a distilled white vinegar brine, garlic, sprigs of dill, and grape leaves, while the hot variety also includes fresh habanero and jalapeño peppers. Simple as these may be, those ingredients are reportedly of the utmost quality, and they're combined in a secret recipe that is still uncompromised and has stood the test of time. 

As to how to make the best out of Grillo's Pickles, the brand suggests incorporating its products into a creamy dill potato salad and using the brine to make honey mustard dressing. You can even try an at-home pickleback cocktail.

Dietz & Watson

Established in 1939 by Gottlieb Dietz and Walter Watson, Dietz & Watson is a family-owned company based in Philadelphia known for selling premium meats and cheeses. Its motto has long been, "Quality above all else." It stands to reason, then, that the brand's refrigerated pickles also have their own distinguished place in the gourmet world and pair perfectly well with those high-quality deli meats, sausages, and cheeses. While traditionalists may claim that the classic kosher dill is the way to go, you can find Dietz & Watson's pickles in these other shapes and flavors: chips (garlic dill, spicy garlic dill, and sweet horseradish dill), half sour pickles, sour garlic pickles, and sandwich slice pickles.

The company's website claims that its products are "rooted in a delicious heritage of family recipes that have been perfected over generations." But there are many ways to boost the flavor of pickles, like experimenting with different kinds of vinegar and incorporating herbs and other vegetables or fruits. Similarly, Dietz & Watson has a long tradition of using not only fresh cucumbers, but is also said to use the finest turmeric and handcrafted spices, with no added MSG. 


Founded by Claus Claussen in Chicago in 1870, the Claussen pickling business was apparently born out of necessity. That year, it's said that the eponymous farmer wasn't able to sell his surplus of fresh cucumbers; determined as ever, he reportedly resorted to pickling, and that is how one of the finest brands in that category was born. In the 1960s, his great-grandson, Ed Claussen, added his touch on the first refrigerated pickle. It's no wonder, then, that Claussen's long heritage and commitment to quality cemented it as the No. 1 refrigerated pickle brand in America by 1991.

"It's without a doubt the best-selling product of [its] kind," Ed told the Chicago Tribune at the time. "Most people like it crisp because that's the foremost quality looked for in a pickle product." In our opinion, Claussen's pickles are especially crunchy and flavorful in hamburgers and hotdogs. They are sold in many forms — wholes, sandwich slices, spears, halves, chips, and mini — with flavors ranging from classic dill and sweet bread and butter to hearty garlic and hot & spicy, as well as a premium crisp sauerkraut. 

As for these pickles' composition, they're said to be made with only the freshest cucumbers, which are picked straight from the vine and distilled in vinegar with an original blend of turmeric, dried garlic, mustard seeds, and dried red bell peppers. Claussen takes great pride in all those premium components and commits to steering clear of MSG and artificial colors. 

Bubbies Fine Foods

Established in San Francisco in 1982, Bubbies owes its name to Leigh Truex, who crafted naturally fermented, kosher dill pickles immersed in an opaque brine. Her products sold in both stores and farmers markets. Then, in 1989, the brand was signed over to entrepreneur John and Kathy Gray, who enhanced the original recipe with a high-quality spice blend. The pickles of Bubbies Fine Foods are still naturally fermented, and the company is said to only use fresh and whole ingredients, without preservatives or GMO. Though the brand teases its "secret recipe" online, it does contain black pepper, dill seeds, and red chilies, with no additives. Even the salt, selected from an inland seabed, isn't iodized.

So, what does fermentation entail? Rather than submerging the cucumbers in an acidic brine, salt water is used instead. It gives the same sour flavor as vinegar after a few weeks, once the bacteria turn the food acidic. While Bubbies kosher dill pickles, baby kosher dill pickles, kosher dill pickle chips, and spicy kosher dill pickles should always stay refrigerated, the chips only need to be refrigerated after opening. The brand also offers ginger apple pickles: They're both sweet and tart and are made with ripe apples, fresh ginger, cane sugar, red bell peppers, celery seed, and mustard seed.

Best of all, you can always reuse the leftover pickle juice in a variety of ways. This can range from a vinaigrette base to creating drinks, pickle ice cubes, and a chicken marinade. 

Maille Gherkins

Not many enduring and refined brands can claim to have been a monarch's official supplier, but Maille certainly can. Established in 1747 by Antoine-Claude Maille, who reportedly provided King Louis XV of France — and later, subsequent royal rulers in France and England — with premium vinegar and flavored mustard, this brand still carries on with the same dedication and uses only high-quality ingredients in all of its products. Today, its gherkins, mustard, mayonnaise, and flavored vinegar are recognized as some of the finest on the international market.

Maille's sweet & sour extra-fine gherkins are said to be chosen with care and collected before maturity for that satisfying tangy flavor and crunch. They're then combined with a white balsamic and grape mustard concoction, onion, sugar, rehydrated red bell pepper, mustard spices, and dill. Per the company, these premium condiments are particularly indicated to pair well with a platter of salamis and prosciutto, terrine, gribiche sauce, potato salad, steak tartare, raclette, or even fondue. And here's a quick reminder in case you're still wondering about the difference between the comforting, cheese-centric raclettes and fondues.

Boar's Head

Boar's Head was established in 1905 in New York City by Frank Brunckhorst, and it has asserted itself as a delicatessen family business ever since. According to the brand, its products, which include whole muscle beef, pork, poultry, and spices, are carefully sourced, whether locally or internationally. Its self-dubbed "premium cucumbers" are also said to be combined with the "finest ingredients" — from fresh dill to garlic and carrots — and colored with turmeric, without caramel or MSG. 

You can find this line of hand-packed and cold cured pickles in select premium stores and delicatessens throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. There's kosher dill pickle chips, bread and butter pickle chips, kosher dill pickle spears, and horseradish bread and butter pickle chips. Still, the line's most acclaimed product remains the kosher dill pickles (full and half-cut, and also hand-packed and cold cured), and it was awarded best whole pickles by Cook's Country in 2020. 

As to how all those fine pickles are best enjoyed, the brand particularly recommends pairing them with a cream Havarti cheese. Or try adding them to a maple, honey ham, and American cheese sandwich.

Kühne Gherkins

Kühne is another brand that's been perfecting its products for centuries. Founded in 1722 in Berlin as a vinegar distillery, it was taken over by Friedrich Wilhelm Kühne in 1762 and has been a family business ever since, becoming a royal purveyor in 1876. The Kühne gherkins — said to boast a "top secret" brine and spice blend — were added to the line of sauerkraut, mayonnaise, and mustard in 1905. The brand assures that the cucumbers only come from contract farming, are harvested by hand, and processed fresh — hence its claims of a product that is "crisp & rich in variety" due to the "high quality of our gherkins, the seeds, and soil," per the Kühne website. Which is perhaps why visits are openly welcome to the factory and main cucumber field.

Kühne proposes over 30 gherkin variations, including gin, whiskey, salt-dill, wild garlic, Hungarian, bits with honey, and relish sweet pickle. The sweet cornichons in the gourmet selection, for instance, are flavored with blossom honey. As for the dill schnitten or crinkle cut gherkins, they are immersed in an herb-flavored infusion of sweet peppers and dill.

As to how the gherkins are best enjoyed, the brand proposes concocting a pickle smash whiskey that includes bourbon and 2 tablespoons of the Kühne whiskey cornichons brine. You could also toss the sweet cornichon from the gourmet selection with some avocados and mangos for a flavorful and crunchy Asian salad.

Five Star Pickles & Sausages

Based in Bedford, Ohio, Five Star Pickles & Sausages has Eastern European roots and bloomed with Edward Seleznyov in the 1980s. It has openly committed itself to producing premium sausage, meat, and cheese, as well as 11 different kinds of quality pickles. 

Five Star's gourmet kosher dill pickle chips and Old Bay pickle chips are made with what it dubs "the finest cucumbers." They're then soaked in water that is said to be filtered through the underground of Nelson Ledges State Park Area, not to mention premium kosher salt, dill, and garlic. Similarly, the gourmet sweet and hot pickle chips apparently contain pure water from the Ohio Nelson Ledges State Park. The pickles are marinated for 45 days, based on the company's secret traditional European recipe from the 1960s. As for the world-famous sweet horseradish pickle chips, they're infused with a blend of sweet and spicy flavors. The brand encourages its customers to incorporate those carefully crafted products into their favorite sandwich or seafood dish.

Cleveland Kitchen and Sonoma Brinery

Launched in 2014 by Mac Anderson, Drew Anderson, and Luke Visnic, Cleveland Kitchen aims to only offer premium products that are said to be directly sourced from Midwest farmers. Its line consists of kimchi, sauerkraut, dressings, marinades, and world-class refrigerated pickles that are "fresh-packed and lightly fermented," per the company's containers. There are nine different Cleveland Kitchen pickled products, as well as five fresh gourmet pickles from Sonoma Brinery, a sister company. 

Cleveland Kitchen's classic dill pickle spears, for instance, are reportedly immersed in fermented vinegar with the finest garlic, dill, mustard seed, peppercorn, allspice, coriander, bay leaf, and a hint of turmeric. They don't contain sugar or preservatives and are meant to enhance your chicken, burgers, sandwiches, and hotdogs. As for the pickled Asian vegetables, this item includes rice vinegar, carrots, cucumbers, daikon radish, jalapeño, green onion, spices, and lemon and lime juice. They'd make a crunchy, tasty, and practical addition to your sushi rolls, stir-fries, tacos, or a banh mi sandwich.

Similarly, Sonoma Brinery's all-natural fresh pickles appear to reflect the same meticulous choice of ingredients. Spicy bread and butter, for example, contains fire-roasted red bell pepper, Thai chilies, onion, and garlic, and are GMO-free. These pickles would complement a barbecued pork sandwich perfectly.

365 Whole Foods Market

Founded in 1978 by John Mackey, Renee Hardy-Lawson, Mark Skiles, and Craig Weller, Whole Foods Market is now a subsidiary of Amazon and has opened over 500 locations across the U.S. and the U.K. It is considered one of the best stores for organic shopping, constantly promoting its apparent commitment to strict quality and storage standards across its extensive list of products.

As for the 365 Whole Foods Market pickles, they come in shelf-stable and refrigerated variations and are praised for their freshness and subtle garlic and dill flavor. Their texture achieves a noticeable balance of crunchiness on the outside and tenderness on the inside. The line includes kosher dill pickle spears, bread and butter pickles, and pickles dill relish. Per the label, all the ingredients are organic, be it the cucumbers, distilled white vinegar, dehydrated garlic, or mustard seed. They're even colored with organic turmeric. That amounts to least 95% organic material, which warrants the Climate Pledge Friendly stamp.

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