Who doesn’t love pickles? They add a satisfying crunch and tanginess to a multitude of dishes from tuna salad to a Whole30-style burger. They even make a great snack all on their own!
We are happy to say that you absolutely may have pickles on your Whole30!
However (as always!), you have to keep an eye out for noncompliant ingredients on your labels.
Tired of label-reading? Let us do some of the thinking for you! We have a whole bunch of approved brands to share that we can’t get enough of. If you want to try making your own, we have some awesome recipes for that as well. That way you get delicious pickles and 100% certainty that the ingredients are approved…not to mention homemade pickle bragging rights!
Where to Find Whole30 Compliant Pickles
Most pickle varieties shouldn’t have many problem ingredients—after all, all you really need to make pickles are cucumbers, vinegar, water and spices, right?
One pickle you’ll want to keep an eye on is the bread and butter variety. Since they’re supposed to be sweet, there’s pretty much always sugar in the brine.
Lucky for us, there are plenty of other acceptable pickles out there that keep their ingredient lists short and sweet.
Some of our favorites include:
- Bubbies Kosher Dills. Super basic ingredient list of cucumbers, water, garlic, salt, dill and spices! Perfect!
- McClure’s Spicy Pickle Spears. Just cucumbers, water, water, salt, peppers, garlic and dill for someone looking for a little extra spice.
- Claussen Kosher Dill Halves. These have a couple more ingredients than the others on our list, but they’re very widely available at grocery stores when you’re in a pinch!
When shopping for pickles, there are a couple of key ingredients that you have to look out for that may make them noncompliant on Whole30.
Many pickles have brines that include sugar, which, as you know, is never allowed in any of its many forms. Other less obvious additives that you may find in pickles that would make them off-limits are:
- MSG (for flavor)
- Carrageenan (for stabilizing)
- Sulfites (for preservation)
See a hard-to-pronounce ingredient that you’re not so sure about? This list of common additives is an amazing resource!
What Can We Do With Pickles on Whole30?
Pickles are a great, classic addition to a Whole30-approved burger, hot dog, or sausage. Finely chop your compliant pickles and add them to any recipe that calls for relish. You can even eat them straight out of the jar if you are so inclined!
If you’re looking to broaden your pickle-eating horizons, think something like these Oven “Fried” Pickles or Avocado Tuna Boats…yum!
Make Your Own Whole30 Pickles, DIY Style
Feeling adventurous? Pickles are not only extra delicious when they’re homemade, but they couldn’t be simpler to throw together. A quick refrigerator pickle can be ready to eat in as little as a few hours!
All you have to do is mix together water, vinegar (such as apple cider or white vinegar), salt, and your favorite herbs and spices (dill, of course, is a favorite here) for the brine. Slice an English cucumber into spears or rounds, completely submerge them
Next, just slice an English cucumber into spears or rounds, completely submerge them with the brine in a tightly sealed jar and refrigerate overnight! Easy.
Looking for a little more guidance? For an easy, traditional fermented pickle, this guide from Primally Inspired has great information outlining how to make pickles that contain tons of gut-friendly probiotics from the fermentation process.
Get Creative With Your Veggie Choices
Keep in mind: pickles don’t always have to be made from cucumbers. You can apply the pickling process to all kinds of veggies!
From carrots and green beans to asparagus and even garlic, there are countless things you can pickle.
Pickling is not only a great way to add extra flavor to your dishes, but it gives you a boost of healthy probiotics that improve gut health. Fermented foods even have the added bonus of helping balance pH within your digestive system. That’s the goal of doing the Whole30 Program anyways, right? Spend a whole month eating nourishing, whole foods that make you feel balanced. Who knew pickles were so great?
What’s your favorite brand of Whole30 pickles – or do you prefer to make them yourself? Let us know your personal pickle preferences below!