Are Pickles Cucumbers? Solving the Puzzle 2024

BY Khushvinder Dagar
Last Update:

There is no DOUBT that pickles and cucumbers look ODDLY familiar. They both are crunchy and delicious at the same time. 

But are pickles cucumbers?

That question PUZZLES most people and leaves them CURIOUS about it. 

But HERE we are, the Fruit Vegetables EXPERTS who researched WELL. So, you don’t need to WORRY about it because we have practical answers to your QUERIES.

I am pretty SURE that all your queries clear out after going through the EXPERT’s opinion through this post. 

This article CLOSELY EXAMINES the basics of cucumbers and pickles and their differences

Are Pickles Cucumbers

Basics of Pickles and Cucumbers

Basics of Pickles

Pickles and cucumbers are related to a GREAT extent. Still, they are distinctive from one another.

The cucumber plant is related to the gourd family as watermelons and pumpkins. Yes, they all belong to the same family. Isn’t that AWESOME?

Due to their watery flavor, eating cucumber in sandwiches or as a healthy snack is TYPICAL. Their watery taste also allows people to eat fresh cucumbers raw. 

Pickled cucumbers and fermented one can be used in a range of recipes, including:

  • Cucumber soup
  • Gazpacho
  • Tzatziki
  • Cucumber-Mint Drink

IN CONTRAST, pickles are DERIVED by preserving food in white vinegar or brine.

Usually, a pickle is a cucumber or a gherkin PRESERVED in a brine solution with herbs, salt, and spices. Thus pickling cucumbers are a great way to store cucumbers.

Pickling HELPS to extend the shelf-life of cucumbers. It also provides them with a distinct bitter taste. Get this?

Sour pickles are often USED as a snack or in different dishes, which include the following:

  • Pickle Brined Fried Chicken
  • Pickle Dip
  • Pickle Juice Cocktail
  • Pickle Bloody Mary

Are Cucumbers Vegetables or Fruits?

Are Cucumbers Vegetables or Fruits

REGARDING culinary terms, cucumber is a vegetable because of its flavor profile.

Also, it is considered a vegetable because it is eaten or cooked with other vegetables in recipes.

But botanically speaking, cucumber is a fruit.

A fruit is defined as,

“A mature ovary of a flowering plant that contains seeds.”

Cucumbers GROW from a flower and HAVE seeds.

The seeds are found in the fruit’s center, and the fruit is surrounded by fleshy EDIBLE material. Isn’t that awesome?

They are harvested from the Cucurbitaceae family, and all start growing from the vein.

The family includes the following:

So, cucumbers are BOTANICALLY fruits but considered vegetables in a culinary context. 

Suggested reading: Squash Plant Identification

Are Pickles Cucumbers?

Are Pickles Cucumbers

Uh! Yes, pickles are cucumbers that have been PRESERVED in a brine solution.

A brine solution typically consists of water, vinegar, salt, and spices.

To PICKLED cucumber,

  • Sliced cucumbers and packed into the jar with the brine solution.
  • Let the pickling cucumbers stay in the solution for several days or weeks. It will improve its characteristic flavor and texture.
  • This method allows the pickle to last for many months in a sealed container and is always ready to eat.

So the simple ANSWER to your question is YES, pickles are cucumbers.

But they MUST pass the pickling process to CHANGE their flavor, texture, and storage life.  

What’s the Difference Between Pickles and Cucumbers?

What’s the Difference Between Pickles and Cucumbers

Fresh cucumber has a pleasant, refreshing taste. But after the fermentation process, you got something different—a salty, sour taste. Right?

It’s OKAY to think that these two foods are the SAME, but remember, there are many differences between them.

These include the following:


Cucumbers are recognized for their plain and refreshing taste.

But pickles have a very DISTINCTIVE flavor that can be altered SLIGHTLY.

The taste of homemade pickles usually depends upon the ingredients used. 


In terms of nutrients, slicing cucumbers and pickles are almost the same.

But eating cucumbers is LOWER in calories than pickles because of the extras used.

Depending upon the fermentation process, the fermented pickles also provide you with prebiotics.


Pickles and cucumbers are also different due to their different shelf lives.

  • A cucumber picked from the garden has a LIMITED storage LIFE.
  • It can go BAD quickly, leaving you with a soggy pile and brown mush.
  • In contrast, pickles are often canned or jarred. If it remains unopened, it can last for months or, in some cases, EVEN years.
  • While an open jar can LAST for up to a week or two, depending on the type. 

Hence pickles are types of cucumbers. Still, they differ from fresh cucumbers regarding taste, nutrients, and storage life. 

Health Benefits of Pickles and Cucumbers

Health Benefits of Pickles and Cucumbers

Pickles and cucumbers both are LOW-CALORIE foods with high water CONTENT. These things make them good SNACKS for people who maintain a healthy diet.

There are many health BENEFITS that are associated with pickles and cucumbers. Some of these include,

  • As pickles and cucumbers have HIGH water content, they help satisfy the body’s watering needs. Use cucumber juice to stay hydrated. 
  • Fresh cucumbers contain fibers that REGULATE the body’s digestion.
  • Cucumber pickles contain antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamin C.
  • These antioxidants help to prevent many diseases.
  • Pickling cucumbers contain such compounds that have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Pickles have too much sodium, GIVING the pickle a salty taste. It is a concern for people who need to limit their intake of salts.

Always keep in mind that pickles are preserved with vinegar and salts. So they have HIGH sodium content.

Therefore, it is better to choose low-sodium food and AVOID overconsumption.

But generally, pickling cucumber is a  healthy addition to a BALANCED diet.

Cooking Benefits of Pickles and Cucumbers

Cooking Benefits of Pickles and Cucumbers

BEYOND the health benefits, both OFFER a number of cooking benefits.

Here are a FEW ways both of them are used in the kitchen:

  • Cucumbers and pickles provide you with VERSATILITY. They can be used as flavor enhancers in various dishes, sandwiches and burgers.
  • They can also be used in the TOPPING of hot dogs and other dishes to ADD flavor.
  • Pickle juice can make sauces like a marinade for meat and vegetables.
  • Pickled cucumbers can be served as a SIDE DISH with the MAIN course. It adds a tangy and crunchy texture to the WHOLE meal.
  • They add a TANGY flavor and a crunchy texture to the dishes.
  • Both of them are LOW in calories. Thus it is an excellent addition for those watching their calorie INTAKES.
  • You can eat pickles as an alternative to high-calorie food, such as mayonnaise or cheese. They add flavors without adding CALORIES.
  • Pickled pickles contain antioxidants and fibers. So they can be left on for additional benefits.

In cooking, both foods can be used in a variety of ways to add flavor, texture, and nutrition to dishes.

They are versatile and healthy ingredients that can be used in various dishes. Top of Form

How to Make Cucumbers Become Pickles?

How to Make Cucumbers Become Pickles

Making cucumbers into pickles is a simple and traditional process used for CENTURIES.

Generally, we can pickle cucumber with the help of salts and vinegar.

How To Pickle Cucumbers With Vinegar

Vinegar is used to pickle FRESH FOOD due to its acidic nature. It is because vinegar kills harmful microorganisms.

Water and salts are added to the vinegar as well. You can also add some spices and herbs to your taste.

This method produces crispy, juicy pickles.

How To Pickle Cucumber With Salt

The other method of pickling is done with a brine of salt and water-brined pickles.

A bit of sugar is added to the LIQUID MIXTURE, which helps the food to ferment. ULTIMATELY producing delicious pickles that last for months.


  • The process of making pickles BEGINS with washing the young cucumbers. 
  • After washing, CUT the cucumbers to the desired thickness.
  • Pack the cucumber into a clean jar and POUR the vinegar or brine solution into it.
  • Make sure the liquid completely COVERS the cucumbers.
  • Let the jar cool at room temperature. After that, tighten the lid and refrigerate.
  • The pickle will be ready to eat in the next 24 hours. But for the BEST TASTE, wait for a few days.

It’s just a basic recipe for making pickles. But you can also add other spices and flavors to customize the taste according to your need.

What Can Be Pickled?

What Can Be Pickled

Pickling is a PRESERVATION method used to EXTEND the storage life of food. The process involves storing food in a SOLUTION, usually vinegar or salt brine.

But what can be pickled?

Vegetables tend to go to the food when it COMES to pickling. Other foods that can be pickled include.

  • Pickled Seafood 
  • Pickled Fruits  
  • Pickled Eggs, and
  • Pickled onions

The most commonly pickled food is cucumber. Pickled cucumbers have a variety of NAMES that are influenced by the size and the type of cucumber used.

Some of the popular names include:

  • Cornichons
  • Kosher dill pickles
  • Gherkins or Baby cucumbers

Remember! Cucumbers with THINNER SKIN are best for pickling. Some common cucumbers with thin skin include Persian cucumbers and Kirby cucumbers. It is because thin skin allows the pickling solution to penetrate.

Also, keep in mind that pickled cucumbers are not too big and have thin skin and small seed cavities. 

FAQs about Are Pickles Cucumbers

1. How much time does a cucumber take to become a pickle?

GENERALLY, the time cucumber takes for pickling depends upon its SIZE.
Regular dill pickles are fermented and cured for about three weeks. But pickles made with large cucumbers take longer to ferment.
The time TAKEN by the cucumber to become a pickle also depends upon the recipe used.
Quick and refrigerator pickles are ready to eat within 24 hours.
In contrast, fermented pickle REQUIRES several weeks to months to become fully mature. 

2. Are pickles cucumbers or gherkins?

The difference between pickles and gherkins is only the LEVEL of MATURITY.
Cucumbers that have FULLY matured can be pickled.
Contrarily, gherkins referred to using immature cucumbers in the pickling process. That’s why pickles made from gherkins are also called baby pickles.  

3. Can you pickle regular garden cucumbers?

The simple answer regarding this question is YES, you can.
In fact, garden cucumbers are the most common type of cucumbers used for pickling. Garden cucumber is TYPICALLY large and less sour than gherkins.
But burpless cucumbers, like English cucumbers, are not suitable for pickling. It is because they don’t have bumpy skin, and they also produce a pickle-softening enzyme.
When pickling and slicing cucumbers, you must CHOOSE firm and blemish-free cucumbers.

What’s Next

Now you can DIFFERENTIATE pickles from cucumbers.

Cucumbers are EATEN RAW. While pickles are fermented and preserved in vinegar or brine for a distinct taste.

But they BOTH are delicious, versatile and can be used in various dishes. 

If you are WILLING to LEARN more about other fruits and gardening, visit AsterGardening.

I ASSURE you will get QUALITY reads here. So don’t wait for any further to nourish your garden and home as WELL. 

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Khushvinder Dagar

Hey, I'm Khushvinder. I am a marketer by profession but love the feeling of getting my hands dirty and watching plants grow and have a particular interest in native plants and sustainable gardening practices. I also enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with others and have written articles on gardening for various publications.