How did Dill pickles become America’s favourite food?

From delis in New York City to hot dog carts in Chicago, dill pickles are a common addition to many iconic American foods. This has solidified their place in American culture. But what makes a dill pickle truly American? To understand this we will have to trace back to their roots.  

Let us start our journey by travelling back in time to see when and how pickles were brought into U.S soil. Pickles have been a staple preservation method in many cultures for more than 4000 years. In the 1650s Dutch farmers started growing cucumbers which were later sold to dealers who pickled them and started the pickle industry. Dill pickles however, were not introduced to America until the late 19th century and this was done by Eastern European people who immigrated to New York (1). They let the cucumbers ferment for a few weeks or months in water with kosher salt, dill and other spices and this led to the creation of the famously known kosher dill pickles (2). If you are intrigued and want to learn more about the history of pickling, the fascinating journey from Mesopotamium civilization to the discovery of pasteurisation awaits you here

As pickle-lovers know, one of the key features of a dill pickle is its unique and flavourful taste. Dill is a herb, native to south-east Europe (3) and was used by Greek and Egyptian people for decades due to its medicinal properties and desired flavouring. Dill is used as a flavouring agent in pickles, often both the seeds and the fresh dill. These, combined with garlic and other spices such as red chilli flakes, caraway and coriander seed, creates the unique dilly flavour we all love in our Dillicious pickles! 

Due to their blend of salty, sour, and sweet notes, dill pickles complement a wide range of  dishes (4). This, combined with their satisfying crunch, is what makes them so popular in America where you can find pickles in almost everything from burgers to dill pickle flavoured popcorn and infused ice cream! 

The possibilities are endless when it comes to the humble dill pickle. So, the next time you reach for a Dillicious pickle, let your curiosity run wild as you learn from our American pickle-lovers and discover new and exciting ways to enjoy their dilly goodness!



Author: Divya Shetty, Dillicious Intern 2023 (LinkedIn Profile)

Bachelor of Nutrition Science student from Monash University


  1. Pruitt S. The Juicy 4,000-Year History of Pickles [Internet]. HISTORY. 2019. Available from: 
  2. History in a Jar: Story of Pickles. The History Kitchen [Internet]. PBS Food. 2014. Available from:,kosher%20salt%20and%20clean%20water
  3. Gupta R, Anwer MM, Sharma YK. 15 - Dill [Internet]. Woodhead Publishing; 2012 [cited 2023 Aug 21]. p. 275 - 85. Available from:  
  4. Miller J, Symsack K. What’s behind America’s pickle craze? [Internet]. The Conversation. 2022 [cited 2023 Sep 5]. Available from: