Fermented Dilly Beans for Lunchbox Treats

At Fermentools, we take our pickles seriously. Have you tried our recipe for Kosher Dill Pickle? Or maybe our Quick and Easy Garlic Ginger Pickle? No matter what the recipe, though, you will want to read Five Tips for Lacto-fermented Crunchy Pickles. And for the best in fermented goodness, keep reading for Ashley’s great fermented dilly beans.

Dilly beans are one of my very favorite pickles and they are a great way to get little hands to eat their vegetables. The salt, dill, and a little spice really give green beans a tasty kick that my kids love.

I’ve successfully fed fermented dilly beans to adult vegetable nay-sayers as well. A good friend, bless his heart, calls what I eat “rabbit food” but he still loves my dilly beans. I got him hooked over the winter feeding him my home canned dilly beans. This summer, when the fresh beans came in I made up a quick fermented batch and didn’t tell him. He ate them right up, but he definitely noticed a difference.

“These ones are different somehow…,” he said. I told him they were the fresh ones and left it at that. I didn’t have the heart to tell him he actually ate one of my home ferments. Maybe I’ll tell him next year, but for now, he’s gobbling them every time he comes over.

If you’re still trying to convince your kids that ferments can be awesome, dilly beans are a great place to start. For packing them in lunches, I’d suggest pulling them out of the brine and adding them strained to a bento box or a small Tupperware container.

Fermented dilly beans go great with sandwiches, crackers and cheese, or as a side to a warm cup of soup in a thermos.

How to Make Fermented Dilly Beans

Fermented Dilly Beans for Lunchbox Treats

Yield: 1 pint jar (or double it for a quart)
Fermentation Time: 1 to 2 weeks


• Enough green beans to fill a pint jar
• 1-2 garlic cloves
• 1 tsp. each of coriander and mustard seeds and peppercorns
• 1 pinch red pepper flakes (or more to taste for extra spice)
• 1.5 tsp. salt
• Some dill: Either a few fresh sprigs, or 1 flower head, or 1 tsp dill seeds


Wash and chop your green beans to length. I’ve read that the stem end is best removed, but leave on the “tail” end for two reasons:

  1. Kids like food with tails.
  2. The “tail end” is tender and, supposedly, has the best flavor and texture on green beans. (My palate clearly isn’t sophisticated enough to notice the difference, but there you have it. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.)

Be sure that you’ve cut the beans short enough that they fit into your jar. This recipe is for a wide mouth pint. You can easily double it for a wide-mouth quart if you have particularly long green beans. The beans should be short enough that the glass fermentation weight can be added on top. Keep about a finger’s width of clearance above that for air to escape out your airlock.

Top your beans with your spices and salt. Lately, I’ve just been tossing the salt in with the spices and then covering with water. I just put a regular lid on first and swirl it around a bit before putting on my fermentation lid for Mason jar and airlock. I haven’t had anything go wrong with it, but if you’re not a fan of cutting corners, make a brine separately and top with your prepared brine.

Ferment at room temperature for 1-2 weeks, or longer if you’re having a cool early fall like we are up here in the north country.



Ashley is an off grid homesteader in central Vermont. She is passionate about fermentation, charcuterie, and foraging. Read more about her adventures at PracticalSelfReliance.com.

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