Pickles Are As Popular As Ever, So I Taste-Tested All The Fan-Favorite Pickle Brands (And There Was A Very Clear Winner)

    "More than any of the other pickles I tried, these tasted the 'cleanest' because I could pick out and identify each and every ingredient used in their brine. The juiciness that each one packs is also pretty much next-level. If I could only pick one brand of pickles to eat for the rest of my life, I'd choose these in a heartbeat."

    Between pickle-flavored everything popping up all over the place and TikTokers coming up with new and unusual ways to consume them (seemingly on a weekly basis), it appears that we're living in the Era of the Pickle, y'all.

    author behind a stack of jars of pickles

    When it comes to the humble pickle, most people have their allegiances. I know people who only eat Claussen pickles, and then there are the folks who swear that Vlasic makes the crunchiest pickle money can buy. Me? I'll admit that I'm a bit pickle agnostic. But with all this pickle obsession out there, I decided to finally figure out the best of the best when it comes to pickle brands, and to be 100% honest, let's just say that the results were more unexpected than I thought.

    author eating a pickle
    Close-up of pickles with text overlay "THE PICKLES"

    There's one other very important consideration I kept in mind while selecting brands: refrigerated pickles vs. shelf-stable ones. People have strong opinions when it comes to comparing the two, but let the record reflect that I do not! I went into this taste test with no preconceived notions about which kind would perform better, so the results genuinely surprised me.

    (And before you ask, yes, the non-refrigerated pickles all had over 24 hours in the fridge to get nice and cold before I tasted them.)

    These were the shelf-stable, non-refrigerated pickles I tried:

    jars of pickles

    And the other three brands I tried were all cozily tucked away in the refrigerator section:

    three jars of pickels
    Close-up of limes behind bold text "THE TASTE TEST" for a food article

    To make sure I never knew which pickles I was tasting, I relied on my incredibly helpful, pickle-loving partner to feed me bite-sized pieces of individual pickles one by one. (He even used my aggressively large kitchen tweezers to do it — what a guy!)

    author blindfolded and trying a pickle

    He made a note of the order in which he fed me the pickles, based on this pickle board I made him...

    cut up pickles on a board

    ...which corresponded to this arrangement.

    Nine assorted pickle jars labeled with numbers on a glass table

    Between each pickle-y bite, I jotted down my first impressions and overall thoughts, along with ratings out of 10 for both flavor and crunch, which are objectively the most important data points for scientifically comparing pickles.

    author's hand-written notes

    To help myself remember my general attitude toward each brand, I used my usual (and obviously very accurate) smiley face ranking system.

    smiling faces or frowns next to each taste test

    After my last crunchy bite, my partner revealed the actual order in which I tasted the pickles, which, in turn, gave me my definitive pickle ranking.

    One final note: I know pickle preferences can be highly subjective, so while I ultimately ranked each brand by taking an average of the crunch and flavor scores, I also included rankings at the bottom of this list based on those metrics separately. So, if you're all about crunch over flavor (or flavor over crunch), you'll be good to go.

    Summarized text: "The Results" displayed over a pickle background

    9. McClure's — Unpleasantly soft and with a noticeable "old water" brine taste, these pricey pickles were underwhelming.

    jar of mclure's pickels

    I had a pretty visceral reaction to this pickle, which — if my memory serves me correctly — hasn't ever happened to me in any of the taste tests I've conducted. After identifying the overall flavors and textures, it was pretty much a game of Chew And Swallow As Fast As You Can. Not fun!

    speared pickle on a plate

    🥒 Overall score for McClure's: 1.5/10

    Crunch: 2

    Flavor: 1

    McClure's pickles have a noticeable "old water" taste to the brine and not much else going on in terms of flavor. They're also undoubtedly expensive, and they had the softest texture of all of the various pickles I tried.

    8. Vlasic — They may advertise "one crunchy pickle," but IMO, the crunch was pretty nonexistent.

    jar of vlasic pickles

    With a Crunch Score of three and a Flavor Score of two, each category for Vlasic scored a whopping one point higher than McClure's. That's because I generally had the same feeling toward them as I did for McClure's, but they were just marginally better.

    🥒 Overall score for Vlasic: 2.5/10

    Crunch: 3

    Flavor: 2

    The good? That price point. The bad? The texture and flavor. If you like your pickles soft and mushyand with the flavor profile of a literal olive — Vlasic pickles are for you! If not, let's move right along.

    7. Whole Foods 365 — The crunch might've been better than average, but the floral aftertaste of these pickles was puzzling.

    jar of whole foods pickles

    In terms of crunch and overall texture, I don't have many complaints! Especially when compared to the bottom two contenders, and especially considering the fact that this was a non-refrigerated variety, Whole Foods' dill spears had the pleasant crunch that you'd expect from a decent pickle. However, the flavor here was once again "off," and for a very different reason than the others up to this point.

    pickle spear on a plate

    🥒 Overall score for Whole Foods 365: 4.5/10

    Crunch: 7

    Flavor: 2

    Texturally, I don't really have any complaints here! Especially for a non-refrigerated variety, these pickles were pleasantly crunchy and had a nice snap to them. That said, for the perfume-like, aggressively-floral aftertaste (without much of any dill or garlic flavor), these definitely weren't my favorite in the flavor category.

    6. Mt. Olive — As the brand name itself might suggest, these "dill" pickles truly taste like they've been hanging out in a bath of olive brine.

    pickle jar

    Look, I love a good dirty martini, but not when it comes to my pickles. Dirty martini was honestly the first thing I thought to compare these to, flavor-wise. There's no actual garlic or dill listed in the ingredients — just "natural flavors" — so I can't say I was expecting much in terms of flavor. That said, I certainly wasn't expecting this.

    Open jar of pickles with one pickle on a paper plate, on a glass table

    🥒 Overall score for Mt. Olive: 5/10

    Crunch: 6

    Flavor: 4

    They're on the pricier side for a non-refrigerated pickle, their brine tastes like a dirty martini (not ideal for a pickle), and they just didn't wow me in any way.

    5. Trader Joe's — While the pickle brine itself underwhelmed me, the crunch and overall flavor were OK, and definitely an improvement upon the other contenders thus far.

    jar of pickles

    Texturally, I found these pickles to be on par with the 365 ones. The seeds in each pickle spear were tiny and ultimately didn't lend any sort of unpleasant gelatinous texture, and both the flesh and skin were firm and crunchy.

    Jar of pickles open with one pickle on a plate, indicating a food topic related to pickles

    🥒 Overall score for Trader Joe's: 6/10

    Crunch: 7

    Flavor: 5

    Considering the two organic options on this list, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, Trader Joe's pickles were definitely the better pick. They offer relatively similar texture but better flavor overall, and they also ring in at over a dollar cheaper.

    4. B&G — Did they taste fresh? No. But they were the crunchiest of the bunch, and that's worth something.

    Hand holding a jar of B&G Deluxe Kosher Dill pickles with a price tag, annotated with positive review notes

    Let's start with their least impressive quality and move our way up. So, flavor. Though they're not bad or unappetizing in any way, they certainly didn't taste all that fresh to me. I noted that you could "taste the jar," and while that might've been a hyperbolic-ish statement, there's definitely a lot of truth there. The flavors were just a bit stale-tasting and not all that pronounced. It hit me with a big ol' punch of vinegar and not much else.

    Top view of an open pickle jar with pickles and a single pickle on a plate

    🥒 Overall score for B&G: 7/10

    Crunch: 10

    Flavor: 4

    Though the flavors here were certainly nothing special, the crunch factor absolutely blew me away. If you can ignore some of the "meh"-ness of the pickle brine, you'll be rewarded with a seriously crunchy pickle.

    3. Grillo's — Though an unexpectedly off-putting aftertaste dragged their flavor score down a bit, Grillo's pickles are an otherwise delicious, complex-tasting refrigerator pickle.

    plastic container of pickles

    Grillo's makes a seriously fresh pickle, and you can tell both from tasting and looking at 'em. See for yourself! Their dill spears are loaded with fresh dill (what a concept!) and garlic. They're remarkably crunchy, too — but sadly, there's another taste that I just couldn't get past.

    🥒 Overall score for Grillo's: 7.5/10

    Crunch: 9

    Flavor: 6

    Less-than-ideal aftertaste aside, Grillo's pickles are certainly a great purchase when it comes to flavor complexity and incredible texture. You can taste every last bit of the fresh dill and garlic they use in their pickle brine — I just wish the taste that lingers in your mouth afterward was a hair less funky.

    2. Boar's Head — With a subtle (yet welcome) hint of sweetness, a harmonious flavor profile, and a delightful crunch, these pickles certainly surpassed every expectation.

    A hand holding a jar of Boar's Head Kosher Dill pickles with a handwritten review note attached

    Most notably, the flavor they pack into these pickles is extraordinary. The brine tasted distinctly different from all of the others, and I mean that in a good way. There was a subtle sweetness to it, not in a bread and butter pickle way, but just enough to really bring out the flavors of the cucumbers and the fresh dill, garlic, and carrots (!) in the brine. (After the taste test was done, I, of course, sampled the pickled carrots, and I can confirm they're wildly delicious, too.)

    A pickle slice on a plate beside an open jar of pickles on a table

    🥒 Overall score for Boar's Head: 8/10

    Crunch: 7

    Flavor: 9

    They might not be the crunchiest of all the pickle varieties I tried, but they were certainly one of the most flavorful. The brine's subtle sweetness beautifully highlights all the various flavors present, and it made for one seriously delightful pickle-eating experience.

    1. Claussen — Mark my words: These pickles are pretty much the most perfect variety you can find at your local grocery store, and the price point is pretty incredible, too.

    Hand holding a jar of Claussen Kosher Dill pickles with a price tag, annotated with positive handwritten taste review

    "Wow, wow, wow" was the first set of words I jotted down in my notes, so I hope that's a good enough indicator of just how special these pickles are. To start, let's dive into the texture. They're super crunchy, yes, but I also found that the cucumbers they used in these pickles were great, too. They're firm and fleshy with a thin, snappy skin, so any bite you take of a pickle spear will be a good bite — whether it's a bite from the ends or right in the middle.

    Top view of an open pickle jar and a single pickle slice on a plate on a glass tabletop

    🥒 Overall score for Claussen: 9.5/10

    Crunch: 9

    Flavor: 10

    Claussen pickles really are perfect. They're the ideal blend of flavor, texture, quality, and value, and for all those reasons I'd whole-heartedly urge any pickle lover to grab a jar during your next grocery run.

    Claussen may have won the battle for best pickle when it comes to its overall score, but I also wanted to break down these pickles based on flavor and texture separately — since we all have different preferences.

    Best Texture: B&G (10/10)

    Close-up of a B&G Deluxe Kosher Dill pickles jar label with a description of "Whole Spices"

    Best Flavor: Claussen (10/10)

    Close-up of a jar of Claussen Kosher Dill Spears pickles

    And there we have it, folks! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have nine entire jars of pickles to work my way through. If anyone has a good recipe for using up a whole lot of pickles, DM me — and if you have a favorite variety of pickle that I didn't get to try, tell me about it in the comments below. 👇

    fridge full of pickle jars

    If you're curious about how other popular grocery store products stack up to one another, you can check out the rest of our grocery store taste tests below:

    • Best Boxed Cake Mix

    • Best Instant Ramen

     Best Ranch Dressing

     Best Frozen Chicken Nuggets

     Best Microwave Popcorn

    • Best Ice Cream

    • Best Jarred Salsa

    • Best Boxed Mac 'N' Cheese

    • Best Frozen Pizza

    • Best Marinara Sauce