It can be frustrating when you have a pickle craving but they all the pickles at the store seem to have nasty additives like Polysorbate 80, dyes, and other preservatives. Luckily, there are some additive free options to be found.
Common Additives in Pickles
- Polysorbate 80: emulsifier used to disperse flavor; linked to inflammation, gut irritation and hormone disruption 
- Yellow #5: food dye; linked to hyperactivity in children and cancer 
- Tartrazine: another name for Yellow #5
- Alum: agent used keep pickles crisp; toxic in large amounts and restricted use in food In Europe 
- Corn Syrup: sweetener likely made from GMO corn; connected to obesity and diabetes 
- Potassium Benzoate: preservative; possible carcinogen 
- Sodium Benzoate: man-made preservative; possible carcinogen 
- Sodium Phosphate: preservative, linked to inflammation 
None of these additives are necessary to make pickles.
What about Calcium Chloride?
Calcium chloride is a salt used to keep the pickles firm so they have that appealing crunch. It’s used in trace amounts and is safe to ingest.
Best Pickles Without Additives
Available at most supermarkets nationwide.
Grillo’s Pickles Ingredients: Cucumbers, Brine (Water, Distilled White Vinegar, Salt), Garlic, Dill, Grape Leaves
Both organic and non-organic varieties are additive-free. Available at Whole Foods Markets nationwide.
365 by Whole Food Market Organic Kosher Dill Pickles Ingredients: Organic Cucumbers, Water, Organic Distilled White Vinegar, Salt, Organic Dehydrated Garlic, Calcium Chloride, Natural Flavors, Organic Turmeric (Color)
Available at Whole Foods Market, independent health food stores and Thrive Market.
Rick’s Picks Classic Sours Ingredients: Cucumbers, Water, White Vinegar, Lactic Acid, Kosher Salt, Garlic, Calcium Chloride, Natural Dill Extract, Natural Color
Found in most supermarkets nationwide.
Bubbies Kosher Dill Pickles Ingredients: Cucumbers, Water, Salt, Garlic, Dill, Spices, Mustard Seeds, Calcium Chloride
Their Organic Kosher Dill Pickle Spears and Kosher Dill Pickles are additive-free. Found in Trader Joe’s stores nationwide.
Trader Joe’s Kosher Dill Pickles Ingredients: Gherkins (Cucumber), Vinegar, Salt, Mustard Seeds, Granulated Garlic, Caraway Seed, Natural Flavoring (Dill Extract, Garlic Extract), Calcium Chloride, Turmeric
Found at independent grocery stores nationwide.
Mother’s Puckers Homestyle Garlic Dill Pickle Halves Ingredients: Cucumber, Water, Organic Distilled Vinegar, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic, Sea Salt, Spices
Found at Stop & Shop, Food Lion, Hannaford’s, Giant/Martin’s, Giant Food stores on the east coast.
Nature’s Promise Dill Pickles Ingredients: Organic Cucumbers, Water, Organic Vinegar, Sea Salt, Calcium Chloride (Firming Agent), Organic Natural Flavors, Organic Turmeric (for Color)
Found at Kroger stores.
Simple Truth Ingredients: Organic Cucumbers, Water, Organic Vinegar, Salt, Contains Less Than 2% of: Dehydrated Organic Garlic, Calcium Chloride, Natural Flavors, Organic Turmeric Extract (Color)
Found in some Harris Teeter, Hy-Vee, Safeway, and Whole Foods Market nationwide.
YeeHaw Pickle Co. Hot Damn Dills Ingredients: Cucumbers, Water, Vinegar, Chili Peppers, Garlic, Salt, Dill Seed, Mustard Seed
Found in independent grocery stores nationwide.
McClure’s Garlic Dill Pickles Ingredients: Cucumbers, Vinegar, Water, Salt, Garlic, Dill
Available at independent grocers in the Northeast.
Real Pickles Organic Dill Pickles Ingredients: Cucumbers*, filtered water, unrefined sea salt (rich in trace minerals), garlic*, black pepper, chile pepper, fennel seed, bay leaf, dill*, cinnamon. (*=Northeast-grown)
Available at supermarkets in the Midwest.
Safie Deli Style Dill Pickles Ingredients: Cucumbers, Water, Vinegar, Salt, Dried Garlic, Spices
Can you preserve pickles without adding any preservative?
Yes, you can pickle pickles and keep them refrigerated. The preservatives that manufacturers add are usually used to keep the pickles firm, and the product shelf-stable.