- I tried 15 kinds of Vlasic pickles and ranked them from worst to best.
- The sweet gherkins were my least favourite by far, but the original gherkins were my favourite.
- I was pleasantly surprised by the brand’s no-sugar-added bread and butter pickles.
- The zesty garlic Stackers and kosher dill baby wholes were also delicious and flavorful.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
People have been eating pickles for more than 4,000 years, but there’s still no verdict on which kind is truly the best.
Pickling was – and still is – an excellent way to preserve food for extended periods of time. And over the past few decades, companies like Vlasic have become famous for perfecting the pickle and putting new spins on it
To help figure out which cuts and brines truly make for the best pickle, I decided to review popular varieties from the iconic brand.
As a writer for Insider, I was sent 15 types of pickles to review from Vlasic. Although the jars were free for review purposes, a typical jar costs around $US3.
Keep reading to see my first impressions and reviews of 15 kinds of Vlasic pickles, which I ranked from worst to best.
I was looking forward to trying the sweet gherkins, but I’ve only heard bad things.
First Impression: Given my love of gherkins and sweet things, I should like these.
However, multiple people that I mentioned this flavour to told me they’re not a fan. Also, these smell kind of like a mincemeat pie filling, which I don’t fancy that much.
I just don’t know what to expect from these.
Some things just aren’t meant to be this sweet.
Review: My earlier mincemeat comparison was pretty accurate – these tasted like they just had too much allspice. Sure, I enjoy mincemeat as much as the next guy, but not in pickle form.
These just felt like the worst way to eat sugar, and I’d never put them on a burger. Finally, they were not crunchy at all, which is the hallmark of the gherkin.
I can’t imagine the no-sugar-added sweet gherkins being any better than the ones with sugar.
First Impression: I already know that I don’t enjoy the sweet gherkins, but I’m curious to see if these are better.
One would assume that less sugar means less of the part that I don’t like.
Unsurprisingly, these were slightly less sweet than the original version.
Review: These didn’t have any crunch, and I didn’t even really feel like I was eating a pickle.
These were better than the original sweet gherkins, but only because less is more. In an ideal world, more would be more.
These lightly salted kosher dill spears seem to defeat the true purpose of a pickle.
First Impression: Since salt is a key component of pickles, these lightly salted kosher dill spears seem like they will never live up to a fully salted version.
That said, I don’t think less salt will make a huge difference in the flavour of these pickles.
These feel like a knockoff pickle.
Review: These had a slightly more vinegary flavour, which tasted kind of strange, but only because I’m accustomed to the original version of these spears.
It’s kind of like I was drinking a Coke, and when I turned my back, somebody replaced it with Diet Coke. The difference is not very noticeable, but something seems little off (sorry to the Diet Coke apologists out there, you can switch the example if it works better for you).
Everybody likes sandwich dill chips, right?
First Impression: I feel like most people who enjoy pickles love the sandwich chips. I like dill, but it’s a mysterious flavour – simultaneously familiar and hard to use.
I’m excited about these, they seem like great control pickles.
These had a great kick to them.
Review: This is the classic sandwich chip, and not just because of the crinkle-cut. It had the most potent flavour of all the dills.
These just weren’t as fun to eat as some other varieties I tried, which is a vital component of pickle ranking.
It’s mind-blowing how simple these are to make – just salt, vinegar, and dill … plus high-fructose corn syrup and some other things that can make my eyes glaze over. But really, it’s very simple.
Kosher dill Stackers should have a really strong flavour
First Impression: There are 50 ways to skin a cat, 50 ways to leave your lover, and, apparently, 50 ways to cut a pickle.
This shape is perfect for a hamburger, or maybe a wide hot dog.
I think there’s a chance that these slices will hold a lot of vinegar flavour because their porous insides are exposed.
These were great, but not my favourite cut.
Review: It turns out these didn’t hold a lot of vinegar flavour, and my theory is in the trash. It looks like I’ll never be Alton Brown.
They were quite delicious, but I wanted more of the vinegar and salt. These just felt a little watery.
Original dill wholes are the actual original pickle.
First Impression: I guess these genuinely are the original pickle.
These are the kind some guy dressed as a squire would fish out of a giant wooden barrel at a renaissance fair. He would hand it to you with a smile and say, “Sixpence for a pickle, good sir!”
Then you’d walk off to try and find a piece of mutton that’s bigger than your head. Simpler times.
You can’t go wrong with the classics.
Review: These had a nice amount of spice, but I was disappointed because they lacked crunch. I really wanted that satisfying crunch.
Fortunately, though, the dill flavour was quite pronounced. The savour factor was also high, which is why I put these above the sandwich chips.
If you like those better, you can just cut these up. It’s like dressing for the cold – you can always take layers off.
I can’t wait to try these zesty dill spears
First Impression: I’m excited about these. I love zest, which in this case is essentially garlic and red pepper – stuff that should probably be in pickles anyway. I’m super excited.
I wanted a little bit more garlic.
Review: These had a great flavour, and the red pepper added a nice kick.
I think I missed just a bit of the garlic, though. It felt like more of an afterthought, like the second crew of firefighters that shows up late and dumps a single bucket of water on a smouldering acoustic guitar.
These were genuinely pretty spicy and they made me feel like my tongue sat in a mall massage chair for just a little bit too long.
Kosher dill spears are pretty much the quintessential pickle
First Impression: This is the classic wedge cut that many of us grew up eating. As a kid, I thought this spear was just how pickles looked … but then I learned they were a cucumber at one point, and everything went sideways.
This seems like the perfect pickle, and it reminds me of getting one served with my meal at diners and then licking some of the nasty coleslaw off of it. I’m excited for these.
These have an excellent crunch.
Review: Crunchy and delicious. It’s always a pleasure to eat one of these babies.
The brine was not salty but tangy because of the vinegar. I love the slight burn in my throat and tiny punch in my mouth.
My favourite way to eat this kind of pickle is to suck the juice off, then tackle the seeds, and finally crunch down on the skin. These are optimal for that style of snacking.
I’m very much looking forward to these Snack’mms garlic bites.
First Impression: I can smell the garlic wafting out of this jar. It’s like I went down into an underground canning cellar and saw a bunch of cloves hanging there drying out in the dark.
I’m a little apprehensive that the garlic is going to be a little bit overpowering, but these feel very much up my alley.
There was a lot of flavour in each small bite.
Review: These were delicious and they tasted kind of like the zesty ones, but with the edge taken off.
It almost felt like I snuck into the pan after charring some vegetables and snacked on a couple of leftover garlic bits.
I’m a little curious as to what I’d put these pickles on – the two flavours work, but they aren’t my first combination choice. But garlic goes with anything, so I’m not worried.
I think the kosher dill baby wholes are going to be really fun to eat.
First Impressions: Generally, I enjoy whole pickles more than sliced ones. I feel like they don’t get as saturated with brine, and are just more fun to eat.
These have one of the best crunches on the market.
Review: These were great and they held a crunch so much better than the pre-sliced ones.
I got the same flavour as many of the other pickles, but it felt more evenly distributed. These were also more manageable to eat because they’re small.
Eating these was an excellent experience all around.
I’m looking forward to the zesty garlic Stackers, but don’t think I’ll enjoy them as much as the bites.
First Impression: I’m pretty positive that I’ll enjoy these because I liked the first ones so much.
I’m slightly worried that these will suffer the same fate as the other Stackers, which don’t always hold flavour like other cuts.
These had a slightly milder flavour, which actually worked in their favour.
Review: I actually enjoyed these a little more than the bites, which had a bit more, well, bite to them.
The same thing that hurt the other stackers – a mellowed out flavour – helped these. They were a little less sharp.
I feel like I’m going to want to throw these no-sugar-added bread and butter chips out.
First Impression: I’m not excited about this variety because I don’t trust sugar-free things.
They just aren’t worth it most of the time and I’d rather not have sugar at all than have something sugar-free. It’s almost always a cheap knockoff, and I can’t stand it.
I think I’m going to hate these, which is a shame because I love bread and butter pickles.
Much to my surprise, these are absolutely delicious.
Review: Wow, I stand corrected. These were almost identical to the original bread and butters.
There was slight, weird aftertaste, but the similarity made me uncomfortable enough not to know where to rank them since I’d been kind of holding a place for them at the bottom.
Eating these made me feel like somebody in one of those commercials for meatless burgers who gets tricked into eating a plant but loves it.
I love bread and butter chips, and don’t care who knows it.
First Impression: I know this might be a divisive opinion, but I usually go right for the bread and butters, which are some of my favourite kinds of pickles.
It’s rare for something to be sweet and tangy at the same time, and I think that needs to be honoured and appreciated.
These are great to eat on their own or put on a burger.
Review: This is just a near-perfect pickle. Buttery is the wrong word to describe them, but it’s the only one that comes close, so I guess I’ll use it, too.
They just slide right down your gullet like butter – maybe that’s how Vlasic came up with the name.
Bread and butters are also just a staple in the pickle world. After all, even if you don’t enjoy this flavour, you probably have a strong opinion about it.
I can’t imagine not loving kosher dill gherkins.
First Impressions: I love gherkins. I find them to be the crunchiest and most manageable pickle out there.
They’re perfect for wrapping some meat around or snacking on out of the jar.
These are the best pickles around.
Review: The crunch was unmatched. I couldn’t tell the difference between the pop of the jar lid and the pop of the gherkin. That’s special.
I also loved the size and texture of these; They’re perfectly manageable. I enjoy scooping them right out of the jar and gulping them down before the brine has a chance to slide off.
Eating a gherkin is an experience, not just a taste. That’s why they claim the top spot on this list.