When you have a surplus of cucumbers, look no further than this easy recipe for Refrigerator Pickles. You can make them with just 10 minutes of prep and 6 hours to brine. You don't even need to turn on the stove!
If I'd known how ridiculously easy it was to make crispy, salty, dilly, tangy pickles, our refrigerator would never have been without them - especially in summer months. No cooking required. Zero. You don't even have to boil water.
- Ingredients You Need to Make Refrigerator Pickles
- What are Refrigerator Pickles?
- More FAQ
- Why these aren't for everyone (i.e., do you like pickles with BIG flavor?).
- Recipe Options
- More Pickling Recipes to Try
- How to Make Refrigerator Pickles:
- Refrigerator Pickles Recipe Video
- Easy Dill Lovers Refrigerator Pickles
- 💬 Comments
Ingredients You Need to Make Refrigerator Pickles
Fresh Kirby Cucumbers: or other pickling cucumber or English cucumber
White Vinegar: or apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
Kosher Salt: I used Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt - if using Morton brand, use half the amount called for in this recipe (Morton's Kosher salt is finer and saltier.)
Fresh Dill: dried dill is not a good substitute here
What are Refrigerator Pickles?
Refrigerator Pickles are made without the typical steps of canning, made instead with raw cucumber slices and brine - very little effort and they're ready to eat within hours. The upside of this is that they easy to make and incredibly crispy and delicious. The downside is that they are not shelf stable, i.e., but will last several weeks in the refrigerator. (Good luck on them lasting that long!)
In our CSA share this week, we had several Kirby pickling cucumbers and a beautiful bunch of fresh dill. Kirby cucumbers are those odd shaped cucumbers, covered in sharp little bumps. They aren't the most attractive of cucumbers, but they do stay crunchy in brine.
Kirby cucumbers and fresh dill sprigs look to me like pickles. But pickles require a whole canning process, right? A variety of spices, sterilized canning jars, boiled brine, and achieving a proper seal. So what's a lazy girl to do?
So I looked around at some of my favorite food blogs and came across this recipe from Deb of Smitten Kitchen. Ironic as Deb is the antithesis of lazy.
Could it really be this simple? Yes.
Store refrigerator pickles in the refrigerator (they're not shelf stable) and plan to enjoy them within one month.
These will be ready to enjoy in just 6 hours, but will be even more delicious (and stronger) the longer they stand in the refrigerator.
Use any clean (ideally sterilized) canning jar with a tight fitting lid.
Refrigerator pickles are quick and easy to make, but they don't go through the typical canning process and are not shelf stable. Where traditionally canned pickles can be stored at room temperature, refrigerator pickles must be stored in the refrigerator.
No. Just remember that they must be store in the refrigerator.
Why these aren't for everyone (i.e., do you like pickles with BIG flavor?).
I'll warn you that these homemade pickles are intensely flavorful. If you're on the fence about liking vinegary, piquant dill pickles, these aren't for you. But should you be in the piquant pickle loving camp, you'll find these addictive.
- For a milder vinegar flavor, use apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar instead of standard white vinegar.
- To add a bit of spice, stir a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns, raw jalapeño slices, or ¼ teaspoon or more of red pepper flakes. You can also add celery seed, mustard seed, and/or whole garlic cloves for added depth of flavor. For a touch of sweetness, stir in a teaspoon or more of granulated sugar or honey.
More Pickling Recipes to Try
And if you happen to love the magnificent Mama Lil's Bread & Butter Pickles & Peppers: sweet pickles that are also spicy and salty. You can make something similar with a simple riff on this refrigerator pickle recipe - Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles.
And definitely don't miss my other quick pickles:
- Pickled Asparagus (there's a secret to protecting the spear tips. Can you guess what it is?)
- Pickled Beets (honey sweetened)
- Pickled Red Onions
- Pickled Banana Peppers
- Giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables like cauliflower, bell pepper, carrots, and celery - perfect for snacking!)
[Updated: a couple of commenters found the original recipe for these too salty. Upon review of the recipe, I agreed! I've adjusted it accordingly.]
How to Make Refrigerator Pickles:
Step 1: Fill clean jar with thinly sliced cucumbers (ideally Kirby).
Step 2: Stir brine ingredients together (kosher salt, vinegar and chopped fresh dill) and pour over cucumber slices.
Step 3: Close jar lid and shake to distribute brine. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours then enjoy!
Refrigerator Pickles Recipe Video
Easy Dill Lovers Refrigerator Pickles
- 2 cups thinly sliced Kirby cucumber
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- Add cucumber slices to a clean 1-pint jar.
- Add vinegar, salt and dill. Close the lid and shake to distribute ingredients. (Liquid will not cover cucumber slices. Don't worry. The salt will draw liquid from the cucumbers in a couple of hours.)
- Place the jar in the refrigerator and remember to shake it once or twice in the next few hours.
- In about 6 hours, you'll have delicious, crispy pickles.