How To Make Refrigerator Pickles

Easy, quick pickles with no canning needed.

July 13, 2020

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Ready for quick pickles? Making refrigerator pickles is so easy—no special canning equipment needed. Plus, unlike store-bought pickles, these scrumptious, crunchy homemade pickles are low in sodium. Here’s the recipe—plus a video demonstration if you need it. 

This recipe only requires your cucumbers, a vinegar brine, and optional garlic and dill if you wish. 

These pickles are mean for casual snacking, not long-term storage which would require a boiling-water bath process. See our full Pickling Guide.

Try these tangy pickles as a crisp afternoon snack or to top off grilled burgers or sandwiches. 

Use a large glass or food-grade plastic bowl or use canning jars (though you don’t need to water-bath process for fridge pickles). Wash and dry jars and cucumbers before starting.

Refrigerator Pickles Recipe

Ingredients:
3-½ cups water
1-¼ cup white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 tablespoon canning or kosher salt (NOT table salt)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 cups cucumbers, unpeeled, sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
Optional: 2 cloves garlic (whole)
Optional: 2 heads fresh dill

Instructions:

  1. Boil the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Cook for one minute. Cool.
  2. Put  cucumbers, garlic, and dill in a medium plastic or glass bowl (not metal!). 
  3. Cover with the cooled liquid. Put in the refrigerator. You can eat within 24 hours but they taste best if you let the vegetables pickle in the brine for 3 to 4 days before eating. 

Pickles last in the refrigerator for up to one month

You can use the pickling liquid for other veggies, too, from beets to carrots.

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Reader Comments

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Is it ok too use peeled

Is it ok too use peeled cucumbers?

Whole pickles

Can I use small but whole unpeeled pickles or not?

Amazing!

I have not had a lot of luck making dill pickles but this recipe turned out great! Small batches are good for us too. I tweaked the recipe a bit (i.e., I use dried dill, extra garlic & cut the cloves in half). Next time, I'm going to spice it up a bit! Thanks for this recipe!

Cucmelons

I grew what I was told were mini watermelons buy are ACTUALLY cucmelons. I watched a video and the guy made sweet pickles of them...so can I use your recipe to make Dill?

Refrigerator Pickles

NEVER!! use plastic containers unless they are BPA free!! The best way to keep your pickles is canning jars! They take up less space and are the best way to preserve anything!!!

Pickling containers

The Editors's picture

You do not need to keep fridge pickles in canning jars. Plastic and glass bowls or containers are perfectly fine for anyone trying out fridge pickling, which does not involve processing, especially if specialized canning jars are not available, accessible, or just too expensive. Indeed, use food-grade plastic bowls from the kitchen, not plastic containers used for outdoors or non-food items. However, do not use aluminum, copper, brass, galvanized, or iron utensils or containers. These will react with the salt and acids during pickling. This can cause undesirable changes to the pickles. Other 1- to 3-gallon non-food-grade plastic containers may be used if lined inside with a clean food-grade plastic bag.
Please note that fridge pickles are not stored on the shelf. They MUST be stored in the refrigerator for safety. Source: National Center for Home Preservation.

Sweet pickles

More sugar means sweeter pickles, right?

Dill pickles

could i use coarse kosher salt

salt for making pickles

The Editors's picture

When make pickles it is always best to use canning or pickling salt. It’s highly refined so it dissolves really well and makes a crisp pickle.

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

What is the use of sugar for in this recipe? Is it only to reduce the acidic taste of the vinegar or does it have another purpose?

sugar in recipe

I'm worried the sugar in the recipe will make the pickles taste sweet. Can you tell there is sugar in them? I'm hoping these are similar to claussen's.

how to make dill pickles

The Editors's picture

Hi, Cammie. The amount of sugar is too small to make the pickles sweet.

Pickling Salt

Is it necessary to use pickling salt -- which I've never seen in the store? I generally use sea salt; is this good? Thanks.

salt for making pickles

The Editors's picture

We’ve only used Canning and Pickling salt. It’s highly refined so it dissolves really well and makes a crisp pickle.

refrigerator pickles

is it okay to use Himalayan salt?

We’ve only used Canning and

The Editors's picture

We’ve only used Canning and Pickling salt. It’s highly refined so it dissolves really well and makes a crisp pickle.  We would think that the pink salt might make the brine cloudy and it’s quite a costly way to go. However, it’s not unsafe. The main thing is not to use regular table salt as it includes iodine which messes up the pickling process.

refridgerator pickles

The easiest and cheapest way to make more pickles is to save the liquid from your favorite jar of storebought pickles, heat it to a boil, add it to a fresh batch of cucumber slices in the store jar, cool, refridgerate = pickles!

CAN I USE WHOLE PICKLES IN REFRIGERATOR DILLS

MY PICKLES ARE LITTLE DO I HAVE TO CUT THEM UP TO MAKE THIS QUICK RECIPE. WILL THEY BE CRISP.

Pickling and slicing pickles

The Editors's picture

Small pickles are actually better for pickling. Yes, you can pickle them whole, but I prefer to halve them (or quarter them if they’re too big) to get the pickling mixture to penetrate throughout.

Canning

Can I process these pickles and if so can you please tell me how. Thank you so much for your time

The best part about making

The Editors's picture

The best part about making refrigerator pickles is that you can skip the processing step. If you would rather make dill pickles for long term storage, try this one: http://www.almanac.com/content/how-make-dill-pickles

 

Can you re-use the brine

Can you re-use the brine after you've eaten the batch of pickles?

Yes, you can reuse the brine

The Editors's picture

Yes, you can reuse the brine IF it's for this refrigerator pickle recipe (not for canning). Note: The brine shouldn't look too cloudy or scummy. You should be able to re-use the brine 2 or 3 times.

These are so easy and so

These are so easy and so good! I'm no beginner, but these came out better than any I've made. The only thing I changed was to use 4 cloves of garlic (cut in half length wise)instead of 2. So gooooood

I have two questions is

I have two questions is pickling salt and canning salt the same thing and can I use either one. Also can I add pickling spices packet to the brine or would that be to much spice or make it to salty.

Yes, canning salt equals

Yes, canning salt equals pickling salt. Neither has any caking agents, added potassium iodide, or dextrose which is what's in normal table salt and why it's best not to use table salt.

Does it matter on what kind

Does it matter on what kind of cucumber you use?

You should use pickling

The Editors's picture

You should use pickling cucumbers.

we canned several cases of

we canned several cases of dill pickles last year made a brine of water vinagar pickling salt let come to a boil,put dill weed,garlic,and pepper in jars let brine come to a boil and poured over cukes in jar and sealed when we got ready to eat them they was soft and mushey had to throw away dont know what we done wrong but a lot of work down the drain can you tell me what made them soft instead of crispy thank you any advice would be nice ,we are going to try again this year

Here are some tips for crisp

The Editors's picture

Here are some tips for crisp pickles:
It is very important to use fresh, just-picked vegetables. Overripe cucumbers make mushy pickles.
You will need to cut the ends off as the blossoms cause softness.
For crisp pickles, they must be processed in water temperature that remains above 180° during the entire processing time but also below 185° or the pectin breaks down (which softens the pickle).
 

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