Refrigerator pickles are incredibly simple – no sterilizing jars required. Try green beans, cauliflower, bell peppers, jalapeños or onions, too!
Whenever I make refrigerator pickles, also known as quick pickles, they always go fast in our family. Always. They’re so much better than what you can buy at the store.
Best Cucumbers for Pickling
When picking a pickle variety you want to look for a thin skin for the brine to be absorbed and a firm, dry inside for a crunchy consistency. Shorter and stockier pickles better allow for whole and spear shaped pickles. Boston, National, Bush and Kirby cucumbers all fit this criteria nicely. Cucumber types can range frow sweet to salty and mild to hot or spicy.
Common Types of Pickles
- Dill Pickles
- Kosher Dill Pickles
- Sweet Pickles e.g. Bread and Butter Pickles, Candied Pickles
- Gherkin Pickles
- Cinnamon Pickles
- Lime Pickle
- Hungarian Pickles
Homemade Pickle Ingredients
With just 8-ingredients, this easy pickle recipe produces crisp, tangy pickles that are a wonderful snack or sandwich topping.
- Pickling cucumbers: Look for fresh, short, and stalky cucumbers like Boston, National, Bush or Kirby cucumbers.
- Apple cider vinegar: The mellow, fruity flavor pairs well with the spices.
- Water: Additional liquid to fill the brine to the top.
- Mustard seeds: Adds a sharp, tangy flavor to the pickles.
- Black peppercorns: Whole peppercorns add a peppery flavor but more mild than adding ground pepper.
- Granulated sugar: Balances out the vinegar.
- Kosher salt: No need for pickling salt, kosher salt works great here.
- Bay leaf: Adds another layer of flavor to refrigerator pickles.
I don’t just make refrigerator pickles, either. I also pickle green beans, red bell peppers, red onions, cauliflower, carrots and jalapeños. I combine some of those, too; both green beans and carrots get spiced up with jalapeños, mix the bell peppers and onions and toss some crushed garlic cloves into a few jars.
(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with detailed recipe instructions.)
How to Make Refrigerator Pickles
- Prepare the Cucumber: Clean, trim and cut about pickles into halves, spears, chips or keep them whole.
- Fill the Jars: Pack the pickles in the jars.
- Make the Brine: Combine all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over a high heat. Once ready, pour the brine in the jars all the way to the top.
- Chill: Refrigerate the dill pickles for at least two days and for the best flavor aim for 5-7 days. Chips will pickle the fastest while whole pickles will take the longest before they reach maximum flavor.
Refrigerator Pickles Tips & Variations
- I like a simple brine made with just six ingredients. Occasionally I’ll use fresh dill weed but most of the time I prefer mustard seeds and black peppercorns. I skip those for the jalapeños as I prefer straight jalapeño flavor (and I cut the sugar to about half). But you can play around with it and make it however you like it most.
- The main difference you’ll find between a regular dill and a kosher dill is the presence of garlic. They both are seasoned with fresh dill but regular dill pickles don’t typically use garlic.
- The amount of sugar is how a sweet pickle gets its sweet taste.
- Since quick pickles are stored in the fridge there is no need to sterilize the jars or can and seal.
- Drink the pickle juice which is said to aid in muscle cramp relief, hydrates and contains no fat.
How Long Do Pickling Cucumbers Last?
Refrigerator pickles can be stored in the fridge for one to two weeks. Fresh cucumbers can last about two weeks if stored at about 55°F /13°C.
- 2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon black whole peppercorns
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf, I reuse this if I end up needing more
- Clean, trim and cut about pickles as desired e.g. whole, half, spears or coins.
- Pack firmly into mason jars. Set aside.
- Combine all ingredients except the pickles in a large saucepan over high heat.
- Bring to a rolling boil, stirring frequently.
- Pour over pickles in jars all the way to the top. Allow to come to room temperature, then seal and place in refrigerator.
- Pickles will be ready after a few days and at their best after about a week. They can be stored in the refrigerator for about a month.
Use stainless steel, glass, ceramic or Teflon as high-acid foods from metals like aluminum, copper or cast iron will react with the acid and give your food a metallic taste.
For whole or half cucumbers prick the skin of the cucumber to allow brine and other ingredients to penetrate the skin.
It takes about 3 or 4 cucumbers to fill a pint (16oz) mason jar.
Assorted vegetables, such as cucumbers, bell peppers, red onions, carrots, cauliflower or green beans all work well with this recipe too.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 64Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1276mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 2g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.
What are Cukes?
Cukes and cucumbers are one and the same. Some people call them cucumbers, well really most, and others call them cukes. Either term is acceptable but you might get a blank stare if you ask a grocer where the cukes are.
Health Benefits of Pickled Cucumbers
Cucumbers are full of antioxidants, good for your digestive system and is a well-known treatment for muscle cramps among athletes, particularly the pickle juice. Sweet pickles, however, contain more calories than the dill, sour and spicy ones due to the addition of sugar in them.
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