Quick and Easy Dill Pickles

5 stars based on 18 votes


A few weeks ago, at my parents’ house, my son found a jar of homemade pickles in the fridge made by my mom’s dear friend Joanne Biltekoff. He loved them, so Joanne sent me her recipe and we made them over the weekend. Such fun! They’re refrigerator pickles, which means quick and easy — no sterilizing jars or special canning equipment required. All you do is slice the cucumbers into spears, cover them with a brine, tuck them in the fridge and they’re ready to eat in 24 hours.

Of course, they don’t last as long as canned pickles but it doesn’t matter much because they disappear so quickly.

The most important part of the recipe is to start with Kirby or pickling cucumbers. They’re short, squat and full of warts but they make deliciously crisp pickles. Surprisingly, I can never find them at my regular grocery store but Whole Foods always carries them. Don’t be tempted to substitute another kind of cucumber or you’ll end up with soggy pickles.

Begin by making the brine. Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a small non-reactive saucepan (such as stainless steel, glass, ceramic or teflon). Heat and stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. (Alternatively, Joanne says you can shake the vinegar, salt and sugar in a jar until the salt and sugar dissolve.) Whisk in the cold water, then chill until ready to use.

Next, stuff the cucumbers into two 1-quart jars. Add the coriander and mustard seeds, garlic, red pepper flakes, dill sprigs and chilled brine to the jars, dividing evenly.

Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for about 24 hours, then serve. The pickles will keep in the fridge for up to one month.

Homemade Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Servings: About 24 spears, or two 1-quart jars


  • 1-1/4 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1-3/4 to 2 pounds Kirby cucumbers (about 6), cut into halves or spears
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 16 dill sprigs


  1. Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a small non-reactive saucepan (such as stainless steel, glass, ceramic or teflon) over high heat. Whisk until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Transfer the liquid into a bowl and whisk in the cold water. Refrigerate brine until ready to use.
  2. Stuff the cucumbers into two clean 1-quart jars. Add the coriander seeds, garlic cloves, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, dill sprigs, and chilled brine into jars, dividing evenly. If necessary, add a bit of cold water to the jars until the brine covers the cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate about 24 hours, then serve. Cucumbers will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    I read your website regularly, and came across this recipe when I was looking for an alternative to my usual fresh dill pickle recipe. I have never had such delicious dill pickles….ever! You do have to have the pickling cucumbers….that is a must. In France I grew their “cornichons” in my garden, but I let them get bigger than the French people use them. They are the same type of cucumber as the Kirbys, and they always stay crisp. However, it seems to me that there is something special about this recipe. It is probably the ratio of water to vinegar (I think I used to use 50-50) and also chilling the brine before pouring it over the cucumbers. Whatever it is….I love them!!!

    - Kathy on September 25, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Excellent recipe! I brought these to a cocktail party and they were gone in less than 15 minutes. The only question I have is that I’ve read it is important to cut the blossom end of the cucumber because there’s an enzyme in the blossom that can make the pickle soft.

    - Allison on September 3, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made these for the first time yesterday and had to leave a review. If you like garlic dill pickles, make these! They are nothing but fabulous. I doubled the recipe but didn’t double the garlic and they’re still plenty garlicky. I’m super impressed by how easy this recipe is with such wonderful results. Thanks so much for posting. I have already shared the recipe AND the pickles!

    - Judy on August 16, 2015 Reply
  • can you substitute dried coriander and dry dill in place of fresh? Have not made the recipe yet but was wondering about substituting dried herbs. Would also wonder how much to use if substituting.

    - Cathy on August 3, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Cathy, Sure that should work. I would use 1 teaspoon ground coriander and 2 teaspoons dried dill. Please let me know how it turns out.

      - Jenn on August 3, 2015 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Used the dry ingredients and the pickles were wonderful…thanks for sharing the recipe.

        - Cathy on September 26, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Fabulous recipe!!! Absolutely delicious! Question.. Can I reuse the brine? If so, for how long? Thanks!

    - Emily S. on August 2, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Emily, Yes, you can use refrigerator pickle brine again — should last for at least another batch or two.

      - Jenn on August 3, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Rave reviews from everyone who ate them! You’re right – they get gobbled up well before the one-month mark. Thanks for the recipe!

    - Sara on August 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Now you’ve done it. I just picked my first quart of kirbys for the year, not exactly enough to start a traditional kosher fermented batch. So I looked for a refrigerator recipe and found yours. The reviews looked great and I had everything on hand, so I made them. Then today after opening the jar to try one, I lost all control. I ate half a quart of pickles in 5 minutes. I just put the pickle jar in a brown paper bag and pushed it to the back of the refrigerator so I can’t see them. I can and eat a LOT of pickles of all types…these are the best I have ever had. Even worse they’re SIMPLE to make. Now I’m stuck at the house and forced to leave the jar alone so my lovely wife can have some. I’m already having anxiety over what’s going to happen in winter when I can’t have these! (Shudder)

    - Chris on July 21, 2015 Reply
  • I love those glass jars. What is the brand name? Can’t wait to make these.

    - Julie on May 7, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Julie, I don’t remember the brand name but I got them at Whole Foods :)

      - Jenn on May 9, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    very good recipe. No changes needed but I cut pickles in half instead of spears with great results.

    - D-gear on May 6, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These are the best made them for the first time last summer and they would get ate as fast as I could make them. Now our local farmers market is open again. So I’m back in pickle heaven.

    - Stephanie on April 25, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My husband is a pickle snob. He only wants to buy Bubbies at Whole Foods, but they are really expensive. These are even better and I can make the quantity I like.

    - coco kaminsen on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just got a box of cucumber and would like to slice them and pickle only got dill seed so tell me a easy way to do this

    - cathy on February 12, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Cathy, As long as you have all of the other ingredients, I think they should still be good.

      - Jenn on February 14, 2015 Reply
  • Can I use Mini cucumbers instead? I could not find pickling or Kirby cucumbers at the store. If so, should I keep them whole. I think they are Persian cucumbers but not sure.

    - Danielle werchowsky on November 29, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Danielle, You can use Persian or mini cucumbers (I would still slice them in half) but they may not be quite as crisp and crunchy as Kirby cucumbers. Please let me know how they turn out.

      - Jenn on November 29, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I had an over abundance of homegrown pickling cucumbers in my community garden plot. Thankfully they didn’t all ripen at the same time. I made batch one last weekend. They are the best darn pickles ever. The red pepper flakes add a subtle heat. My mom doesn’t like spicy or hot but she loved them. Neighbor loved them. I have shared the recipe many times already after my friends saw the pictures on facebook and instagram. I linked them back to your website. Making batch two now and will leave red pepper flakes out of a few jars. I was out of fresh coriander seed for batch one and the pickles still came out fine. This batch will have the coriander seeds.

    I was asked for a good recipe for bread and butter as well as sweet pickles (one of my friends said they are different then bread and butter). Do you have a quick refrigerator recipe for any of them?

    - Lori on August 30, 2014 Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed the pickles, Lori — and thank you for spreading the word about my site! Unfortunately, I don’t have recipes for bread and butter or sweet pickles but I will add them to my list. Stay tuned :)

      - Jenn on August 30, 2014 Reply
    • to Lori-
      try this Bread & Butter recipe it is not refrigerator- but still pretty easy

      Here is the basic Bread & butter pickle recipe I use

      15 c sliced pickling cucumbers
      2 onions thinky sliced
      1/4 cup course salt
      4 cups cracked ice
      2 1/2 c cider vinegar
      2 1/2 c sugar
      3/4 tsp tumeric
      1/2 tsp celery seed
      1 T mustard seed

      1. clean your cucumbers slice them and the onions & let them sit in salt & ice for 3 hours
      2. Mix well
      3. Put a weight & let sit for 3 hours
      4. Drain well
      5. Combine vinegar, sugar, tumeric, celery seed & mustard seed
      6. Add drained cucumbers
      7. Place on medium low heat- bring almost to a boil but don’t boil
      8. I boil jars for 10 minutes to process

      - Margie Craig on June 11, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Recipe is simply amazing. I compared a few others and this was the hands down winner.

    Question- Can I can these? I know I need to sterilize the jars and following canning processes, but is there anything I need to do to the recipe itself?

    - Paul on August 6, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Paul, So glad you enjoyed the pickles! Unfortunately, the recipe will not work for canning.

      - Jenn on August 7, 2014 Reply
      • 5 stars

        is there anything I can do to modify this recipe so I can can it. I have a lot of cucumbers and I can’t make refrigerator pickles out of all of them :)

        - Paul on August 10, 2014 Reply
        • Hi Paul, To be honest, I don’t have a lot of experience with canning but my main concern is that most canned pickle recipes call for a brine with a 1:1 water-vinegar ratio. I believe that is necessary to make the pickles shelf stable. This recipe is much less acidic with almost a 2:1 water-vinegar ratio. For me, that’s what makes these pickles so good; they aren’t overly sour like so many others. So, unfortunately, if you change the brine, the pickles will taste much different.

          - Jenn on August 12, 2014 Reply
  • Is it possible to use this recipe and can them instead of using them just in the fridge? If so, would I need to change anything about the preparation and/or ingredients?

    - Leah on August 4, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Leah, Unfortunately, the recipe won’t work for canning. Sorry!

      - Jenn on August 7, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made two quarts of refrigerator pickles (another recipe) last week, and tried them today….I was extremely disappointed in their bland flavor. I dumped a bunch of seasoning into those jars today and went on a search for another recipe to try….

    I found this one through Pinterest, and immediately saw that it had more seasoning and vinegar than the other recipe I’d tried. So I used a 2 quart bail and toggle jar from Ikea and put everything in one jar today.
    (I don’t usually have pickling cucumbers on hand, but I went to the Farmer’s Market and canned some bread and butter pickles yesterday, so I had the leftovers to use.)

    I didn’t have fresh dill on hand, so I used 4 tsps dried dill leaves. I calculated 1 tsp per four fresh strands in the recipe.

    When I open the refrigerator, I shake the jar and put it back. I can hardly wait to open it, but I’ll wait a couple days to let the flavors permeate. I’ll report back!! :)

    - Judy H on July 13, 2014 Reply
    • 5 stars

      They turned out very well!! In fact, there are only a few left! Using the dried dill worked fine, but since the little leaves stick to the spears, I think you get a little more dill flavor than you would using fresh dill. If you aren’t a huge fan of dill, you might want to reduce the dried dill just a little when you make it.
      I’ll be making this recipe again! :-)

      - Judy H on July 21, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Excellent recipe…we put of 9 quarts of pickles and I tried on less than 24 hrs. later and Wow !, it was already good and I can only imagine how much better they will taste in a few days…Very easy recipe too….

    - Brin Cous on June 24, 2014 Reply
  • This summer, I grew cucumbers and dill in my garden. So, I thought I’d try making pickles of course.

    I’ve never done this before so I was a bit apprehensive. I think the hardest part was waiting for 24 hours for the cucumbers to marinate, or whatever cucumbers do!

    I was really surprised! These are really, really good!

    I have a date this Friday and I am going to give her the gift of pickles :-) (Heck with flowers!)

    - Tom on August 8, 2013 Reply
  • We love this recipe! These are now our favorite dill pickles! Thanks!

    - Kristina on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • I LOVE these pickles! I’ve made them several times. Since we live in Mexico, we have to many foods from scratch. I’ve been using small whole Mediterranean cucumbers instead Kirby and they are SUPER crunchy. In my most recent batch, I bumped up the red pepper flakes to 3/4 tsp. and used minced garlic instead of cloves just to amp up the flavor. They are a favorite of the whole family! The hardest part is waiting for a WHOLE day to taste them. Thanks for such a great recipe. :)

    - Jeff on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Looked at loads of these types of recipes and cannot see how long they will last on my shelf in the pantry…do they have to go in the fridge? If so
    Why are the ones on the supermarket shelf any different

    - Andrea on January 29, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Andrea, These are quick refrigerator pickles, and they do need to be kept in the fridge as they aren’t properly canned (using sterile jars, etc.).

      - Jenn on January 29, 2013 Reply
  • Im pregnant and craving pickles. I’m so glad that I found this recipe! Doing this today!!

    - Yana on July 25, 2012 Reply
  • This is on my to-do list now! I am still tweaking my own pickle recipe. I do prefer to use rice wine vinegar but it gets expensive quickly. Thanks for this one!

    - KD` on June 28, 2012 Reply
  • I finally got around to making these two days ago and had my first one today, all I can say is OMG! These are wonderful! I have never made pickles and I am just shocked at how simple this recipe is. Thank you soooo much. This will satisfy my crunchy salty craving! Much better for you than a bag of chips!

    - Emily on June 21, 2012 Reply
  • Yummy! These are DELICIOUS!

    - Carmen on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I made these the other night and OMG – absolutely addictive, easy & delish. I used chipotle pepper flakes (I was out of the regular ones), which added a slightly smoky flavor, and recommend that as a variation if you like chipotle. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe – it’ll be in regular rotation here.

    - Donna on May 18, 2012 Reply
    • Love that idea. Thank you!

      - Jenn on May 18, 2012 Reply
  • Since receiving this recipe by e-mail from Once Upon a Chef, I have made 12 jars of these pickles. They disappear as fast as I make them!!! I sent some to both my mother and my brother, and then sent back their jars with a request for MORE. The frst time I made them, I didn’t have whole coriander or mustard seeds on hand, so I used ground of each (1 tsp. of each). Also, I reduced the sugar by 1 T. Still delicous. Since then, I’ve experimented with different variations….adding chopped red onions to the jars, eliminating the red pepper flakes, adding black peppercorns. The base recipe is SO good that it’s easy to substitute and still come out with a crave-worthy pickle. I’ve got four more jars in the fridge right now, and I’m sure they’ll be gone by the weekend!! Thanks for a great recipe!!

    - Anne Trant Sirois on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • I had no idea making pickles at home could be so quick and easy. Thanks for the recipe!

    - Ellen on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • I made these with my granddaughter a couple of weeks ago. I was excited to find a refrigerator pickle recipe and she was excited that we were making them. After letting them sit in the fridge a few days I added more sugar. The next time I will probably cut back on the vinegar, replace it with water and add more sugar. They were great!

    - Carol on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • I made these with my grandchildren and it was so quick and easy!! Great pickle recipe!! Even my grandchildren loved them!!! WOW!Thanks for sharing!

    - NKRak on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • These pickles are amazing. I may never buy pickles again. Super easy to make. Thanks for the recipe!

    - Andrew on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • I just made these 2 days ago and they are FANTASTIC! My adjustments: since I like garlic (the more the better) I added an additional clove each jar. I also doubled the sugar (which you can’t even taste). These pickles remind me of NYC deli pickles. Yum!!!

    - Cary on May 10, 2012 Reply
  • My fiance and I are both huge pickle fans – I’ll definitely have to try this for sure! They keep such a lovely green hue!

    - Cynthia on April 24, 2012 Reply
  • I am inspired! My daughter loves this type of pickle, so I will try it. Thanks for the recipe and the information on the pretty jars.

    - Liz on April 18, 2012 Reply
  • A really easy way to make dill pickles… If you have purchased a jar and eaten all the pickels…save the brine/juice, cut up cucumbers and place in the jar. After a few days…voila!!

    - barbara Wood on April 17, 2012 Reply
    • Great suggestion, Barbara. You can also do the same with these. Once the pickles are gone, simply cut up more cucumbers and stuff them in the jar. They’re ready in 24 hours!

      - Jenn on April 17, 2012 Reply
      • 5 stars

        These were awesome! I now have 2 empty jars and 2 more pounds of cukes! If I was to use the same brine over, do I stick with the “use within one month” timeframe? Using the date on the original jar of pickles and brine?

        - Katie on July 14, 2015 Reply
        • Hi Katie, Yes, that’s correct. So glad you enjoyed them!

          - Jenn on July 15, 2015 Reply
  • thanks for the recipe. I have made regular pickles before but my busy life prohibits that. I have heard of refrigerator pickles before but never tried to make them. I will now. I love pickles!

    - karen on April 17, 2012 Reply
  • Oh I love pickles! Thanks for the idea!

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on April 17, 2012 Reply
  • ahh i LOVE pickles! Thanks for the great idea! would be great to serve as a side for a sandwich.

    - Meg at Peaches and Cake on April 17, 2012 Reply
  • Aunt JoJo’s pickles are the BEST!!! Claussen beware!

    - Dara Biltekoff on April 17, 2012 Reply
  • What kind of jars are you using and where did you get them?

    - sarah spitz on April 17, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Sarah, I got the jars (by WECK) at Whole Foods.

      - Jenn on April 17, 2012 Reply
  • Beautiful pics! Makes you just want to crunch right into one of them.

    - MickMil on April 17, 2012 Reply
  • I make pickles all the time. Love my bread and butter ones and also dill. Will definitely try this recipe.

    - barbara Wood on April 17, 2012 Reply

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