Quick and Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe

Refrigerator pickles are quick and easy to make — no sterilizing jars or special equipment required.

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

The kids and I discovered a jar of these homemade refrigerator pickles in my parents’ refrigerator door one day and since then, no deli or store-bought pickles have ever come close. They were made by one of my mom’s oldest and dearest friends, Joanne Biltekoff, who is like an aunt to me.

The best thing about Joanne’s pickles is that they’re quick and easy — no sterilizing jars or special canning equipment required. All you do is slice Kirby cucumbers into spears, cover them with brine, tuck them into the fridge, and they’re ready to eat the next day.

What You’ll Need To Make Refrigerator Pickles

ingredients for refrigerator pickles

The most important part of the recipe is to start with Kirby or pickling cucumbers. They’re short, squat and sometimes full of warts, but they make deliciously crisp pickles. Don’t be tempted to substitute another kind of cucumber or you’ll end up with soggy pickles.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Begin by making the brine. Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat and stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Whisk in the cold water, then chill.

When cooking high-acid foods, be sure to use a cooking vessel made of a nonreactive material such as stainless steel, glass, ceramic or Teflon. Pots made from metals like aluminum, copper or cast iron will react with the acid and give your food a metallic taste.

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

adding cucumbers and spices to jars

Cover the cucumbers with the chilled brine.

adding brine to cucumbers

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.

These pickles will disappear quickly and you’ll likely get requests for more. You don’t have to start from scratch. You can use the pickle brine more than once — it should last for another batch or two of pickles!

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Quick & Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator pickles are quick and easy to make — no sterilizing jars or special equipment required.

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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. The pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Just made these for the 4th or 5th time. So much better than store bought – easy too.

    • — Kim S. on March 20, 2021
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  • These are the best! A very simple recipe, especially in the summer when cucumbers (and dill) are plentiful at the farmers’ markets. I followed the recipe exactly as printed. The pickles tasted just like my mom’s and brought back fond memories of helping her in the kitchen.

    • — Nancy in Seattle on January 31, 2021
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  • A simple and delicious recipe. My intent was to serve with lunch dishes but they disappeared shortly after opening! Will make again for sure.

    • — Kathleen on January 31, 2021
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  • These are a huge hit with us, our family, and all our neighbours! They’re constantly asking me to make more. Thanks for your recipes Jenn – they’re always outstanding.

    • — Andrea Engels on January 31, 2021
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  • You can add a variety if mixed vegetables to the pickling juice!

    • — CeRo on January 30, 2021
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  • Best ever!!! This has been a staple the last 2 years with my homegrown cucumbers. I put 2 garlic cloves, 2 tsp. coriander, 1 tsp. dill seeds, 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds, and 1/2 tsp. peppercorns in each jar.

    • — Caroline on January 29, 2021
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  • My family loves pickles and these are the best! So easy to make and much more economical than the ones we used to buy at the farmer’s market! We cut down on the salt just a bit.

    • — Patti B on January 29, 2021
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  • This was the first of your recipes that I tried!
    The pickles were delicious and definitely did not last the month in the fridge!
    The pickle connoisseurs in the family raved about them!
    This was my first time making pickles and the recipe was very clear and easy to follow.
    I highly recommend this recipe – easy and delicious- what more could any cook ask for!

    • — Mary Lannan on January 29, 2021
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  • Quick recipe and easy to make. I followed according to the directions, adding a bit more vinegar to my tasting. Loved, Loved – so easy and fresh for summer!

    • — KelB on January 29, 2021
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  • MAKE THESE PICKLES TODAY!!! So easy and simply yummy! I have never thought of making pickles (why when there are so many in the supermaket, right?) Well, so glad I did! Now I am obsessed and so is my family. My son refuses to have any other pickles than his Mom’s — I’ve created a Pickle Snob! Seriously, one of the easiest and yummiest things in life!

    • — Oak on January 29, 2021
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  • These are the most delicious amazing pickles. I am from NY and miss the fresh pickles I used to get. The recipe is so easy, and you get the most flavored pickles, crisp, bright green. When in season I try to get the pickling cukes from the farmer’s market. These stayed fresh for 7 days. Only one problem with this recipe. they are consumed in my house within 3 days which has led me to make 2 jars at a time. Perfect to accompany a deli sandwhich.To make it easier, I mix the spices ahead of time so I just have to pour them in to the jar instead of having to stop and measure.

    • — AnnEllen Feltcorn on January 29, 2021
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  • Try these! I don’t like pickles but I made these when expecting company who likes pickles. Oh my! These were so easy and awesome. My pickle-loving husband said they were an A+. Never knew that they were so easy to make and add such a nice contrast to sandwiches, BBQ, and even just for a snack!

    • — BrendaRose on January 28, 2021
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  • These are so simple and simply delicious! We had the students at our school make a few jars for each classroom using cucumbers they grew in our greenhouse! They loved them : )

    • — Kim Douglas on January 28, 2021
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  • Hey Jen,my family and I just love pickles, so when I saw this recipe I had to try it. OMG! They are wonderful! Like everything else that I have tried of yours. Thanks for all the great recipes.

    • — Janice Wilford on January 28, 2021
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  • Definitely make these! Super easy & so good! I had quite a few cucumbers in my garden this summer & could not eat them all. They were not the kirby recommended in the recipe but they worked out fine & were so delicious.

    • — Julie Jacobson on January 28, 2021
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  • Our house has stopped buying pickles with this easy quick recipe! We add chopped habanero in some jars for a little spice. So yummy!

    • — Lexi on January 28, 2021
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