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

  • Great balance of flavors.

    • — Virginia on December 6, 2020
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  • Made these this week – they came out great, thank you!

    • — Mike V. on November 28, 2020
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  • To die for!!! These taste just like Claussen brand deli pickles. I didn’t have coriander or mustard seeds, so just used dried mustard and crushed red pepper for some kick. Also, I used extra garlic. These are a staple in my house now. The brine in great in barbecue sauce too. THANK YOU!

    • — O.W. on November 11, 2020
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  • Great recipe, although I found the pickles tasted amazingly better after 2 months in the fridge. I really didn’t care for them after only a week or two.

    • — Debra on November 2, 2020
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  • I did make this recipe — we used mini cukes and tomatillos. The tomatillos were amazing! but all were crunchy and delicious. Am about to do batch two. We added a small jalapeno for a little bite.

    • — Nancy D on October 10, 2020
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  • My food share gave us pickles this year. I remembered a recipe in my favorite cookbook (Yes once upon a Chef) and I made these pickles. It was so easy and they tasted amazing. I brought them to a family gathering and everyone scarfed them up. I re-used the brine for a couple more batches as the directions stated I could and those batches came out just as good as the first. Now I actually request pickles from my CSA when given a choice.

    • — Cheri T on September 28, 2020
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  • Love, love these pickles. They are fabulous! Would it be possible to reduce the salt?

    • — Elizabeth on September 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, I think it would be fine to cut back a touch on the salt. (Glad you like them!)

      • — Jenn on September 24, 2020
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      • how much salt could be removed as mine were way to salty too

        • — chad on January 15, 2021
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        • Hi Chad, I’d try cutting it back by a third. Hope that works better for you!

          • — Jenn on January 18, 2021
          • Reply
  • My first time making refrigerator pickles; I’ve always canned in the past. The texture and flavor are both outstanding. I wouldn’t change a thing. We’ve received many compliments! Thanks so much for the recipe.

    • — Vicki G on September 24, 2020
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  • These pickles are true to the title — very easy and quick to make. I will definitely make them again.

    • — Yvonne on September 22, 2020
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  • These are great! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It’s become a staple in my home.

    • — Kristine Witscher on September 20, 2020
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  • My food stores don’t have any dill sprigs. Can I substitute dry DILL weed? And how much? Thank you Chef Segal! I made these refrigerator pickles all summer long and they went fast. Now I can’t find the dill ! 😢
    Thank you. Valerie

    • — Valerie Scurria on September 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Valerie, Glad you like these! Yes, you can use dried dill if you can’t find fresh — you’ll need 2 teaspoons dried dill. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 21, 2020
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  • So easy and delicious!

    • — Amm on September 19, 2020
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  • Can a clear plastic quart take out container and lid be used rather than a mason jar? Mason jars are hard to come by for some reason right now. Any other suggestions for a container?

    • — Joy Gianolio on September 14, 2020
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    • Sure, Joy, any container will work as long as it’s airtight and the cucumbers are fully submerged in the brine. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 14, 2020
      • Reply
  • Can I make these using rice vinegar (4% acidity) or should I stick to the white vinegar?

    • — Stella on September 13, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Stella, I’d stick with white vinegar. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made this recipe for 2 jars of 3 cucumbers each and the recipe worked out perfectly for both spears and sliced. Could not have been happier with the results.

    • — Chris on September 12, 2020
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  • These are the best pickles EVER!!! Will never purchase in a store again. Thanks so much for this amazing recipe-all my family and friends are requesting the recipe and/or more pickles from me.

    • — jhs on September 11, 2020
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  • Jenn, you missed one word in the title of these pickles… it should be “Quick, Easy & DELICIOUS Refrigerator Pickles!” I don’t believe I could ever bring myself to purchase store-bought pickles again! As a side note, our new abbreviated name is “Quickles!” Thanks for all of your fabulous recipes, both here in your blog and in your amazing cookbook!

    • — Patty A. on September 6, 2020
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    • LOL — love the amended title — so glad you like them! 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 7, 2020
      • Reply
  • Does this recipe work if I slice the kirbys in slices instead of spears?

    • — Deavon O. on September 5, 2020
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    • I haven’t made them that way, but it should work. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on September 7, 2020
      • Reply
  • Just made your quick refrigerator pickles- – waiting 24 hrs to taste them – it’s a great and easy recipe -at the end of the recipe it said the cucumbers will last a month in the fridge – do you mean the pickles? – how long will the pickles last?
    Thanks, Mary

    • — Mary Lannan on September 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary, sorry for any confusion — I’m referring to the pickles. I think I’ll update that to make it more clear. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 3, 2020
      • Reply
  • So my friends and I have a big canning day this Saturday. We want to make 12 Quart size jars of these! How should I convert the ingredients to make enough for that? Or should I make a couple of different batches instead of all at once? Thanks!

    • — Jamie C. on September 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jamie, I think this is the kind of thing that you could make a big batch of brine for. You’ll just need to multiply all the ingredients by 6. Please keep in mind though that I did not develop this recipe with canning in mind, so I can’t guarantee that they’re appropriate for canning.

      • — Jenn on September 3, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thank you! We are making salsa bit using your method for these!

        • — Jamie on September 3, 2020
        • Reply
  • These are fantastic! How do I change the recipe to be able to make this a canning recipe?

    • — Carlee on August 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Carlee, I wish I could be more helpful but this recipe isn’t meant for canning, and I don’t know enough to feel confident advising you. I’m sorry!

      • — Jenn on August 30, 2020
      • Reply

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