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

  • These are SO good! Made them exactly as written except double the garlic cause well, we love garlic. I do find them very sour, not unbearable, but I would enjoy them more if a little less so. What if I decrease the vinegar to 1 cup and added the difference in water?

    • — Emily H. on July 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Emily, what you’re suggesting is fine. 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 31, 2021
      • Reply
  • Delicious! So easy to make! They taste like a bowl of pickles that is served in a Cleveland OH deli!
    Thank you!

    • — RUTH BERGSTRESSER on July 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have been looking for a good recipe for pickles for years. This is by far the best. I found my forever pickle recipe. Thank you.

    • — Lynn on July 28, 2021
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  • Hi Jenn,
    I just made them yesterday, put them in the fridge and opened the jar today. WOW! They are awesome, crunchy and delicious. What I was excited about was how easy it was to make!
    Jenn, you are amazing, thanks so much for your great recipes. I have made a multitude of them and am never disappointed.
    Stay safe, Fran

    • — Fran Amirault on July 24, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed them! 🙂

      • — Jenn on July 26, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made two quarts of these refrigerator pickles a couple days ago. I added a handful of spicy korean chilis that I grow, and fresh coriander seeds I just harvested. I could only wait two days before I dipped into one of the jars. I like these better than the processed dill pickles I make. I usually make about 18 jars of bread and butter and dill to make it through the year. After that, I make dill pickles and give away whatever else comes from the garden. These will make it easy to save some nice jars for gifting, without worrying about getting my jars back! LoL
    I’m glad I receive your emails and try many of your recipes.

    • — debb on July 22, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    Love these pickles! I found fresh jalapeño s at the farmers market along with the cukes this week. Would it be okay from food safety standpoint to add 2 or 3 chopped up jalapeños to each jar?
    Thanks!

    • — Bry on July 17, 2021
    • Reply
    • Oh, also we got smaller pickling cukes this time, can I put them in the brine whole, or do they need to be cut? Thanks!

      • — Bry on July 17, 2021
      • Reply
      • You can put them in whole, but they will take a little longer to pickle. Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on July 18, 2021
        • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on July 18, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I don’t like dill. Can I leave out the dill?

    Thanks,

    • — Kristine on July 15, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 16, 2021
      • Reply
      • Crud ! I missed the chill step and added the brine to the jars warm … are my pickles doomed ? 😣

        • — Jessica on July 18, 2021
        • Reply
        • They should still be okay — enjoy!

          • — Jenn on July 18, 2021
          • Reply
  • These are great! Made them Saturday and let them sit until Monday and can’t believe the flavor! Wasn’t sure if the sugar would make them sweet, but can’t even tell it’s in the recipe.

    I also have a question as to whether these are live i.e. probiotic. I’m thinking since not cooked and no preservatives they would be.

    Thoughts?

    • — DANIEL OLSEN on July 12, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Daniel, So glad you like them! I don’t know enough about probiotics to say confidently whether the pickles would be a source of them – sorry!

      • — Jenn on July 13, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!
    I thought for sure I saw a recipe like this refrigerator pickle one using other veggies from the garden. My immediate question is, do you recommend pickling broccoli?
    Love your recipes!

    • — Corrine on July 11, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Corrine, I don’t have any other pickling recipes on the blog, so you must’ve seen it somewhere else. I do think broccoli would work here. Depending upon how large you cut the pieces, it may take slightly more or less time for them to pickle. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on July 12, 2021
      • Reply
  • We tried a number of recipes last year. This was the clear winner for all the kids and grandkids.

    • — Sandy on July 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can pickling spice be used instead of mustard and coriander seeds? Having trouble finding coriander seeds at local grocers! Please advise. thanks, Gay Harrison

    • — Gay Harrison on June 22, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Gay, And I’m not familiar with the pickling spice mix so I’m not sure how the taste will compare to this recipe, but I’m sure it will work. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on June 22, 2021
      • Reply
    • I used 3 tablespoons pickling spice in place of the coriander and mustard seeds and kept everything else as is. Pickles turned out great!!

      • — Emily H. on July 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • Would like to try making this recipe today with our garden cukes. We are getting a bunch in and would love to have some for later. Could I use this recipe and sterilize some jars? Didn’t think it would be a problem but wanted to check. Thanks!

    Morgane

    • — Morgane on June 20, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Morgane, I didn’t develop this recipe with canning in mind, so I can’t guarantee that they’re appropriate for canning. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on June 21, 2021
      • Reply
  • These are delicious! Made one quart for my son-in-law who likes hot and spicy dills, so added a jalapeno to his quart. Thanks, Jenn, for another great recipe. Will be making more soon.

    • — Tammy Kline on June 15, 2021
    • Reply
    • Love the Jalapeno idea. I have a ton of hot peppers in the garden and never thought of using them. In the next batch for sure.

      • — DANIEL OLSEN on July 12, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I have made your pickle recipe several times (depending on availability of Kirby cucumbers in Canada) and everyone who tries them raves about them.

    Do you have a similar recipe for refrigerator ‘sweet’ pickles (bread and butter pickles) in your recipe collection? Would love to try something like that too!

    Thanks for your great collection of recipes.

    Mike Mikitiuk
    London, Ontario, Canada

    • — MIKE MIKITIUK on June 8, 2021
    • Reply
    • Glad you like these, Mike! As of now, I don’t have a recipe for sweet pickles — sorry! I’ll have to add that to my list of recipes to potentially develop. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 8, 2021
      • Reply
    • Mike following this thread! I am growing bush cukes for the first time this year. They were going great guns and I had hoped to make oodles of processed bread and butter pickles. Alas, Mother Nature intervened and I only yielded two pounds, which I used for this recipe.

      • — Suzanne Hicks, St. Thomas, ON on July 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn

    I’ve made dills for 30 years the traditional way with just fresh dill, garlic cloves, and a brine with no sugar …

    Can I use those same ingredients for this recipe?

    Love all your recipes!

    • — Paula Siedlaczek on May 27, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Paula, I can’t really say it would work without trying it myself — sorry! If you do try it, please LMK how they turn out. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 2, 2021
      • Reply
  • Part of my CSA contained pickle cucumbers so I decided to try this recipe. These were delicious and so easy.

    • — Cheri T on May 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • My only question is that could I make these with dried dill instead of fresh?

    • — Josh on April 25, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Josh, Yes, you can use dried if you can’t find fresh — you’ll need 2 teaspoons. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 26, 2021
      • Reply
      • Two teaspoons per jar or one teaspoon per jar for a total of two? I only have dried dill and just want to confirm. Excited to make these as I grew pickling cukes for the first time this year. Thanks!

        • — Candice on May 22, 2021
        • Reply
        • 2 teaspoons total (so 1 tsp. per jar). Hope you enjoy!

          • — Jenn on May 23, 2021
          • Reply
        • I made these sliced up but didn’t add sugar in my mixture. The kids and adults ate both jars after 24 hours. Will definitely be making more!

          • — Tanya on June 28, 2021
          • Reply
  • Just made these for the 4th or 5th time. So much better than store bought – easy too.

    • — Kim S. on March 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • You can add a variety if mixed vegetables to the pickling juice!

    • — CeRo on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
    • Do you add the sugar called for in the recipe? If so, are these a sweet dill pickle?

      • — Kristin on May 29, 2021
      • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply

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