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

  • I have tried and tried again to make good tasting, CRISPY, pickles. They always turn out limp and mushy. I was thrilled when I found your recipe! I could not wait to try them. Thanks to you I have found just what I was looking for! Thank you for all the wonderful recipes you continue to send our way.

    • — Joan Barr on January 28, 2021
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  • I crave these pickles all year round! My kids count down until they can eat them! They are better than any pickles in the stores. Make sure to use the Kirby cucumbers like she says though. Even though other cucumbers are still good, they are a little rubbery and don’t give you the crunch.

    • — RS on January 28, 2021
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  • My son, who is a pickle addict and a pickle critic, loved the flavor of these pickles. Tangy and crisp!

    • — Estelle Kratochwill on January 28, 2021
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  • Wow! Who knew homemade pickles could ever taste this good! Plus, they were so easy to prep. The hard part was waiting to taste them.

    • — Amy Grimes on January 28, 2021
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  • Oh, my gosh. Even if you think you have never liked dill pickles, you will LOVE these! They taste like real food rather than a slew of chemicals – you will never want to go back to store-bought ones again. They are crunchy and flavorful and having that big jar in the fridge at the ready feels like having money in the bank. We shopped for the various seeds and herbs at our local coop so we could buy just the amount needed, knowing that they would be super fresh.

    • — Jinx Hufnagel on January 28, 2021
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  • LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! This recipe! It has become a staple in my fridge, and I eat them all the time. My daughter loves them too, and I have now started making them for her to bring to college and she shares with her friends who all love them too! I have been asked by many people for this recipe and have passed it along gladly! So delicious! Thank you!

    • — Jessica Silverman on January 28, 2021
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  • Delicious pickles and quick and easy recipe. A big hit with family and friends.

    • — Linda on January 28, 2021
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  • These are quick, easy and delicious!!! This is my go-to recipe.

    • — Maureen Deeley on January 28, 2021
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  • We love these pickles!! The first day we were told we need to stay at home, I was looking for something to create in the kitchen and along came this recipe. I think that it just popped up like it was reading my mind. Delicious, easy and seemingly foolproof. They taste great added to sandwiches.

    Thank you Jean,

    Pam Morse

    • — Pam Morse on January 28, 2021
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  • This is a FABULOUS recipe. It comes together very easily. The quality of the pickling cucumbers is critical. So, sadly you can only make them when you can find the right cukes.
    I found that you could reuse the brine and add new cukes. They aren’t quite the same , but pretty good!

    • — Kathleen Schettler on January 28, 2021
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  • Delicious is an understatement! These pickles are fabulous and easy to make. My mother would spend hours making brine for pickles. Next find a cool dark place for pickles to process. Then wait weeks to eat. This recipe sidesteps all that. In no time you will have great pickles.

    • — Barbara Goldman on January 28, 2021
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  • Perfect pickle recipe! I add a tiny bit more sugar to mine, for my taste. I’ve made these several times and people often ask me for the recipe.

    • — Vera E on January 28, 2021
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  • Never tried homemade pickles before. These were very tasty but too vinegary for our taste so cut down back on vinegar and hot peppers and added more water to second batch, which was better. Our favorite ones are the bright green, half sour pickles so am hoping for a similar recipe for those before the next batch of Summer 21 Kirby Cukes ripen!!

    • — Chris W. on January 28, 2021
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  • I love homemade pickles and these are so easy! You can play around with the amount of dill, hot peppers, garlic, etc. But the process could not be simpler. No more big clumsy canners and gallons of boiling water to mess with. These can be made year round with mini English cucumbers and fresh or dried dill. My mouth is watering as I type this! Thanks for the excellent recipe, Jen!

    • — Jennifer Tripe on January 28, 2021
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  • Excellent! One of the best pickle recipes out there.

    • — Zack Kaufman on January 28, 2021
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  • I’ve recently looked for ways to increase my repertoire of recipes and decided to try this recipe for Refrigerator Pickles. Not only are they very easy to make, but they are AMAZING. I made them for everyone – even people who hate pickles said they loved them. I will NEVER buy store pickles again. My whole family is now using this recipe. We have each added our own touches to the recipe – like adding a sprig of rosemary etc. I have made so many recipes from this website and once again, Jenn you do not disappoint!!

    • — A. Hoffmeyer on January 28, 2021
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  • This is the best pickle recipe I have ever tried! I made these all summer and fall with cukes from our garden. I gave them to my neighbors, and they were a huge hit.

    I only wish that there was a conversion to a canning recipe.

    • — Steve Anderle on January 28, 2021
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  • These are amazing! I always give jars away to family and friends. I’ve even had a store owner ask if it would be cost effective to sell them in his store they were so good.

    • — Nicole McLaren on January 28, 2021
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  • This may be the easiest recipe with fantastic results. Have used it with cucumbers – also okra and green beans.

    • — Charlotte on January 28, 2021
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  • These pickles are easy and delicous. They remind me of the Kosher dills I’ve been buying forever only fresher. They get even better with a little time.

    • — Carol on January 28, 2021
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  • These pickles were awesome! Quick, crisp and loaded with flavor.

    • — Debbie Wozniak on January 28, 2021
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  • These pickles were a hit! Very easy to make and a wonderful use of cucumbers from my summer garden.
    I chose to omit the pepper flakes, and reduce the vinegar by 1/4 cup. The result is near perfection.

    • — Julie M on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe is AMAZING! All the ingredients were available from my neighborhood grocery store. Recipe was clear and concise-easy to follow.
    And the result-delicious crunchy better than store bought!
    This recipe is artisanal and I felt like a real chef!

    • — cathi gee on January 28, 2021
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  • These are delicious and so easy. On a whim, I added peeled carrot sticks to the jar along with the cucumbers and they were equally good. The liquid can be reused easily too which is a bonus. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • — S W on January 28, 2021
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  • wow! This is a gem. I made them this summer after growing cucumbers for the first time. I continue to make them with grocery-store cucumbers. I add extra garlic cloves and when I have dill in the garden, I add any seed heads from older dill. My family adores these and they are so much better than commercial pickles. I reuse the brine in a jar for about 3-4 weeks before starting over, adding fresh cucumbers when they have been completely eaten from the jar. ( i.e. I don’t add new cucumbers when there are already-pickled cucumbers in the jar).

    • — Jan on January 28, 2021
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  • Once you make these amazing pickles, you will never go back to store-bought! So easy and foolproof!

    • — Joye R on January 28, 2021
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  • I have tried and tried to make good refrigerator pickles. The recipes I found never had the right water to vinegar ratio or the right seasonings. I had almost given up but saw this recipe and thought “its a rare recipe of Jenn’s I don’t find to be fantastic” and decided to give it one last try. OMG will make these over and over and over.

    • — Ann Shoemaker on January 28, 2021
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  • These pickles are amazing! So crisp and just a nice level of sweet and heat!

    • — Jeanne Russell on January 28, 2021
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  • Absolutely loved these pickles! So tasty. Was able to use cucumbers from my garden. My neighbors asked me to make some for them–even offered to pay me for them! Ha!

    • — Stephanie on January 28, 2021
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    • I love making refrigerator pickles. But I HATE soggy pickles. One thing I do to make sure my pickles stay crunchy for a long time is blanch and shock my pickles before brining them. Add whole pickles to boiling water for one to two minutes until BRIGHT green. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Once the pickles are cold, stuff them in the jar and add the brine per the recipe and enjoy crunchy pickles for a long time!

      • — CeCe Shutts on January 31, 2021
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  • 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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    • I’ve made these many times, as long as pickles were in season! My family loves them. The spices add a fantastic balance of flavor.

      • — Diane Valitutti on January 28, 2021
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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
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    • 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
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  • 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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    • I have been searching for a quick pickle recipe. These pickles are fabulously crisp, tasty, and so easy to make!! Thank you!!

      • — Deb Gregoire on January 28, 2021
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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
    • Reply
    • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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
    • Reply
    • 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
    • Reply
    • I haven’t made them that way, but it should work. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on September 7, 2020
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  • 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
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  • 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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