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Quick and Easy Refrigerator Pickles

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

Quick and Easy Refrigerator Pickles

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

  • 1¼ cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1¾ 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
  • ¼ 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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Comments

  • Am I able to can as is or do I need to change anything in the recipe? These pickles are delicious!

    • — Allie on February 5, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Allie, I didn’t develop this recipe for canning so I can’t say for sure that it would be safe. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on February 5, 2024
      • Reply
  • These pickles are delicious. My daughter is getting to the age where she likes to make food with me. I like to make the brine before a play date and portion out the mustard seed, peppercorn, dill, garlic, etc. That way my daughter and her friend can easily stuff their own jar and her friend can take hers home. I always get a text from the friend’s mom raving about the pickles. =)

    • — Shannon C on February 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • If we substitute dry dill weed for fresh dill, what would be the amount?

    • — Sonia S on January 25, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Sonia, Yes, you can use dried dill; you’ll need 2 teaspoons. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 26, 2024
      • Reply
  • Are these sweet since they have sugar?

    • — Cathy Haskett on January 21, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Cathy, You really don’t taste the sugar; it just helps to balance out the other flavors in the brine. You can reduce it — the brine will just taste more vinegary. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 22, 2024
      • Reply
  • The. Best. Pickles. Evvvveerrrrr.
    So good!! They were a big hit with family, friends and neighbors…all whom requested the simple recipe. Thanks for sharing Jenn, as always your recipes are keepers!

    • — Naly R. on January 1, 2024
    • Reply
  • Best pickles ever! My family is extremely picky when it comes to pickles and we have all agreed that these are some of the best pickles we have ever had. It was so easy to make as well and I can not wait to make these again!

    • — jkoc on December 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious pickles. We always buy your classic brand name dill pickles from Vlasic. I thought those were the best until I grew my own bush pickle cucumber and tried out this recipe. It’s gonna be hard to go back after tasting these and putting them on everything that uses pickles. Talk about a POP of flavor. Can’t wait until the next growing season to make more!!!!

    • — Juan on December 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • Love these pickles! I have a question about the brine though. I may have missed something, but when I make the brine it only fills each 32 oz jar about half way. What am I doing wrong?

    • — Chels on October 28, 2023
    • Reply
    • If you put the cucumbers in first, you’ll see that they take up space in the jar, so the brine will come up higher. If the cucs aren’t completely covered once you add the brine, add a little cold water just until they’re covered. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on October 31, 2023
      • Reply
  • Hi, these are lovely but as there’s only 2 of us it does take us 3-4 weeks to use them so is the pickling water still safe to reuse another couple of times even after that ?

    • — Tina on October 28, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes, you can reuse it for a second batch. Glad you like them!

      • — Jenn on October 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • Delicious and so easy!!

    • — Kerri on October 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi! I’d like to make & ship these out to family for Christmas. How long are these pickles good for in the refrigerator (unopened) and once opened?
    ( I don’t plan on canning them, just shipping them out in mason jars ) thank you!!

    • — Bri on October 8, 2023
    • Reply
    • Regardless of whether or not they’re opened, the pickles keep nicely in the fridge for up to a month.

      • — Jenn on October 9, 2023
      • Reply
  • Delicious crispy made 6 jars gave away 5 every body loved them, will definitely keep this recipe 😊🩵

    • — Marsha on September 11, 2023
    • Reply
  • Simply amazing! Five star rating is not enough! Please multiply by ten!
    Can you “process” these precious delights to extend their life? Two jars go pretty quick, but love them so much, that I would make thirty jars!
    THANK YOU Jenn, for yet another incredible recipe!

    • — Sofia Merrifield on September 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • Well, I have become the designated pickle briner for my family and it’s all your fault! You provided such a good recipe that my people won’t leave me in peace. They want more while dill cucumber harvests are still available. Thank you for this great recipe which I made as it was written. Adding it to my repertoire. May experiment later.

    • — Vida D. on September 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • What type of cucumbers did you use?

      • — Kenny on October 29, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Kenny, the recipe calls for Kirby cucumbers.

        • — Jenn on October 30, 2023
        • Reply
  • I’ve made a lot of different refrigerator pickle recipes, as well as lacto fermented pickles in the last few years, and these came out so good! Instead of the individual spices I just used 2 to 3 tablespoons of pickling spice that I got at my local natural health food store bulk bin. I also have access to grape leaves from the Vine from the neighbors. I understand those add a little extra flavor and the tannic acid crisps things up! Excellent recipe! The only thing I might change besides is, I might add a tsp dill seeds since the supermarket dill usually doesn’t come with the seed pods. I’m gonna make more this weekend!!!

    • — Bills4Dills on September 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • I can’t see that this recipe ever says what to do with the 2 cups water. Other recipes I’ve read say to combine water and vinegar, so that’s what I did here, but I wanted to point it out since this recipe never actually says to do that and I’m wondering if that should be fixed. They certainly taste great!

    • — Molly on September 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Molly, glad you like the pickles! At the bottom of the first paragraph,the recipe indicates that the vinegar, salt and sugar mixture should be combined with the water. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on September 5, 2023
      • Reply
  • I just made my 4th batch of these. I ran out of my own pickling cukes but thank goodness for farm stands. Friends tell me they are the best they’ve ever had and re-use the brine over and over. I love that the brine goes over the cukes cool. I think it makes a big difference in keeping them crisp!

    • — Debbie R. on September 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • These are really good. Trying to use up my garden variety cucumbers, not kirby’s, and it worked fine. I remove the seeds which is what I assume would make a normal cucumber soggy. I see Morton kosher salt in the picture, so I assumed that is what you used. I use Diamond so I doubled the amount of salt. I do wish people would specify in recipes, the difference in the size of the salt crystals makes a huge difference.

    • — Terri on September 2, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Terri, Glad you enjoyed them! When a recipe of my says salt in the ingredients, I’m referring to regular/table salt. If it requires something else, like kosher salt, I will specify that in the recipe.

      • — Jenn on September 4, 2023
      • Reply
  • I love this recipe and have been passing on the link to friends. I forgot to mark my containers with the date I made the pickles, but they still taste very good and are crunchy. Is there a way to tell when they are no longer good to use? Thanks!

    • — Rosie on August 29, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Rosie, Glad you like them! I’d just use taste and texture as your guide. 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 29, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made this for the first time and I don’t think I’ll ever be buying store-bought pickles again! Fantastic! I did one jar by the recipe, and one spicier (doubled the red pepper and tossed three chopped habanero in), and both ways are irresistible. I think I’m going to try some hotter peppers next time just for fun.

    • — Ciara on August 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hello!

    I just popped my jars using this recipe into the fridge…can’t wait to try them based on other reviews. Do you know if this recipe would work with kohlrabi?

    Thank you!

    • — JENNIFER on August 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jennifer, I’ve never worked with kohlrabi, but I suppose if you cut it into pickle-size pieces that it should work. Hope you enjoy if you try it!

      • — Jenn on August 28, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is the first time I’ve made refrigerator pickles (our garden is producing SO MANY CUCUMBERS) and you’ve set the bar really high with this recipe. They are so delicious. I will absolutely be making these again. Thanks for another awesome recipe!

    • — Miranda on August 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can this be made using dill seeds if you don’t have access to dill sprigs?

    • — Melani on August 24, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Melanie, I haven’t tried it, but think it should work. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 24, 2023
      • Reply
  • I have an abundance of cukes this year and this recipe was wonderful. The longer they are refrigerated the more garlicky they become. Will continue to use this super easy and healthy recipe. Yum…

    • — Elaine on August 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • These were great! I have made these once a week and they are perfect. They are always so crunchy. Honestly I have used my “ mini me” cukes and I also bought many of the small cukes at the grocery store when they had a sale. Any small cuke seems to work well.

    • — Susan on August 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • First time making refrigerator pickles, they turned out delicious!

    • — Eileen R. on August 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • I added 1 tsp pickle spice.
    It came out Great

    • — Jennifer Cottone on August 20, 2023
    • Reply
  • I just opened the jar, and had my first taste of the pickles I made 2 days ago, they are so delicious and really crunchy. I don’t think I will buy store bought pickles ever again.
    I can’t wait to share this receipt with my friends. Excellent!

    • — Sharon M on August 20, 2023
    • Reply
  • Best pickles…EVER!! And so easy!

    • — Charlene on August 20, 2023
    • Reply
  • SO SO SO GOOD!!
    I was skeptical about these pickles, but I was sooo surprised when then tasted better than store bought pickles and were so crunchy! We used fresh coriander and dill seeds instead of dry coriander and dill sprigs, and they were bomb! Great way to use our gardens overwhelming amount of pickling cucumbers. Some of the family thought it was too salty, but I thought it was good 🙂

    • — Kaleigh on August 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made these two days ago. Can’t believe how crunchy and delicious the pickles turned out. I was very sceptical about the “quick and easy and refrigerator” part but I have been converted. My Aunt used to make the best pickles. These are as good as hers. Thanks for sharing! Question – can these be ‘canned’ for longer storage?

    • — Yvonne on August 13, 2023
    • Reply
    • So glad you like them Yvonne! I didn’t design these with canning in mind so I don’t know if it would be safe — sorry!

      • — Jenn on August 14, 2023
      • Reply
    • Hi! Such an easy and DELICIOUS recipe! I’m a first-timer; have never pickled anything before. I grew my own Kirby cucumbers to use specifically for this recipe and was worth the wait! These refrigerator pickles were truly Scrumptious and easy. A huge hit in my house. Thank you for sharing your recipe

      • — Kellie on August 16, 2023
      • Reply
  • Oh my goodness, these are the best pickles ever! We are fans of pickles in my family but had always bought them. My parents gave me a ton of small cucumbers from their garden and this recipe looked quick and easy. Absolutely delicious and so simple to make! I may never buy pickles again!

    • — Summer on August 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made these as written last summer, and now all my friends and family are demanding I make them again! If you can find pickling dill (I found in a local natural foods store, used a combo of that and regular dill) it really makes these next level. Another amazing recipe, thanks Jen!!🩷

    • — Mel on August 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is an easy and really delicious recipe of classic dill pickles without the canning. The pickle juice also makes an excellent addition to a pickleback. I love that I don’t need to tweak the recipe to have a great result. Thank you!

    • — P.B on August 6, 2023
    • Reply
  • Love this recipe! Have made many times. Curious, has the brine been tried for “refridgerator dilly beans”?

    • — Michelle on August 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Michelle, I haven’t tried it, but think it should work. And glad you like the pickles! 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 5, 2023
      • Reply
  • Holy pickles Batman! I can’t even begin to thank you enough for this magical recipe — it’s the first time I ever made pickles and I’m over the moon excited at how freaking perfect they turned out!! I love pickles but am particular about them. These? PERFECTION! I will never buy pickles again. You’re amazing. Thank you so much!!

    • — Evelyn on August 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe for the first time and I could not wait to try these pickles! THEY ARE AWESOME!!!! I made them a second time and switched out the sugar for 2 tsp of honey (trying to avoid sugar) and they were just as good! Thank you for sharing this recipe!! This is in my permanent summer rotation. xo Jenn in Cleveland

    • — Jennifer Margaret on August 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • Can coriander seed be replaced by ground coriander?

      • — Bénédicte Letourneau on August 3, 2023
      • Reply
      • Sure, I’d use 1 teaspoon of ground coriander. Hope you enjoy!

        • — Jenn on August 3, 2023
        • Reply
  • Does the sugar make them sweet? Can I reduce it? It sounds sweet.

    • — Elizabeth on August 1, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth, You really don’t taste the sugar; it just helps to balance out the other flavors in the brine. You can reduce it — the brine will just taste more vinegary. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 1, 2023
      • Reply
  • AMAZING! My family was blown away by these pickles, including myself. They are so easy to make, delicious, and have the simplest ingredients. Love love love!!

    • — Maria on July 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn, I am making another batch! Do I need to add all fresh seeds, dill, and garlic to reuse the brine? Thanks!

    • — Jennifer on July 27, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jennifer, you can reuse the brine without adding anything. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 28, 2023
      • Reply
  • I made these exactly as written. This is a delicious recipe! We waited 24 hours and they were excellent. After 48 hours they were even better. These are better than any of the store brands I’ve bought. Thank you for sharing Joanne Biltekoff’s recipe, Jenn!

    • — Jennifer on July 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • I forgot the step to heat the water to dissolve the sugar and salt….will that make a difference? I chilled the brine and stored in the fridge immediately, should be safe still with the amount of vinegar?

      • — Nicole on August 17, 2023
      • Reply
      • Hi Nicole, No worries! That step is simply to dissolve the salt and sugar quickly – it shouldn’t affect anything.

        • — Jenn on August 19, 2023
        • Reply
        • Jenn – the stores are out of both mustard and coriander seeds – pickling spice has both – can I use this?

          • — Lynn on August 22, 2023
          • Reply
          • Sure – enjoy!

            • — Jenn on August 23, 2023
  • These are by far my favourite thank you so much. I’m wondering are these able to be canned and stored for winter? What adjustments would have to be made for this

    • — Michelle Millar on July 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Michelle, so glad you like them! I didn’t create the recipe with canning in mind, so I’m not sure they would be safe – sorry!

      • — Jenn on July 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • These are by far the best refrigerator pickles I’ve ever made. I now specifically grow pickling cucumbers in my garden just so I can make these pickles. They are also the perfect homemade gift from the kitchen!

    • — Dianne on July 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious. They tasted great after only 22 hours. Definitely will keep this recipe in mind when the cucumbers from the garden are in abundance.

    • — Jill on July 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • I always put in some ground turmeric to add color. And it’s a nice antioxidant. Add it when you’re dissolving the sugar/salt in the water/vinegar. Nice classic yellow ‘pickle’ color.

    • — Curt on July 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made these for the first time and really like them! I am going to add a little more salt next time and cut back on the coriander. I like horseradish, so the next time I make these, I will add some to the brine. Overall, really great recipe. Thank you for sharing.

    • — Candy on July 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • If you are a true half-sour pickle lover, I would recommend doing a 1/2 batch (1 jar) first for preference. In my opinion, this is a faux version of.

    I’ve been making 1/2 sours for many years. My adjustments would be double the amount of mustard seed and reduce the amount of dill sprigs. Personal preference.
    I used about 6-8 full sprigs for a 1/2 batch and was more than enough.

    It was a nice treat to make and family enjoyed. Especially spears vs whole.

    • — jay levine on June 30, 2023
    • Reply
  • It is difficult to find Kirby cucumbers here or fresh dill. Can dried dill and
    regular cucumbers be used?

    • — sidney on June 29, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes, you can use dried dill; you’ll need 2 teaspoons. And technically, regular cucumbers will work, but the pickles won’t have the nice crunch that kirby cucumbers will give you.

      • — Jenn on June 29, 2023
      • Reply

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