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How to Make Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles
Refrigerator Pickles

Last weekend I found myself with a couple of pounds of cucumbers from the garden, both the standard green Kirby kind and those of the lemon cucumber variety (the yellow ones in the photo). There was no way we were going to be able to eat all of them before they got soft and wrinkled, and I’d already given away several, so I decided to take my first foray into pickle making.

Not ready to get into canning, I chose to make “refrigerator pickles” which don’t require water baths, canning jars, or my irrational fear healthy respect of botulism.

After I made the pickles, I put the hastily snapped photo above on the Formerchef Facebook Page and it got such a positive response, I thought I’d share what I did for those who were interested but also new to pickling. I’m certainly no expert here, just a pickle newbie, but the results were good enough that I’ll be trying it again.

For reference, I used two recipes from; this one for small-batch garlic dill refrigerator pickles and this one for easy refrigerator pickles for any kind of vegetable.

Lessons learned:

  • Use decent quality mild vinegar. I’ve used both basic white vinegar and white wine vinegar and had good results with both. The cooking website theKitchn said plain white vinegar was fine and while the pickles are crisp and taste great, the vinegar was a bit strong for my personal taste.
    Update 2020; I now used a more gentle white wine vinegar and I like it better.
  • Make more brine than you think you’ll need. I needed about a cup more than the original reference recipes called for.
  • Experiment with using some of the different seasonings listed at the bottom of the recipe below. Next time I’ll try some pink peppercorns for color and some dried dill seed for a more concentrated dill flavor.

Do you make your own refrigerator pickles? Have any tips to share?

Recipe for Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

How to make refrigerator pickles.
Prep Time10 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pickles


  • 2 lbs cucumbers
  • .25 ounce fresh dill
  • 6 cloves peeled garlic
  • 2.5 cups white wine vinegar
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2.5 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice**
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns


  • Wash the cucumbers and scrub off any prickly bits.
  • Slice off the ends and then cut into spears, flat sandwich slices, or round slices as desired. Pack the cut pieces of cucumber into clean* jars with lids.
  • Add two cloves of peeled garlic and some sprigs of fresh dish to each jar. Make sure you leave enough room in the jar to cover with the pickling brine and leave a little space below the lid (about 1/2").
  • In a non reactive pot, heat up the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, pickling spice, and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer and cook until the salt is fully dissolved.
  • Pour the hot pickling brine into the jars and cover the cucumbers with the liquid.
  • Put the lids on the jars, allow them to cool to room temperature, and then place them in the refrigerator.
  • Let the cucumbers marinate in the pickling liquid for at least 48 hours before eating. The pickles should keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.


*I ran all my jars through the dishwasher again before using them even though they were "clean" in my kitchen cabinet. You can also dunk the jars in a pot of boiling water.
**optional seasonings beyond pickling spice (link is to the one I bought on Amazon) could be red pepper flakes, dried dill weed or dill seeds, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, or different colored whole peppercorns.


  • Susan

    I make tons of refrigerator pickles every year using Mrs. Wage’s pickling mix, but I do believe I’ll give your recipes a try. Don’t you just love the crisp texture of a homemade pickle? Can’t go back to supermarket pickles once you have made them yourself!

  • Kate

    I confess to profound laziness at times, and pickling cukes is one of those times.
    I did discover a ‘cheat’ that works, for what it’s worth. We tried some pickles from Costco: Famous Dave’s Signature Spicy Pickles ( ). When we ate the gallon up, I just sliced some mini pickling cucumbers into the existing brine and slid the jar to the back of the frig. I didn’t heat the brine, just waited. I don’t remember how long before they tasted great, but they did. 🙂
    Pickles aren’t my spouse’s faves so I probably won’t try these…but pickled beets, not that’s a whole other thing!
    Thanks for the tips.

  • Myra

    We (he) made refrigerator pickles this year using a similar recipe. This started a Refrigerator Pickling Phase, and we now also have pickled jalapenos, red onions, and carrots. All so good!

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