Homemade refrigerator pickles require zero canning expertise or equipment! Crisp, zesty, and packed with a punch of amazing flavor – you have to try them!
Do you ever get a craving for the perfect crisp dill pickle? We’re dill obsessed in this house, and I’ve been on a mission to make the perfect pickles.
For me, the perfect pickle is crisp, with a good snap when you bite into it. It’s bold and zesty, filled with garlic-dill flavor, and just a tiny bit of kick. It’s also made with the freshest cucumbers.
The problem is, the time of year when cucumbers are at their peak freshness, is also one of the hottest times of the year around here. Definitely not when I want to be dragging out canning equipment and boiling a bunch of water.
That’s the genius of these refrigerator pickles, theres’ NO canning required! Just make a quick brine, add it to the cucumbers and flavor aromatics (garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds, etc), seal and refrigerate. Easy peasy!
HOW TO MAKE REFRIGERATOR PICKLES
- Slice cucumbers and prepare jars. If slicing into rounds, cut the slices about 1/4″ thick. I like to use glass canning jars, but technically, since these pickles aren’t canned, you can use plastic containers, as long as they have airtight lids.
- Make brine and cool. Combine the water, vinegar, salt and sugar in a saucepan, and heat until solids are dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
- Add cucumbers and other ingredients to jars. When adding cucumbers to jars, make sure you leave enough room for the dill, garlic, mustard seed, black peppercorns, red pepper flakes and celery seed, plus the brine.
- Add brine. Pour in enough brine to cover the cucumbers, making sure to leave a 1/2″ or so at the top.
- Seal and refrigerate. Seal jars to be airtight and refrigerate for at least 5 days. Pickles will last 4-6 weeks after those 5 days.
ADDITIONAL COOKING TIPS
USE FRESH CUCUMBERS
The best pickles are made with the freshest ingredients, especially the cucumbers. The cucumber skin should be firm, with no deep blemishes. Try to find consistently sized cucumbers, so your pickles will be uniform in size.
VARIATIONS OF THIS RECIPE
- SWEET – these are definitely not sweet pickles, but if you’d like them more on the sweet side, feel free to increase the sugar amount. I’ve not experimented to come up with the perfect amount, but I’d suggest to try 1/2 cup and go from there.
- SPICY – I made these a mild heat level to accommodate most palates, but if you want more of a kick, feel free to add as much red pepper flakes as you want. You could also add some sliced jalapenos, or Thai chiles for some extra heat.
- CUCUMBERS – I found the cucumbers that had the best crunch were the pickling cucumbers. They may also be labeled as Kirby, or salad cucumbers. They’re shorter than regular cucumbers, with a bumpy and sometimes lighter skin. If you can’t find them, English cucumbers will work as well. They may also be labeled as hothouse or seedless cucumbers.
- OTHER VEGGIES – I haven’t specifically tested this brine with other veggies, but I think it would work well with green beans, carrots, cauliflower, etc. Whatever you normally like to pickle 🙂
MAKING HOMEMADE PICKLES AHEAD OF TIME
Pickles are a natural make-ahead recipe, as the recipes are designed to be made a little while before you eat them. This recipe was developed so the pickles have a week to sit in the refrigerator.
As tempting as it may be to break the seal and go to town before then, they really taste best when left to sit.
Refrigerator pickles are good for 4-6 weeks, when kept refrigerated and the lids are sealed after each use.
I like to take a permanent marker and write down the date I made the pickles on the lid, so I’ll know when it’s been 4-6 weeks. Honestly, our pickles never last that long before we devour them!
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT FOR THIS RECIPE
- Pint-sized Jars – I prefer these wide-mouth jars, as they’re easier to fill.
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- 6-7 pickling cucumbers
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup white vinegar (or apple cider)
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2-1 tsp granulated sugar
- fresh dill
- 4-6 cloves garlic peeled and smashed/roughly chopped
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp whole yellow mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- pinch celery seed
- Slice cucumbers into slices about 1/4" thick, or into spears. Gather glass jars and lids. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, add water, vinegar, salt and sugar (if using), and heat, stirring occasionally, over MED HIGH heat until sugar and salt have dissolved. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- While brine is cooling, add cucumbers to jars. Make sure to leave enough room for the brine and other ingredients.
- Add dill, garlic, mustard seed, black peppercorns, red pepper flakes and celery seed.
- Pour in enough brine to cover the cucumbers, making sure to leave a 1/2" or so at the top. Seal jars to be airtight.
- Refrigerate for at least 5 days. Pickles will last 4-6 weeks after those 5 days, but will lose some of their crispness towards the end of their "shelf" life.
- Recipe makes enough for 2 pint-size jars, or one quart-size jar. Can easily be doubled, tripled, etc for larger batches.
- The amount of dill is left unspecified, as this will vary from person to person.
- Whole pickles or half pickles can be made, but I would prick the skin of the cucumber a few times with a fork to allow the brine to penetrate the skin.