Nothing beats a cool, crunchy, and perfectly crisp pickle when burgers or sandwiches are on the menu but as you know, not all pickles are created equal. Say goodbye to soggy, bland pickles, and give these Easy Refrigerator Pickles a try. They require just 20 minutes of hands-on time and after 24 hours in the refrigerator, they’re ready to be enjoyed.
Ingredients for Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles
- Cucumbers – Small Kirby or Persian cucumbers work best for refrigerator pickles because of their size and their very small seeds
- Vinegar – Distilled white vinegar gives refrigerator dill pickles the classic tang you love and it’s easy to find in any grocery store (though you probably already have a bottle in your pantry right now)
- Kosher salt – Kosher salt grains are larger than ordinary fine salt or table salt and do not contain iodine. Coarse sea salt can be used 1:1 for kosher salt but if all you have is fine sea salt, you’ll need to decrease the amount you use (see recipe below)
- Cane sugar – The small am0unt of sugar added to this refrigerator pickles recipe is strictly for flavor – not function. Sugar helps balance or offset some of the tartness of the vinegar. It’s completely optional so feel free to leave it out for a Whole30-compatible or sugar-free option if you’d like.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic will give you the best results (as opposed to dried or granulated garlic). We call for 2-3 cloves in the recipe below to give you some flexibility depending on how large your cloves are and how garlicky you’d like your easy refrigerator pickles to be.
- Peppercorns – Black peppercorns are specified in the recipe but pink or green would also work.
How to Make Refrigerator Pickles
If you’ve never DIY’d a batch of refrigerator dill pickles before we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how simple these are to make. Warning: You may never buy dill pickles again.
Step 1: Make the brine by combining the vinegar, salt, and sugar (if using) in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the peppercorns and water. Set aside.
Step 2: Using a large knife, cut the cucumbers into spears or slices. Whichever you decide to do, try to keep them relatively similar in size and thickness for best results.
Step 3: Peel and slice the garlic. Add the garlic and dill to a clean wide-mouth canning jar with a lid (a wide-mouth quart-size mason jar or flip-top canning jar work great for this refrigerator dill pickle recipe).
Step 4: Add the sliced cucumbers to the jar. If you’re making pickle spears, arrange them standing upright in the jar. If making pickle chips or slices, layer them in the jar arranging them so that they all fit and will have a little room at the top for the brine. If using pint-sized jars, just split the garlic, dill, and cucumbers amongst two jars.
Step 5: Pour the brine over the cucumbers in the jar and cover with the lid. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.
Do I need a special kind of cucumber to make these refrigerator pickles?
While smaller varieties of cucumbers like Persian and Kerby are very convenient thanks to their smaller size (they almost never need trimming to fit into a quart-size jar) they also boast thinner skin and fewer and smaller seeds than regular slicing cucumbers.
But regular cucumbers and English cucumbers can still be used to make a killer refrigerator dill pickle! If using slicing cucumbers, look for those that are on the smaller side. These will have smaller and more tender seeds.
No matter which type of cucumber you choose, be sure to wash them well as many are coated in a thin film of food-grade wax to prolong their shelf life before slicing them to fit your jars.
Can refrigerator dill pickles be made Whole30-friendly?
Yes. These refrigerator dill pickles can be made Whole30-compatible by leaving out the teaspoon of sugar that is called for in the recipe. We’ve added just a tiny bit of sugar to the recipe to help balance some of the acidity of the white vinegar but it’s not required to make a very tasty batch of pickles that are perfect for topping your next Burger Bowl with Special Sauce or serving alongside 5-minute Salmon Salad when you’re short on time but need a hearty and satisfying lunch.
How long will refrigerator pickles keep?
These quick refrigerator pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month. While they may lose a bit of their crunch over time, they’ll still be delicious. For this reason, you might want to consider making a double batch so you always have some on hand (hello, pickles spears AND chips!) or share a jar with a friend and share the love.
- 1 pound small cucumbers, about 6-7 (such as Persian or Kirby)
- 1 cup cold water
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt (may substitute 1 ½ teaspoon fine sea salt)
- 2–3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 teaspoon cane sugar (optional, omit for Whole30)
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 8 sprigs fresh dill (or ½ teaspoon dried dill)
- Make the brine: Place a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add vinegar, salt, and sugar (if using). Stir. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Remove pan from heat. Stir in peppercorns and water. Set aside or transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 4 days).
- Make the Pickles: Wash the cucumbers and pat dry. Using a knife, slice the cucumbers lengthwise into spears (or slice into ¼-inch thick rounds for pickle chips).
- Add the garlic and dill to the bottom of a wide-mouth quart-size mason jar. Then add the cucumber spears or slices to the jar.
- Pour the brine over the cucumbers. It should cover them completely, but if not, add a bit of cold water to the top until they are covered.
- Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate for 24 hours. Pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
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About Jessica Beacom
Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.