Refrigerator Pickles – Quick and Easy Preservation

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Whether you love dill, sweet, garlic dills, or bread and butter pickles, let me show you an easy recipe to make refrigerator pickles quick and easy. 

A jar of pickles with dill, garlic and other herbs around it.

Learning to can and preserve food at home is one of the greatest things you can do to become self-sufficient, but if you’re short on time or only have a small number of cucumbers to process, refrigerator pickles may be just the recipe you need.

What Are Refrigerator Pickles?

Homemade refrigerator pickles are quick and easy to make. They are preserved in vinegar, and not processed with a water-bath canner like traditional pickles. 

Refrigerator pickles must be stored in the refrigerator so they don’t spoil. They can be kept safely in your refrigerator for 2-4 weeks and sometimes longer.

Making refrigerator pickles is a great tool to have when it comes to food preservation whether you’re growing food, going to the farmers market or buying food at the grocery stores. I encourage you to pick up different vegetables and herbs and have fun quick pickling.

Why You Should Learn How to Make Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator pickling is a great way to preserve vegetables at that awkward beginning stage of your garden when you’re just getting a couple of peppers, pickling cucumbers and onions at a time.

Your garden odds and ends can quickly and easily become a delicious snack for your family.

Or, maybe you have a small garden that’s producing more than you can eat fresh but not enough to go through the work of traditional water-bath canning. Quick pickling will give you a crunchy homemade pickle in a fraction of the time.

Please note, quick pickling does require that you store your pickles in the refrigerator until eaten.

Mason jars filled with ingredients for home canned pickles.

Supplies Needed

  • Clean Canning Jars w/Lids – The beauty of quick pickling is that your jars don’t have to be sterilized as in traditional water-bath canning. Just run your jars through the dishwasher. You can make refrigerator pickles in half-gallon jars, quart jars or pint jars.
  • Saucepan – A two-quart saucepan is a perfect size for this recipe.

A woman holding up a half gallon jar of refrigerator pickles.

Ingredients Needed

  • Pickling Cucumbers – Can be sliced into rounds or spears, or pickled whole.
  • Garlic Cloves – Garlic cloves can be added whole, or to infuse more flavor, smash the cloves before adding to the jar.
  • Pickling Spice Pro-tip: You can buy pickling spices but it’s easy to make at home with black peppercorns, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, allspice berries, coriander seeds, ground ginger, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. 
  • Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or rice vinegar work well for refrigerator pickles. Don’t use malt vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or homemade vinegar because they may be below the required 5% acidity level required to pickle safely.
  • Water – Tap water works just fine.
  • Salt  –  Quick pickling requires ½ teaspoon of salt per cup of liquid. You don’t have to use pickling salts. Sea salt works very well. 
  • Fresh Dill Weed – Optional when making dill quick pickles. 
  • Sugar – Optional when making sweet or bread and butter pickles. Pro-tip: Add a couple of tablespoons of sugar to your dill refrigerator pickles to bring out the sweetness of the cucumber.

A woman holding up a jar of colorful carrots.

How to Make Refrigerator Pickles

  1. Add vinegar, water and salt to a small saucepan, and bring to a boil to make your brine. Pro Tip – I let my brine cool before adding it to my jars. Hot brine will cook your vegetables which will make them less crunchy.
  2. While the brine is cooling, pack the herbs and spices into the clean jars.
  3. Pack your vegetables tightly into the jars without smashing them. Be sure to leave ½ an inch of space between your vegetables and the top of the jar.
  4. Add the cooled brine to the jar and give it a gentle shake to remove any bubbles.
  5. Place in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to meld.
  6. Store in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks.

A jar of sliced pickles on a wooden counter.

More Recipes You May Enjoy

A jar of pickles with dill, garlic and other herbs around it.

Refrigerator Pickles

Whether you love dill, sweet, garlic dills, or bread and butter pickles, I'll show you an easy recipe to make quick refrigerator pickles.
4.86 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Quick Pickle
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Pickling Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 48 Servings
Calories: 10kcal
Author: Jessica Sowards

Equipment

  • 2 Quart Jars
  • 1 Sauce Pan

Ingredients

  • 12 Pickling Cucumbers
  • 6-8 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons Pickling Spice
  • 2 Cups Vinegar Don’t use malt vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or homemade vinegar because they may be below the required 5% acidity level required to pickle safely.
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 6-8 Sprigs Fresh Dill Weed Optional when making dill quick pickles.
  • 1 Cup Sugar Optional when making sweet or bread and butter pickles. Pro-tip: Add a couple tablespoons of sugar to your dill refrigerator pickles to bring out the sweetness of the cucumber.

Instructions

  • Add vinegar, water and salt to a small saucepan and bring to a boil to make the brine. Pro Tip – I let my brine cool before adding it to my jars. Hot brine will cook your vegetables which will make them less crunchy.
  • While the brine is cooling, pack the herbs and spices into the clean jars.
  • Pack your vegetables tightly into the jars without smashing them. Be sure to leave ½ an inch of space between your vegetables and the top of the jar.
  • Add the cooled brine to the jar and give it a gentle shake to remove any bubbles.
  • Cover with lids, and place in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Store in the refrigerator for 2-4 weeks.

Notes

  • Don’t use malt vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or homemade vinegar because they may be below the required 5% acidity level required to pickle safely.
  • Add a couple tablespoons of sugar to your dill refrigerator pickles to bring out the sweetness of the cucumber.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pickle | Calories: 10kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 99mg | Potassium: 106mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 57IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
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