These refrigerator pickles are a delightful blend of crunchy cucumbers and a vinegar dill brine. Your family will be asking you to make these again and again.
For fresh, crunchy dill pickles you can make at home, try this easy refrigerator pickle recipe. My kids and husband keep eating these quicker than I can make them!
With just water, vinegar, salt, and a few flavorful ingredients, you can turn fresh cucumbers into crisp, tangy pickles in no time.
Unlike traditional processed pickles, these quick refrigerator pickles skip the canning process so you can enjoy homemade pickles without any special equipment.
Homemade Refrigerator Pickles
Homemade refrigerator dill pickles are perfect for any time you want that classic, tangy crunch.
Their fresh flavor and versatility are perfect for adding to sandwiches, burgers, sauces or even just for munching on for a snack.
- Water: The base for your pickling brine. Always use clean, filtered water to ensure there are no impurities that might affect the pickling process.
- White Vinegar: You can experiment with apple cider vinegar for a slightly different taste, but white vinegar is classic for its neutral flavor.
- Pickling Salt: Unlike table salt, pickling salt doesn't contain anti-caking agents or iodine, which can cloud the brine.
- Pickling Cucumbers: These are specifically grown to be pickled. They're smaller and have a thicker skin than regular cucumbers. Make sure they're fresh and free from blemishes.
- Garlic Cloves: Adjust the amount based on your preference. Some like their pickles extra garlicky!
- Fresh Dill: Make sure it's fresh and vibrant. Dried dill can be used in a pinch, but the flavor won't be as pronounced.
- Whole Mustard Seed: Yellow or brown mustard seeds can be used, with brown being a bit spicier.
- Whole Peppercorns: Black peppercorns are what we used, but you can experiment with green or pink for a different flavor profile.
How to Make Refrigerator Pickles
Start by slicing each cucumber in ¼ inch slices and placing them inside your jar. I suggest using a pint-size jar for these pickles.
After adding your cucumbers to the jar, it’s time to add the garlic. Peel two to three cloves of garlic and cut them into large chunks.
Start by adding a few sprigs of fresh dill. Then, add in whole mustard seed and whole peppercorns.
Set your jar aside for a minute to make the brine. Add water, vinegar, and pickling salt to a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
Remove the liquid from the oven and slowly pour it over the cucumbers in your jar. Fill the jar almost to the top with liquid and place the lid on top. Make sure the lid is tight and secure, then flip the jar upside down to allow all the ingredients to mix together. Then, stick the jar in the refrigerator to cure.
The flavors become stronger over time, so wait at least one week before eating them. Letting them have a bit more time to absorb flavors will make them better tasting.
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Tips for Making Homemade Pickles
- Fresh cucumbers are a must! When I make pickles, I like to make a variety of both refrigerator pickles and some to can. I always buy my pickling cucs from a local farm near me in a 20 pound bag. I place my order ahead of time and it is fresh picked the morning I pick it up.
- Make sure to cut off the blossom end of the cucumber.
- Fresh dill is another must. I've used dill past it's prime before and it just doesn't have the flavor fresh dill has.
- Use a mandolin for slicing the pickles (I bought this one that has a mandolin included. I've had it for a couple years now and LOVE IT. One of my favorite kitchen gadgets and saves me tons of time when I'm canning. It also came with a cutting glove). This will help make them all uniform. And I also suggest using a cutting glove when using the mandolin. I've cut off the tip of one of my fingers in the past using a mandolin and I've since heard many stories of other canners doing the same. I always use my cutting glove now and it's awesome!
How Long do Refrigerator Pickles Last
If these pickles are stored in the fridge, they will be able to last about 2-3 months.
They may lose some crispness over time, but they will still be safe to eat.
If you notice any moldiness, sliminess or bad odors, discard the pickles. This is a sign they have spoiled.
Always use clean hands and utensils when removing pickles from the brine to prevent contamination.
Keep the pickles fully submerged in brine during storage. Top off with additional vinegar brine if needed.
Exposure to air can cause softening - keep the pickling jar tightly sealed.
Pickles may darken slightly over time but this is natural and not harmful.
Best Cucumbers to Use for Homemade Pickles
The best cucumbers to use for refrigerator dill pickles are:
- Kirby/Pickling Cucumbers - These smaller, bumpy cucumbers are perfect for pickling. They have thin skins, small seeds, and crisp texture.
- Persian/Mini Seedless Cucumbers - Another good small variety. Their thin skin doesn't require peeling.
- English/Hot House Cucumbers - The longer, thinner cucumbers found wrapped in plastic. They have tender skin and mild flavor.
- Garden Cucumbers - Regular fresh eating cucumbers work too. Look for firm, fresh ones without large seeds.
The key things to look for are:
- Smaller Sizes - 3-6 inches long.
- Thin Skins - No need to peel.
- Minimal Seeds - Smaller seed cavities maintain crisp texture.
- Firm and Unwaxed - Indicators of freshness. Wax prevents brine penetration.
Avoid large, thick-skinned cucumbers. But any fresh, crispy cucumber will make tasty refrigerator pickles!
Garlic and Dill Refrigerator Pickles
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ Tablespoon pickling salt
- 2 to 3 pickling cucumbers sliced
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves peeled and cut into chunks
- 4 sprigs of fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon whole mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- Combine water, vinegar, and pickling salt in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
- While the water is heating, place cucumbers, garlic, dill, mustard seed, and peppercorns in a pint-size jar.
- Pour the hot water over the top of the mixture until the jar is full. Place the lid on the jar and seal tightly. Lightly shake the jar to combine the ingredients.
- Place the jar in the refrigerator and allow to cure for one week before eating.