Refrigerator Pickles

If you are starting to get an abundance of garden vegetables, cucumbers in particular, this recipe for refrigerator pickles is a great way to preserve them! They can be eaten right away, but after a few weeks, they are tangy and flavorful but still maintain their crunch! Read more after the recipe.

refrigerator pickles from our best bites

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Refrigerator Pickles

  • Author: kate jones


These crunchy, tangy, flavorful refrigerator pickles will become a summertime staple!



10 cloves garlic, peeled (and lightly smashed, if desired)
2 cups white vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
several sprigs fresh dill (I ended up using about a loose cup, unchopped, stems attached)
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon black or pink peppercorns (or a mixture of both)
Desired vegetables (I used all cucumbers, but you could also pickle young spring carrots, scallions, green beans, asparagus, cauliflower, hot chilies, etc.)


In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and salt, raise the heat, and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt dissolves. Remove from heat.

Evenly divide the dill among 2 1-quart canning jars. Divide the seeds and peppercorns between the jars. Using tongs, remove the garlic from the brine and place 5 cloves in each jar. Pack each jar with desired vegetables (I ended up using about a pound of cucumbers, but it will really vary depending on what veggies you use) until each jar is tightly stuffed.

Bring the brine back to a boil and pour it over the veggies to cover completely. Allow to cool, then place the lids on the jars and refrigerate. You can eat them in a few hours, but they’ll be better and more pickle-y in a few days. Keep these in the fridge for up to 3 months.


If you want to add a little sweetness, add 2-4 tablespoons sugar to the brine when you add the salt. This will only add a hint of sweetness. I hate hate hate sweet pickles, so I’m ill-equipped to tell you to add any more than that.

blast from the past

I originally posted this recipe almost 8 years ago right after my youngest baby was born (so if you continue reading, please don’t be alarmed, I have not recently reproduced again.) It continues to be a great way to use up all those farmer’s market cucumbers, and the snappy, fresh pickling cucumbers from the grocery store, and the cucumbers that mysteriously show up on your front porch because other people grow things like cucumbers in their gardens (meanwhile, I’m trying very hard to keep some very low-maintenance plants alive.) I don’t want to mess with the narrative too much because it’s a little snippet of my personal history–the 7-year-old below is now a 15-year-old teenager driving and thinking about dating and social justice and what kinds of colleges he wants to apply to, and the brand-new baby is now my 7-year old. But. Pickles are good. Homemade refrigerator pickles are better.

time traveling back to 2012

So before anyone accuses me of being an overachiever and blogging 2 weeks after I have a baby, let me assure you all that I am pretty much slacking in just about every way possible. I’m a tiny bit worried about my 7-year-old’s summer homework assignment where he has to write a short essay about his most favorite thing he did all summer because we have had a very slacky summer. Also, everything I’ve posted and will post between the time the baby was born and the end of August has already been cooked and photographed. This is because I nested with food instead of cleaning. Sometimes I wish that just once, I’d have the burning, overwhelming urge to clean and organize, but I don’t think I have that particular gene.

So I have this weird thing about pickles. I am pickle picky; I love them, but they have to be JUST right–not too fussy, not too spicy, and NEVER sweet, not even a little bit. I have about 10 jars of pickles in my fridge because I can never remember which ones I like. When I was pregnant (and before the debilitating acid reflux set in), I had a sudden, uncontrollable urge to make some Pinterest refrigerator pickles. I got everything I needed and then, on a whim, decided that I would likely never crave anything again, let alone refrigerator pickles, so I put them on the back burner (so to speak).

And then I got a recent issue of Food Network magazine (yeah, I don’t remember which month it was…it had tacos on the cover, though). And I saw Ted Allen’s recipe.  I love Ted Allen, like, a lot. His recipe was way less fussy than the Pinterest one. And it didn’t have any sugar in it, so I didn’t have to go tweaking anything (because I hate any sweet pickles, remember?). So I made the pickles and they were a-mazing and reminded me of the pickles that my friend Ange Jones’s mom made when we were kids and I would secretly lust after their pickle stash. 😳

How to make refrigerator pickles

For these pickles, you’ll need about 2 pounds of vegetables (I’m just using cucumbers),

crinkly cut cucumbers for refrigerator pickles

but you can use anything your little heart feels like pickling), 10 cloves of fresh garlic, white vinegar, kosher salt, fresh dill, celery seed, coriander seed, mustard seed, and peppercorns.

ingredients for refrigerator pickles
Be sure to use kosher salt. I know we say that all the time, but I really mean it here. If you use table salt, the pickles will end up way too salty. Also, the added iodine could do weird things to your pickles and we certainly do not want that crisis on our hands.

If desired (and I think you should desire it because I think it releases more garlicky goodness into the pickles), very lightly smash each clove of garlic to remove the skins. Set aside.

Prepare your vegetables–wash them, peel carrots if necessary, slice or chop anything that’s very large. I used a crinkle cutter to cut some stout little pickling cucumbers into thick slices–about 1/2″ thick, which resulted in crunchy, crispy pickles down the road.

crinkly cut cucumbers for refrigerator pickles

In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and salt, raise the heat, and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt dissolves. Remove from heat.

Evenly divide the dill among 2 1-quart canning jars. Divide the seeds and peppercorns between the jars.

Using tongs, remove the garlic

pickling garlic

from the brine and place 5 cloves in each jar. Pack each jar with desired vegetables (I ended up using about a pound of cucumbers, but it will really vary depending on what veggies you use) until each jar is tightly stuffed.

pickles in a jar


Bring the brine back to a boil and pour it over the veggies to cover completely.

refrigerator pickles from our best bites

Allow to cool, then place the lids on the jars and refrigerate. You can eat them in a few hours, but they’ll be better and more pickle-y in a few days. Keep these in the fridge for up to 3 months.

refrigerator pickles from our best bites



  1. Just so you know, my newest issue of Cooking Light had a little store bought pickle taste test thing in it, and for non-sweet pickles, the Walmart brand chips were their number one choice. You apparently have very good taste in pickles!
    Also…if people would rather have crispier pickles, they could probably let the brine cool completely and just pack them with cold brine and stick them in the fridge. They will take longer to taste “pickley”, but they should still be delicious.

  2. I knew I had dill in my garden for a reason and this is it!! Making these this week 🙂 and Big Congratulations on your sweet new baby!!!

  3. The only homemade pickles I’ve ever had are sweet and I’m not really a fan so I’ve never wanted to make pickles before, but these sound awesome. I might even turn it into a science experiment for my kids and do one jar with hot brine and one with cool brine and see how they both turn out.

    Also, I think “my favorite thing I did this summer was get a new baby brother” is a nice opening for your child’s essay. Then you don’t have to worry about what else you did.

  4. I’m glad you explained the overachiever thing… I still am strugging with regularly making my husbands lunches and making dinner for the family and my baby is now 6 weeks…. And I totally feel guilty about my kids having such a boring summer! We had so many fun plans and ….. well I think you know how it is! Congratulations on your baby, he sure is sweet!!

  5. I love love love pickles and I want to start canning but I’m too scared. This will be like canning lite! Thanks for making blogging a priority over cleaning. You can always clean later.

  6. I have been searching for the perfect refrigerator pickle recipe, and I think this is IT! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks, Kate!

  7. Putting these on my ‘to make’ list. Canning still freaks me out (I’ll give everyone botulism) but I like making stuff like this, refrigerator pickles or freezer jam. Sign me up!

      1. I’m freaked out by canning, too! Glad I’m not the only one scared of botulism. I just made freezer jam on Sunday and can’t wait to try these pickles!

  8. Never enough thought of attempting pickles, but you made it sound just easy enough! 😉 Also, thanks for sharing that, while you are still amazing, you are not ‘Wonder woman’ after having a baby! It makes me feel like not such a loser like some other bloggy moms do! 😉

  9. I would LOVE to attempt homemade pickles and while I’ve done some canning, very minimal, so fridge pickles sound like something I’d attempt!! My mom does a sweet watermelon rind pickle and I just cannot stand sweet pickles. What’s the point??? lol

  10. I’ve read that grape leaves stuck in the jar keep the pickles crisp. Can’t wait to try this recipe, my cucumber plants are getting bigger!

  11. Cool!! I think this may have to be a mommy-son project. My 5 year-old LOVES cucumbers AND pickles. I think it’d be neat (and tasty) for him to see the transformation. 🙂 And I love that I don’t need a canner!

  12. So, I am totally a picky pickle eater too! And…I have to ask-I will only buy the Claussen Kosher Dill pickles, would these be in the same ball park as far as taste? I want to try these, but being so picky, I’m afraid…

  13. Does anyone know if you can “can” this recipe? It sounds so good I’d love to make a big batch and have jars left over for use throughout the year.

  14. Oh how yum!!! My hubby and son absolutely LOVE pickles (yes, the dill ones-and my son is 22 months old and has them for breakfast of all things! haha)! I actually love sweet pickles myself (although I like dill, too), but my hubby has a very deep horror of any type of sweet pickle, so he would understand your aversion to them. 🙂 I’ll have to try these! Also, as a side note, I thought I was the only mom out there who doesn’t really ‘nest’ (except in food!) at the end of pregnancy, so now I feel like I have a buddy! 😉 The funny thing is though that my hubby ‘nests’ FOR me! With both of our boys, HE was the one going around the house with the clorox wipes, and vacuuming/sweeping everything. I just sat in a chair, with a glass of lemonade in one hand watching him while saying, “Good job, Honey! Everything looks great!” 🙂

  15. although I have not tried this recipe, my mom had a 7 day pickle recipe that is the ultimate pickle recipe, I have not made them recently 4 kids, full time job, wife, home, etc…but will be interesting to compare the two … will let you know how the taste testing compares…(my kids and husband will be the taste testers but I promise to blind fold them all LOL

  16. What a simple, no-fuss pickle recipe! Growing up, my family stockpiled the most wonderful, mouth-puckering pickles made by my mother’s friend. Unfortuantely, she passed away when I was still young and the pickles stopped coming. I will definitely have to try these!

  17. These look SO yummy! My hubby and kids are all dill pickle crazy and these sound like the perfect thing to make for cold lunches in the fall. BUT…fresh dill is pretty expensive at my grocery store. Any chance I can substitute dill seeds? I have a whole jar of those!

    1. You’ll definitely want fresh dill–check with any friends that have gardens because it grows like CRAZY and most people are more than happy to part with it. You can also check the herbs in the garden centers of hardware stores or Walmart and see if you can get a whole plant.

  18. I have 2 jars cooling on my counter and I feel uber cool for having made my own pickles. Although I think I might have over done it on the dill. haha! Oh well.

  19. I just made these a few days ago and they turned out wonderfully! They’re a bit too acidic for me, so next time I’ll use a bit less vinegar. I also couldn’t find mustard seed anywhere near by, so I substituted ground mustard (2x the amount called for in the recipe–suggested by a couple places online) and, as I said above, the pickles turned out great. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I love having a good use for all those cucumbers in my garden!

    1. Update: I got low on pickles just over a week after making a full batch, so I picked two more large cucumbers from our garden, sliced them up, and tossed them into the jar with the first recipe of brine. I was curious to see if I could re-use the brine. 48 hours later, the new cucumbers are just a little bit pickle-y but still mostly cucumber-y. So, no, if anyone is wondering, you probably can’t re-use the brine for more than one recipe of pickles. It was worth a try! 🙂

  20. I’m trying these out today. I plan on making a big batch, so I am going to try canning a couple of jars to save for later. I will use cool brine for those that I will can so the pickles don’t lose their crunch. I don’t know how it will turn out, but I will find out! 🙂

  21. Should the dill look like it does in the picture? I think mine has gone to seed in the garden, and not sure if I can still use it, it is not bright green, but drier looking. It still smells “dilly”. I also have TONS of cucumbers–the ones I waited to long to pick are a little bitter, still edible, but not as delicious as the smaller ones–does that matter in pickles, or should I use the tastier smaller ones? Thanks!

  22. Kate these pickles turned out great! Next time I’m going to add a couple slices of jalapenos for spicy pickles. Hope all is well with the little one, 3 kids have the potential to drive one crazy!

  23. I made these a couple of days ago exactly according to the recipe and they are incredible!!! This recipe is staying with me, thanks!

  24. I could not find mustard seed or coriander seed, but instead found a “Pickling Spice” mix and on the back says contains mustard seed, coriander, bay leaves, dill seed, fenugreek, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cayenne black pepper, cloves and 2 oils. Has anyone used this before? I have no idea how much to use?

  25. Made this and my landlord loved them. Is there a similiar recipe but a little sweeter. For some strange reason they caused asthma attacks for me. Love your site and all the helpful hints. Thank you.

  26. I couldn’t find corrindar seeds, anyone know if it will make a big difference if I just leave it out? Emily, I too found pickling spice, but haven’t tried it.

  27. Just tried these out today and they are great! I can’t wait to taste them in a few days. 🙂

    I forgot to buy garlic but had some of that pre-minced garlic in a jar and it still worked out great! Just in case anyone else has that problem for some reason.

    Like Regina, they were just a tad acidic for me, but I’ll probably just use a wee bit less vinegar next time.

    Thanks for sharing such a unique, tasty recipe!

  28. PLEASE HELP!!! I want to make this recipe and I have all the ingredients except the coriander seeds- there isn’t one single store in my town that carries them, only ground coriander! (so i bought the ground) Can I still make these? I hope so I was really wanting to try these pickles…any help would be greatly appreciated!

  29. I never have pickles in the house since my kiddo and hubs don’t like them. I love them though, so couldn’t wait to try this out! I followed the recipe to a “T” and used all cucumbers. Packed them away and waited almost a week before trying them. I almost ate an entire jar of them in the first sitting, they are SO good. Next time I will force a few more cucumbers into the jars though and I didn’t have to use all of the vinegar mixture…I made 2 jars full too. Thanks for the recipe!

  30. I made these little beautys today. LOVE them! Oh and they are so purdy to look at too! Thanks for another great recipie! Freakin fantastic, I’m sure they will only get better!

  31. These turned out great even with my changes (used pre-minced garlic from a jar, no dill, and a pickling spice mix I found in bulk at Winco in place of the spices listed. Thanks again

  32. We are picky pickle eaters too! The only ones we get are Claussen (they have a garlic flavor we love). So I attempted to make our own refrigerator pickles this summer, just for fun, and it was not good. I am giddy to try this version because it sounds like it has similar flavors to the store bought ones we love!

  33. I just made these and when I poured the hot brine into the jars one completely cracked! I guess I need to cool it a bit before pouring. Otherwise this was fun to make and I’m excited to try them after they get pickly!!

    1. No, unfortunately there’s really not a sub for celery seed! And it’s a pretty distinct flavor component that I wouldn’t leave out. But you can definitely use it in other things and it lasts a long, long time! It’s a common ingredient in coleslaws, potato salads, and dips 🙂

  34. I started making these last year. Huge hit!!! Everyone loves them. I am so excited to finally have enough cucumbers to whip up a batch today! Gah….can’t wait to sink my teeth into these puppies again. It’s one of my favorite summer treats! Thanks again!

  35. year 2 with this recipe . . . love it just finished my 8th jar for this season I have been throwing in a few okra . . . so good! Any recommendations for beets? thanks

  36. I just made these yesterday and had to sample one today…so far it tasted really good. Does anyone know if you can “can” or freeze these? I would love to be able to make some to put up for the winter!

  37. I am new to preserving/canning. I am wondering if these could be heated in a water bath canner and sealed for longer storage out of fridge?? Also I am interested in doing the same with carrots and wonder if they could be sealed. Has anyone done this?

    1. Angie, the rule of thumb for canning is that you only want to use recipes specifically formulated and tested for canning (this is not one of those recipes.) Check out the Ball website or the National Center for Food Preservation for a good starting point.

  38. These have great flavor. The only downside I’ve noticed is that after about 2 weeks in the fridge the pickles get super soft/are no longer crisp. I read in a comment above that if you cool the brine first, they’ll stay crisp. I cooled mine first and obviously that wasn’t the case. Does any one else have any other ideas to keep them from going so soft?

  39. I’ve made several batches of these so far and they are really good! I would definitely wait at least a few days before eating them though. If you eat them that day or in the next couple after making them you taste the vinegar more than the dill. I ate some that had been in the fridge for a couple of weeks and they were the best of all because they had a good garlic dill taste to them!

  40. I am very excited to make these, because I am also pickly picky! My favorite ones from the store are the refrigerated pickles, so I am hoping these will taste the same! BUT, I just got back from the store to find that my coriander is ground and not seeds. Would it work with ground coriander??

  41. First, the way the pickles looked in your photos made me want them to make them. They looked similar to those at one of my favorite pastrami restaurants called Johnnie’s Pastramis in L.A. Those are the best pickles I’ve ever eaten and it is hard to keep from buying a whole gallon to take home each time. So I made your recipe after reading the comments and suggestions (I’ve learned to do that after a couple of failures with other products) and loved the whole process. Couldn’t resist tasting the brine and it was delicious. However, I will wait to taste the pickles because I want them to be the best they can be when I do. Thank you so much for your great blog.

  42. Love this recipe! I think the brine mixture could be cut in half, 2 cups water, one cup vinegar, but don’t know if I should half the salt also, I had exactly 2 cups brine left over, my pickles are packed tight and covered.

  43. My garden exploded with cucumbers this past summer, but sadly the refrigerator pickles are all gone. 🙁 Had some cucumbers in the fridge from Costco and decided I had to turn them into pickles…searched for a new recipe and came across yours. I will be honest, I tasted a cucumber slice a few minutes after pouring the hot brine in – and it was amazing! Now comes the hard part, waiting a few days for them to fully set in! I made a quart jar each of cucumbers and green beans, and also a half pint of mini pepper rings because I had a bit of brine left in the pan 🙂 Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  44. As a child of the Sixties, I grew up with my Grandmothers, a Grandfather and my Mom canning and pickling everything. We even made sauerkraut, in a crock, in the Machine Shed. As one of my Grandmas was born in 1888, she didn’t have all the great stuff, we have today. She taught my Mom a LOT and one of the best hints was to put a grape leaf, in each pickle jar. imho, they work better than alum, to make/keep your pickles crisp. Going to make some of these, with the cucumbers I brought home from my visit with my parents.

  45. Did not read all of the comments so if this is a rerun sorry…for crispy pickles Ball and Ball sell a product called pickle crisp.I use it for my green tomatoes at the end of the year and they stay crisp for more than a full year …I have done pickles but not too many and they stay crisp also..Nothing better than a crunchy pickle..Ps I used to use grape leaves and horseradish leaves for the crunch,but i like the pickle crisp better..

  46. So I am super picky with the pickles I like…like I only like Claussen pickles, but really want to try these. How do these compare to the flavor of those?

    1. Sterilizing the jars and lids is only necessary for canning. This is a refrigerator pickle, meaning the jars are simply being used as a container, not being processed. As long as they are washed and clean, you are good to go.

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