If you love pickles, this refrigerator dill pickle recipe is just for you. It doesn't require any canning equipment; just a knife, a stovetop, and a fridge.
Why This Recipe Works
- We use pickling cucumbers, which are smaller and shorter. They have a crisp, firm texture with thinner skins so the brine can penetrate for better flavor.
- Our brine is made with a base of white distilled vinegar, kosher salt, sugar, and water, which will give the dill pickles the best taste.
- Fresh dill and garlic cloves are essential aromatics for the right flavor. The amount you add can be changed based on personal preference.
- Our mix of dried pickling spices give these refrigerated dill pickles the best flavor.
- No canning required. The absence of the hot water bath allows the pickles to retain their crunchiness, so the end result is a crisp and tangy pickle.
The ingredients for our easy refrigerator dill pickles are simple to find at your local grocery store. Let's talk about some of the key ingredients.
- Cucumbers: You can use kirby cucumbers, which are short and squat with bumps, or pickling cucumbers.
- Brine: Our pickling brine is a combination of white vinegar, kosher salt, sugar, and water.
- Dry Spices: We used mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, black peppercorns, bay leaf, and celery seed.
- Fresh Herbs: We used 6 sprigs of fresh dill, but you can use as much as you like.
- Aromatics: We used fresh garlic cloves that were peeled and quartered lengthwise.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Want to make the Kool-Aid version? Check out this wacky recipe from Tornadough Alli.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients to make easy refrigerator pickles. Measure out the spices, sugar, and vinegar.
- Rinse the pickling cucumbers under cold running water and place the cukes in a colander to drain.
- Using a chef's knife, slice the cucumbers into thin coins and place them in a bowl. You may also choose to slice the cukes into spears or use a crinkle-cut slicer to get a different look.
3. Pour the water and the vinegar into a saucepan, then stir. Cover and bring to almost a boil. Turn the heat down to low and add the sugar and salt. Stir it until it dissolves, then remove from the heat and let the pickling brine cool to room temperature.
4. While the dill pickle brine cools in a 4-cup glass measuring cup, peel the large garlic cloves, and slice them into quarters lengthwise.
5. In each of the six clean canning jars, add the dried spices, a broken-up bay leaf, garlic quarters, and the fresh dill.
6. Place the sliced cucumbers into each jar, leaving a bit of headspace for the brine. Pour the brine into each of the jars.
7. Secure the lid of the jar by screwing it on tightly. Turn each jar upside down and give it a few shakes to distribute the spices. Let the jars cool completely on the counter before placing them in the fridge.
8. Let refrigerator dill pickles sit in the fridge for 3 to 4 days before eating. Make sure to shake the jars every day during this waiting time to distribute the spices.
In these photos, we let the dill pickles sit in the refrigerator for 3 days before opening them to eat. You can see that the color will change from a bright green to a duller yellowish-green the longer it sits in the brine.
Enjoy easy refrigerator dill pickles as a snack on their own or put them on a hamburger.
Yes, they are as long as you follow certain precautions. First, use very clean jars and lids. Be sure to store the pickle jars in the fridge. Also, use a fork or spoon to remove the pickles, not your fingers. Last, don't drink the pickle juice out of the jar and place it back in the fridge.
Since they aren't canned, refrigerator dill pickles must be kept refrigerated. If stored properly, they will last up to one month.
The ingredients are similar; however, canned pickles have gone through a heating process to preserve them and make them safe to store outside the refrigerator. Once canned pickles are open, they must be stored in the refrigerator. Refrigerator pickles use less salt.
Kirby cucumbers (short and squat with bumps) and pickling cucumbers (shorter, smoother ones) are the best to use for making dill pickles. In most cases, these are easy to find in grocery stores, farmer's markets, and other specialty grocery stores.
Looking for ideas on how to serve our refrigerated dill pickles? We love to eat them as a snack on their own, but they also taste amazing on grilled hamburgers and on sandwiches. They look terrific as a garnish on a short skewer for mixed drinks.
- Make Ahead: This recipe is perfect for making ahead and we encourage you to so because the pickles taste best 4 days later so the brine has time to soak into the cucumbers.
- Leftovers: Refrigerated dill pickles need to be stored in the fridge in a tightly sealed jar. They can last for up to 1 month.
- Don't want coin-shaped? Cut the cucumbers into spears or thick crinkle-cut.
- Want them crispy? Use kirby or pickling cucumbers for the best crisp dills.
- Want to make a smaller batch? Cut the recipe by ⅓ to make two jars.
- Have extra slices? Use them in a cucumber salad.
- Store them in the refrigerator. They are not shelf-stable.
More Veggie Side Dishes You'll Enjoy
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Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles
For the Pickling Brine
- 2 ½ cups filtered water
- 2 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
For the Dill Pickles
- 8 cups pickling cucumbers, washed and thinly sliced
- 1 ½ teaspoons mustard seeds, ¼ teaspoon per jar
- 6 pinches red pepper flakes, 1 pinch per jar
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, ½ teaspoon per jar
- 1 ½ teaspoons celery seed, ¼ teaspoon per jar
- 6 sprigs fresh dill
- 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and quartered lengthwise
- 1 bay leaf
- Wash the pickling cucumbers, slice them into thin coins, and place in a large bowl.
- Pour the filtered water and white vinegar into a medium saucepan. Cover and turn the heat to medium high. Once it is almost boiling, turn the heat down to medium low. Stir in the salt and sugar until it is dissolved, then remove from the heat and uncover. Let cool to room temperature and transfer to a 4 cup glass container.
- Measure out the spices, fresh garlic, and the fresh dill into six clean 1-pint canning jars.
- Fill the jars with sliced pickling cucumbers until they are full, then pour the pickling brine over the cucumbers until they are submerged. Screw the canning lids on tightly. Turn them upside down and shake to mix up the spices.
- Place in the refrigerator. Let the dill pickles sit in the fridge for a minimum of 3 to 4 days. The flavor will keep improving until day 7. Shake each jar upside down once a day to keep the spices mixed.
- These will keep in the fridge for up to one month, but are not shelf stable.
- Cutting the cucumbers into spears or thick crinkle-cut are options for variety.
- For the best crisp dill pickles, use kirby or pickling cucumbers.
- Have extra slices? Use them in a cucumber salad.
- To make 2 jars, cut the recipe by one-third.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.