This easy recipe for Refrigerator Dill Pickles is perfect for small batch preserving and is beginner-friendly. They are so much better than store-bought pickles, yet made with simple ingredients in your very own kitchen!
Even though I put up a yearly batch of bread and butter pickles, I still love doing quick pickles when I have just a small amount of cucumbers that I want to preserve.
This great recipe for easy refrigerator dill pickles is perfect for the first time preserver, OR someone like me who just wants a fast and easy way to preserve their mini haul of pickling cucumbers.
Reasons to Love This Recipe:
- No canning needed. Skip the water bath canner and use this easy method for making homemade pickles. It's beginner friendly!
- Simple. Made using basic ingredients and without special equipment, meaning you won't need pickling spice or fancy gear to put up some tasty pickles.
- Small batch. This refrigerator dill pickle recipe makes just 4 pint jars, but can easily be cut in half to make an even smaller batch.
- No sugar. If you want to add some, you can, but they taste perfect without any added sugar.
- Cucumbers: Pickling cucumbers (like kirby cucumbers) work best for this recipe, but the Persian type can be used in a pinch.
- Vinegar: A simple white vinegar that has at least 5% acidity works perfectly here. Apple cider vinegar can be used instead if desired.
- Water: This dilutes the pickle brine so it has the perfect balance of acidity.
- Salt: I recommend using canning or pickling salt, but kosher salt can be used in a pinch.
- Spices: This one is made without pickling spice! All you need is mustard seeds and black peppercorns, which are easy to find year round at any grocery store.
- Dill: Fresh dill makes the best pickles, truly! But if you can't find it, you can use dried instead (see the recipe card for details).
- Garlic: You'll need 1 peeled clove per jar, but if you are a garlic lover you could use 2 per jar instead.
- Jars: I recommend using 4 pint jars or 2 quart jars, but you can use any clean, airtight containers you have on hand. Glass is best though!
- Saucepan: You'll need a large to medium saucepan for preparing the brine.
How to Make Quick Dill Pickles
This recipe makes the most delicious pickles, and the best thing is that you can make your favorite type. Pickle chips, pickle spears, whole ones, or all three!
Before you get started:
- Wash the jars, lids, and rings (if using) in hot, soapy water.
- Dry thoroughly.
- Wash and dry the cucumbers, removing any spines (if home grown), stems, and blossom ends.
Preparing the Cucumbers
- Trim the stem and blossom ends off of each pickling cucumber.
- Slice the cucumbers as desired (or leave whole).
Top tip: Slice the pickling cucumbers into whatever shape you like - slices, whole (trimmed), or spears. Or try all three!
Adding the Brine
- Add the water, vinegar, and salt to a large saucepan.
- Heat over medium heat until the salt has dissolved and the liquid is simmering.
- Fill the jars with your prepared pickling cucumbers.
- Pour the pickling brine over each jar of pickles, leaving ¼" of headspace.
- Use a clean butter knife to remove bubbles, and add more liquid as needed.
- Add the lids to each of the jars and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 days so the brine fully permeates the cucumbers.
Note for whole dill pickles: You may need to add another 2-3 days onto the brining time to ensure they pickle all the way through.
Storing Refrigerator Pickles
Finished pickles should be store in an airtight container or mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. I like to use a pint jar for easy access, but if you want to use 2 quart jars or a half gallon jar that works too!
- Experiment with flavor. Add red pepper flakes, extra garlic, extra dill (or dill seed), celery seed, coriander seeds, etc.
- Stir. Optionally, stir the pickles the next day to help redistribute the brine.
- Fresh cucumbers. For crisp pickles I recommend using the freshest possible cucumbers. Of course, home grown is king when it comes to pickles, but your local Farmer's market is a good bet when cucumbers in season. During the off-season Persian cucumbers from the grocery store are a good choice.
- A second batch. If you go through these easy refrigerator pickles within a week or so you can use the leftover brine to make another batch of pickles. I like to top it up with a little extra vinegar to help maintain a high acidity.
Vinegar: The white vinegar in this recipe can be substituted for any type of vinegar that has at least 5% acidity. Apple cider vinegar or cider vinegar are good choices, as they have a mild flavor.
Dill: If you don't have fresh dill you can substitute it for ½ teaspoon of dried dill per jar.
Garlic: In a pinch you can substitute each clove of garlic for ½ teaspoon of dried minced garlic, although fresh is best.
Canning salt: If you don't have canning or pickling salt on hand you can use kosher salt instead.
- Small batch: Cut the recipe in half and use 2 pint jars or 1 quart jar instead.
- Spicy: Place 2-3 jalapeno pepper slices in each jar.
- Extra garlic: Add 2-3 cloves of garlic per jar instead of just 1.
- Sweet pickles: Add ¼-1/2 cup of sugar to the brine mixture, whisking until it has dissolved along with the salt.
The best type of cucumbers are those that are small, dense, and very fresh. Home grown (or farm fresh) pickling cucumbers are ideal, but kirby cucumbers or Persian cucumbers are both great options.
Most refrigerator pickle recipes call for small pickling cucumbers, and it's not common to see english cucumbers used. If you want to use english cucumbers, try slicing them in half lengthwise and removing the seeds, then slicing them as desired for your pickles.
If you loved this Refrigerator Dill Pickles recipe, let me know by leaving a 5-star review in the recipe card or comment below! You can also tag me on Instagram @littlehomeinthemaking.
Homemade Refrigerator Dill Pickles
- 2 ½ pounds pickling cucumbers
- 2 cups white vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
- 3 tablespoons pickling salt (also known as canning salt)
- 8 sprigs fresh dill
- 4 garlic cloves whole and peeled
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns whole
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- Wash. Prepare 4 pint sized mason jars by washing them in hot soapy water. If using two piece canning lids or plastic lids, wash them too.
- Thoroughly wash cucumbers, removing the stem and blossom end with a sharp knife.
- Make the brine. Whisk together the water, vinegar, and salt in large pot over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a very low simmer, whisking to dissolve the salt. Do not boil.
- Prepare the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers however you like (whole, spears, or chips). For spears, quarter the cucumbers lengthwise. For chips, cut them into ¼ slices with a knife or mandolin slicer.
- Pack the jars. Fill with cucumbers, adding 2 sprigs of dill, a garlic clove, ½ teaspoon of peppercorns, and a ¼ tsp. of mustard seed to each jar.
- Add the brine. Using a measuring cup or ladle, carefully add hot brine to jars, leaving a ½ inch headspace.
- Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth, then place the lid on the jar.
- Rest. Let the pickles sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then place in the refrigerator.
- Chill for at least 3-4 days for the best result. This allows the brine to permeate the cucumbers, thus pickling them.
- Once you’re ready to enjoy, retrieve your pickles with clean utensils and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Spicy: Add a few jalapeno pepper slices to each jar. Sweet: When heating the brine add ¼-½ cup of sugar and heat until dissolved.
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