How to Make Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Homemade refrigerator pickles are so easy to make yourself! No canning necessary. They're ready in about 24 hours. Great for burgers, sandwiches, and snacking all summer long.

A jar of homemade refrigerator pickles in a jar
Coco Morante

Pickle chips are essential for hamburgers and sandwiches. Did you know that you can easily make them yourself at home?

With this method for refrigerator pickles, you don’t need to get out the canning equipment or have any special pickling know-how.

They're made with a simple brine and pickle in just 24 hours right in the fridge. They’ll keep for up to a month -- if they last that long!

Refrigerator Pickles
Coco Morante

Video: How to Make Easy Refrigerator Pickles

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Easy Refrigerator Pickles

The Best Pickling Spice Blend

You can make your own pickling spice blend, or use a store-bought blend. If you go store-bought, my favorite brand is Spicely Organic Pickling Seasoning, and it includes mustard seeds, dill seeds, bay leaves, coriander and other common pickling spices.

I also love seasoning them with whole cumin seeds, garlic, red pepper flakes for kick, or even a blend like panch phoron (a pungent Bengali five-spice mix). Really, you can use whatever whole spice blend you prefer.

A jar of homemade pickles
Coco Morante

The Best Jars for Storing Pickles

Since we're not actually canning these pickles, you can make and store them in any glass container. Any container with a tight-fitting lid will do.

I like to use canning jars, but I replace the metal lids and bands with plastic lids. These lids are much easier to take on and off, and you don’t have to fumble with two pieces each time you open the jar.

The Best Cucumbers for Refrigerator Pickles

Use Kirby or another small cucumber to make these pickles. Look for ones that are about 6 inches long and have bumpy skin (verses the smoother skin of English or Burpless cucumbers).

Kirby cucumbers hold up better to the pickling process and have a crisp, snappy texture after pickling. Other varieties can be pickled, but will often have a softer texture.

How to Slice Your Cucumbers for Pickles

For this recipe, we sliced the cucumber into rounds, but you can really slice your cucumbers however you want!

  • Coins
  • Crinkle cut coins
  • Long sandwich slices
  • Spears

Note that spears and sandwich slices will take a bit longer to pickle. Wait 2-3 days before serving.

More Pickling Recipes to Try!

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

How to Make Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Pickling 24 hrs
Total Time 24 hrs 15 mins
Servings 32 servings

You can use this method to make pickle spears as well! They'll need to pickle for 2 to 3 days in the fridge before they're ready.

As is, the recipe makes a fairly sweet pickle. You can cut the sugar in half for a more sour and tart pickle, if desired.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Kirby or other small cucumbers

  • 1 small sweet yellow onion

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pickling spice, homemade or store-bought

Method

  1. Wash and dry the jars and cucumbers:

    Wash 2 wide-mouth pint jars and their lids in hot, soapy water. Set them aside to dry.

    Rinse the cucumbers well under cold water, pat them dry, and then set them on a towel to dry completely.

    Use clean and dried canning jars to make refrigerator pickles
    Coco Morante
    Small Kirby cucumbers with bumpy skins make the best homemade pickles
    Coco Morante
  2. Slice the cucumbers and onion, then pack them in the jars:

    With a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer, slice the cucumbers and onion into slices 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick.

    Firmly pack the cucumbers and onions into the jars, fitting in as many as you can without smashing the vegetables. Leave 1/2-inch or so of headspace at the top of the jars.

    Slice the cucumbers very thin for making refrigerator piclkes
    Coco Morante
    combine the sliced cucumbers with onions and pickling spices for making homemade pickles
    Coco Morante
    Pack the sliced cucumbers and onions into canning jars for refrigerator pickles
    Coco Morante
  3. Make the brine:

    In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pickling spice up to a simmer. Stir occasionally and continue simmering until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

    Make the brine for refrigerator pickles with these ingredients: vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pickling spices
    Coco Morante
  4. Pour the brine over the vegetables:

    If you have a canning funnel, use it here to make it easier to fill the jars. Carefully pour or ladle the hot brine into each jar, filling the jars until the cucumbers and onions are covered. It's ok if a few small pieces poke out the top.

    Ladle the hot pickling brine over the cucumbers and onions to make refrigerator pickles
    Coco Morante
  5. Cool and refrigerate for 24 hours:

    Screw on the lids, then let the jars cool to room temperature (about an hour). The cucumbers will start off bright green, but will become darker and more "pickle-colored" as they cool.

    Place them in the refrigerator. Wait at least 24 hours before eating the pickles in order to let the flavors develop. Use them within one month.

    With lids on, let the jars cool to room temperature before refrigerating the homemade pickles
    Coco Morante
    With lids on, let the jars cool to room temperature before refrigerating the homemade pickles
    Coco Morante
Refrigerator Pickles
Coco Morante