Refrigerator dill pickles are crisp and tangy and much easier to make than traditional canning. You can even reuse the brine!
My young kids are obsessed with pickles. So much so that we can get them to eat plain cucumbers by calling them "pre-pickles". I like to make these homemade pickles for them as a special treat. Since they are never heated for preservation they have way more flavor than store-bought pickles.
Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Refrigerator dill pickles are the fresh alternative to store-bought jarred pickles. They aren't cooked for preservation, which gives them a much crisper texture and crunch. The only thing needed to make great refrigerator pickles is a few simple ingredients and patience.
Best Cucumbers for Pickles
As their name implies, pickling cucumbers are the best for making pickles. During the summertime, you will find loads of pickling cucumbers at farmer markets and better grocery stores. These cucumbers are shorter and typically have a thinner exterior skin, making them better suited to soak of flavorful brines.
However, if your local stores only have traditional slicing cucumbers, don't fret. Slicing cucumbers still make great pickles. However, I always recommend slicing these cucumbers when pickling so the brine doesn't have issues penetrating the skin.
Equipment and Ingredients Needed for Pickling Cucumbers
The ingredients needed for this making refrigerator dill pickles are cucumbers, fresh dill, garlic, salt, and pickling spice. Personally I recommend using my homemade pickling spice recipe, but you can use storebought as well.
You will need a medium saucepan to make the brine, and then pint jars to store your pickles. You can use any airtight storage container instead, but I like glass jars because they don't soak in flavor/odor of the brine.
How to make refrigerator dill pickles
These pickles are simple to make. The brine needs to be cooked so the salt can dissolve, then it is cooled. Add pickles, garlic, and pickling spice to pint jars and pour in the cooled brine to fill each jar.
The jars need to sit in your refrigerator at least a week prior to eating to allow the flavors to fully develop. However, they can sit longer. Since this is not a canning recipe, the jars need to be stored in the refrigerator as well.
Tip: When your pickles are gone, you can slice up more vegetables and add them to the brine to create more pickles. Or you can use the brine in homemade Bloody Marys!
How to customize this recipe
I like my dill pickles to have the earthy background flavor pickling spice and garlic lends, but you can omit both of these if you would like, or conversely, increase their quantities. Feel free to add a spicy pepper as well to liven things up, more specifically I would recommend something with a dry heat like a Thai pepper or serrano.
How to use refrigerator dill pickles
Use these like you would use any store-bought dill pickle. They are a phenomenal topping for gourmet burgers, can be used in my Cheddar Dill Pickle Dip, topping homemade sloppy joes, added to my Dill Pickle Pasta Salad, or deep-fried to create gourmet fried pickles.
More Pickling Recipes
Refrigerator Dill Pickles
- 16 ounces pickling cucumbers (sliced ¼" thick)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 sprigs fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon pickling spice
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 pint jars
- Prepare the brine by simmering water, vinegar, and salt in a medium saucepan until the salt has dissolved. Remove from heat and store in the refrigerator until the brine has cooled.
- Using two pint jars, add 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 sprig of dill, ½ teaspoon pickling spice, and 8 ounces of sliced cucumbers to each jar. Pour brine into each jar until it reaches ½" below the rim.
- Seal jars tightly and store in the refrigerator for at least a week prior to enjoying.