These easy refrigerator dill pickles are crisp and tangy and much less effort to make than traditional canning. You can even reuse the brine!
Best of all, there is no special equipment and no water bath needed to make this great recipe!
What are they?
Refrigerator dill pickles are sliced fresh, and soaked in a simple brine in your refrigerator, making them a fresh alternative to store-bought pickles. Since they aren't cooked for preservation, quick pickles have a crisper texture and better crunch than traditional pickles that have gone through the canning process. The only thing needed to make great homemade pickles is a few simple ingredients and patience.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pickling cucumbers - As their name implies, pickling cucumbers are the best kind of cucumber for making homemade dill pickles. You can also find them called Kirby cucumbers. These garden fresh cucumbers are shorter and typically have thinner exterior skin, making them better suited to soak up flavorful brines.
Note: If your grocery store only has traditional slicing cucumbers, regular cucumbers still make great pickles. However, I always recommend slicing these cucumbers when pickling so the brine doesn't have issues penetrating the thick skin. However, if you can find English cucumbers those can be a good compromise between slicers and pickling cucumbers.
- Garlic cloves
- Pickling Spice - Homemade or store-bought is fine. My homemade pickling spice recipe contains a blend of coriander seed, whole black peppercorns, mustard seeds, allspice berries, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, red pepper flakes, and ginger. It creates an incredibly lively flavor that I use in many dishes!
- Fresh dill - I strongly recommend using fresh dill sprigs rather than dried dill. The flavor will be noticeably better.
- Pickling spice
- White vinegar - Apple cider vinegar can be substituted, but white vinegar will give you a cleaner flavor.
- Kosher salt
- Pint jars - Quart jars are fine to use as well. Rather than using mason jars, you can also use any airtight storage container instead, but I like glass canning jars because they don't soak in flavor/odor of the brine.
How to make them
Homemade refrigerator dill pickles are simple to make. First, the brine needs to be simmered so the salt can dissolve in the water and vinegar mixture, then let it cool to at least room temperature to avoid cooking the cucumbers.
You can slice your pickles into chips, as shown in my photos, create pickle spears, or leave them whole. However, you enjoy them best will work. When the brine has cooled add cucumber slices, garlic, dill, and pickling spice to pint jars and pour in the cooled brine to fill each mason jar.
The jars of pickles need to sit in your refrigerator for at least a week prior to eating to allow the flavors to fully develop. However, these crunchy pickles can sit for a long time if desired. Since this is not a canning recipe, the jars need to be stored in the refrigerator.
Tip: When your delicious pickles are gone, you can slice up more vegetables and add them to the pickling brine to create more pickles. Or you can use your pickle brine in homemade Bloody Marys!
How to use refrigerator pickles
Use homemade refrigerator pickles just like you would use any store-bought dill pickle. These crunchy pickles 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.
Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles
- 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.
This recipe was originally published on February 17, 2020.