You won’t believe how easy it is to make these delicious refrigerator pickles in any variety like dill, spicy, veggie, or bread and butter!  They’re ready to eat in a few hours but can be stored in your fridge for up to 2 months. 

A glass jar of dill refrigerator pickles with pink flowers around it.

Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email below and get it sent straight to your inbox. Plus, get more amazing vegan recipes that will satisfy your cravings!

Save Recipe

Unlike traditional pickles, these easy refrigerator pickles don’t require boiling, sealing jars, or any special equipment.  Just some cucumbers, dill, and some basic ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen!  In just a few hours, you will be eating homemade pickles!

❤️ This recipe is

  • fun and easy to make!
  • versatile and can be made in any variety you choose.
  • a great way to use up tons of cucumbers from your garden or farmer’s market!
  • the easiest way to make homemade pickles.
  • makes a great science experiment for the kids!

🧾 Ingredients and substitutions

Basic ingredients needed for all pickles:

  • Cucumbers – any type or size will work.  Just cut them in the shape that you want.
  • Sugar – to flavor the cucumber. (optional but recommended). I use organic cane sugar, but any sweetener will work.  It may seem like the recipe calls for a lot of sugar, but remember, the sugar will be in the brine which will flavor the cucumber, but you will throw away most of it.
  • Salt – for flavor.  Once again, it may seem like a lot of salt, but most of this will remain in the brine, that you will not eat.  You can use any salt that you have, but pickling salt, kosher salt, or natural sea salt work best.  These salts do not have anti-caking agents in them that will turn your brine cloudy.
  • Vinegar – for preserving that pickle flavor.  I use plain white vinegar, but you can also use apple cider vinegar if you would like.

Optional ingredients depending on the variation you choose

  • Dill – for flavor.  If you want a traditional dill pickle flavor, then you will need to add dill.  Fresh dill is best if you have it, but dried dill will also work.
  • Pepper – for flavor.  My grandmother always used white pepper in her refrigerator pickles, so that is what I also use and prefer, but you can also use black pepper or even red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne pepper for spicy pickles. 
  • Garlic – for flavor. (optional, but gives the pickles a nice flavor).
  • Veggies – to pickle along with the cucumbers.  You can add other vegetables to your pickles too.  (One of my favorite combos is green bell peppers and onion).  You can also add green beans, carrots, and cauliflower.
  • Mustard Seeds – for sweet pickles.
Scoring the sides of a cucumber with a fork before cutting for refrigerator pickles.

🥄 How to make refrigerator pickles

Step 1 – Wash your cucumbers well.

Step 2 – Score the sides of them with a fork making long lines on the cucumbers. (Optional, but allows the brine to penetrate better.)

Step 3 – Slice the cucumber (and other veggies if you choose to add them) into the shape that you prefer. 

Step 4 – Place the sliced cucumbers, dill, garlic, and/or any other veggies you choose in a large bowl.

Step 5 – Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the veggies.  Give them a stir and allow them to sit for about an hour. (This will cause them to release their liquid).

A collage of 2 pictures showing the process of putting salt and sugar on the cucumbers to bring out their juices to make refrigerator pickles.

Step 6 – Pour the vinegar over the watery cucumbers and give it a stir.  

Step 7 – Place them in the fridge for about 4 hours before eating.

Step 8 – Store in airtight containers or jars in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Method 2 

You can also boil the vinegar, salt, and sugar in a saucepan and pour it over the pickles, then simply leave them in the fridge overnight.  (I personally like the flavor that it produces by sprinkling the salt and sugar directly on the cucumbers and then adding the vinegar later).

A fork taking out a sliced refrigerator pickle from a jar.

🌟 Flavor variations

  • Basic Dill Pickles: 1/4 cup fresh dill (or 2 tbsp dried dill) and 5-6 cloves of garlic sliced.
    • Spicy Pickles:  Add 1 tsp of red pepper flakes or a few dashes of cayenne pepper to the basic dill recipe.
    • Green Pepper and Onion Pickles:  Add 1 seeded chopped green pepper and 1 peeled and sliced onion to the basic dill recipe. (This is my family’s favorite).
    • Pickled Veggies:  Add 1 onion sliced, 5 cloves of garlic sliced, 1 cup of cauliflower, and 1/2 cup of carrots to the basic dill recipe. (Only use 6 cups of cucumbers).
  • Bread and Butter (Sweet Pickles):  Increase the sugar to 3/4 cup and reduce the salt to 1 tsp. Omit the dill and add 1 tsp of mustard seeds. (You can also add a sliced onion to this version if you would like).
  • Asian Style – you can also make pickled carrots and daikon for Banh Mi sandwiches by swapping out some of the vinegar for seasoned rice vinegar.

Get creative! You can’t really go wrong with these pickles, just have some fun with it!

A big glass bowl filled with refrigerator pickles marinating in brine.

👩🏻‍🍳 Pro Tips

  • It may seem like a lot of salt and sugar in this recipe, but remember, you are not consuming all of that.  It is just to make the brine that you will not be eating.
  • Make sure to put it in a very clean airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator to increase the length of freshness.
  • Make sure to keep them in the refrigerator, these are not shelf-stable pickles. Here is an easy shelf-stable pickle recipe if that is what you are looking for.

🥒 Pickle science

Kids love to watch the cucumbers release their juices, and it teaches them a little science lesson too! 

Sprinkling sugar and salt over cucumbers or other vegetables releases part of the water in their plant tissue through osmosis.  “Osmosis is the movement of water or another solvent through a plasma membrane from a region of low solute concentration to a region of high solute concentration” – Wikipedia.

More recipes that use cucumbers

🥪 Ways to use these pickled veggies

I love these pickles on sandwiches or in wraps. They add a fresh flavor and a crispy texture that can’t be beaten. Try them on vegan banh mi, veggie burgers, seitan hot dogs, tofu wraps, and vegan chicken sandwiches.

You can also chop them up and add them to chickpea salad sandwiches, vegan chicken salad sandwiches, or vegan tuna melts.

📌 Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for new vegan recipes!

A fork taking out a refrigerator pickle from a jar.
5 from 1 rating

Refrigerator Pickles

A quick and easy way to make homemade pickles in your choice of dill, sweet, or spicy in just a few hours in your refrigerator.

Ingredients

For all varieties of dill pickles (every variety except for sweet pickles)

  • 8 cups cucumbers, sliced or cut into spears.
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 cup white vinegar, (or apple cider if you choose)
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, or 2 tbsp dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper, or black pepper

For basic dill pickles

  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced

For green pepper and onion

  • 1 cup onion, thinly sliced (1 large onion)
  • 1 cup green bell pepper , sliced (1 large bell pepper)

For spicy pickles

  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, or a few dashes of cayenne pepper (add more or less to adjust the spiciness).

For pickled veggies (reduce the cucumber to 6 cups)

  • 1 cup cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup carrots, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 cup onion, sliced

For bread and butter (sweet pickles)

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vinegar

Equipment

  • mandoline optional for slicing the cucumbers very thin

Instructions
 

  • Wash your cucumbers well.
  • Score the sides of them with a fork making long lines on the cucumbers. (Optional, but allows the brine to penetrate better).
  • Slice the cucumber (and other veggies if you choose).
  • Place the sliced cucumbers, dill, garlic and/or any other veggies you choose in a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the veggies.  Give them a stir and allow them to sit for about an hour. (This will cause them to release their liquid).
  • Pour the vinegar over the watery cucumbers and give it a stir.
  • Place them in the fridge for about 4 hours before eating.
  • Store in airtight containers or jars in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Notes

  • It may seem like a lot of salt and sugar in this recipe, but remember, you are not consuming all of that.  It is just to make the brine which you will not be eating.
  • Make sure to put it in a very clean airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator to increase the length of freshness.
  • Make sure to keep them in the refrigerator, these are not shelf-stable pickles. 
Serving: 0.25g, Calories: 32kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 875mg, Potassium: 100mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 105IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 14mg, Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review below!