Do you find yourself harvesting too many cucumbers from the garden? But what if you aren’t prepared to can pickles. Well, I have an easy solution…Make refrigerator dill pickles. They are easy to make and will keep in your refrigerator for several months.
To get the crunchiest pickles, I recommend picking your cucumbers the day you plan on making the pickles. However, I realize that it’s not always possible to do so, especially if you have a small garden. If you can’t pick them on the same day, refrigerate them in a plastic bag as soon as you pick them. Keep them refrigerated until you are ready to prepare the pickles.
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This recipe as written makes one jar of refrigerator dill pickles. Multiply by how many jars of cucumbers you fill to get the amount of brine to make.
What kind of cucumbers should I use?
While the shorter cucumbers grown specifically for pickling are best for this recipe, you can use any kind of cucumber you have on hand. I grew several different varieties this year, and used a mixture in the recipe.
This is also a great way to use up those packs of small cucumbers you can buy from Aldi and many other grocery stores. I love to buy those cucumbers during the winter when I can’t grow my own. But I can rarely use them all up before they go bad. This refrigerator dill pickle recipe is a great way to preserve the extras.
What if I don’t have dill sprigs?
I have successfully used dried dill without noticing much difference. Substitute 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill for the 3-5 sprigs. The brine may be a bit less clear, but the pickles will taste just fine.
What if I don’t have pickling salt?
While pickling salt is preferred for canning, you can substitute table salt in this recipe. Pickling salt doesn’t contain additives to prevent it from clumping like table salt does. The additives in regular salt can cause the brine to turn cloudy. However, the pickles will still be just fine to eat.
Can I substitute white vinegar for the apple cider vinegar?
Yes, you can absolutely substitute white vinegar for the apple cider vinegar. I just prefer the taste of apple cider vinegar. To be safe, especially if you are going to store the pickles for more than one week in the refrigerator, be sure your vinegar is 5% acidity. Your bottle of vinegar should state the acidity on the bottle.
Can I adjust the spices in this pickle recipe?
Since this recipe is not canned, you can absolutely adjust the spices to your liking. Love garlicky pickles? Add another clove! (or 2!) Don’t like any heat in your refrigerator pickles? Leave out the crushed red pepper flakes. The only things you absolutely need to make the pickles are vinegar, water, and cucumbers. But they will be pretty bland without the salt and spices.
You can also adjust the amount of sugar. After making this recipe a time or two, my family decided the pickles tasted a bit too acidic. To combat that, add a bit more sugar. I added an additional 2 tsp. of sugar per jar and it helped take some of the “vinegar bite” out of the pickles.
How long can I store the pickles?
These easy refrigerator dill pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. However after a couple weeks, they will start to lose their crunch. After 2 months, it is best to discard them, but they probably won’t last that long!
This recipe is NOT suitable for canning! This will NOT make a shelf stable pickle. They need to be stored in the refrigerator immediately after preparing.
Supplies needed to make refrigerator pickles
Surprisingly, you don’t need many supplies to make refrigerator pickles. This list below will help ensure you have everything you need before you start. (You probably already have everything you need!)
- small pot to heat the brine
- spoon to stir the brine
- cutting board
- knife for slicing the cucumbers
- wide-mouth pint mason jars (The wide mouth makes it easier to pack the cucumbers in, especially if you are doing spears. However, they are difficult to find right now. These regular mouth jars will work too.)
- plastic mason jar lids for capping the jars before storing the pickles in the refrigerator
These easy dill pickles make great use of a small cucumber harvest.
- 3-4 cucumbers, sliced or cut into spears
- 1/2 small onion, sliced
- 3-5 springs dill
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp. pickling salt
- 1-3 tsp. sugar – We thought using only 1 tsp. made the pickles taste too strongly of vinegar.
- 1/4 tsp. peppercorns
- 1/4 tsp. mustard seeds
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Slice the cucumbers or cut into spears. Place in a pint canning jar or other glass container. Add onion and dill.
In a small pot, heat cider vinegar and remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat.
Allow brine to cool to room temperature 15 to 20 minutes. Pour brine over ingredients in jar.
Refrigerate for 24 hours. Enjoy.