Make these easy refrigerator pickles in no time! This recipe is delicious and makes super crisp pickles that are full of flavor (and even a little heat if you like them that way!) and after you make them and see how easy it is, you’ll never buy store bought pickles again!
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How to make Easy Refrigerator Pickles
- Make the brine with water, vinegar and pickling salt.
- Slice up your pickling cucumbers.
- Prepare your jars with garlic, dill, peppercorns and habanero (optional)
- Stuff the jars tightly with pickle slices.
- Add the hot brine and seal the jars.
- Wait 15 minutes and re-tighten the lids.
- Refrigerate for 1 week before eating.
Do you need a canner to make refrigerator pickles?
The short answer is no. Canning has always intimidated me. I wanted to do it so badly, but I was always scared to just jump in and do it! Recently, a sweet friend of mine offered to show me how to can, and I decided I would share what I learned with you!
One of the biggest reasons I have always been scared of canning, are the horror stories you hear of people poisoning their families because foods spoiled etc. Thankfully, that’s not even an issue with these easy Refrigerator Pickles. Since they’re not technically processed in a canner, and they’re stored in the fridge, you don’t have to worry about spoiling.
What do you need to make Refrigerator Pickles?
- Wide Mouth Pint Canning Jars
- Pickling Salt
- Small Pickling Cucumbers (home grown are best)
- Dried Dill
- Whole Peppercorns
- Garlic Cloves, peeled (we use the already peeled bags you can find in the refrigerated herb section at Walmart or Sam’s)
- Fresh Habanero (optional)
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients and Supplies
Gather your jars, and all your ingredients together. This is a pretty quick process once you get the handle of it, so it’s best to have everything ready to go when you start.
To give you a reference for how many cucumbers you will need, all these cucumbers filled 12 quart jars. First you will need to get your brine started on the stove. Always use a 1:3 ratio for vinegar to water. We made a big batch, so we used one quart vinegar and three quarts of water. Also add in 3/4 cup of canning salt. Put your liquids and canning salt in a large pot and let it boil while you prep your cucumbers and jars.
Step 2: Prep Your Jars
After your liquid is on the stove, you need to prep the seasoning in your jars for your refrigerator pickles. In each jar you will put:
- 1 large pinch of dried dill (about a tablespoon)
- 2-3 cloves of peeled garlic
- 6-8 peppercorns
- 3-4 slices of fresh habanero pepper (optional)
I’m a big baby when it comes to spice, but this recipe for easy refrigerator pickles is NOT too spicy. I was terrified when she said to use habaneros, but I was genuinely surprised to find out the pickles weren’t too spicy but just had great flavor with a kick.
Step 3: Slicing Your Cucumbers to Make Refrigerator Pickles
When you get your cucumbers, don’t buy giant ones at Walmart. Go to a Farmer’s Market, or grow them yourself. Big cucumbers are generally bitter and far too seedy to be used for this Refrigerator Pickles recipe. Cut the ends off your cucumbers, and make sure they aren’t too tall for your jars, like this.
After you cut the ends off your pickles, you will need to slice them in half long-ways and then cut them into wedges. Each half typically makes 3-4 wedge slices, for reference of size. Place them in a bowl or large pan after slicing.
Cucumbers that have too many seeds don’t make good refrigerator pickles. Cut off a slice, and make sure the cucumber isn’t bitter. If it isn’t, but there’s still too many seeds, just cut them into wedges like normal, then cut the excess seeds off like shown.
Step 4: Stuff Your Jars
Once you’re done slicing, you’re ready to stuff your jars with the cucumber slices! Hold the jar at an angle like shown, and stuff in the slices a few at a time. You will want a tight fit, so press them in snugly. If you can still stick your finger in the jar easily, you can add more cucumber slices.
Step 5: Add the Brine to the Jars
Once all your jars are nice and full, you are ready to fill them with your liquid that’s been cooking on the stove. Use a ladle and fill each jar to the brim with liquid. The liquid will be hot, and you’ll most likely make a mess, but it’s fine. Make the mess, there’s refrigerator pickles on the line! Screw your lids on to the top of your jars tightly. Wait about 10-15 minutes, and then tighten them again, because the pressure will release.
Step 6: Refrigerate the Pickles
Store your pickles in the fridge for about a week before eating, for the full effect of the flavor. You can eat them after a couple of days, and they will have that pickle flavor, but won’t have the full flavor until after about a week.
How long to Refrigerator Pickles last?
You can store these easy refrigerator pickles in the fridge for crunchy pickles for up to 6 months! After 6 months they will start to soften in the brine mixture, so they won’t be as delicious after that time period.
Do I need to use new jars and lids to make these?
Because these aren’t processed, you can use any canning lids and seals. If we were processing these cans, you would need to be sure to sterilize the jars, and use new lids to safety. These easy Refrigerator Pickles are low-maintenance, though, and you don’t have to worry about that!
If you learned how to make Easy Refrigerator Pickles because of this post, comment and let us know how yours turned out! I’d love to hear your experience!
- About 30 small Pickling Cucumbers
- 3/4 cup pickling salt
- 1 cup vinegar
- 3 cups water
- 12 tablespoons dried dill (approx.)
- 96 peppercorns (approx.)
- 36 garlic cloves, whole and peeled (approx.)
- 8-12 whole habanero peppers, fresh (approx.)
- Combine the water, vinegar and pickling salt in a large pot and let boil while you prep the jars and cucumbers.
- Prep each jar (recipe should make about 12 jars), with about 1 tablespoon dried dill, 2-3 peeled whole cloves of garlic, 6-8 peppercorns, and 4-5 slices of fresh habanero pepper (optional)
- Cut the ends of your cucumbers off and slice them in half long ways, and then slice each half into 3-4 wedges each. Check the height of your cucumber against your jars and shorten as needed.
- Stuff your jars tightly with cucumber slices. If you can fit your finger in the jar easily, you can fit more slices in.
- Use a ladle to fill each jar with brine all the way to the top.
- Screw the lids on tightly. Wait 15 minutes and then re-tighten the lids as needed.
- Refrigerate for one week before consuming.
- Store in the fridge for up to 6 months for crisp dill pickles.
- Buy locally grown pickling cucumbers specifically, not big slicing cucumbers. If you don't grow them, check out your local Farmer's Market.
- Leave out the habanero peppers if you don't want spicy pickles.
- Heavily seeded pickles don't make good pickles and can be bitter. Taste the pickles before pickling them to make sure they're not bitter. If they aren't, just trim some of the seeds off before pickling them.