Refrigerator Pickles

There are two kinds of pickles in this world: pickles that get most of their flavor from the seasonings and pickles that get there flavoring from fermenting. Most of the pickles out there get their flavor from the seasonings. The pickles are either refrigerated or canned right away in order to prevent bacteria from growing. With fermented pickles, aka Sours, good bacteria is encourage. The bacteria helps give the pickles their sour taste, sort of like the additional kick sourdough bread at work.

Sour pickles are my favorite type of pickle, but I haven’t had much making. Refrigerator pickles are a lot easier to make. Their flavor comes from the seasoning you soak them in. I have tried some recipe that call for pouring the hot water vinegar mixture over the pickles, but I find that it gives the pickles a weird taste and ends up “cooking” the dill. It might just be what you are used too.

I found two good recipes, one at the Homesick Texan and the other at Coconut & Lime. I synthesized the two and came up with a pretty good recipe. I worked with a larger batch so I just scaled everything up. You want to make sure the amount of salt, water and vinegar all stay proportional.

A couple notes, you want to try and use Kirby cucumbers. They are smaller and are usually un-waxed. Also, go for kosher salt. It doesn’t have iodine like table salt, which can make the pickles darker in color.

Dill Refrigerator Pickles


  • 1 1/2 lbs Kirby cucumbers (sometimes labeled pickling cukes), cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 good handful of fresh dill (maybe a cup?)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes or a dried red hot pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns

23 thoughts on “Refrigerator Pickles

  1. I found this recipe five years ago and have used it every year since! This is hands down the best pickle recipe i have ever tried and will never can another jar of pickles. My wife and i take our bigger cucs and cut them into slices and pickle them and they are a perfect addition on a burger.

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  3. I tried this recipe and I added a few things. See, my favorite pickles in the whole wide world are Claussen Pickles. If you do add the chili flakes along with a small jar of pimentos and a jar of capers, you got yourself pickles tasting like Claussen pickles. It must be chili flakes and drain and rinse the pimentos and capers of their packaging juices.

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  5. Made these on Tuesday and had to sneak a taste. Absolutely wonderful. My 7 yr old son could not stop eating them. If they taste this good now, can not wait until Monday to eat the rest. Need to go buy more cukes since my are not ready yet. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. This also works great for dilly beans if you are a fan- just substitute lightly blanched (2-3 mins in boiling water) green beans for the cucumber.

    • This is genius… I might actually give this a try on some frozen green beans I have. It would be great to be able to make pickled beans anytime of the year.

  7. has anyone tried it without the dill? don’t have any and didn’t want to buy it. I have all the other ingredients here at home.

    • Dill gives the flavor that is traditionally in pickles… but you can probably get away with out. If you want to pick up some dried dill that would work too and you can just keep it around in the cabinet.

  8. hi i am new on this my son, love to cook , he need some help, he did all the think you have, but the dill an the water,salt, is name is david. dones it have to be in the refrigerator , i do not think he did.

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  11. Hi Bri, I am pretty sure they do not ferment in the fridge. The vinegar does give it a sour taste, but not the full on tang of Sour pickle. They do have a very balanced flavor though and should highlight your tasty cukes!

    On a tangent, I do think some fermentation or enzymatic reactions occur, because the flavor and texture change. The lower temperature might favor a different set of bacteria.

  12. Thanks for the recipe. Cucumbers have been so good in Northern California this season, it would be great to make pickles. I’m wondering though, from your recipe, since you put them in the fridge, do they ferment? Or just get sour from the vinegar?

  13. I think you mean kosher salt doesn’t have any *anti-caking* agents. Actually, it does. Look at the ingredients closely. Pickling salt (AKA canning salt) has no anti-caking agents, and dissolves easily without heat.

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