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Make bold, tangy, crisp, refrigerator garlic dill pickles with a quick, simple, foolproof method (no canning required!) – plus, easily adapt the flavor with your favorite seasonings and be ready to enjoy in just 15 minutes!

completed Quick Easy Refrigerator Pickles in a jar against a white background
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Quick and Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Unlike traditional shelf-stable pickles, which require water bath canning, making these easy refrigerator pickles is SO quick and low-fuss. Just prepare the brine, slice the cucumbers, combine everything in jars, and refrigerate. Within just a couple of days of ‘marinating,’ they’re ready to enjoy!

Without the heat processing steps, this refrigerator pickles recipe is super quick, simple, and foolproof, and the pickles retain their crunchiness even more for super crisp, salty, savory, tangy (and optionally sweet) garlic pickles.  

Making these easy homemade pickles is more cost-effective and tastes far superior to many store-bought options, too. They’re also really easy to adapt with different herbs and seasonings. This time around, we’ve gone for classic garlic dill pickles! They’re perfect as a crunchy snack, in vegan sandwiches, burgers, salads, and more.

The Ingredients

ingredients for Quick Easy Refrigerator Pickles measured out against a white surface
  • Cucumbers: We prefer using 2-3 inch pickling cucumbers to make dill pickles. They are small and firm with bumpy skin.
  • Vinegar: We used apple cider vinegar for these garlic pickles, as it has a natural sweetness to it without the need for added sugars. However, rice vinegar (which is also sweeter), white wine vinegar, or regular distilled white vinegar will also work for pickling cucumbers.

Use 50/50 distilled vinegar + apple cider vinegar for more of a pucker-worthy tang.

  • Water: We prefer to use filtered water to make homemade dill pickles.  
  • Salt: We used Kosher salt, though it’s best to use pickling salt if you have any. Regular salt can turn cloudy in the brine, looking like spoilage.
  • Garlic: We love the savory, aromatic addition of garlic to make garlic dill pickles.
  • Dill: You’ll need fresh dill sprigs for the best refrigerator dill pickles.

Our other favorite option is sweet and spicy refrigerator pickles with the addition of 1-2 tbsp sugar, ½ teaspoon of whole peppercorns and mustard seeds, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

How to Flavor Homemade Pickles?

To say this fridge pickle recipe is versatile is an understatement. Here are some ingredients to experiment with.

  • Sugar: If you prefer sweet fridge pickles, add white sugar, maple syrup, or a sugar alternative ‘to taste.’ We recommend 1-3 tablespoons (while heating the vinegar so it melts) into the brine, depending on your preferred sweetness level.
  • Spicy garlic dill pickles: Add a pinch of dried red pepper flakes, or some sliced jalapeño/ Thai chili (include some seeds for more heat).
  • Whole peppercorns: Black, mixed, or pink peppercorns add subtle spicy depth.
  • Mustard seeds: Subtle heat, a little tang, and even a hint of bitter flavor.
  • Celery seeds: A mild, celery flavor that adds depth to the garlic dill pickles.
  • Dill seeds: A herbal, slightly grassy, subtly anise-like flavor- similar to caraway.
  • Coriander seeds: A subtle, slightly nutty, citrusy flavor.
  • Bay leaves: A subtle, savory, earthy flavor. Add when heating the brine.
  • Other herbs: Tarragon, chives, basil, thyme, oregano, or rosemary would all pair well with the flavors of garlic refrigerator pickles.
  • Citrus peel: A strip of lemon, lime, or orange peel adds a bright, citrusy flavor.
  • Spices: These quick pickled cucumbers could work well with allspice berries or even pre-made pickling spice blends.
  • Other veggies: For extra flavor and texture balance, I.e., sliced carrots, radishes, red onions/sweet onions, celery, radishes, green beans, etc.

How to Make Quick Refrigerator Pickles

  • 1) First, sterilize the jars and tools you’ll use for this refrigerator dill pickle recipe by washing them in hot soapy water, rinsing well, and leaving them to air dry on a clean surface. A dishwasher ‘sterilize’ cycle would also work.
  • 2) Then, combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a large saucepan and allow it to simmer over medium heat, stirring often, until the salt dissolves.

Make sure to use nonreactive tools (stainless steel, ceramic, etc.) when dealing with acidic ingredients otherwise, the food can get a metallic flavor.

  • 3) Meanwhile, chop away the top and bottom of the (washed) cucumbers, then either cut them into spears (quartered) or slices (lengthwise or rounds/crinkle cut about ¼-inch thick) and peel the garlic.
completed pickles in a white bowl
  • 4) Add two cloves of garlic and 1-2 dill heads to each jar, then pack in the cucumbers tightly.

For a stronger garlic flavor, slice the cloves first.

  • 5) Pour the hot pickling brine over the cucumbers, filling it to the top. Then tap the jar against the counter or use a chopstick/skewer to get rid of any air bubbles.
  • 6) Screw on the jar lids and allow them to sit at room temperature for 24 hours before transferring to the refrigerator for a minimum of 48 hours, though they’ll taste even better after a week. Enjoy!

FAQs

What are the best cucumbers for pickling?

You’ll achieve the best pickled cucumber with cucumbers that are small with a firm, crunchy texture, fewer seeds, and fairly thin skins. These retain their texture best while still absorbing the pickling brine well. These include:

Pickling cucumbers (also called Kirby cucumbers)
Cornichons (which have a more tart flavor)
Persian cucumbers (which have a naturally slightly sweet flavor)

Are garlic dill pickles healthy?

Yes, pickles are generally fairly healthy and contain low fat and calories, with digestive and gut-supporting prebiotics. While the brine contains plenty of sodium, it’s also a good source of electrolytes, and this homemade refrigerator garlic dill pickles recipe is sugar-free, too – making them healthier than many store-bought versions.

Do I need to use canning jars?

Nope – any airtight lidded jar will work for these refrigerator dill pickles. Wide-mouthed jars work best.

Pro Recipe Tips

  • Use the freshest cucumbers: Ensure they’re fresh and crisp with no soft spots, mold/blemishes, or wrinkling. Even-sized cucumbers ensure the most even results.
  • Pack the jars well: By making sure it’s packed in tightly, the ingredients are less likely to float. If you have too much space, use smaller jars (or more ingredients).
  • Leave it to ‘marinate’: We don’t recommend eating them before 48 hours of ‘marinating’. However, the longer they sit, the more the flavors will develop.
  • Reuse the pickling liquid: It’s perfectly safe to reuse the pickling brine once. Just strain it, re-boil the liquid, and make a new batch of quick pickled cucumbers.  
  • Experiment with flavors: There are plenty of herbs and spices you can use. Note what you use in each batch to easily recreate your favorite flavor combinations (and avoid ‘bad’ ones).
completed Quick Easy Refrigerator Pickles in a jar against a white background

Storage Instructions

Quick refrigerator dill pickles require storing in the fridge. We recommend storing them towards the back of the refrigerator, where it’s coldest, for 4-6 weeks.

Also, make sure to only use clean utensils in the jar to avoid premature spoilage.

How to Use Garlic Dill Pickles?

More Easy Pickle Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Quick Easy Refrigerator Pickles in a jar against a white background

Quick Easy Refrigerator Pickles

5 from 40 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 20 servings
Make bold, tangy, crisp, refrigerator garlic dill pickles with a quick, simple, foolproof method (no canning required!) – plus, easily adapt the flavor with your favorite seasonings and be ready to enjoy in just 15 minutes!

Ingredients 

  • 4 pounds of pickling cucumbers, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • cup of salt
  • 4 large or 8 small dill heads
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed

Instructions 

  • Combine the water, vinegar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir until the salt is dissolved.
  • In the meantime, line up four, clean quart-sized mason jars. Drop two cloves of garlic in the bottom of each, along with 1-2 dill heads.
  • Pack quartered cucumbers into jars. Pour hot brine over the cucumbers, filling to the top.
  • Place lids on jars and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Place in the refrigerator and wait a week before enjoying.

Notes

  • Use the freshest cucumbers: Ensure they’re fresh and crisp with no soft spots, mold/blemishes, or wrinkling. Even-sized cucumbers ensure the most even results.
  • Pack the jars well: By making sure it’s packed in tightly, the ingredients are less likely to float. If you have too much space, use smaller jars (or more ingredients).
  • Leave it to ‘marinate’: We don’t recommend eating them before 48 hours of ‘marinating’. However, the longer they sit, the more the flavors will develop.

Nutrition

Calories: 15kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.004gSodium: 1894mgPotassium: 139mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 81IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 0.3mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Honor
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Method: Stovetop
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Honor

Loves baking, gardening and preparing delicious, compassionate meals for her vegan family of four.

More about Honor
5 from 40 votes (34 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These quick and easy refrigerator pickles are so perfect for grilling and snacking in the summer. Love this recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    I love finding quick pickle recipes that don’t require any canning!! These are quick and easy to make and everyone loves them! The hardest part is letting them develop their flavors in the fridge!

  3. 5 stars
    These are amazing!! I love them! Question — how long do they last in the fridge? Weeks? Months? (I eat them fast, but I also like making 4 jars at once while I have a nice pile of fresh dill. I’m just not sure how long it’s “safe” to keep eating them.) Thanks!!