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How to Make Pickles in the Refrigerator

By Stephanie Nero
Updated March 11, 2020
DIY dill pickles can be yours! This no-fail method is easy as boiling water (mostly).

My grandma Grace was a pickling queen; her homemade pickles were always my favorite. I don’t possess quite the domestic skill set she did, but I wanted to try my hand at making homemade pickles. Since I don’t have canning experience (or equipment, for that matter) I thought a quick refrigerator pickle recipe would be the way to go.

You know what? It’s actually incredibly easy to make homemade pickles. Now, they’re not exactly the same as regular pickles: They should stay in the fridge, and be enjoyed within about two weeks. But they do make great gifts and a delicious addition to meals. I even like pickles on their own for a low-cal snack when I’m craving something salty and crunchy.

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Easy Refrigerator Pickles

What You’ll Need

The recipe couldn’t be easier. I found that yields about six 16-ounce jars when you slice the cucumbers into coins. Here's what you'll need.

Pot, canning jars, pickling cucumbers, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt, garlic, dill

Equipment

  • 1 large pot, at least 3 quarts 
  • A heat-safe container for your pickles (Think gallon-size ice cream bucket or large soup pot.) 
  • Canning jars, if desired for storage

Ingredients

  • 25 pickling cucumbers 
  • 2 quarts water 
  • 1 quart apple cider vinegar 
  • 3/4 cup pickling salt 
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 4 cloves of garlic 
  • 1 large bunch of fresh dill or small container dill seed

Picking the Right Cucumber

Picking the right cucumber for the job is easy—if you know what to look for! When you go to the grocery store, select firm cucumbers of the appropriate size: about 4 to 5 inches in length. Avoid using English hothouse cucumbers, which are long and skinny and thin-skinned—they don’t hold up as well to pickling. Instead, search for the Kirby variety (the most common variety of pickling cucumbers), with bumpy skins and firm flesh. If you’re ambitious you can take these right from the garden, but they’re widely available at grocery stores and farmers markets, too.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Add 2 quarts water and 1 quart apple cider vinegar to a large pot on the stove over medium heat. While the mixture on the stove is coming to a boil, wash up your baby cucumbers.

Step 2

Slice the cucumbers (lengthwise, or in hamburger slices—it’s up to you!) and put in a large heat-safe container that has a tight-fitting lid. I actually used a Dutch oven. Whatever you use, make sure it’s something you don’t mind smelling like vinegar for a bit.

Slice cucumbers

Step 3

Next, smash and slice your garlic cloves (if you prefer, you could also use 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, although you won’t get as intense of a flavor) and trim the dill. Since we’ll be extracting the flavor, you can leave it in stalks rather than chopping it into smaller pieces. Add garlic and dill to the container of cucumbers.

Sliced cucumbers, dill, garlic in a pot

Step 4

Put your container in the sink and pour the boiling vinegar mixture to combine with your cucumbers, dill, garlic and alum.

Pour water and apple cider into pot with sliced cucumbers

Allow to cool for 30-60 minutes before you put the cover on and refrigerate.

Step 5

Marinate, covered, in refrigerator for about 2 days. At this point you can separate the batch into smaller containers. (Canning jars work great for this).These pickles make great gifts for friends and family—or, if you’re like me, you might keep most of them for yourself! Again, they’ll keep for up to 2 weeks, so don’t wait to dig in!

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