What took me so long to make classic pickles? As it turns out, homemade dill pickles are simple, easy and delicious. They’re the perfect little summertime project, if you even want to call it that. These pickles are ready after a short chill in the refrigerator (as little as one hour), and they keep for several weeks.
These pickles are tangy and refreshing, nice and crisp, and offer garden-fresh flavor. They remind me of Claussen or Grillo’s pickles—but they’re even better. In short, I’m in love with this refrigerator pickle recipe and I think you will be, too.
These pickles are made with simple ingredients, including vinegar (I prefer rice vinegar’s mild flavor), fresh dill (technically optional, but delicious), a couple cloves of garlic, and a few basic seasonings.
I added a touch of sweetener, too—just enough to cut the bite of vinegar. These pickles are decidedly tangy, and nowhere near “bread and butter” territory. However, the sweetness level is entirely up to you.
These pickles aren’t overwhelmingly salty, either, yet they’re fully seasoned. They are irresistibly just right—perfect for burgers, for snacking, and more.
How to Make Pickles
These pickles are so easy to make! You’ll find the full recipe below, but here’s a preview:
- Slice your cucumbers as desired.
- Whisk together a basic brine made of water, vinegar and seasonings.
- Pack the cucumbers into a jar, add some dill and garlic, and pour the brine over it all.
- Refrigerate until the pickles taste sufficiently “pickled!”
Perhaps of note: Most of my other pickle recipes start with a hot vinegar brine, which helps the brine permeate tough vegetables. These pickles are made with a room temperature brine, which means that you can skip the stovetop step (and the intense vinegar smell that comes with it). Cucumbers are delicate and readily absorb flavor, so a cool brine yields pickles with the best flavor, texture and color.
Cucumber Slicing Options
You can use this recipe to yield any pickle shape, depending on how you slice your cucumbers. Thin slices will taste fully pickled sooner than thick spears (about one hour vs. three).
For cucumber rounds (or “chips” as they call them on the grocery shelves): Simply cut the cucumbers into thin slices (around 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick) .
For spears: Slice your cucumber in half lengthwise, then slice the halves into quarters. Finally, slice the quarters into eighths so they yield wedge-shaped spears. If you’re using a long cucumber, cut all the slices in half through the middle so they fit into your jar.
For sandwich slices: Slice off a strip of cucumber running the length of its long side. Turn the cucumber so it rests safely on the flat side. Then slice the cucumber, lengthwise, into 1/4-inch thick slices. Depending on the length of your cucumber, you might slice them in half or into thirds to suit your purposes.
Pickle Serving Suggestions
These pickles are also great light snacks on their own, and they’re nice, tangy additions to cheese boards and party spreads.
Craving more pickles? Try these:
- Quick-Pickled Onions
- Quick-Pickled Peppers (jalapeños and bell pepper) or Fresh Jalapeño Relish (easier!)
- Quick-Pickled Radishes
- Quick-Pickled Veggies: Featuring any combination of cauliflower, carrots, onions and/or jalapeño
Easy Homemade Pickles
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes (plus 1 to 3 hour rest)
- Yield: 1 jar 1x
- Category: Condiment
- Method: Refrigerator
- Cuisine: International
- Diet: Gluten Free
You’ll love these fresh homemade pickles! This recipe for dill refrigerator pickles is ready in 1 to 3 hours, depending on how you slice your cucumbers. Recipe yields 1 medium jar of pickles (about 2 cups sliced pickles or 16 spears).
- 1 medium-to-large cucumber or 2 small cucumbers (ideally 12 ounces total)*
- ½ cup water, at room temperature or cooler
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup or sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
- 20 twists of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 leafy sprigs of fresh dill, roughly chopped (about ¼ cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- For pickle rounds (“chips”), slice the cucumber(s) into thin rounds, about ⅛-inch thick. Or, for spears, slice them in half lengthwise, then slice the halves lengthwise into quarters, then slice the quarters lengthwise into eighths. If your spears are long like mine (from one long cucumber), slice them through the middle so they’re not too tall for your jar. Set aside.
- In a liquid measuring cup or bowl, combine the water, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, red pepper flakes (if using) and black pepper. Stir until most of the salt has dissolved into the liquid, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside.
- Place the cucumbers into a wide-mouth jar about 3 to 4 inches in diameter, tall enough to offer at least 1 inch of extra space on top (for pickle spears, it’s important that all the pickles fit snugly, vertically—a wide-mouth pint-sized mason jar would work well).
- Top the cucumbers with the dill and garlic. Tuck the bay leaf into the side of the jar. Pour the all of the liquid over the cucumbers so they’re fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (for pickle rounds) or at least 3 hours (for pickle spears). The flavor will continue to develop over the next couple of days. These pickles will keep for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
*Cucumber options: For thinly sliced pickles, I love to use English (seedless) cucumbers. Kirby, Persian and garden-variety cucumbers will also work great. For pickle spears, use two Kirby or small garden cucumbers (about 6 ounces each). Or, use one longer garden cucumber (about 12 ounces) as shown here—you’ll just need to slice the spears in half through the middle so they’re not too tall for your jar.
Change it up: For sweeter pickles (bread and butter pickles), you’ll need to add a lot more maple syrup (which will make the mixture more brown) or sugar. Add it to the vinegar mixture, to taste, before pouring it over the cucumbers. Sweetness is so subjective!
Can I can it? No. This recipe is a “refrigerator pickle” recipe. It is not designed for canning in a water bath, and it has not been tested for canning safety. Please do not attempt! Follow a recipe specifically designed for canning instead.