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. You’ll need 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.
Watch How to Make Pickles
Pickle Serving Suggestions
Serve these pickles with veggie burgers and other sandwiches, like these halloumi BLT’s. Try adding pickle rounds to your garden-fresh salads (they go well with tomatoes, carrots, radishes, etc.).
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.
I love this recipe and use it often. I found it works really well with other veggies, too. Now, after quick-pickling my own veggies it’s hard to go back to buying store-bought jars of pickles! These are just so much more fresh and flavorful, I think.
This is the best pickle recipe I’ve ever tried. The taste is first sweet, then vinegary and finally spicy. My family went wild. Will they keep longer than a few weeks?
Hi! These will keep for 3 weeks. I’m glad you love these pickles, Cass!
How long will these keep in the fridge?
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.
I’ve been making your pickle recipe for months now, and I no longer can tolerate store bought pickles! These are so delicious and easy to whip up. Thank you so much!
I’m excited you love this recipe, Katie! Thank you for your review.
I am trying this! It’s just sitting in my fridge waiting for me to try! I did make just a few adjustments. I used dry dill and some already minced garlic because I didn’t have fresh! It smelled so good :)
how long can I leave them canned for a long term?
Hi Christie, these aren’t meant to be canned. Sorry!
Does it matter what kind of cucumber? My class grew cucumbers, not realizing that they were pickling cucumbers, bleh! Would this recipe work for those?
Yes! Those would work. I hope you love it!
These are great! I made a jar and they were a hit with the family so I made two more, now I need to buy more ingredients.
Hi Kate – I only have white vinegar and no dill or bay leaves. Would the recipe still work? Or is there something I could use to replace the dill and bay leaf? Thank you!
Hi Sutida, you can use white if that’s what you have and try dried dill. I do prefer it as is, but it may be ok. Let me know if you try it!
Needed a very quick 1hr pickles for a chicken sandwich and so glad I found these. They turned out great! Sliced them as thin as I could get them and put the slices in a ziploc and after 1hr they were ready to go. Thanks so much, I’ll make again!
These are absolutely delicious! I’m addicted!
Wonderful to hear, Kelley! I appreciate your review.
Hi Kate! You’re my go to, thank you so much! Quick question – could I use apple cider vinegar here? I’ve got white and apple cider but no rice vinegar. What would you recommend?
I would just use more white vinegar instead of apple cider. I hope you enjoy them!
Hi Kate! I love your recipes and have made almost everything in your cookbook…thank you for sharing such great and healthy recipe ideas!! I want to make these pickles for my dad for Father’s Day (he is a big pickle fan!) and I was thinking I’d make him a few different jars. If I wanted to change up the recipe a little for each jar, do you have any suggestions on different spices or flavors I could experiment with? I’ll probably make 1 jar with the recipe as-is and then try to mix it up a little for 1-2 other jars. Let me know what you think! This is my first time making pickles. Thank you!
Hi! Sorry for my delay. What did you decide to do? I love the idea of these for a gift!
I am a long time southern girl – 63 years old – who has for the majority of my life, gardens and cans vegetables every year. I have to say these are the BEST refrigerator pickles I have ever made. Thanks so much for such a great – very simple – and very delicious recipe !
I’m glad you love this recipe, Susan! Thank you for your review.
So easy and absolutely delicious! It was the first time I have ever made pickles and my husband and I love them. He is so proud because he grew the cucumbers in our garden.
That’s great! Thank you for sharing, Robin. I love you used cucumbers from your garden.
Do you have a recipe for canning pickling them ?
I don’t, sorry!
I’ve visited this page many times over the last year and somehow never left a comment. This is by FAR my favourite pickle recipe. Fast, easy, and delicious. Thanks, Kate!
I love to hear that, Dan! Thank you for your review.
This recipe is wonderful! I used a garden oasis variety from my garden..getting overwhelmed with cucumbers hence the google search for a homemade pickle recipe and stumbled upon this. It looked too simple to be great but OH MY it’s wonderful. I’d agree it’s like a dill/bread and butter hybrid. I used sugar instead of syrup and actually just forgot a bay leaf..it’s too wonderful to add next time. Thanks for the recipe!
I’m happy you enjoyed it, Kyann! I appreciate your review.
These were so good and incredibly easy to make!
That’s great to hear, Taylor! I appreciate your review.
Hi! Does anyone know of a similar recipe that is approved for canning? I have tons of cucumbers I want to preserve for later in the year, but this is by far my favorite pickle recipe!
Hi Kate, I am just trying this but I only white vinegar is it okay?
Hi Phyllis, I prefer the recommend vinegar for best results. But you can try it. Let me know what you think!
Hello, so very excited to make these tomorrow with the kids. Came home from vacation to 7-8 large ripe cucumbers. Is this recipe straightforward for doubling/quadrupling? Does it matter if I use a bigger jar as long as the cucumbers are completely covered? Thanks so much!
Yes! Just make sure you have a large enough container or split the recipe between the jars.
I’ve never pickled anything before but had several cucumbers from the garden so tried your recipe. SO GOOD! Easy to make and extremely easy to eat! So cool and fresh and just perfect.
If I have pickling spice which of the ingredients to I omit, if any?
Hi Kaitlin, I’m not sure without trying it myself. Sorry! I hope you make it as is.
Can a jar of these be frozen?
Hi KLM, I wouldn’t recommend freezing these.
Like every other C+K recipe I’ve tried, this one’s a winner! Used white wine vinegar instead of rice vinegar because didn’t have any at 1:1 ratio and it worked great. Curious to try original recipe and wondering if I can reuse the water/add it to a new batch or not?
Hi! I’m glad it worked with the alternative. I wouldn’t recommend reusing it.
A new love in my life!!
How long can the refrigerator pickles last?
Hi Barbara! See the final step. They last up to 3 weeks.
Can you make these sugar free by using splenda, stevia, monk fruit, etc?
Hi Jen, I recommend this as written. You can omit the sweetener if you prefer.
Can you use white vinegar or will it change the amazing flavor you are talking about?
Hi! I recommend it as written, but I know others have used white and didn’t mind the results.
These are the best! I love the rice vinegar. Easy and delicious, I make it 2 times a week. Thank you, I have been searching for a good pickle receipe for so long.
I’m glad you came across this recipe, Lisa! Thank you for your review.
Hi! I modified due to what I had available went a little heavier on the ingredients and used white wine vinegar as well as regular white vinegar, I also used jalapeños for added spice and they came out fantastic! Absolutely love them!
Question when I finish eating them is the brine reusable? Could you just ad more cucumbers or should I make a new batch?
I’m glad you were able to make these pickles work with what you had on hand! I wouldn’t recommend reusing the brine. Thank you for your review!
How long will they keep in the fridge?
Hi Terry! See the final step. These pickles will last up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Hey there! Just made 8 quarts of these…which is pretty brave…because I’ve never tried the recipe. LOL I’m wondering about how long they’ll last. Is 3 weeks IT? Super easy recipe and I can’t wait to try them. I still have several pounds of cucumbers!
Hi Annie, These pickles will keep for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
I made this earlier and my husband couldn’t wait for the boots to pass by. He loved it, ate half the jar! I guess I’ll be making more tomorrow, thank you.
You’re welcome, Donna!
Can we use any kind of cucumbers for this recipe??
Hi Nancy, sure! Let me know what you use and think of the recipe.
These pickles are absolutely delicious! Have made them twice now and will be making them to give at Christmas time. So fresh tasting, way better than store bought. My grandkids couldn’t stop eating them
I love to hear that, Mitzi! Thank you for sharing.
yes it will work
This was my first attempt at making my own pickles,I searched the internet and came across your recipe, I really liked the ingredients and gave it a go,
I just love them! I’m on my sixth Jar and couldn’t have have picked a better recipe! Thanks so much Kate!
You’re welcome, Brian! I appreciate your review.
Do you need to sterilize the jars first before you put the pickles and brine into the glass containers? I am confused because some recipes state that I do need to sterilize all equipment and jars along with the lids.
Hi, this isn’t a canning recipe so sterilization isn’t required. However, I recommend using clean jars. I hope this clears up confusion.
Thanks Kate for clearing this up for me. That is what I thought too.
p.s. I rechecked two other recipes, and I think you are the one who is correct. Quick pickling is different.
We love these and just made my third batch. They go with so many things.
Made them a bit sweeter this time as some found the taste a bit too sharp. Also, no garlic as we found it overwhelming.
So easy, simple and rewarding, thank you Kathryne.
Can I use a different kind of vinegar?
Hi Jill, I recommend this recipe best as written. I believe others have tried it with white vinegar and didn’t mind the results.
Can I use apple cider vinegar
You could try it. Although I recommend this recipe best as written. Apple Cider vinegar may be too strong.
Just as titled,best pickled recipe. The only other word is ever! My family and friends LOVES these pickles. My family are big pickle lovers, I have to make several jars at a time. The recipe is quick and easy. Thank you for sharing! Blessings!
You’re welcome, Dawn! Thank you for your review.
Can you substitute dill weed or dill seed for fresh dill? It what proportion. Love your recipe
Dill seed won’t work well. You could try dried dill, but be sure to add less than what fresh is called for.