My refrigerator dill pickle recipe makes preparing your own homemade pickles a breeze, with just a handful of pantry staples. Cut into spears or slices, these crunchy refrigerator dill pickles are seasoned with fresh dill, spices and garlic for bright and savory flavor, ready to be munched on in just 48 hours!
A Sandwich's Best Friend
Friends, I have always loved crunchy, savory dill pickles. Even as a young kid, I would make a snack out of 'em by pulling them out of that big, cold jar in the fridge and taking small nibbles.
The cool, crisp, salty-tangy spears were never too “sharp” or strong for my palate, and I'd enjoy them completely on their own, or as a beloved accompaniment to a roast beef sandwich.
It seems that these days, I'm even more of a “pickle head”, and never, ever order my juicy cheeseburgers without extra pickles for that briny little punch that helps cut through the richness of the cheese and meat.
And honestly, it's only because I've always had my favorite brands of dill pickles over the years that it somehow never really occurred to me to make my own refrigerator pickles from scratch.
But that completely changed this summer when I decided to give homemade pickles a try and had a lot of fun making these!
I love keeping a couple of wide mouth mason jars of these cool cukes on hand at all times, adding a few slices to sandwiches or munching on crunchy spears whenever the craving hits. It's bye-bye to the store bought pickles from now on!
My Refrigerator Dill Pickle Recipe
The process of preparing these cold, delicious pickles is actually quite easy and fun, and let me tell you, the flavor is out-of-this-world delicious from all of the whole spices, garlic and fresh dill added to the simple brine.
And that's really what pickling is all about: combining a strong, flavorful brine with spices, herbs and seasonings, and allowing the vegetables (cucumbers in this case) to soak in all of those ingredients until they take on the bright and tangy flavor.
Because I'm not a fan a sweet pickles, I don't add any sugar to my brine, but one can always add a little pinch if that's what's preferred.
But a basic pickling brine is equal parts water and vinegar (I use classic distilled white vinegar here), some whole spices such as coriander seed, yellow mustard seed and peppercorns, plus a pinch of red pepper flakes, a bay leaf, a few cloves of smashed garlic, and fresh dill.
I actually like to use a smidgen less of the vinegar than the water (just a couple of tablespoons less), as this seems to keep things from being overly sharp, but feel free to use exactly equal parts vinegar to water, if you desire.
And for the cucumbers, I'm opting for Persian cucumbers here because I love their thin skin and virtually seed-free form, but small cucumbers such as Kirby work fantastically for pickling.
Here's a glance at my refrigerator dill pickle recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I add my spices, dill and smashed garlic cloves to the bottoms of a couple of clean, wide mouth, pint-size mason jars equipped with a screw-on lids.
- Next, I wash and cut my cucumbers according to the shape I want (typically spears or slices, or even a combo of both for different uses).
- Then, I pack the cucumber spears and/or slices into the jars.
- I bring my water, vinegar and salt to the boil to dissolve the salt, and then pour this hot brine over the cucumbers and spices/seasonings, just until things are covered.
- Next, I screw on my lids and allow the closed jars to cool at room temp, then place into the fridge.
- After 48 hours, the refrigerator dill pickles are crisp-crunchy and full of bright, savory flavor, and ready to be enjoyed.
Refrigerator Dill Pickles
by Ingrid Beer
These crisp refrigerator dill pickles are prepared with whole spices, fresh dill and garlic, and are ready for crunching on in just 48 hours!
Yield: 2 pints
Nutrition Info: 3 calories (per spear, or per 6 slices)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes (for brine)
Total time: 30 minutes
- 4 whole cloves garlic, paper removed, smashed
- ¼ cup (slightly heaping) fresh dill leaves
- 2 teaspoons whole yellow mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 large bay leaf, cut or torn in half
- 1 pound cucumbers (Persian or small, Kirby cucumbers), washed and ends cut off, cut into spears, slices, or combo of both
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- To get started, gather and prep all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Prepare two, wide mouth, pint-size pickling jars that have metal, screw-on lids.
- Into each jar add in 2 cloves of smashed garlic, half of the fresh dill (about 2 heaping tablespoons worth), 1 teaspoon of the whole mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon of the coriander seeds, ½ teaspoon of the whole peppercorns, a small pinch of red pepper flakes, plus half of a bay leaf. (You are basically dividing the spice mixture evenly between the two jars.)
- Next, fill each jar equally with the cucumber spears or slices (or do one jar with spears and jar one with slices if doing a combo), pressing down a bit to make them snug.
- To prepare the brine, add the water, vinegar and salt to a small pot or sauce pan, and bring to the boil to dissolve the salt. Once boiled, carefully pour this hot brining liquid over the cucumbers in both jars, covering the cucumbers (you may not need all of the brine).
- Cover the jars with their lids and screw them on tightly, and allow the pickles/jars to cool for a couple of hours at room temperature. Then, transfer to the refrigerator and allow the cucumbers to pickle for 48 before opening up and enjoying.
Tips & Tidbits for my Refrigerator Dill Pickle recipe:
- How long to keep refrigerator pickles: Because these are considered to be a “quick pickle” recipe, they do need to be kept cold in the fridge (in other words, they're not shelf stable), and can last about 1 month in the fridge.
- Two, wide mouth, pint-size pickling jars: The wide mouth, pint-size pickling jars are ideal for making homemade pickles, as they typically fit the smaller cucumbers spears. They also have tight-fitting screw-on lids, which seal the jars and keep the air out.
- Best cucumbers for making refrigerator pickles: Opt for the small cucumbers for this recipe (can be called “Kirby” cucumbers), or even Persian cucumbers, which have a thin skin and very few, small seeds.
- Vinegar that works well for your pickling brine: You can use different types of vinegar from apple cider vinegar (has some natural sweetness, if you like that), rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar, but I'm sticking to good ol' white distilled vinegar here for neutral flavor.
- Flavorful whole spices and seasonings for homemade dill pickles: Whole coriander and yellow mustard seeds are classic spices to add to pickling brine, as well as a few peppercorns. Whole, smashed garlic cloves are also a main ingredient for that deep, earthy flavor, and I also like a small sprinkle of red pepper flakes, plus a bay leaf that I break in half and add a piece of to each pickle jar.
- Fresh dill, for fantastic aroma: While you can opt for dried dill in this recipe in a pinch (use about 2 tablespoons total, one per pickle jar), fresh dill brings amazing flavor that just makes such a big difference. Don't skip this, if possible.