How To Make Easy Refrigerator Pickles

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Even as a self-proclaimed pickle-lover I can hardly find the time to either slowly ferment or make canned pickles. But you know what I can make quickly and efficiently? Refrigerator pickles — and they taste just as good as anything you’d can yourself. These pickles require only slicing vegetables, boiling a brine, and then cooling for 24 hours in the fridge. The result is cool, crisp pickles ready for your next afternoon snack.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

What Is a Refrigerator Pickle?

We love pickles, but we’ve tended to shy away from making them at home, thinking that pickling requires pounds of vegetables, special equipment, and an entire free weekend. Enter: refrigerator pickling! These pickles aren’t intended for long-term storage, but rather for casual eating over the course of a week or so. They’re incredibly easy to make — even on a weeknight — and are a novel way to use up the odd carrot or quarter-head of cabbage left in the drawer.

For Your Information

  • This recipe is best for about one pound of pickles made from cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, radishes. A good rule of thumb is to use any vegetable that you enjoy eating raw, so you don’t need to cook it before pickling.
  • You’ll need two clean 16-ounce jars for your finished pickles. Make sure they are clean and dry before starting.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Refrigerator Pickles Are Quick and Easy

Can you slice vegetables and boil brine? Then you can make refrigerator pickles. Your hands-on prep time will be under 30 minutes, but you do want the pickles to cool overnight in the fridge before eating.

3 Steps for Perfect Pickles

  1. Prep before you begin. Clean jars and cleaned and sliced vegetables will all give you a better pickle in the end. Tightly pack the vegetables into the jars.
  2. Make a flavorful brine. Below is a great starting ratio, but feel free to swap the apple cider vinegar for something stronger, or increase or decrease the sugar to your tastes.
  3. Pour the warm brine over the vegetables. Carefully pour the brine directly over the vegetables and then give each jar a few minutes while the brine bubbles down between the vegetables. Then seal the pickles and refrigerate.

Storing and Serving Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator pickles will keep for about a month. If they develop any off flavors or smells, or if you notice fermentation, it’s best to just discard the remaining pickles.

These pickles are great as a snack right out the jar while standing at the counter! We also layer them on sandwiches, toss them in salads, or serve them as part of an appetizer plate.

46 Ratings

How To Make Refrigerator Pickles

Makes2 (16-ounce) jars


  • 1 pound

    small cucumbers

  • 1

    small sweet onion

  • 1 cup

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1 cup


  • 1/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt


  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Knife

  • Cutting board

  • 2

    (16-ounce) wide-mouth canning jars

  • Canning funnel, optional


  1. Wash and dry the jars. Wash 2 wide-mouth pint jars, lids, and rings in warm soapy water and rinse well. Set aside to dry or dry completely by hand. (Alternatively, run everything through the dishwasher.)

  2. Prepare the cucumbers and onion. Wash and dry the cucumber. Thinly slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Halve and thinly slice the onions. Toss the cucumbers and onions together in a bowl to evenly distribute the onion among the pickles.

  3. Pack the cucumbers and onion into the prepared jars. Pack the vegetables into the 2 jars, leaving a 1/2-inch of space at the top. Pack them in as tightly as you can without smashing.

  4. Make the pickling liquid. Place the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and mustard seeds in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.

  5. Add the brine to the jars. Pour over the vegetables, filling each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top. You might not use all the brine. Gently tap the jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles. Top off with more pickling brine if needed.

  6. Tightly seal the jars. Place the lids over the jars and screw on the rings until tight.

  7. Cool the jars, then refrigerate for 24 hours. Let the jars cool to room temperature. Store the pickles in the refrigerator. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 24 hours before using.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerator pickles will keep for about 1 month. If they develop any off flavors or smells, or if you notice fermentation, it's best to just discard the remaining pickles.