Refrigerator Pickles: Learn How To Pickle Cucumbers the Simple Way

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How To Pickle Cucumbers Refrigerator Pickles

Learn how to pickle cucumbers the simple way and make the best dill refrigerator pickles you’ve ever had. I promise they’ll be a big hit!

Refrigerator Pickles

It’s no secret that many things from your own kitchen are more flavorful, healthful, and nutrient-dense than store-bought. Pickles are no exception.

Since we began pickling our own cucumbers, store-bought pickles seem so limp, soggy, artificially colored, and unappealing. You read that right – artificially colored. Certain brands of pickles have added yellow #5 to give their sickly-colored (translation: not so fresh) pickles a little color boost. With all we know about the health implications of food dyes, it’s high time we avoid store-bought and learn how to make our own pickles. This method is so simple, and you will love the outcome!

I didn’t automatically know how to make refrigerator pickles, this recipe was derived from lots of personal taste testing trial and error. Out of all the recipes I’ve tried, this is the best. You don’t need any special equipment – we’re not going to can these pickles. We call them “refrigerator pickles” because you allow the vinegar and other ingredients to tenderize and flavor the cucumbers with no need for cooking. You end up with crispy, fresh, delicious pickles that have all the raw nutrients intact.

Refrigerator Pickles How To Pickle Cucumbers 1
Refrigerator Pickles How To Pickle Cucumbers

Refrigerator Pickles: How to Pickle Cucumbers The Simple Way

5 from 4 votes

Learn how to pickle cucumbers the simple way and make the best dill refrigerator pickles you've ever had. I promise they'll be a big hit!

Prep Time
10 minutes
Active Time
10 minutes
Resting TIme
1 day
Total Time
1 day 20 minutes
20 pickles
Condiment, Snack
Estimated Cost




  1. Cut pickles into discs, spears, or sandwich slices and add to the jar with all ingredients except the water.
    Refrigerator Pickles How To Pickle Cucumbers 1
  2. Once everything is in the jar, fill to the very top with distilled or filtered water and screw the lid on very tightly.

  3. Shake the jar up to distribute flavors and leave on your countertop for 12 hours.
  4. Shake again and turn upside down for another 12 hours, making sure the lid is screwed on tightly to avoid leakage.
  5. After pickles have sat for a total of 24 hours go taste your creation – you won’t believe how good they are!
  6. Store in refrigerator and enjoy within a month for maximum freshness.
    Refrigerator Pickles How To Pickle Cucumbers

Recipe Video


Don’t limit yourself to pickle cucumbers, use this recipe with just about any vegetable. We omit the dill and use the recipe for okra, bell peppers, and more. Adjust the spices and be creative because there are so many possibilities.


Serving: 1pickle | Calories: 5kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 263mg | Potassium: 41mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 37IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
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Sometimes we eat our pickles within a few days. We hate to waste the well-seasoned liquid mixture, so when they disappear too quickly we just pack more fresh cucumbers in the existing liquid. We add a touch more vinegar and top off with more water.

Other Condiments and Snacks to Make

Don’t stop with refrigerator pickles! Here are a few other condiments and snacks you can make at home:

  1. Homemade Mayonnaise
  2. Homemade Ketchup
  3. Worcestershire Sauce Recipe
  4. Homemade Coleslaw
  5. Homemade Baked Beans

Do you have cucumbers or other veggies coming out of your ears? Give this simple pickling recipe a shot, I promise you won’t regret it!


About Matt Jabs

Matt loves to inspire others to save money and live more sustainably. He is passionate about eating local, living simply, and doing more things himself. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

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  1. Lauren says

    Can you use other salts beside kosher, such as Celtic Grey or Himalayan Pink, and achieve the same results?

  2. Sammy60 says

    I often use the leftover pickle brine for roasting some tough beef cuts. My recipe is lacto-fermented without vinegar (my grandma’s recipe).

  3. Lizz says

    You refer to the cucumbers as “pickling cucumbers” but can I use what I am growing in my garden? They are regular (as far as I know) cucumbers.

  4. Rebecca V. says

    I love love love the ‘barrel cured’ dill pickle flavor. I absolutely hate hate hate the Kosher dill pickle flavor (and sweet pickles too!). I’ve made refrigerator pickles before with great success, but the flavor was that of the Kosher dill pickles. Granted, that recipe called for sugar too…but I was wondering where the taste of these fall in the pickle flavor range? Thanks so much!! Love EVERYTHING you and Betsy do!

      • Rebecca V. says

        Thanks! I will! I told one of my 6 year old twins (who also loves dill pickles as much as I do) about them and she cannot wait to try them. I see a DIY project in our very near future ;-)…

  5. erin marks says

    Don’t forget that you can use the pickle juice on Hydrangeas or Hyacinths to BOOST their color! (From my grandma!)

  6. Marguerite Hollingsworth says

    Thank you for this recipe. The combination of salt and vinegar is just perfect.
    I used this recipe to make carrots with veges, and wanted to see what would happen if I left it out on the counter for a few days the way I do when fermenting. Well, it began bubbling just like my fermenting jars. I can’t find any info online, would someone who knows please tell me why they ferment with vinegar present? If they are indeed fermenting, then they will store at room temperature as well.

  7. Anna says

    I have made these and they are awesome 🙂 I have two questions though. 1. is it important that they sit on a counter for 24hrs? I’m concerned about “funny” things growing- will they pickle if you leave them in the fridge without counter time?. Lastly has anyone ever tried this with mushrooms? I love pickled mushrooms and may just give it a shot anyway. I’ve got too many right now anyway. (Just realized that was 3 questions LOL) Thanks

    • Matt Jabs says

      Give mushrooms a shot and let us know how they turn out Anna. If you’re worried about leaving them out then refrigerate them, but we can’t guarantee the same results because we don’t do it that way.

      • Anna says

        Well I did make the Mushrooms and they are really good! I was surprised to see how much they shrink- I needed to open the jar a few times to add more water to ensure they were covered. I did leave them on the counter and (as I’m still living and have no adverse affects) I believe they are safe 🙂 I just used 1 Garlic clove and 1 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp vinegar and top off with water. This was in a 500ml mason jar. Good luck to anyone else wanting to do them- I’m making another batch today. Cheers!

  8. Hannah says

    I found some really cute mini cucumbers at the market the other night and was wondering if I have to cut them in order to get the same effect…can I just throw them in as is? I’m not too big on sliced pickles!!!!

    • Matt Jabs says

      Great question Hannah, we haven’t tried it yet. I imagine it would work, but will probably take a little longer to penetrate into the center of the pickle, so give it 3-4 days. Let us know how it goes!

  9. StephInBerkeley says

    Hey Jabs,

    I tried your pickles recipe today. They look gorgeous!!! And I can’t wait to try them 🙂 Thanks for this recipe and ALL that you do!

  10. Cheryl says

    I’m so happy to have this information. The pickles taste so good and I hate to waste anything unless it’s really going to hurt us. I did eat the one pickle yesterday and had a bit of upset today, but nothing too uncomfortable or long lasting. (or even uncommon) I’m relieved to know it’s just fermentation and is a healthy thing. Thanks Gracie. And thanks again, Matt.

  11. gracie says

    I don’t know what WAP is!
    We have recently started fermenting vegetables. Our sauerkraut (cabbage) has been delicious. I too tried this pickle recipe and let it sit out “too” long and they got very carbonated! They tasted great but had that bubbly tingle on the end of the tongue. And unforunately, eating some make me sick. It didn’t bother my husband at all, but he has grown up with much better health than I have. I used to have very bad health with years of candida yeast problems. I am over it now, but I believe my gut flora has been severely compromised from bad diet and antibiotics. The reintroduction of such a high dose of good bacteria from two slices of fermented pickles was perhaps too much too fast! Thankfully I seem to be well adapted to the sauerkraut at this time. I’ll have to try a few bites of pickles again sometime…

  12. Cheryl says

    I made these pickles a month ago. We ate one jar after a week (fantastic!), but saved the other jar til now. When I opened them, bubbles, much like carbonation, came up to the top. Is this OK? Are they safe or did I wait too long to use them?

    • Matt Jabs says

      Hard to say Cheryl. We have had them last for months with no issue but it depends on a lot of factors. If it were me, I would smell them. If they smell good, I would taste them. If they taste fine I would eat them, if not, I would spit the bite out, discard, and get more cukes to process. How did they last that long? I’m guessing they were hiding behind something else.

      • Cheryl says

        I hate to say it, but I ate one, thinking what could possibly go wrong with them? It was very garlicky, which I love, and otherwise it seemed fine. Looked good and was crisp. But of course now I’m expecting botulism any day (even though I keep reading it’s not possible with refrigerator pickles). The jar (glass lid with rubber seal) had sealed really well…maybe too well? And since it was a very large jar and I only had about enough cukes to fill it half way, they were at the top. I’ve read that could be a sign that something is wrong, but my first batch did the same thing and they were fine. And no…they weren’t hiding… I was saving them since we ate the first jar so fast. Hoping they’d last awhile. Love them! Thanks for the recipe and for your help.

        • gracie says

          The bubbles and carbonation are the result of fermentation. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with it- in fact, the opposite. Fermentation actually increases the good bacteria (which overtakes the bad bacteria which causes botulism) and helps make the nutrients more available for the body. However, if you’re not accostomed to eating a lot of fermented foods, eating some may cause some digestive uncomfort at first, or if you’re overly acidic and toxic it could cause some detoxification symptoms which can be very uncomfortable. I’d recommend not eating too much of those at a time until you know how your body reacts.
          Fermented vegetables are packed full of probiotic power (WAY more than a probiotic supplement!) and eating them can greatly improve one’s gut flora, which aids the entire body in maintaining health and balance.

          • Matt Jabs says

            Great info Gracie, are you into WAP? We’re getting familiar and have started fermenting foods too. It’s the way we’ll be doing it going forward, rather than canning, so the nutrients and beneficial bacteria are still there! Blessings.

      • Aurora Clarke says

        I make fermented dill pickles, veggies and sauerkraut all the time – they are perfectly OK as long as no mould! Note! There is a kind of white sludgy stuff sometimes that is not toxic, ladle off and dump.
        BTW the tannin in Grape leaves will add extra crunch 🙂

  13. patti says

    dangit….did these yesterday, and not only did i forget to flip them after the first 12 hours, but i just realized i forgot the salt!! what should i do now?? is all hope of a pickle lost?? 🙁

  14. Jennifer says

    I used regular cucumbers with a similar recipe. I sliced them & after a couple of days the pickles fell apart, the meaty part seemed to melt away….any ideas as to why? It was my first attempt at pickles & Im a little disappointed 🙁

    • Matt Jabs says

      If you didn’t use this recipe then I can’t know what happened. If you use this recipe that won’t happen, at least it never has to me. I made 2 batches yesterday with regular sized cucumbers sliced into thick pickle chips – they’re money in the bank! Give it another shot and let us know how it goes. Make your slices about 1/2″ thick.

  15. Ken says

    Just made a few jars of these pickles, spears and slices and on the third day after about 10 hours in the refrigerator we tried them and they are great.
    The smell and taste reminded me of going to the neighborhood butcher shop as a kid and them having the barrel of pickles there, same smell and flavor.
    Hard to control ourselves from eating them up in one night.
    We will never buy jar pickles again. These are fresh, healthy, without all the extra salt and chemicals. Thanks for sharing

    • Matt Jabs says

      Glad y’all like em Ken. We just made another cucumber batch today and even used the same recipe to pickle red and green bell peppers (minus the dill), can’t wait to taste them.

  16. Natalie says

    Does it matter (food safety-wise) that I divided the recipe between 4 8 oz canning jars (that’s all I had). So there is basically about a quarter of the amount of salt and vinegar in each jar. I didn’t know if using a smaller amount of the salt and vinegar would keep the cucumbers from spoiling. We tasted them and they are delish, is that a good enough test ? 🙂

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