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Homemade quick pickles have never been easier! These refrigerator dill pickles are the perfect way to take advantage of crisp, fresh cucumbers — without the hassle of canning. They’ll even last for a month or two! Serve the refrigerator pickles on hamburgers and sandwiches, as a snack, or as a salad alongside barbecue or other meat-based entrées. They have just the right balance of fresh dill, garlic, onions and cider vinegar, for a light, refreshing taste without an overpowering tang.

Side shot of a jar of fresh refrigerator dill pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

“Refrigerator pickles” is a generic term used to describe fresh pickles that are stored in the fridge, rather than pickles that are waterbath canned for shelf-storage. In other words, these “quick pickles” are faster and easier than their canned counterparts! This particular refrigerator dill pickle recipe is salty — not sweet — and has a subtle tang from a bit of cider vinegar, a hint of garlic, and plenty of fresh dill. They’re a favorite around here because they’re not overpowering in the way that other pickles can make your mouth pucker from so much sour vinegar! Instead, these homemade pickles and sweet onions taste light and fresh, and remind me of my mom’s vinegar-based cucumber salad.

Overhead shot of two jars of dill refrigerator pickles

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to prepare a batch of fresh pickles. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions can be found in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Water: the base of the brine.
  • Cider vinegar: has a mellow, fruity flavor that works well for a mild pickle. It’s less pungent and harsh than distilled white vinegar.
  • Kosher salt: flavors the pickles and helps to keep them fresh.
  • Granulated sugar: just enough to balance the savory flavor of the pickles.
  • Garlic: one clove infuses the brine with a very subtle hint of garlic flavor. If you prefer a stronger garlic pickle, you can add one or two peeled cloves to each jar.
  • Cucumbers: fresh, seedless English cucumbers are my choice here, but small pickling cucumbers (when available) are also a good option.
  • Vidalia onions: classic sweet Southern onions that pair so well with the cucumbers. If you can’t find Vidalia onions where you live, substitute with any other sweet onion variety.
  • Fresh dill: gives the pickles their signature dill taste.

The Best Cucumbers for Pickles

I like to use seedless English cucumbers here, since they’re easy to purchase at just about any grocery store and they don’t have large seeds to contend with. Plus, when sliced into rounds, they’re the perfect size for pickles! Pickling cucumbers, which are shorter and have a bumpy skin, also work well because they hold up for a long time and stay nice and crisp. They can be harder to find, but are a great option when they’re in season at the local farmers’ market.

Sliced cucumber in a glass bowl

How to Make Refrigerator Dill Pickles with Onions

The process of making refrigerator dill pickles is really quite simple: you just soak cucumbers in a brine made from water, vinegar and salt, along with any other seasonings that you like (in this case, dill). As the cucumbers soak in the brine, they become pickles!

  1. Boil the water, vinegar, salt, sugar and garlic over medium-high heat, whisking to make sure that the salt and sugar dissolve.
  2. Remove the brine from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  3. Divide the cucumbers, onions and dill sprigs between jars.
  4. Add the cooled vinegar mixture to cover, then seal the jars.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before enjoying.
Brine for refrigerator pickles in pot
Overhead shot showing how to make refrigerator dill pickles
Horizontal overhead image of a jar of quick pickles on a white wooden table

What to Serve with Quick Pickles

While you can certainly enjoy the refrigerator dill pickles as a condiment, putting slices on burgers, sandwiches or barbecue, you can also treat them like a side dish and serve a spoonful as you would serve a salad. Since the crispy cucumbers and sweet onions are mild and zippy, they’re a nice acidic contrast to heartier meat-based entrees — like ribs, fried chicken, fried fish or shrimp, and grilled steak. Plus, they might just become a staple in your fridge for those moments when you need to stick your fingers in a jar for a quick, refreshing snack!

Here are some great meals to pair with your homemade pickles:

Square shot of a jar of quick dill pickles on a white table

Storage

Store the pickles in an airtight jar or other container for up to 2 months in the fridge. They will get softer as they sit, so we try to enjoy them within the first few weeks of preparation.

Recipe Variations

  • Some pickle recipes use equal parts vinegar and water for the brine. This brine is more mild and less tangy, which we really love (and it makes it easier to serve the pickles as a side dish). If you prefer a more pungent acidic tang in your pickles, you can decrease the water and increase the cider vinegar.
  • For a stronger garlic flavor, place a whole peeled garlic clove in each jar of pickles, rather than just letting the clove infuse the brine.
  • If you like a stronger dill flavor, add extra dill sprigs to each jar (you can easily increase the dill to 3-4 sprigs in each jar).
  • We love the balance of the pickled cucumbers with the sweet pickled onions. If you prefer fewer onions in your jars, you can decrease the amount of onion called for in the recipe and replace it with extra cucumbers instead.
  • For spicy refrigerator dill pickles, add crushed red pepper flakes or whole peppercorns to the brine.
  • Try a sweeter pickle by increasing the sugar in the brine.
  • Cut the cucumbers into any shape you like. I’ve shown round hamburger chips here, but you can slice them into long sandwich slices, spears, or crinkle cut rounds.
Square overhead image of a fork in a jar of refrigerator pickles with slices cucumber nearby

Tips for the Best Refrigerator Dill Pickle Recipe

  • Allow time for the brine to cool to room temperature before pouring it over the vegetables.
  • Use a wider setting on a mandoline to slice the cucumbers into even rounds quickly and easily.
  • Let the pickles sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours to develop their flavor before enjoying. They must always be stored in the refrigerator since they are not properly canned to be shelf-stable.
  • Scale the recipe to make as many jars as you like. For a small batch of refrigerator pickles, just cut all of the ingredients in half. If you have a bumper crop of cucumbers to enjoy, you can double the ingredients and prepare twice as many jars!
Side shot of quick dill pickles in glass jars in front of a white wall

More Recipes with Cucumbers

Side shot of a jar of fresh refrigerator dill pickles

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Chilling Time 1 day
Total: 1 day 15 minutes
Servings 3 quarts
Calories 129 kcal
Homemade quick pickles have never been easier! These refrigerator dill pickles are the perfect way to take advantage of crisp, fresh cucumbers — without the hassle of canning.

Ingredients
  

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 whole clove garlic, peeled
  • 6 cups sliced cucumbers (about 2 ½ lbs.), such as seedless English cucumbers
  • 2 cups thinly sliced Vidalia onions (about 1 medium onion)
  • 6 sprigs fresh dill

Instructions

  • In a saucepan, bring water, vinegar, salt, sugar and garlic clove to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk to make sure that the sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Discard the garlic clove.
  • Divide cucumbers, onions, and dill sprigs between 3 (1-quart) jars. Add cooled vinegar mixture to cover; seal jars. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before enjoying. The pickles will last in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Notes

  • Some pickle recipes use equal parts vinegar and water for the brine. This brine is more mild and less tangy, which we really love (and it makes it easier to serve the pickles as a side dish). If you prefer a more pungent acidic tang in your pickles, you can decrease the water and increase the cider vinegar.
  • For a stronger garlic flavor, place a whole peeled garlic clove in each jar of pickles, rather than just letting the clove infuse the brine.
  • If you like a stronger dill flavor, add extra dill sprigs to each jar (you can easily increase the dill to 3-4 sprigs in each jar).
  • We love the balance of the pickled cucumbers with the sweet pickled onions. If you prefer fewer onions in your jars, you can decrease the amount of onion called for in the recipe and replace it with extra cucumbers instead.
  • For spicy refrigerator dill pickles, add crushed red pepper flakes or whole peppercorns to the brine.
  • Try a sweeter pickle by increasing the sugar in the brine.
  • Cut the cucumbers into any shape you like. I’ve shown round hamburger chips here, but you can slice them into long sandwich slices, spears, or crinkle cut rounds.
  • Let the pickles sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours to develop their flavor before enjoying. They must always be stored in the refrigerator since they are not properly canned to be shelf-stable.
  • Scale the recipe to make as many jars as you like. For a small batch of refrigerator pickles, just cut all of the ingredients in half. If you have a bumper crop of cucumbers to enjoy, you can double the ingredients and prepare twice as many jars!

Nutrition

Serving: 1quartCalories: 129kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 7013mgPotassium: 744mgFiber: 5gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 429IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 103mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: quick pickles, refrigerator dill pickles, refrigerator pickles
Course: condiment
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Good morning, Blair! I learned my local store does not sell fresh herbs. Bummer, I know. They do sell dill seed and ground dill weed in the spices, though. What are your thoughts on the best substitution, dill seed or dill weed, and how much?

    1. Oh, darn. That’s a huge bummer, Marion. I would try maybe 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill weed in each jar of pickles. Let me know if you give that a shot!

    1. Yes, but the brine might taste too “sharp” without the balance of a little added sugar. You can do it either way, though!

  2. Hi Blair – I love pickles but I also love pickled beets. Can you use this same recipe to pickle beets or would it need tweaking? Thanks, Karen

  3. 5 stars
    Hello Blair
    I have to tell you I have made these pickles twice now in the last three weeks and I can’t stop eating them ( better than cookies, lol). They are absolutely delicious and your right I find myself taking the jar out and sticking my (clean) finger in to grab some. Right now I only have one jar left and I just picked up cucumbers to make more. I think I like them because they are not overpowering. The first time I made these I cut the cucumber by hand (which took a little longer, 72 year old hands), now I use my mandolin and I am done in no time, it takes longer for the brine to cool. Thank you so much for posting this recipe …..

    1. Yay! I’m so glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed them, Karen. Definitely a summertime favorite around here, too! 🙂

  4. Hi Blair Karen here again when I made my pickles I used Mortons coarse Kosher salt now I want to make a new batch and I had to buy Davids Kosher salt which is also coarse but a much smaller coarse. I tried to look up the difference between the two as far as measurements but I’m more confused. What brand of Kosher salt do you use? Thanks, Karen