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This refrigerator pickles recipe is super-easy to prep in just 5 minutes, it’s customizable with your favorite seasonings, and it yields the most delicious, fresh, crisp homemade pickles.
Got a pickle craving? Quick — let’s make a batch of homemade pickles together! ♡
We’ve been making this refrigerator pickles recipe on repeat this summer, especially while ripe cucumbers are in season. And while I know that everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the perfect pickle, in my book, it doesn’t get any better than this simple recipe. Inspired by Grillo’s famous fresh pickles, these homemade pickles are perfectly crisp and crunchy, they’re loaded up with a fresh blend of garlicky-dill-bay seasonings, they are salty and vinegary but not overly so, and WOW are they delicious.
They are also amazingly quick and easy to make, requiring only about 5 minutes of prep time and at least a few hours to pickle. (Or if you have the patience, they’re even more delicious the next day.) They’re also naturally gluten-free and vegan. And while they are wonderful in burgers, sandwiches, salads, cocktails and more, here in our house we’re obsessed with just popping them plain as a quick snack. There’s nothing more satisfying in my book than that crisp cucumber crunch!
So gather up your ingredients and let’s make a quick batch of homemade pickles together!
Homemade Pickle Ingredients
Before we get to the full homemade pickle recipe at the bottom of this post, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need:
- Cucumbers: I’m partial to using mini Persian cucumbers in this recipe, whose extra-crisp texture and minimal seeds work well for pickles. That said, English cucumbers also work great in this recipe.
- Dill: I love packing basically as much fresh dill as possible into my jars of homemade pickles, but feel free to add however much fresh dill you prefer.
- Garlic: Likewise, feel free to add however much or little fresh garlic that you prefer. I recommend slicing the garlic cloves as thinly as possible so that its flavor can permeate the cucumbers quickly.
- Seasonings: We love making refrigerator pickles in our house with a combination of bay leaf, mustard seeds, black peppercorn, fine sea salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. But see notes below for other seasoning ideas you’re welcome to try. (If you are looking to make Grillo-style pickles, leave out the mustard seeds and crushed red pepper flakes.)
- Vinegar: I recommend either rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar in this recipe, both of which provide a mellow, clean flavor to the pickles. Apple cider vinegar would also work, but I find its flavor to be slightly too sweet for my taste.
How To Make Pickles
To make this homemade pickle recipe, simply…
- Layer the pickles. It’s much easier to add the large ingredients (cucumbers, dill, garlic, bay leaf) to the jar before adding the brine, in order to help everything fit.
- Mix the brine. No need to heat the brine for this recipe unless you are adding sweetener (see note below). I typically measure and stir everything together in a measuring jar, then add it to the pickle jar. But if you could alternately just mix the brine directly in the pickle jar itself.
- Combine. Cover the jar and give it a good shake to combine all of the ingredients. Then I also recommend pressing down any cucumbers so that they are completely submerged before refrigerating the jar.
- Refrigerate. I love this recipe best after the pickles have soaked overnight. But they will be delicious and ready to enjoy after just a few hours if you’re needing a quick pickle recipe!
Homemade Pickle Recipe Variations
Here are a few additional ways that you’re welcome to customize this homemade pickle recipe:
- Use different fresh herbs: Add whatever other herbs you love, such as fresh basil, chives, mint, oregano, rosemary, tarragon or thyme.
- Use different spices: Add whatever other spices you love, such as celery seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, or whole cloves.
- Make pickle spears: Instead of slicing the pickles into coins, slice them lengthwise into long spears.
- Make sweet pickles: To sweeten this recipe, heat 2/3 cup of the water until it is very hot, then stir in 1 to 3 tablespoons of your preferred sweetener (such as honey, maple syrup, or granulated sugar) and stir until dissolved. Stir 2/3 cup cold water into the hot water, in order to cool it to room temperature. Then add to the recipe as directed.
- Make bread and butter pickles: Follow the steps above for making sweet pickles and also add a quarter of a small sweet onion (very thinly sliced) to the recipe.
- Make spicy pickles: Instead of adding crushed red pepper flakes, add your desired amount of sliced chile peppers (such as jalapeño, serrano, or Thai bird chiles) to the brine.
Homemade Pickles FAQ
Can you can this recipe? No. This is a refrigerator pickle recipe and is not designed to be canned in a hot water bath for long-term storage.
Can you re-use the pickle brine? To err on the side of safety, I recommend always creating a new brine for each batch of pickles.
How to store refrigerator pickles? They should always be stored in a cool refrigerator in a clean, sealed jar.
How long do these pickles last? As mentioned in the recipe below, for optimum food safety, we recommended that you eat these refrigerator pickles within 1 week. That said, we often keep ours for up to 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator, using a clean fork or spoon each time to remove the pickles (no double-dipping to avoid adding bacteria), and have not had any issues. But please use your best judgment.
This easy homemade pickles recipe only takes about 5 minutes to prep and makes perfectly crisp and delicious pickles that you’ll LOVE!
- Layer the pickles. Add the cucumbers, dill, garlic and bay leaf to a large (about 1 quart or 1 liter) jar, layering the dill and garlic between the cucumbers if possible.
- Mix the brine. In a measuring jar, briefly whisk together the water, vinegar, salt, peppercorns and crushed red pepper flakes until combined.
- Combine. Pour the brine over the cucumber mixture. Then cover the jar securely with a lid and give it a good shake to combine. If needed, press the cucumbers down so that they are more or less fully submerged.
- Refrigerate. Refrigerate for ideally at least 1 day before eating, although the pickles will be lightly brined and ready to enjoy after just a few hours if you would like. Pickles can be stored in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for 1 week.*
Cucumbers: Alternately, you could use 12 ounces of English cucumber (about 1 large English cucumber).
Salt: I strongly recommend using fine sea salt for this recipe instead of iodized table salt. (That said, if you only have iodized table salt on hand, please note that you will need to use half the amount.)
Storage time: For optimum food safety, we recommended that you eat these refrigerator pickles within 1 week. That said, we often keep ours for up to 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator, using a clean fork or spoon each time to remove the pickles (no double-dipping to avoid adding bacteria), and have not had any issues.
Recipe edit: This recipe was edited in July 2022. The original recipe called for one (12-ounce) English cucumber, used less vinegar (3 tablespoons), more salt (1.5 tablespoons), and no mustard seeds.