Lunch & Dinner, Recipes

Refrigerator Pickles

Fresh crispy, crunchy garlic and chili pickles made in the refrigerator, no canning required!

Bake on Saturday is on hiatus this week and instead I bring you an easy no-bake snack.  I should clarify: these are easy to put together, waiting for them to become delicious in the fridge is difficult!  They just sit on the shelf, staring at you each time you open the refrigerator…like they are asking to be opened but you just know if you give them more time they will taste even better.

Refrigerator pickles are akin to what you might buy at a deli counter or the refrigerator section of your local grocery store.  These do last for several weeks–much longer than a regular cucumber would last–but they won’t keep forever on your shelf as they aren’t  sealed.  This isn’t the type of pickle you make in order to save your fresh produce for the winter, this is more what you make just because you like pickles.

Before pouring in the brine.

Now, a few weeks ago I decided I really wanted to make pickles.  I don’t remember what sparked my pickle yearning, but it happened and I went on a hunt for kirby cucumbers.  Alas, there were none to be found at the major grocery stores I visited.  Then, one week ago, while at a produce store for another project, I found kirby cukes.  I purchased two pounds and set to work as soon as I returned to my apartment.

While I do use recipes when I bake, I don’t usually when I cook.  Or pickle.  I measured out my brine but I didn’t measure my spices for this recipe.  I had studied several recipes when my pickling urge hit the first time, so returning to Martha and The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking for guidance, I now was ready to pickle.

My two pounds of pickles, once slivered, fit into three different jars, which was perfect for making three variations of pickle.  I ended up making one with lots of red pepper flakes, one with only a little bit of red pepper, and one with garlic.  All three had the same brine as well as sliced onion and mustard seed.  I ended up with something between a half-sour and a sour pickle.  Half-sours were my favorite as a child.  I would go to the farmer’s market with my mom and we would by a container of half-sours, plus one for me to eat right there.  Of course, if you’ve got fresh dill on hand, you could make dill pickles.

Waiting for these to be “done” was, as mentioned, difficult.  I gave up after three days on my “a little bit of red pepper” jar.  These were not at all spicy, but they were delicious.  I waited six days on the other two jars.  The garlic pickles had a light garlic  flavor, which was wonderful, and the ones with “lots” of red pepper flakes (three pinches) had a bit of a kick at the back of the tongue.  All three were just barely sweet, which I think came from my use of apple cider vinegar.

Perhaps most importantly, all three versions got approval from my roommates.


Refrigerator Pickles

Adapted from Martha Stewart and The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking

Makes: about 1 quart


2 lbs kirby cucumbers, washed and cut into spears

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1 1/2 T kosher salt

1 1/2 cups vinegar (I used half apple cider and half white)

1/2 large onion (or 1 medium onion), cut into chunks

Mustard seed, whole

Red pepper flakes (optional, I would use about three pinches for a slightly spicy pickle)

Garlic (I used two cloves, slightly crushed, for one jar)

Note: The exact amount of brine you will need depends more on the size of your jars than the amount of cucumbers you have.


Enough jars to hold about 1 quart of pickles (because you are not making shelf-stable pickles, as long as the jars are clean and dry you’re good to go, no need to worry about sterilizing or lid type).  I used two empty pasta sauce jars and one empty peanut butter jar.


Dissolve kosher salt in boiling water and vinegar.  This is your brine.

Pack cucumber spears, garlic, onion, mustard seed, and red pepper flakes into the jars.  Ladle or pour the brine into the cucumber filled jars.  The brine needs to cover the soon-to-be pickles.

Replace lids and store in the fridge.  Martha Stewart says overnight is fine, other cooks suggest longer.  Of course, the longer these sit, the more pickle-y they will taste.

Posted to Serendipity & Spice’s Manic Monday!

7 thoughts on “Refrigerator Pickles”

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