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When it comes to homemade pickles, few varieties can match the tangy flavor and crisp texture of refrigerator dill pickles. With just a handful of ingredients and a simple brining process, these pickles are not only easy to make, but they also offer a burst of freshness and flavor that you won’t find in store-bought alternatives.
Even if this is the first time you try to make your own homemade jar of pickles, you’ll see how easy this recipe is!
Why I Love This Recipe
Every summer, this easy homemade pickle recipe is one of my most viewed recipes, and for good reason!
The Magic of Fresh Dill and Garlic Cloves
At the heart of a great dill pickle recipe are two essential ingredients: fresh dill and garlic cloves.
These aromatic components infuse the pickling brine with their distinct flavors, resulting in a delightful combination that elevates the taste of the cucumbers.
The dill’s herbal notes add depth, while the garlic provides a subtle pungency that complements the tangy vinegar brine perfectly.
The Perfect Vinegar Brine
White vinegar plays a crucial role in the pickle-making process. The vinegar brine not only acts as a preservative but also imparts that signature tangy flavor.
The combination of vinegar, water, kosher salt, and a bit of sugar create a flavorful brine that balances the freshness of the cucumbers. It’s this harmony of flavors that makes refrigerator dill pickles so irresistible.
Quick and Easy Process
One of the best things about refrigerator dill pickles is their simplicity and convenience.
Unlike traditional canning methods that involve a hot water bath, refrigerator pickles require no canning process. Instead, you can store them in quart or pint jars directly in the refrigerator.
The absence of heat processing allows the pickles to retain their crunchiness, resulting in a crisp pickle that is ready to enjoy the next day.
Versatile and Delicious
From snacking on them straight from the jar to adding them as a zesty accompaniment to sandwiches, burgers, or hot dogs, these pickles elevate any dish.
They can also be sliced into pickle chips or used creatively in salads, relishes, or even on a charcuterie board. The tangy and crisp flavor profile of refrigerator dill pickles will undoubtedly enhance your favorite recipes.
These are seriously the best dill quick pickles you’ll ever enjoy!
How to Make Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Thoroughly wash the cucumbers.
Slice the cucumbers into slices or spears. No need to discard the ends of the cucumbers – they make great tangy dill pickles too!
To get the fun wavy cut, use a crinkle cutting tool.
Prepare Garlic and Dill
Remove the garlic cloves from the bulb. Smash them by holding a large chef’s knife or the bottom of a glass on top of them and pressing down.
Separate the dill from the thick stems.
Make the Pickle Brine
Heat the brine in a saucepan. The brine consists of water, vinegar, salt, and sugar.
Bring this mixture to a rolling boil and then remove it from the heat. You basically want to swirl it around so that the salt and sugar dissolve. Let the brine cool to room temperature.
Add Ingredients to Jars
Loosely layer the prepared cucumbers with the smashed garlic, fresh dill, and black peppercorns into sanitized Mason quart jars (aka canning jars). You can use pint-sized or half-gallon sized jars if you wish too.
Pickle the Cucumbers
Pour the brine over your freshly cut cucumbers that have been arranged in the jars with the garlic, dill, and peppercorns.
Place the homemade dill pickles in the refrigerator for a week and voila – they’re ready!
Pickling Cucumbers vs Other Cucumber Varieties
Pickling cucumbers, also known as picklers or Kirby cucumbers, are cucumbers specifically cultivated for the purpose of pickling.
They are distinct from other types of cucumbers, such as slicing cucumbers or salad cucumbers, due to their unique characteristics. Here are some ways in which pickling cucumbers differ from other cucumbers:
- Size: Pickling cucumbers are usually smaller in size compared to slicing cucumbers. They are typically shorter, measuring around 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm) in length, which makes them more suitable for fitting into jars and brining solutions.
- Texture: Pickling cucumbers have a crisp and firm texture, which helps them retain their crunchiness during the pickling process. This is an important quality for producing delicious pickles.
- Skin: The skin of pickling cucumbers is thinner and often more bumpy or warty compared to slicing cucumbers. This allows the pickling solution and spices to penetrate the cucumber more easily, resulting in a well-flavored pickle.
- Seeds: Pickling cucumbers tend to have smaller seeds and a lower seed count compared to slicing cucumbers. This is desirable because larger seeds can sometimes contribute to a softer texture in pickles.
- Taste: Pickling cucumbers generally have a milder and less watery flavor compared to slicing cucumbers. Their flavor profile is better suited to absorbing the flavors of the brine and spices used in the pickling process.
Due to these characteristics, pickling cucumbers are the preferred choice when making pickles at home or for commercial pickling operations.
Because of the popularity of this recipe, I get a lot of questions and comments. Here are the most common questions I get with this recipe along with my answers.
I’ve always found pickling cucumbers at the farmer’s market. They seem to be everyone’s favorite to grow in their own garden as well. One pickling cucumber plant will produce a ton!
Grocery stores will carry pickling cumbers as well, but they are definitely a seasonal item
Yes, in fact, many quick-pickle recipes call for ACV. With dill pickles, however, I prefer the taste of white vinegar, but this is just what I like.
The salt and vinegar brine will keep these cucumbers fresh in the refrigerator for a long time. That said, I think they are best if eaten within a couple of months.
I find that the fresh cucumbers, fresh dill, whole peppercorns, and fresh garlic along with the brine are all that you need and people really do love them!
You can certainly add additional pickling spices but they aren’t necessary to still get great taste and texture.
Yes! I’ve had readers tell me they added fresh green beans, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, etc. and they all worked out amazingly well.
I get asked this a lot. Pickling cucumbers are ideal because they are small and firm so they give that great pickle crunch.
You can pickle any kind of cucumber, but because of the moisture content in slicing (aka English) cucumbers, they will be more mushy but they will still taste great.
The closest substitute to traditional pickling cucumbers are Persian cucumbers and those are often carried at major grocery stores year round.
Yes! That’s why I recommend always using a clean utensil to get the pickles out. You don’t want to introduce any bacteria from dirty fingers. Use the brine over and over again.
Yes, you can use whole. They just might take a longer time to absorb all of the flavors from the brine. Slicing them just makes the pickling process go faster.
My Favorite Pickle-Inspired Recipes
But did you know that pickles are fantastic in other recipes too? You’ll want to try these:
If you’ve made this or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out. I love hearing from my readers!
Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles
- Prepare ingredients: Thoroughly wash cucumbers. Slice cucumbers into 1/4-inch thick slices or spears. Set aside. Smash garlic cloves and separate dill from thick stems. Also, sanitize mason jars by running them through the dishwasher.
- Prepare brine: To make the brine, combine water, vinegar, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and swirl the pan to ensure the sugar and salt dissolve. Remove the pan from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Make the pickles: Layer the prepared cucumbers with the fresh dill, smashed garlic, and peppercorns in the jars. Do not pack them super tight as you you'll want room for the brine. Finish by adding enough brine to cover the cucumbers. Seal with an airtight lid and store in the refrigerator. The flavor is best if stored for at least one week, but they can be eaten at any time. Pickles should be good for at least 4-6 weeks after that.
- This recipe made enough for me to fill one pint and fill two quart jars.
- Quantities listed make about 3 quart-sized jars
- The amount of dill and garlic can vary depending on taste. I prefer to pack my jars with a ton of fresh dill which is why I don’t specify a specific quantity, but you can add as little or as much as you prefer.
- The intensity of the garlic will impact the intensity of the pickles. If your garlic is particularly strong, use less if you are sensitive to the taste.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
This post was originally created in 2015 and has been updated with updated photos and more helpful information, but this reader-favorite recipe has always remained the same.