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6 September 2019

Learn how to make pickles with this homemade refrigerator pickles recipe. Includes a flavorful mild version and a hot pickles recipe for those who like it spicy. Video included.

Are you a pickle fan? Growing up I was the kid who picked them off of his burgers and shied away from them, but I’ve come around. Now I love pickles and can’t get enough of their tangy sour-sweet flavor. Pickles are little flavor bombs that add crunch and a vinegary pop to whatever you’re using them for.

Plus, they’re a wonderful low calories snack. Great for nibbling! My mother-in-law came for a visit and gifted us with a big bag of cucumbers. I guess her garden is producing a lot of cucumbers this year! This makes me quite happy.

Homemade pickles are the best because you can make them with whatever flavors you’d like. No need to depend on anything store bought.

That’s a great thing for me because I love hot pickles, and that’s what this recipe is all about. Today I’ll show you how to make this easy refrigerator pickles recipe, but also how to make both sweet and hot pickles variety.

So here we go! Let me show you how to make them.


How to Make Refrigerator Pickles – the Recipe Method

First, slice 5-6 small pickling cucumbers into 1/4 inch slices and pack them into a cleaned pint-sized jar, leaving ½ inch of head space.

Next add 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon salt, garlic, honey, peppercorns, dill and bay leaf to a large pan. If you’d like to make HOT PICKLES, add in some spicy red chili flakes along with sliced hot peppers at this time.

Bring the mixture to a quick boil, then remove from heat and cool slightly. It is important to bring to a boil.

Pour the brine into the jar over the sliced cucumbers and cap tightly. You’ll nearly fill the jar.

Refrigerate overnight to let the flavors develop. They will develop even more as time goes by. Go for it after 24 hours. Time to eat them up.

BOOM! Done! Homemade pickles are easy, aren’t they? And tasty. This recipe will make you a packed full pint of pickles.

How Long Do Refrigerator Pickles Last?

Refrigerator pickles will easily last a month or longer in the refrigerator. Be sure to keep them properly chilled and covered with a clean lid.

Recipe Tips

  • Crispness. These pickles will stay nice and crisp in the jar because we’re not boiling them or processing them. They will soften slightly from fresh cucumbers, but you’ll still get that satisfying snap and crunch.
  • Seasonings. I’ve used a number of my favorite ingredients and seasonings here to flavor my pickles, but you are free to use other ingredients and flavors. Got a hankering for mustard seeds? Go for it. Want some dried basil? Sure thing! Want a spicy chili powder? Yes! I love it. Make this recipe your own.
  • Best Salt for Pickling. Use pickling salt, kosher salt or pure sea salt for pickling. Most salts will work just find, as long as they do not contain any additives, like anti-clumping agents.
  • HOT Pickles. I’ve used a devil’s tongue pepper here along with some spicy chili flakes to make my refrigerator pickles a good jar of hot pickles. You are free to use any type of spicy chili pepper you’d like. I picked one straight out of my garden, but try this with hotter peppers like the ghost pepper, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper, Dorset Naga, or even the Carolina Reaper pepper. Awesome heat! Talk about hot pickles! Crushed red pepper is a good option as well.
  • Vinegar. I’m using a simple white vinegar for this recipe, though you can use apple cider vinegar for a slightly sweeter, tangier version. It works great.
  • Bread and Butter Pickles. You may have heard of the term “bread and butter pickles”, and this is basically the same recipe. Bread and butter pickles have a good combination of tangy and sweet, and that’s what we have going here. They’re a cheap snack you can enjoy on some bread with a bit of butter, and whatever else you’d like to add in. Sandwich time!

Devil's Tongue pepper for my spicy refrigerator pickles

Why Are They Called Refrigerator Pickles?

Refrigerator pickles are so named because they are not processed in a water bath to further preserve them. They’re actually not meant to be preserved long term, but instead kept in the refrigerator for safe keeping. For keeping pickled items long term outside of the refrigerator, they need to be processed either in a water bath or a pressure canner for safety purposes.

These are meant more to be enjoyed as a snack or a condiment.

Do Pickles Need to be Refrigerated?

If your pickles are processed properly in a water bath or a pressure canner, you can keep them in a cool, dark place, like a pantry for long term storage. However, once they are opened, it is safer to keep your pickles in the refrigerator.

That’s it, my friends. I hope you enjoy your refrigerator pickles! Or hot pickles, whichever you’d decided to make! Such a great recipe! Very quick and easy, right?

Try Some of My Other Popular Pickling Recipes

See my post on How to Pickle Peppers – a Guide.

Refrigerator pickles in the jar

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Refrigerator Pickles Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Refrigerator Pickles Recipe: Mild and Hot Pickles

Learn how to make pickles with this homemade refrigerator pickles recipe. Includes a flavorful mild version and a hot pickles recipe for those who like it spicy. Video included.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pickled, pickling, preserving, recipe, spicy
Servings: 20
Calories: 19kcal


  • Ball Jar


  • 6 small pickling cucumbers
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar use apple cider vinegar for more sweetness
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic lightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill weed
  • 1-2 bay leaves


  • 1 teaspoon spicy chili flakes crushed red pepper
  • 1 hot pepper sliced (I used a devil’s tongue pepper here, but use any to your preference, like jalapeno, habanero, ghost pepper or hotter)


  • Slice the cucumbers into ¼ inch slices and pack them into a cleaned pint-sized jar, leaving ½ inch of head space.
  • Add the vinegar, water, garlic, salt, honey, peppercorns, dill and bay leaf to a large pan – along with the chili flakes and sliced hot peppers if you’re making a hot version.
  • Bring the mixture to a quick boil, then remove from heat and cool slightly.
  • Pour the brine into the jar over the cucumbers and cap tightly.
  • Refrigerate overnight to let the flavors develop. They will develop even more as time goes by.



Makes 1 pint jar.
Refrigerator pickles will last at least 1 month or longer.


Calories: 19kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 354mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg
Refrigerator Pickles Recipe


  1. Cindy Mize

    5 stars
    I don’t have fresh dill………….how much dried dill would you substitute? These sound amazing!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      A teaspoon is fine, Cindy, though you can use more if you’d like. Let me know how they turn out for you!

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Yes! I love to hear it, Cindy! Glad I could help.

  2. Setting up now to try your recipe. I make pickles ALOT but never with vinegar. All picked whole, in brine. I.e. “half sour” pickles. I’m looking forward to your recipe.
    After years of pickling I finally started following others advice in that I add one grape leaf to the jar. This is easy for me as I have four large grape vines in the back yard. This helps keep the pickles crisper for a much longer period of time, because the leaves have tannin, which slows the softening process. I haven’t tried, but if you don’t have easy access to grape leaves, you can use other tannin rich things like black tea or oak leaves.

  3. Charles Watts

    5 stars
    First try at growing my own cukes to use. Used a Boston pickling variety. Had to substitute the honey for sugar. Was out of honey. Also used apple cider vinegar. The rest I went by the recipe. Next time I’ll pick the cukes sooner but the overall taste was very good. Will do again.

  4. 5 stars
    Put a lid on the pot you boil the vinegar and other “stuff” in. When it’s cool, do NOT rush to smell it as the vinegar will blow your sinuses and sting your eyes. Learned that the hard way years ago. We love refrigerator pickles!!!

  5. Are they sweet? If so, will omitting the honey make them more sour?? Wonder if this would work for pickled eggs as well???

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Holly, there is a touch of sweetness, but they’re not overly sweet. You can omit the honey if you’d like. No problem at all. I’ve never pickled eggs, but I suspect it is the same concept.

  6. Going to try these today. I imagine dried chiles would work but would you rehydrate them first?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Jon, yep, you can use dried pods for this. You really don’t have to rehydrate them, actually, as they will rehydrate in the brine solution anyway, but you can if you’d like to. Let me know how it turns out for you.

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