Refrigerator Pickles – Super Simple

Simple Refrigerator Pickles - No Canning Required :: Five Little Homesteaders

I normally try and post about something garden related on Thursdays, but alas….. things are going downhill in the garden department.  We are descending into Arizona’s equivalent of winter….. but instead of snow and ice, we have hot and hotter.

Today it was 108 degrees in the shade.  My chickens are panting on the regular and my garden is all but fried.  I have a few hold outs – armenian cucumbers, some sad looking pumpkin seedlings, okra, and some yard-long beans.  Other than that, we are well on our way to kaput.

However, now is the time that I am trying to preserve the harvest.  I’m freezing tomatoes for making sauce later on.  I’m making and freezing pesto.  And today, I tried my hand at making refrigerator pickles.

Quickly, before I get to the recipe, I have a confession to make.  A confession that means you, dear reader, might take away my self-applied moniker of “homesteader.”  The confession is this:

I have never canned anything.

There I said it and now we can all move on.  Canning intimidates me!  I decided to start small and easy.  We’ve been getting a lot of cucumbers lately and I decided to try my hand at making refrigerator pickles, which don’t really take any true canning skills.  I drew heavily from the recommendations in  Martha Stewart’s –  recipe.

Here’s what i did….

Refrigerator Pickles

8 cups sliced cucumbers  (I use  this –  mandolin to cut my cucumbers and am very happy with it)
1 sweet onion, sliced
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 tsp celery seed
1 1/2 tsp mustard seed


1.  Toss cucumbers, onion and salt – set aside.
2.  Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
3.  Divide cucumber mixture between four pint-sized canning jars – .
4.  Pour vinegar mixture over.  (Invest in a  canning funnel –  – SO worth it.)
5.  Put a lid on and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
Note:  I did sterilize my jars and lids – before using them.  I’m not really sure if it is necessary to do this step if you are just making refrigerator pickles, but I felt safer knowing I had done it – certainly didn’t hurt anything.
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  • 27 thoughts on “Refrigerator Pickles – Super Simple

      1. Colleen

        I’ve read that they keep anywhere from 2 week to indefinitely. I think the biggest thing is that they will just lose their quality over time – get mushy. We’ll see I’ll report back.

    1. Janne

      I had never canned anything, either, until this week! I went out and bought a pressure canner (I felt so grown up!), read the directions about ten times, and successfully canned 8 pints of turkey broth and 4 pints of crushed tomatoes. You can do it! It’s WAY less intimidating than it seems.

      1. Janne

        And one other thing – do you keep a garden over the summer in AZ? I always feel like it’s a waste since the sun just bakes everything to death. If so, how do you protect it?

    2. Tammy Dawson

      Next try fermenting. I find i prefer the taste of fermented pickles over canned pickles. But if you want to can, there’s only a couple more steps than what you’ve already done.


      Looks delicious! I love pickled anything. Also, is it possible to turn any of your almost friend crops into sun-dried items? I have no knowledge of this but just putting it out there. Good luck!

      1. Colleen

        I was planning to try sundried tomatoes. However, mostly it is the actual PLANT frying – literally burning the leaves up in the sun. It is well over 133 degrees (that’s as high as my thermometer goes) in the sun most afternoon from now until September!

    4. Sarah LoCascio

      Pickles are my absolute favorite! I am also SO intimidated by canning, but ahve always wanted to give it a try. This looks like a great place to start:) Thbaks for sharing at making it seem so do-able!

    5. flyingjen

      My mom used to can stuff when we were little and as we got older she made enough jam every summer that I never had store bought jam until I went to college. Canning is pretty easy. I make stuff from my garden all summer that way we can eat it well into the spring. I’ve only got one jar of tomato sauce, but I’ve got jars of tomatoes left if I need to make some before thentomatoes come in. Pressure canning kind of scares me a bit.
      Crazy your garden is almost done. Ours is just getting started! We are eating radishes daily and snacking on them out of the garden.

      1. flyingjen

        Also thanks for the link for the mandolin. Been looking for one (kind of, but not seriously) but since you like this one I just ordered it.

      2. Colleen

        Oh no! Pressure! I think you’ll like it. It isn’t incredibly heavy duty (as there are obviously some plastic elements) but it has DEFINITELY done the job for me Let me know what you think.

    6. tanyoshka

      How did these pickles turn out? After reading through the recipe, I was worried that they might be a bit salty. Or do you use the salt before adding the brine to help draw the water out of the cucumber slices, then drain? Thanks. You have a beautiful blog!

      1. Colleen

        They turned out great! In fact, they are almost gone already. The salt is mostly used to draw the water out of the cucumbers, so yes you drain it but you don’t rinse. Overall the pickles are definitely more sweet than salty. I wouldn’t say there is much of a salt flavor at all!

    7. Carol J. Alexander

      I’ve chosen this post to feature on the HomeAcre Hop this week, so make sure you hop by and grab your button. ???? (Link in previous comment will be live on Thursday.)

    8. misty

      Refrigerator pickles will last a year or more in the fridge, without getting mushy.I found that out by hiding a few jars in the fridge because no one would stop eating them, I forgot about them.I found the 2 untouched jars a year and a half later and tried them, still crunchy

    9. misty

      Refrigerator pickles will last a year or more in the fridge, without getting mushy.I found that out by hiding a few jars in the fridge because no one would stop eating them, I forgot about them.I found the 2 untouched jars a year and a half later and tried them, still crunchy

    10. Nadia Knapp

      New to canning and gradening. Would I be able to use this recipe for canning and storing in my pantry or will it only keep in the fridge?

    11. Deane Alban

      I made these but leave out the sugar using white balsamic vinegar, dill and garlic instead. Don’t want all that sugar with my veggies!

    12. Stephanie

      I have made these every summer for a long time, with bellpepper in the mix. Very yummy. I will definitely try with dill and garlic!

    13. Vera Gregorovich

      I made freezer bread and butter pickles last year that were absolutely delicious. I lost my recipe and wonder whether I could use your recipe for the freezer.

      Thank you for your input.


      1. Colleen

        Forgive me Vera, but I’ve never heard of freezer pickles! To be honest, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

    14. Sarah from CoffeetoCompost

      Hi! I found you via Attainable Sustainable and wanted to check out your recipe. Aren’t refrigerator pickles great? I use a similar recipe but use fresh dill and a bit of garlic. I pretty much grew cucumbers this year just for pickles. I have some no can jam recipes too. I like to can, but sometimes it’s nice to just make something and stick it in the fridge.

    15. denise

      Just curious as to why you didn’t use water with the vinegar. I made my own batch of refrigerator cucumbers this year before I stumbled on this site. I made it with vinegar and spices and all but they were really sour as I forgot to cut the vinegar with water. I am still using mine as pickles to add to another food item such as salad or potato salad and they are fine that way but I was hoping my boys would be able to eat them straight out of the jar.


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