picture of dill refrigerator pickles

Zippy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Refrigerator pickles are crisp, tasty, easy to make, and perfect for beginner pickle makers or for those who are not interested in steaming up the kitchen with hot water canning. This smaller batch pickle recipe can be adjusted for a non-spicy version by leaving out the red pepper flakes called for in the recipe.

Use pickling cucumbers for crunchy refrigerator pickles. Pickling cukes are shorter and thinner than the salad variety.  They have a small seed core and typically have a thick and bumpy skin texture. The optimal size in pickling cucumbers is no larger than 4 inches long.

It is also important not to use the overripe pickling cucumbers – they will have a yellow hue to them (but they can safely be used for salads or dips).

Pickling Cucumbers

Try to find freshly picked cukes. Fresh cucumbers equal crisp pickles. Supermarket pickling cucumbers may be weeks old when you buy them. The optimal source is, of course, cukes from your own garden or from a local farmers’ market (ask the vendor when they were picked, usually they have been picked within the last 24 hours)

The blossom end of cucumbers produce an enzyme that can make the pickle soft. Trim off at least 1/16 inch off the blossom end of the cuke when making pickles.  Find the blossom end by looking for the rough dot (instead of the smooth, indented dot) at the ends. If in doubt, or for aesthetics, trim off both ends – my preferred method.

Blossom End (left) and Stem End (right)

As tempting as these pickles may be, give these pickles at least 3 days in the refrigerator before eating!

Zippy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: Appetizers, Sides, VegetablesCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Intermediate

Makes 3 pints of crunchy, delicious tangy pickles without hot water processing.


  • 2 pounds pickling cucumbers (no larger than 4 inch long)

  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, divided (may be omitted for non-spicy version))

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed, divided

  • 3 teaspoons dill seed, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, divided


  • In a large saucepot, combine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer.
  • Place 2 cloves garlic, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon dill seed, and 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns in each pint jar.
  • Wash the cucumbers and cut a thin slice off both ends. Slice cucumbers into spears.
  • Pack the cucumber slices tightly into the jars.
  • Pour the hot brine into the jar, leaving approximately 1/2 inch head space.
  • Place lids and bands on jars and let cool. Place jars in refrigerator. Let them sit for at least 3 days before eating.