Making refrigerator dill pickles is a great alternative to traditional canned pickles. It is a perfect way for new gardeners who have not yet attempted canning to reap the benefits of a plentiful cucumber harvest.

refrigerator dill pickles
Dill pickles ready to go into the refrigerator

But as an experienced canner, I also like refrigerator dill pickles because they come out super crisp every time.  There is nothing more disappointing than to open a jar of pickles in the middle of winter, only to find out that the pickles have turned out soggy.  See our article and other pickle recipes: The Secret to Crisp Pickles.

pickling cucumbers
Both are pickling cucumbers – but one is way overripe. Use only the cucumbers that look like the one on the right.

There are a few important steps to follow when using any method for making pickles. First, you must use pickling cucumbers that are about 4 inches in length and about an inch in diameter. Pickling cucumbers are much different than standard salad cucumbers. They have less of a seed core and have a tougher skin which results in a much crisper cucumber/pickle.  It is also important not to use the overripe pickling cucumbers – those have a yellow hue to them but can safely be used for salads or dips.

Another important step is to make pickles the day of picking the cucumbers. Fresh cucumbers equal crisp pickles. 

If you buy your cucumbers from a local famer’s market, ask the vendor when they were picked. Most often, they have been picked within 24 hours of the market day. 

And the final step to follow – you must cut off the blossom end of the cucumber. 

refrigerator dill pickles
The blossom end is pictured on the left – it has a smooth round circle.

This is the end that has a smooth round circle. It is important to remove the enzymes that are found in this area to prevent soggy pickles.  And if you are unsure of which end is the blossom end – cut both ends off.

This recipe is great for those that want just a few jars of pickles, or are looking up to use a few cucumbers right away. I use about 7 pickling cucumbers for 3 pints of dill spears.

The most difficult part about making these pickles – is waiting to eat them!

Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month (if they last that long!)


Mary and Jim

If you would like to receive our Recipes, DIY and Gardening articles each week, you can sign up to follow the blog via email in the right hand column above, “Like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.  

Refrigerator Dill Pickles Recipe

refrigerator dill pickles
Spices are placed in the bottom of the jar.

*Makes 3 pints

2 pounds pickling cucumbers (approximately 7-8)
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons pickling salt
3 tablespoons sugar
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (2 per jar)
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (1/4 teaspoon per jar)
3 teaspoons dill seed per jar (1 teaspoon per jar)
1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns (1/2 teaspoon per jar)

refrigerator dill pickles
Pack spears tightly into each jar and pour the hot brine over top.


  1. In a large saucepot, combine vinegar, water salt and sugar. Bring to a simmer.
  2. While the brine is heating up add spices evenly to each jar.
  3. Wash the cucumbers and cut the ends off both sides then slice cucumbers into spears (or desired sections).
  4. Pack the cucumber slices tightly into the jars.
  5. Pour the hot brine into the jar, leaving approximately ½ inch headspace.
  6. Release any trapped air bubbles by running a plastic knife down each side of the jar.
  7. Place lids (and bands if you are using mason jars) on containers and let cool. Place jars in refrigerator. Let them sit for at least 48 hours before eating.

%d bloggers like this: