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No Cook Refrigerator Pickles

Sweet, crunchy and with a hint of spice, No Cook Refrigerator Pickles are brilliant in sandwiches, with cold meats or just for snacking on. My simple recipe is so quick and easy to put together and is easily adjusted to suit your tastes.

There’s nothing that makes a sandwich quite so delicious as a generous helping of sweet and sour pickles, the perfect partner to cold meats and cheese.

My recipe for No Cook Refrigerator Pickles is super simple to make at home and can be easily adjusted to suit your tastes. No special equipment necessary.

Homemade No Cook Refrigerator Pickles

Is this recipe really no cook?

I’ll be honest, to make these quick pickles you have to warm the brine slightly to dissolve the sugar and salt, but apart from that, no cooking is involved.

Refrigerator pickles are not meant for long storage, which means there’s no need to boil the jars in a water bath as in traditional canning. Quick, easy and tasty – perfect!

Sliced Cucumbers on a board with a knife

Ingredients

To make my easy refrigerator pickles recipe you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Fresh Cucumbers: You can either use longer telegraph or Lebanese cucumbers and cut them into smaller pieces, or Pickling or Kirby cucumbers and cut them into lengths.
  • Red Bell Pepper: For sweet crunch and a pop of colour.
  • Shallots: I like to use French-style or banana shallots in my sweet pickles. They have a subtle flavour that works perfectly with the pickled cucumbers.
  • White or Apple Cider Vinegar: Refrigerator pickles work with all kinds of vinegar (except Balsamic vinegar), however, it’s best to use a clear or light-coloured vinegar for best results.
  • Sugar and salt: White sugar and sea or kosher salt combine to balance the flavours of the brine. I like my pickles on the sweeter side, though you can adjust it as you wish. Avoid iodised table salt, it can make the pickles cloudy.
  • Mustard seeds, celery seeds, turmeric and dill: To flavour and colour the brine.
  • Red pepper flakes or dried red peppers: for a touch of heat! Chilli peppers are optional (but delicious).
Sliced cucumbers and shallots draining in a sieve

How to make No Cook Refrigerator Pickles

Part of what makes this such a great recipe is that it is so easy!

  1. To make your own pickles you’ll need to first slice and salt your vegetables. Salting the sliced cucumbers draws out some of the excess liquid in the cucumbers and makes for extra delicious crunchy pickles.
  2. Next, prepare a simple brine. I lean towards a slightly sweeter brine but you can adjust the balance of salty and sweet to suit your tastes.
  3. Then all you need to do is pack the cucumber slices and other vegetables into a clean glass jar, pour over the brine and chill.
  4. The next day you’ll have gloriously flavoursome, sweet cucumber pickles just waiting to be stuffed into a sandwich. Crunchy goodness all round.

What to serve with homemade pickles

Homemade pickles are brilliant with cold meats like roast beef or chicken, or in sandwiches or rolls. You can use the same brine recipe to pickle radish to go in Homemade Bahn Mi, and these pickles are particularly delicious served with Soft Boiled Scotch Eggs.

Variations

If you prefer your pickles extra crunchy, allow the brine to cool to room temperature before pouring it over the pickles. If you’d like them a little softer, pour hot brine on top.

You can switch up the spices in this refrigerator pickle recipe to suit your own tastes. Cloves, star anise, caraway seeds or coriander seeds are all great additions.

This simple brine makes fantastic pickled red onions too! For red onions, I always use white or red wine vinegar and add black pepper corns for a little bit of extra heat.

Looking for more pickling and preserving recipes? Click here to see more of my favourites!

Cucumber, pepper, dill and shallots packed into a glass jar

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do I need to sterilise the jars before adding the cucumbers?

As these pickles are kept chilled and are meant to be consumed quickly there is no need to sterilise the jars. Make sure you wash them well with hot, soapy water or put them through the dishwasher before using to prolong the shelf life of the pickles.

Can I substitute lemon juice for vinegar when making pickles?

This question gets asked a lot! Personally, I find the flavour of lemon juice too overwhelming in pickles. Use vinegar with at least 5% acidity instead. White wine vinegar, white vinegar, and rice vinegar are all good options.

Can I freeze refrigerator pickles?

No. Cucumbers are not suitable for freezing as the structure will break down when they’re thawed.

What sort of jars are best for refrigerator pickles?

Any clean glass jars such as mason jars will do. I always save and reuse old jam or pickle jars for home use, and buy fancy or decorative jars for gifting.

Can I add other vegetables to the pickling brine?

Yes! Most firm vegetables work well for pickling. Carrots, radishes, celery and similar all taste great.

This recipe is a great way to use up vegetables in the bottom of the drawer that are looking a bit sad, as they’ll still be lovely and crunchy once they’re brined.

Homemade No Cook Refrigerator Pickles
Homemade No Cook Refrigerator Pickles

Homemade No Cook Refrigerator Pickles

No Cook Refrigerator Pickles

Yield: 2-3 medium jars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Draining Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Sweet, crunchy and with a hint of spice, Refrigerator Pickles are brilliant in sandwiches, with cold meats or just for snacking on. My simple recipe is so quick and easy to put together and is easily adjusted to suit your tastes.

Ingredients

for the pickle:

  • 2 large or 6 small cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely sliced
  • 2 shallots, sliced

for the brine:

  • 250ml (1 cup) white or apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1-2 tsp whole mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • 3-4 fresh dill sprigs

optional:

  • 2 dried red peppers
  • or 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. SALT THE VEGETABLES: Layer the cucumbers, bell pepper and shallots into a colander, grind over a little sea or kosher salt, then toss to combine. Allow to drain for 30 minutes, then rinse and pat dry.
  2. PREPARE THE BRINE: In a small saucepan stir together 500ml (2 cups) water with the vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds celery seeds and turmeric. Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add the red pepper flakes or dried peppers if using, then remove from the heat.
  3. COMBINE: Pack the cucumbers, bell peppers and shallots into clean glass jars, with a sprig of dill in each. Pour over the warm brine, making sure the vegetables are completely covered with the pickling liquid. Screw the lids on tightly and shake gently to combine.
  4. CHILL: Refrigerate for at least 8 hours before eating. Refrigerator pickles will last 7-10 days if kept well chilled.

Notes

Fridge pickles do not need to be traditionally canned as they are kept chilled and are meant to be consumed within a few days.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 27Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 250mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

Nutrition is calculated automatically and may not always be accurate.

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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author and food photographer. Jay is the author of two cookbooks: 'Tasty' (2017) and 'Simply Summer' (2019). Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

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