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Today we’ll show you how to pickle cucumbers (AKA make homemade pickles)! These are a great way to use up the cucumbers in your garden or excess from the store. You’ll love pickling cucumbers to make this easy and tasty refrigerator pickle!
I don’t know about you, but I love me some pickles.
In fact, pickles go well with so many Southern foods. You can’t throw a potluck without someone bringing deviled eggs or potato salad or burgers… all of which go well with pickles.
If you have a garden or like to collect good organic product when it’s ripe, then making these DIY pickles will be right up your alley. They’re easy, tasty, and you know exactly what goes into them because you did it yourself.
Here are some things that go well with your pickled cucumbers or refrigerator pickles:
- Burgers and hot dogs
- Grilled cheese
- Cuban sandwich
- Regular ol’ everyday sandwiches of all types
- Potato salads and egg salads
- Deviled eggs
Quick Pickled Cucumber (AKA Homemade Pickles or Fermented Pickles)
Quick pickles are refrigerator pickles. These are snacks to keep in your fridge because they’re not shelf-stable. This method is simpler than the shelf-stable pickling process and requires fewer steps. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is a great resource for safely preparing shelf-stable pickles.
We sliced the cucumbers in coins for ease of eating, but you could slice them lengthwise if you prefer. If you are going to make two jars, you can cut half your cucumbers in coins and half in spears and see which you prefer. I personally like slicing cucumber into coins because they’re small enough not to get wasted. And they’re good for a quick bite as I walk past the refrigerator!
Things To Remember When Pickling Vegetables And Fruits
- Use only fresh (not frozen), undamaged, and unspoiled fruits or vegetables.
- Always clean produce thoroughly.
- Cut uniform sizes, ideally small enough to both fit in a jar and keep bite sized for eating purposes.
- Prepare and measure out everything (from brine to veggie or fruit prep) before heating the pickling brine.
- Wash containers and jars well and let air dry. You can put quick pickles in any airtight container, but the mason jar is classic.
- This is a recipe for refrigerator pickles – they are not intended to be shelf-stable.
When pickling cucumbers, you want to make sure you’re using fresh cucumbers that are without a lot of defects. Check out the image above. A fresh cucumber will result in a crisp pickle. Don’t use dented, spotted, or discolored cucumbers in your pickling process.
The Kirby cucumber is the best and most common choice for pickles, but if you’re growing the English cucumber or Japanese cucumber in your garden (or some other type) you can feel free to try those out for this pickle recipe.
How to pickle cucumbers with vinegar
In this recipe we’re going to pickle the cucumbers with hot vinegar in a quick pickle method. It’s important here that the vinegar is hot!
Boiling the vinegar makes it hot enough to penetrate the cuke (or whatever is being pickled). It’s the same principle seen in making tea; hot water steeps more intensely than cold.
Careful! Over-boiling causes vinegar’s flavoring and pickling abilities to evaporate.
(You can also pickle with lemon juice, but we’ll cover that another time!)
Ingredients for your quick refrigerator pickled cucumbers
We loved these spices the best to add some umph to our pickled cucumbers, but you can choose others if you prefer. A dash of red pepper flakes are also a great addition for a little spicy kick!
- 5 small cucumbers
- 1/4 tsp mustard seed, whole
- 1/4 teaspoon dill, dried
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorn
- 2 garlic cloves, whole
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white vinegar (can sub with apple cider vinegar)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
You can definitely use fresh dill in place of the dried dill. (Especially if you want a more robust dill pickle flavor.) Grab some sprigs of fresh dill from your market’s herb section and add a few to each jar.
How To Pickle Cucumbers
- Slice the cucumbers into uniform coins or spears (your choice!). You’re going to use around 3 to 5 (depending on the specific size) cucumbers in this recipe per 16 oz. jar.
- Add the cucumber slices, mustard seed, dill, peppercorn, and garlic into your jar. Don’t worry that the spices settle at the bottom, they will rise up again evenly distribute their flavor when you add the vinegar brine.
- Mix the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a stainless steel pan and bring to a boil. You’ll need to babysit this.
- As soon as it reaches a good boil, pour it over the cucumber mixture in the jar until they are just covered. Don’t let it over boil or some of the vinegar needed for the pickling process will boil out.
- Put the top on immediately and put into the refrigerator. Let flavors blend overnight for best results.
All Our Pickle Recipes
If you enjoyed our cucumber pickle recipe, here are some others you might love!
- Pickled Jalapenos
- Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
- Pickled Cabbage
- Pickled Sweet Peppers
- Pickled Celery
- Pickled Beets
- Pickled Cucumbers (AKA Pickles)
- Pickled Sausage
- Pickled Chicken Feet
The Tastiest Pickled Cucumbers
Cucumbers And Flavoring
- 5 small cucumbers
- 1/4 tsp mustard seed whole
- 1/4 tsp dill dried
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorn whole
- 2 clove garlic
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp salt
Preparing The Cucumbers
- Slice the cucumbers into uniform coins or spears (your choice!)
- Add the cucumber slices, mustard seed, dried or fresh dill, peppercorn, and garlic into your jar.
Preparing The Brine
- Mix the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a stainless steel pan and bring to a boil.
- As soon as it reaches a good boil, pour it over the cucumber mixture in the jar until they are just covered.
- Put the top on immediately and put into the refrigerator.
- If you cut cucumbers into coins, cut in uniform slides to keep the taste consistent.
- These quick pickled cucumbers will be good for a few weeks in the fridge.
We hope you’ll love our pickled cucumber recipe! Let us know in the comments.
My neighbor made these wow just amazing!!! I’m making them today but may I suggest the amount of cucumbers to be in cups please? I am guessing using my Armenian cucumbers here probably can’t go wrong so it’s ok . So excited to make this.
HI yes, you can’t go wrong. I’d say 5 small ones make one jar, so really depends on the size of your cucumbers. You can even cut them all up, fill the jars, then multiple the amount of brine needed to cover them all. THEY ARE SO GOOD, RIGHT?
I’m growing small “pickling cucumbers”. Can I use those and leave them whole? Can I use fresh dill instead of dried? With this amount of sugar, do they end up tasting very sweet? We don’t like sweet pickles.
Hi Danielle, so glad you loved these 🙂 You can certainly leave them whole. It will take longer for them to cure, however. And, once the boiling brine is added, allow the jars to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes then refrigerate overnight.
You can use fresh dill instead of dried. Remember the flavor of fresh herbs is less concentrated than its dry counterparts. You can also hang your dill trimming sby a window overnight then you can have it dried yourself.
This ratio of sugar adds just a little kiss of sweetness to balance out the salt. This is a great chance to get the whole family to taste test! Make two different pickles, one without sugar and the second with sugar. When your’e finished you’ll be able to figure out your perfect brine 🙂
Can you use white vinegar instead of white wine vinegar? Thanks!
Yes you can. White wine vinegar is preferred for flavor, but you can definitely use regular white vinegar 🙂
Love the recipe. How long will they last in the fridge?
They should last several weeks if lid tight. Just check periodically to make sure they are still look, smell, and taste fresh.
Can you can these for your shelf?
Hi Doria. Thank you for the question. These pickles will last a few weeks in your refrigerator. They should not be stored at room temperature. We hope you enjoy the recipe!
This looks amazing, can I sub white wine vinegar for red? #tolazytogotothestore
Hi Scott. I’m not sure how that would taste, so please let us know if you try it! I have only used white vinegar for making these pickles, and they come out great.