Extra crunchy, briny quick pickled cucumber recipe with garlic and dill. These refrigerator pickles are easy to make and are ready to enjoy the next day (or earlier if you need them)!
Be sure to read through for the full tutorial and important tips.
Growing up, pickled cucumbers, along with what we called torshi (assorted pickled vegetables) were a regular on the dinner table. Yet, I had not thought of making my own homemade pickles until recently. And now my family knows what they've been missing!
Super crunchy. Briny. And just enough spicy. Only the best pickles we've had in a long time!
At the very first bite of these homemade quick pickles, everyone in my family agreed we won't be buying store-ready stuff (well, unless we happen upon some similar to these)!
I'm excited to share my recipe, tips, and step-by-step for how to pickle cucumbers, the quick way!
Quick pickles Vs. canning
Canning is not for everyone. No matter how much energy we may have on a given day, there aren't many of us who will jump on a long canning process or do all the sterilization and hot water baths involved.
Thank goodness for quick pickles!
You may know them by refrigerator pickles. They are basically vegetables that are pickled and stored in the fridge in a brine of salt, vinegar, and water (sometimes sugar).
The process takes a few minutes (my recipe takes 40 minutes), and once refrigerated, you can enjoy the tangy cukes the next day! And they will last in the fridge for up to 2 months.
Let's talk about the two key components of this recipe: the brine and the cucumbers (or other vegetables you plan to use)
There are variations of this brine. The most basic one uses kosher salt in a base of vinegar and water at a 1 to 1 ratio. I like my pickles on the tangier side, so I add a bit more vinegar to water in this recipe. If you like sweet pickles, you can add sugar to the brine (I personally don't).
What kind of vinegar to use? I prefer white distilled vinegar because it is colorless and offers a great tart flavor. White wine vinegar and cider vinegar will work as well.
There are many ways to add flavor to basic brine. I used:
- Whole coriander seeds
- Whole mustard seeds
- Bay leaf
Variations. Adding spices or other flavor makers to the brine is totally optional. And you can absolutely play with the spice combination to your liking. Some recipes might call for the use of crushed pepper flakes, ginger, or even a sprinkle of turmeric for a hint of color.
What kind of cucumbers to use?
Kirby cucumbers, which are small with bumpy skin, are the more popular choice for pickling.
I prefer Persian cucumbers, which are smaller and have thin skin. If those are not available, I use English cucumbers (again, thin skin that is not waxy).
Tip for extra crunchy cucumber pickles: Slice up the fresh cucumbers and put them in a colander with some ice cubes for 20 to 30 minutes. Then drain and pat them dry before you pickle them. This gives little trick gives me extra crunch
Flavoring pickled cucumbers
Earlier, I mentioned adding a variety of spices and bay leaf to the pickling brine, but as you pack the cucumbers into jars, you have another opportunity to infuse more flavor using:
- Fresh or dried herbs. Dill is my favorite, but you can add fresh thyme, oregano, or rosemary
- Garlic and Onions. Chop up some garlic cloves and green onions (both whites and greens) and add them right in the jars. They will pickle along with the cuckes imparting more flavor.
- Whole or sliced hot peppers. If you like a little bit of spice, add your favorite hot peppers. I used jalapenos, simply cut sliced in halves or rings.
How to pickle cucumbers
- Prepare the cucumbers. Slice about 1 ¼ pounds of Persian cucumbers into rounds. And if you have the time, place them in a colander with some ice cubes and let them sit in the sink for 20 to 30 minutes (optional step, but this gives up extra crunch).
- Make the brine. Combine the 3 cups vinegar, 2 ¼ cups of water (like I said earlier, this brine is more on the tangy side, so you can adjust the vinegar to water ratio to your liking), 2 ½ tablespoon kosher salt, and 3 tablespoons each whole coriander seeds, mustard seeds and peppercorn, 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for 10 minutes or so. Set the brine aside to cool.
- Pack the cukes along with the onions, garlic and jalapenos tightly in jars (I like using wide-mouth jars like this one <--affiliate link). Add in a few springs of fresh herbs (I used dill).
- Pour in the cooled brine. Use the back of a spoon to push the cukes etc. down so that they're submerged in the brine.
- Seal the jars with the lids and refrigerate. It helps to give the jars a quick tap to release any extra air bubbles before you close them. Refrigerate for one night before using (I ended up eating some 5 hours after and still loved them! but they will develop better flavor overnight and in the next days).
Can you pickle other vegetables this way?
The great thing is that you can pickle other vegetables similarly. Here are some ideas that I'm excited to try:
- Carrots, sliced into rounds of cut into thin sticks
- Red onions, halved and sliced (add a few slices of beets for color)
- Small peppers like banana peppers, jalapeno, harbenaro (sliced into rounds. remove the seed for less spicy)
- Green Beans, asparagus, cauliflower florets (these may benefit from quick blanching before pickling and may need a few days in the fridge before using)
These cucumber refrigerator pickles should be stored in the fridge with their brine in tight lid jars for up to 2 months.
I love it when we can preserve summer produce for a later time. Pickled cucumbers are a good example of that and so are roasted tomatoes, which you can quickly roast and keep in the fridge or the freezer for later use. (See how to roast tomatoes).
Quick Pickled Cucumber Recipe
- 3 cups vinegar distilled white vinegar or white wine vinegar will work
- 2 ¼ cup cold water
- 2 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoon mustard seed
- 3 tablespoon coriander seed
- 3 tablespoon peppercorn
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 ¼ lb Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers sliced into ½-inch rounds
- 4 green onions trimmed and chopped (both white and green parts)
- 3 Jalapeno peppers sliced into rounds (remove seeds for less heat)
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- Few sprigs of fresh dill to your liking
- Prepare the cucumbers. (Optional) Place the sliced cucumbers and some ice cubes in a colander in the sink for 20 minutes or so (this helps give them better crunch). Drain completely and pat dry.
- Make the Brine. In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, salt, mustard seed, coriander seed, peppercorn and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Pack cucumbers and vegetables in jars. Pack the cucumbers, green onions, jalapenos, garlic, and a few springs of dill in some wide-mouth jars (they should be packed tightly).
- Add the brine to the jars. Ladle the brine into the jars to cover the cucumbers (use the back of a spoon to push the cucumbers down to submerge). Give the jars a couple of taps to release any air bubbles and allow the cukes to settle.
- Pickling jar option. The jar size does not matter, but I like to use somewhat larger wide-mouth jars like this one (affiliate link). Once you tightly pack one jar, you can move on to the next.
- Brine Variations: These pickles are more tangy with a little hint of spice. I use more vinegar to water in the brine, but if you're not sure, you can use a 1 to 1 ratio vinegar to water for the brine instead. If you like your pickles on the sweet side add ¼ cup of sugar to the brine (you can add more or less sugar to your liking). You can also adjust the spices used in the brine, using more or less of what you like. Some Middle Eastern pickle recipes use fresh ginger or turmeric, and some call for red pepper flakes.
- Make more brine if needed. If you want to pickle more cucumbers, or if you run out of brine for some reason, make more brine using the ratios above and let it cool, of course, before using.
- For best results: Allow the pickled cucumbers at least 1 night in the fridge before using.
- Storage: Quick or refrigerator pickles must be stored in the fridge. They will keep well for 2 months.
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