Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles ~ Small Batch is perfect for two. Canning is not required and the recipe makes just one pint jar of pickles. Of course you can double to triple it for more jars of pickles. My recipe includes the addition of hot peppers for a little heat. This is 100% optional.
I think of my grandmother when making homemade pickles. She always had a jar of pickles in the fridge, with a root cellar full of dills, bread and butter pickles, and sweet pickles ready to go. I think she would be proud to know I make pickles too, but she would think my easy refrigerator dill pickles recipe a bit lazy. Times change. No special equipment, hot water bath, high heat pickling process needed here. Bonus, they are ready to eat the next day!
Please see recipe card for quantities.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- The type of fresh cucumbers you choose for pickling is important. For dills I like kirby cucumbers (pickling cucumbers). Pickling cucumbers have a thicker skin than a regular slicing cucumber and it stands up well to pickling. The bumpy skin of the pickling cucumber adds texture.
- For bread and butter sliced pickles I like English cucumbers and for sweet pickles I like mini cucumbers.
- For making pickling brine the easy way is to use pre-packaged pickling spice mixtures. A neighborhood gem, Newcastle Produce sells a pickling spice mixture that includes mustard seed, black peppercorns, cinnamon, allspice, dill seeds, bay leaves, ginger, coriander, red pepper flakes, celery seed, and juniper berries. It is fabulous for pickles or brining a corned beef.
- You can easily find McCormick Pickling Spice in the grocery store spice aisle. I find that it sometimes sells out during cucumber season. Its ingredients include cinnamon, allspice, mustard seeds, coriander, bay leaves, ginger, clove, red pepper, black pepper, cardamom, mace, and a sulfiting agent.
- If you do not have pickling spices, use ½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds and ¼ teaspoon whole back peppercorns.
- White vinegar is the standard for pickle brine. I also like to add just a bit of apple cider vinegar to the vinegar mixture for a little additional flavor.
- Fresh dill is necessary. It is usually available in large bunches at the grocery store in the spring/summer. If not available, look for baby dill in the little clam shell packaging.
- The red chilies I added are from a jar, but you can use dried chilies as well, or just a little extra red pepper flakes. Fresh garlic cloves, sugar and salt round out the grocery list.
Instructions for Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles ~ Small Batch
Cut cucumbers into spears, slices, or leave whole. Stuff them in a pint jar.
Add brine ingredients to small saucepan. Heat on low until sugar and salt dissolve.
Pour cooled brine over cucumbers. Add garlic, dill & chilies pushing them down.
Tap the jar to remove bubbles and refrigerate at least 24 hours. Enjoy!
Tip for Canning Jars
Use pint jars for this recipe and quart jars of you double it. Look for a new Ball jar called a stacking jar. These are pint size but they are taller than a regular pint so they accommodate longer cucumber spears. I also think they are prettier. I used the stacking jar for my Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles ~ Small Batch. These jars make a great gift filled with pickled green beans with a pretty label and a twine bow.
- For regular dill pickles - leave out the chili peppers.
- Deluxe - add sliced onions along with the fresh garlic cloves.
- For a sweeter, less sour pickle, double the sugar.
The equipment needed for this easy recipe consist of a saucepan, cutting board and pint canning glass jar with lid.
Spicy Refrigerator Dill Pickles ~ Small Batch
- Small non-reactive saucepan stainless steel is fine
- Pint glass jar with lid
- Cutting Board
For the brine:
- ½ cup White vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Pickling spice
- 1.5 teaspoons Kosher or Pickling Salt Do not use table salt
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
For the pickles:
- 3 Pickling cucumbers cut into spears
- 4 sprigs Dill fresh
- 2 cloves Garlic fresh cloves, smashed
- 2 Hot peppers optional
For the brine:
- Add the vinegars, spices, sugar and salt to a small saucepan. Heat on low just until the salt and sugar dissolve.
- Allow to cool to room temperature.
For the pickles:
- Cut the cucumbers into spears or slices.
- Stuff the cut cucumbers into a clean pint jar. Smash the cloves of garlic with your palm and stuff it down in to the jar around the cucumbers.
- Stuff the sprigs of fresh diil down around the cucumbers.
- Pour the room temperature brine over the cucumbers.
- If you do not have enough to completely cover the cucumber, add equal parts water and vinegar until the cucumbers are covered.
- Place a clean lid on the jar and store in the refrigerator. Let them sit 24 hours before eating. Enjoy!
Approximate nutrition information is provided as a convenience and courtesy only. You are encouraged to do your own calculations if precise data is required.
Homemade pickles should last for two months in the refrigerator in their jar. However, the longer they sit, the less crunchy they become.
Making sure enough vinegar is added to the cucumbers is important to make safe pickles. Do not change the water-to-vinegar ratio.
Bubbling in the jar
Cloudy vinegar/ brine
Change in taste