Refrigerator Sweet Pickles Recipe

These refrigerator sweet pickles are easy, no cook, homemade fridge pickles that are simple as can be to toss together, sweet as can be to nosh. No canning required.

Refrigerator Sweet Pickles Recipe

This refrigerator pickles* recipe makes a Scandinavian-style pickle that’s subtly perfumed with dill, distinctly sweet, and just a little sour. It’s so simple it doesn’t even require turning on the stove during those desperate dog days of summer. It may not be the exact same sweet pickle of your childhood, but it certainly is superb, whether snitched surreptitiously any time of day or night straight from the fridge or set out with just about anything that needs a little acidity to tone down the richness, whether salmon, cheese, fried chicken, pate, even peanut butter sandwiches. Care to let us know how you served these sweet pickles? Let us know in a comment below.–Renee Schettler Rossi

How to Make a Crisp Pickle

We’ve heard over and over how lovely and crisp these refrigerator pickles remain even after days in the fridge. We have a hunch it’s because of the technique used to make these sweet pickles. Many pickle recipes heat the vinegar on the stove, which makes the sugar dissolve more readily, and then instructs you to pour the solution over the cucumbers while still warm, which wilts the veggies. This sugary pickling solution is poured over the cucumbers cold. Some of the sugar may not dissolve right away but that’s okay since the pickles are going to hang out in the fridge for several days anyways. What’s your rush?

Special Equipment: One half-gallon jar or two 1-quart glass jars with lid(s) and rubber seal(s), washed with soap and hot water

Refrigerator Sweet Pickles Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 6 H, 15 M
  • Makes 2 quarts


  • 3 large cucumbers (weight will vary), peeled if desired
  • 1 small white onion, very thinly sliced
  • 5 large sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (473 ml) white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (about 3 grams) sea salt


  • 1. Thinly slice the cucumbers using a mandolin or handheld slicer if you have one.
  • 2. Layer the cucumbers, onion, and dill in the jar(s).
  • 3. If you’re a laid back sort of home cook, simply pour the vinegar, sugar, and salt into the jar(s), screw on the lid, and shake well until the sugar begins to dissolve. It won’t completely dissolve and that’s okay. If you’re a sorta precise, take-no-chances sort of home cook, stir together the sugar, vinegar, and salt in a large measuring glass or bowl until the sugar begins to dissolve. Pour the mixture into the jar(s) and screw on the lid.
  • 4. Stash the jar(s) of pickles in the fridge. You can taste them as soon as 6 hours if you’re the impatient sort but the longer the pickles remain in the fridge, the more intense the flavor. We found 3 or 5 days or so to be the optimal waiting period. The dill will remain subtle and the sweetness will remain dominant. You can store the pickles in the refrigerator for up to 1 month in the fridge—but we bet they won’t last nearly that long.

*What Are Refrigerator Pickles?

  • Refrigerator pickles are like regular pickles except instead of the home cook having to sterilize jars and lids, process the jars of pickles in a water bath, and then wait for the lids to seal, the mixture of cucumbers, vinegar, sugar, and herbs or spices are simply stashed in a jar in the refrigerator. The resulting pickles aren’t shelf-stable. But there’s no need for them to be since they’re kept in a refrigerated environment. Same taste. Less work.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Suzanne Fortier

Sep 01, 2016

This is just the kind of simple, delicious pickle I like to have on hand to serve with drinks, a hamburger, or even a nice piece of grilled salmon. This recipe is particularly great because you don't even need to turn on the stove! I made a half recipe, because there's just me (although my guest loved them). I prefer Kirby cucumbers for pickling, and the ones I purchased were quite large. While the recipe states to mix the ingredients all together in the jar, it was difficult to stir everything together. So I mixed the brine in a small pitcher till the sugar and salt was dissolved. I layered the cucumbers, onion, and dill in the jar and poured the brine over, tapping the jar several times on the counter to get rid of any air pockets. I tested mine after 2 and 4 days and they were tasty, but I found that at 5 days they really had developed a full flavor. Sweet, sour, dilly, but still mild, these are extremely versatile and I can imagine using them to dress up many dishes.

Testers Choice
Mackenzie Campbell

Sep 01, 2016

This is a quick and simple refrigerator pickles recipe for anyone who wants to prepare refrigerator pickles without putting much time in. The result was a sweet, bright pickle with just enough dill. The 3 cukes I used (1 medium hothouse and 2 small pickling from CSA) resulted in 4 cups of very thinly sliced pieces. Since you don't heat the pickling liquid, it takes a while for the sugar to dissolve. I mixed the ingredients for the liquid together, stirred, and left it on the counter while I was at work as opposed to trying to vigorously stirred it in the jar jam-packed with cucumbers and onions. I used half a large sweet onion. Everything barely fit in the quart jar. Once everything was combined in the jar, there was very little wiggle room. In the future I would mix together the onion and cuke separately, pack it into jars, pour the prepared liquid over the top, tap out any air bubbles, and not even bother with trying to stir as its messy and awkward. This only took about 15 minutes of prep time, some time to dissolve the sugar, and I waited about 3 days before giving them a try. They are very yummy—a bit sweet for my taste. I might take down the sugar amounts next time, but the dill adds a nice herbal note that keeps these bright.

Testers Choice
M. Golip

Sep 01, 2016

This refrigerator sweet pickle recipe is amazing! I receive a good amount of cucumbers from my CSA and what better way to preserve them for a few extra weeks. It took me 30 minutes to complete the recipe. The yield was a bit more that 1 quart for both brining and cucumbers, but not by a lot. The end result is finely sliced sweet and tangy cucumbers that we are eating with basically everything. We have put them on salads, sandwiches, and fried chicken tacos. This is a recipe that I will recommend for sure.

Testers Choice
Paula D.

Sep 01, 2016

These refrigerator pickles are lightly flavored with dill, a little sweet, a little sour, and totally delicious. Thinly sliced on a mandoline, they became crisp and flavored on the first day. I used a 1/2-gallon jar which was filled to the top and added the vinegar, sugar, and salt last. Gave it a few shakes and popped it into the fridge. I would give them 6 hours. They have been tasty since the first day and each day since (which was 3 days ago). So easy! I will be making these again. It was surprisingly not awkward to put everything in the jar. I did not attempt to "stir" the mixture. I layered the cukes, dill, and onion, repeating this 5 times. I used a canning funnel to pour in the vinegar. I added the salt on top and then I poured the sugar in about 1/3 cup increments, and gave it a shake. The sugar dissolved quickly. These would be nice on a small platter with sliced tomatoes around them. I would like to mention that for refrigerator pickles, I generally do not sterilize the jars. I wash them with soap and hot water. It can't hurt, but IMO it makes a quick recipe not so quick. (For regular canning, of course, I would sterilize the jars.)

Testers Choice
Anna Scott

Sep 01, 2016

This is the definitely the time of year to stock up on canning jars. Cucumbers are one of those veggies that are irresistible when fresh and irresistible when pickled. I was drawn to this specific cucumber pickle recipe because of the thinly sliced cucumbers. I've done spears, stackers, and regular round cucumber pickles in the past, but never thinly sliced cucumbers like this. Also, the amount of sugar in the recipe in proportion to salt was larger than I normally use, but I think for an end use with smoked fish, pates, etc., the sweetness of the pickles pairs very nicely. I liked the idea of thinly sliced onions in here as well--they add a nice peppery tang. So far, I have just tasted these thinly sliced cukes on their own, but am excited to buy some pate or make chicken liver mousse and serve these as a condiment along with some grainy mustard. Or on a smoked salmon bagel with herbed cream cheese and capers. I actually stirred everything together in a mixing bowl before placing the contents in the quart-sized jar and it was filled to the brim. Overall, a tasty version of pickled cucumbers that was sweeter than my normal routine, but unique and a welcomed addition to our pickle collection!

Testers Choice
J. Ellington

Sep 01, 2016

I was very excited to try this recipe in relation to my garden's overflow of cucumbers! This Scandinavian-style pickle is delectable, fragrant, sweet, and tangy all at the same time. I can see how it can be paired with almost anything! Given the amount of sugar required for this recipe, it was extremely awkward to try to dissolve the sugar in the quart-size jar with everything else. I'd recommend boiling the sugar and vinegar on the stove top first, which would also help with the pickling process. The ingredient amount provided a full quart, with a bit leftover in terms of the pickling juice.

  1. Sarah says:

    What kind of cucumber is best for this recipe? The photo looks like English, but (I’m a new canner) I’ve heard those are terrible for pickling.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Sarah, you can use almost any variety of cucumber, although I agree, English aren’t ideal and are rather pricey, especially when one considers that other types will work quite nicely. Our testers varied in the variety they used—some used hothouse, some used Kirby, and some used “pickling.” I suggest small to medium Kirby cucumbers—and try to select cucumbers that are all about the same size.

  2. Rhianon says:

    Hi thanks for sharing this recipe! I love pickles but have always been too afraid to try making them myself- they’ve always seemed daunting. Plus I love Bubbie’s so much, it’s made me lazy, ha! I could eat those all day, right out of the jar. I think I’m definitely going to have to try this recipe, though!

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