These refrigerator pickles are made with a rainbow of vegetables, including cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and radishes in a quick brine. No more waiting days or weeks before you partake.
Forget canning. Also known as refrigerator pickles, these refrigerator pickles don’t require the typical patience and water processing of traditional pickles. Nope. Just slice some veggies, cram them in some jars, pour the pickling liquid over the top, and stash them in the fridge. That’s it. Actually, okay, to be honest, that’s not quite it. You’ve also got to somehow resist consuming them all in in a single sitting.–Renee Schettler Rossi
- 1 English (or other seedless) cucumber
- 1 medium yellow squash
- 4 tablespoons canning-and-pickling salt
- 1 long, slender, medium carrot
- 2 pink, purple, or red icicle radishes or 10 round red radishes
- 4 fresh dill sprigs
- 1 cup cider vinegar (5% acidity)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dill seeds
- 2 cups cold water
- Rinse and scrub the vegetables. Score the cucumber and squash lengthwise along the side with a fork, leaving furrows in the peel on all sides. (This will result in scalloped edges when the vegetables are sliced.) Trim and discard the stem and blossom ends of the cucumber and squash and then cut the veggies into slices 1/8 inch thick. Place in a colander in the sink, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons salt, and gently toss. Let drain for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel the carrot and cut the carrot and radishes into slices 1/8 inch thick. Toss together with the drained cucumber and squash.
- Place 2 dill sprigs in each of 2 clean (1 pint) jars or nonreactive containers with lids. Pack the sliced vegetables in the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
- In a 1 1/2-quart stainless steel saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, dill seeds, remaining 2 tablespoons salt, and water to a boil, stirring until the sugar and salt dissolve.
- Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the vegetables to cover. You may have extra brining liquid, which you can either reserve to pickle more vegetables you find in your vegetable bins or discard. Screw the lids onto the jars.
- Refrigerate for at least 24 to 72 hours before serving, depending on how intense a pickle flavor you prefer. They'll taste a touch salty after just 24 hours and if you want a truly pronounced pickle flavor you'll want to wait until day 5 or more. You can stash the quick pickles in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks—if you can resist that long!
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These refrigerator pickles are great and ready in 24 hours. A lot of recipes for refrigerator pickles are too sweet for my taste or contain a bunch of pickling spices and cloves. What makes this recipe stand out from the crowd is the simple seasoning. The combination of dill sprigs and dill seeds gives the pickles a real dill pickle flavor, which I love.
I found that 24 hours was plenty of time for the pickles to absorb the flavor of the brine and the dill. I was able to fill one pint jar and one 1 1/2-pint jar, and the veggies were really packed in there. So I got a total of 2 1/2 pints rather than 2 pints. We enjoyed these pickles by themselves and loved them piled onto a veggie burger. Get more veggies on your burger with these colorful beauties!
I’ve always loved pickles but was never convinced it was worth the effort to make my own. Then along came these refrigerator pickles. They’re easy, fast, delicious, and make enough to feed an army.
The pickles were in the fridge in just under an hour after about 20 minutes of prep and 30 minutes drain time for the cucumber and squash. Next time I’ll cut the time down even further by using the slicing blade on my food processor to slice the vegetables.
We tried the quick pickles after 24 hours, and they were very good but a little salty. After another day, they were perfect. Our batch is a week old now and still has great taste and texture. I did have to deviate from the recipe slightly, as I couldn’t get yellow squash or dill seeds, so I substituted regular zucchini and mustard seeds. The result was fantastic and I really like having a mix of vegetables instead of just cucumber. All the vegetables made great pickles but offered slightly different textures. I also used some of the pickle juice to make a really, really good burger sauce.
If you grew up on summer pickling, you know that the day the pickles were ready always seemed impossibly far away. My mother put up both dill and bread-n-butter (sweet) pickles every year when I was growing up from cucumbers she grew. We went to U-Pick orchards for pears, peaches, and apricots to can—deferred pleasure for a winter morning when they were finally opened. Only when the pace of life picked up with my mother returning to work in the ‘70s did we get refrigerator pickles, often from a pre-seasoned packet of spices, salt, sugar, and presto—zucchini pickles in 3 days, if you could wait that long.
Now that I’m used to making quickles out of fresh veggies, including radishes and carrots, actually canning seems like an ancient art. Now if I want proper dill pickles, I end up buying them. This recipe for refrigerator pickles falls somewhere in between—it’s surprisingly quick because of the pre-salting and the use of tender-crisp vegetables. It really only takes a little over 30 minutes work to finish all the other prep while the zucchini and cucumber slices are salting.
The amount of flavor added by the flowering head of dill was a bit of a surprise. These refrigerator pickles really were like a proper pickle and were far superior to the over-sweetened and randomly spiced “fridge pickle kits” of my past. These would work for a nice pickle plate for appetizers or even as part of a vegetable spear for a modern Bloody Mary. So glad I tried this!
This recipe actually makes a bit of extra pickling solution, so you might find yourself casting your eyes around the kitchen and fridge wondering what else you might pickle since you already have the setup!
I packed 2 pint jars with the prepped vegetables. Inspired by the pickle plate at my favorite restaurant, I decided to play with the extra vinegar solution on a third jar, so I sliced baby turnips and more red radishes into eighths. The baby turnips came with perfect little green tops that were easily cleaned, so I left them on. After 24 hours, I tried both the regular refrigerator pickles and my bonus jar of turnips and radishes, and they were all amazing.
This refrigerator pickles recipe works exactly as described—the only surprise was that we had much more liquid than needed to fill the jars. But it worked out fine in the end. The vegetables are indeed delicious after just 1 day.
We will make these again, and next time, I might try pickling more carrots and radishes and fewer cucumbers. The cucumbers were good but the other vegetables were excellent—crisp, full of flavor, and very pretty in the jar. We used one jar as a host gift, and the one we kept for ourselves was gone in one afternoon!
These pickles take advantage of that fresh summer produce without heating up your kitchen or taking all day. These crunchy and fresh pickles are the perfect way to brighten up boring burgers and yield the perfect quantity for a family cookout. (We all know summer potlucks are all about the sides and condiments, anyway.)
You’ll need 2 lidded jars and 15 minutes of chopping. I used zucchini, not yellow squash, and skipped the radishes. I loved how clear and detailed the directions were. After 24 hours, the veggies were well-seasoned and still crunchy, and the brine was clear despite not using pickling salt. Beautiful colors and nice flavor!
Making these the night before is plenty of pickling time. I wonder if they’ll be as crunchy in a week; usually squash gets pretty soft after a while. Oh, and don’t worry about making a special run for pickling salt and dill seeds; Morton’s kosher worked fine and stuffing in a few extra dill sprigs gave me a less dill-y, still delicious pickle that I’d be proud to set on any picnic table. We’ll make these quick pickles all summer.
One gripe: so many pickle recipes call for way too much liquid! Next time I’ll cut the brine in half. Bring it on, summer!
These were very quick pickles that were exceptionally pretty in the jar.
They do need to sit for more than 24 hours for my taste, but if you can wait a few days, it’s well worth it! After 1 day, they tasted nothing like a pickle. The veggies were very crunchy and crisp, but the general flavor was just salty with no tangy flavor at all. After 48 hours, they were marginally better, though still very salty tasting. After 3 days they had a nice pickle flavor. I’ve tested them daily, and the flavor continued to improve, peaking at about day 6, so I’d recommend waiting 5 to 6 days before serving.
I was unable to find yellow squash, so I substituted zucchini. This worked well, and the zucchini was nice and crunchy after pickling.
Originally published August 02, 2018