Refrigerator Sweet Pickles

These refrigerator sweet pickles are an easy homemade Scandinavian-style pickle. Simple to toss together, sweet as can be, and crisp as your favorite pickles from childhood. And there’s no hot-processing canning required as these simply stay in the fridge.

This Scandinavian pickle is fresh and fragrant. Perfumed with fresh dill, which is so prevalent in Nordic cuisine, it is superb eaten with salmon, smoked fish, rillettes, and cheese—an extremely handy standby to have in the fridge. So simple they don’t even require turning on the stove.–Charlotte Pike

WHAT ARE REFRIGERATOR PICKLES?

Sometimes, you want your pickles as soon as possible. Or you’re just not into the fussiness that’s involved with true preserving. Refrigerator pickles are like regular pickles except you don’t have to sterilize jars, or process the full jars in boiling water, or wait for the lids to seal. In this version, you just mix the ingredients together and hide them in your fridge for a few days, or even hours. There’s no need for them to be canned since they’re kept in a refrigerated environment. Same taste. Less work.

Refrigerator Sweet Pickles

A jar of refrigerator sweet pickles with a fork holding two pickles lying beside the jar.
These refrigerator sweet pickles are an easy homemade Scandinavian-style pickle. Simple to toss together, sweet as can be, and crisp as your favorite pickles from childhood. And there's no hot-processing canning required as these simply stay in the fridge.
Charlotte Pike

Prep 15 mins
Chill 6 hrs
Total 6 hrs 15 mins
Sides
American
64 servings | 2 quarts
17 kcal
5 / 5 votes
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Equipment

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

Ingredients 

  • 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 granulated sugar
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions
 

  • Thinly slice the cucumbers, using a mandoline or handheld slicer if you have one.
  • Layer the cucumbers, onion, and dill in the jar(s).
  • 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. It won't completely dissolve and that's okay. Pour the mixture into the jar(s) and screw on the lid.
  • Stash the jar(s) of pickles in the fridge for up to 1 month—but we bet they won't last nearly that long. You can try them as soon as 6 hours if you're the impatient sort although the longer the pickles remain in the fridge, the more intense the flavor.

    TESTER TIP: We found around 3 or 5 days to be the optimal waiting period before diving into your jar of pickles. By this time the dill will have mellowed, the sweetness remains noticeable, and the crunch remains pronounced.

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoonsCalories: 17kcal (1%)Carbohydrates: 4g (1%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 37mg (2%)Potassium: 20mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 16IUVitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 2mgIron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

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! Sweet, sour, dilly, but still mild, these are extremely versatile and I can imagine using them to dress up many dishes.

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. I mixed the brine in a small pitcher till the sugar and salt were 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.

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 stir 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'd mix together the onion and cukes 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 it's 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're 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.


Originally published September 1, 2016

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Having never made pickles before I was a little unsure of myself. It only took about an hour to make them. I do not like real sweet pickles so I left out a 1/4 cup of sugar. They turned out perfect, crisp and not to sweet, I will making these over and over.

    1. We’re delighted that you love these as much as we do, Ray! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. 5 stars
    I love this recipe and have found it to be infinitely versatile! I made them today, but substituted the cucumbers for garden fresh green beans. I blanched them for a minute before adding the brine and kicked in a little bit of red pepper flakes to give it some heat. I’ve yet to find a bad recipe on this site and come back to it again and again!

    1. Thank you, Marci! We so appreciate your kind words and are delighted that you continue to return.

  3. 5 stars
    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 sweet and tangy cucumbers that we’re eating with basically everything. We’ve put them on salads, sandwiches, and fried chicken tacos. This is a recipe that I will recommend for sure.

  4. Since I have some cukes fresh from the garden (my neighbor just brought a dozen over) and have dill in my herb garden, I will have to try this one. A small batch like this should work out better than having to go buy more to make it worth breaking out the canning kettle. Been several years since I made refrigerator pickles. I seem to recall that they should be left 5 to 7 days before devouring.

    1. I couldn’t agree more regarding the ease and convenience of tossing together a quick batch of refrigerator pickles, Vincent. And yes, we find 3 to 5 or so days in the fridge works well, giving the flavors time to meld yet the cukes still remain crisp.

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