The Best “No Canning Skills Needed” Homemade Pickle Recipe

I consider myself an experienced water-bath canner, and I do a fair amount of fermenting also.

So when the cucumbers start rolling into our CSA box and the markets, you know what my first thoughts are…homemade pickles!

There was a time when I thought I could for sure live off of pickles and pickle juice alone :) I love them! And among all of my different recipes for homemade pickles, this recipe has to be my ultimate favorite.

It’s my favorite for several reasons:

  • No canning skills are needed — So if you’re new to the idea of canning…this is a super easy place to start.
  • No nutrients are lost — This recipe is based slightly on the principles of fermentation, therefore nutritional benefits are added to the food rather than taken away as is true with water-bath canning methods. Note: Just to be clear, this recipe is not a real lacto-fermentation recipe. It does however produce a pickle that contains a bunch more nutrients than any commercially-prepared pickle. Interested in learning more about fermentation? Click here to check out this eCourse on the topic!
  • No extended wait time required — instead of waiting 4-6 weeks with canned pickles, these are ready in 2-3 days!

This recipe produces a salty, garlicy dill pickle. So if you’re looking for an amazing sweet refrigerator pickle that doesn’t require canning either, check out Renee’s recipe over at FIMBY…I love those too.   

Homemade Refrigerator Dill Pickles
*makes 4 quarts of pickles

The Ingredients

-20 pickling cucumbers
-a head of garlic
-2 tablespoons pickling spice mix
-2 teaspoons mustard seed
-a small bunch of fresh dill
-2 medium yellow onions, optional

The Brine

-2 quarts water
-1/2 cup raw, organic apple cider vinegar
-1/3 cup sea, kosher, or canning salt

The Method 

1. In a pitcher, mix all of the ingredients of the brine together and stir until salt is dissolved. Set aside.

2. Wash your cucumbers.

3. I like to slice the cukes in half lengthwise and some into quarters…it really just depends on what size I need them to be so they fit in the jar.

3. In each quart-sized glass canning jar, place 1-2 fresh dill heads, 4-6 cloves of garlic (depending on taste…we like a lot of garlic), 1/2 tablespoon of pickling spices, 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds, and sliced cucumbers.

4. Pour the brine over the cucumbers and spices in each of the jars. Be sure that the cucumbers are covered with the liquid. Optional: Use 1/2 an onion to weight down and keep cucumbers submerged in the brine. I also love the flavor the onion adds to the pickles :)

5. Cover the jars with either a small piece of cheesecloth or lightly with the lids. Then allow the jars to stay in a cupboard or pantry for 2-3 days. Once the cukes taste like pickles, tighten the lids on the jars and transfer to cold storage (i.e. refrigerator or root cellar). Will keep for up to 6-12 months — if they last that long.

Download and Print: A Recipe for Homemade Refrigerator Dill Pickles pdf (8 KB)

Learning more: If you are interested in learning more about the true and traditional methods of preserving food through fermentation, I highly recommend the eCourses provided by Wardeh over at Gnowfglins. She also has a great book in print titled The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods.

Now it’s your turn! What’s your favorite pickle recipe?

And as always…if you really enjoyed this post I would be so honored if you’d click this link and subscribe to the blog! To those of you who have been committed readers, I sincerely thank you.

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Comments

  1. Thanks, Andrea! I am going to share on my Facebook page! We love pickles and I am one of those “don’t have a clue about canning” either. I found a nice recipe like this awhile ago that didn’t require pickling spices so I am going to have to dig it up!

  2. cynthia uribe says:

    My recipes are all packed away in storage right now. But yours seems very like mine. Except that I always add extra fresh cloves to mine. I like that extra punch of flavor from them and everyone else seems to also.

  3. Yum, yum!
    Do you have a recipe for sweet bread & butter pickles? Thanks!

  4. Sounds wonderful :) I’ve made them in crocks before too, but I don’t have enough cukes this year to do that…so I’m looking forward to trying this!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Those look great! So they need to bestored in a dark cabinet for a few days? Just ordered the book, I’ve been wanting to learn about fermenting food

  6. I don’t have access to fresh dill. Any suggestions?

  7. michelle says:

    can i use just regular cucumbers my mom has giving me tons not sure what kind they are but i don’t know else what to do with all of them i’ve given some to neighbors already

  8. Gretchen says:

    Sounds like fun! Do you know if this would work with beets? We planted them for the first time this with the hope of making pickled beets.

  9. These sound great. How long do these last in the fridge? Thanks.

  10. I don’t have picking spices on hand and my recent foray to the store didn’t turn any up. Do you have a recipe for the spice mix by any chance?

    • Hi Jess! I’ve actually been working on one :) If you dont have it I’d say increase the amount of mustard seed by a tsp in each quart.

      • I finally found some and made a batch this afternoon. Can’t wait to try them! We did ours in pint jars. Another question – how does water bath canning remove nutrients? Because of the high temps? Just starting to jump into canning and figuring this all out. I look forward to your pickling spice recipe!

  11. Will this work if I slice the cucumber into chips?

  12. Do these make crunchy pickles or softer ones? I like my pickles with plenty of crunch.

  13. It’s probably my own confusion, but the list of ingredients says you need 4 tablespoons of pickling spice, but the directions only have you putting in 1/2 tablespoon per jar, if I am using 4 jars that is only 2 tablespoons of pickling spice. Did I misinterpret something? How much should I use? I kind of split the difference and just put in 2 teaspoons per jar.

    Thanks!

  14. Nicola Lily says:

    Would this recipe work for carrots as well?

  15. Cathy Kelley says:

    I have read several places to add grape or oak leaves for crunchy pickles. It’s the tannins in the leaves.
    Cathy

  16. Hi, I tried this and when I checked on them after two days, the garlic appeared a little blue/green. Is this mold?! I have never done this before and followed the directions to a T. Thanks!

    • I also had my garlic turn a blue green color, even when water bath canning. I called my local extension agent to ask what I did wrong. I found out that our well water must be high in copper, which garlic reacts to by changing color! Crazy! They claimed it was still completely safe to eat. I now use jugs of distilled water, to avoid this. I don’t think my dinner guests will trust my mold colored looking garlic! Lol!

  17. I made these on Monday and when I went to take them from the dark cabinet and put them in the fridge, they all had white film and some had blue mold on the top. I also followed the directions to a T. Are they done for?

    • Angela H. says:

      I also had the same issue of mold on top. I figured it was because my pickles had floated so they weren’t completely submerged. I wasn’t taking any chances, so I threw them out and I’m trying again. But if it happens again, I would also like to know if they can be salvageable. I hate wasting ingredients.

      • I threw mine out as well. I started over again today, but I am not going to leave the tops open with cheesecloth – I am going to tightly close, leave in cabinet for 2 days, then check and put in fridge. I will let you know how it goes. I was very bummed to have to throw away so much food the last time.

        • Angela H. says:

          I made another batch and I made sure they stay submerged. I covered it with cheesecloth and placed the caps over it but I left them loose. No mold this time but one jar was cloudy. I’m not sure what that means. Any ideas?

          • I had some of the same issues and looked it up. The cloudiness is just a byproduct of the fermentation process. The mold too, can be normal. The pickles are still ok, if you aren’t squeamish about wiping it off.

            • Yes Heidi! The cloudiness will be there because of fermentation. And if you’re comfortable with it…just spoon out the mold and the pickles are still ok.

  18. Had to search around for pickling spices but found them @ Vons(Southern Ca). So I’ve got 8 qts. in the pantry…my kids are chomping at the bit for Thursday. Thanks for sharing another great and easy canning recipe.

  19. love this post and love your blog! can’t wait to follow along with you!

  20. Great post with great links, too! Here’s a link to the way we make them: (similar) http://whatamberloves.com/2012/08/04/picked-a-peck-of-pickled-peppers/

    • Thank you so much for sharing your link Amber! The more the merrier:) You’re always welcome to share here:)

  21. Just started my second batch – the first one is gone! I sliced the cubes in rounds this time,so well see how well it works this way. Thanks for the great recipe.

  22. Sooo….
    Mine came out cloudy. I just want to make sure it’s still ok to eat.
    Also, what can I do different so this doesn’t happen again?

  23. My batch is tasting more spicy than picklely. I’m not really getting that pickle taste, they have been in the cupboard for 2 1/2 days now.
    Should I keep them in the cupboard longer? How long can they stay inthe cupboard before ruining?

  24. Are they ok if they’re not cloudy? My brine is still clear. I Jarred them a week ago.

  25. Charollet says:

    Any idea on how to get a “fire and ice” flavor using this recipe?

  26. Can I use a larger jar and put all pickles in one jar?

  27. So no need to bring the brine to a boil? Pour it over the cucumbers cold?

  28. my pickles are mushy… is this just the way they are? I was hoping for a crisp pickle…

  29. what if i put them directly in the frig,will they still be good?

  30. Samantha says:

    I got this recipe from Pinterest. I didn’t realize the lids should be loose and when I took out the pickles from the pantry they has some bubbles in them, like carbonation. Are these safe to eat or did I make a bad batch by closing the lids too tight?

  31. I tried this and it WORKS!! I even halved it for just a few cukes and it is great! Love this recipe and am sharing it! You can also store this in tupperware!

  32. LOVE this recipe! I do have one suggestion. You should say in the recipe that hard water may make the garlic turn bluish because of the copper! I almost threw my yummy pickles out!!

  33. I pickled some cucumbers last night with the intention of putting them in a canner. However, I decided to just place a bunch in a huge jar and throw in the refrigerator for a crispier pickle. Unfortunately, am reading that these will only last up to 2 months. Would it be safe at this point to take them out of the refrigerator to begin the fermenting process? The recipe: 12 c water, 4 c. Vinegar, 2/3 c kosher salt.

  34. This is our second batch with this recipe. The first one was too light on the dill, so hopefully this batch will be stronger dill flavored. It’s super easy… love it!

  35. Went to taste my pickles – I got 6 qts. out of the brine. They were all molded badly, read I could just scrape mold off – wooo. I threw them out. May try a half batch but I am afraid. All that work for nothing!

  36. throw in 1/2 to a whole cayenne pepper to give it some ZING!

  37. Great recipe. A few quick tips based on my experience…
    1. Cut. The blossom ends can impact texture and flavor so chop them off. If you’re unsure which is which, cut off both ends.
    2. Skim. Every 24 hrs, skim any scum off the surface.
    3. Shake. Every 24 hrs, put the lid on your jars and give your cukes a good shake.
    4. Submerge. The pickles should be completely submerged in your liquid. The onion suggestion is a good idea, but for those that don’t like the onion flavor try buying a jar where the top of the jar bends inward. Cut the majority of your cukes to come just below the bend in the jar, then cut a few cukes to wedge horizontally under the bend. This will keep your cukes in place without adding the onion flavor. And if you want just a little bit of onion flavor, dry adding dehydrated onion flakes.
    5. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a garden, and can’t find pickling cukes at your store, you can pickle regular cucumbers BUT beware the wax. The majority of cucumbers have wax on the outside to make them shiny, and this wax can impact your pickles. You can try a quick 10 second bath in boiling water, then scrubbing the pickle with a mixture of vinegar and kosher salt to get the wax off. This is a pain and will impact the crunch of the pickles, but it’s better than eating pickled wax.

    Happy pickling.

  38. Wow beautiful looking cookies…crispy and crunchy cookies…………
    Great post with great links,

  39. JAN GREEN says:

    Can you leave the salt out? I don’t like salt on my food.

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