These simple crisp, crunchy and sour homemade pickles are ready in just hours, no canning necessary! Learn how to make pickles at home instead of buying them at the store with just a handful of ingredients.
I’ve got a pickle, I’ve got a pickle, I’ve got a…..yeah, that’s been in my head since the first cucumber slice.
Perhaps the only downside to this little pickle making adventure is having that song perpetually in my head.
Did you know how easy it is to make homemade refrigerator pickles?!
I wish I knew sooner in life how simple it truly is.
Confession: I’ve never properly canned something in my life.
For the longest time, I thought that’s what was necessary to make pickles at home.
I was wrong.
Homemade pickles are probably one of the easiest things you can make. Easier than fermented vegetables but just as tangy and delicious.
And even better, the varieties of pickles you can make are endless.
I’ve experimented with a spicy garlic dill pickle recipe as well as sweet pickles too but I usually just opt for this simple sour pickle recipe using whatever spices and herbs I have on hand.
So, if you find yourself with an abundance of pickling cucumbers (although they don’t have to be that variety specifically) whether from your own garden or the grocery store, this easy homemade pickle recipe is the perfect way to use some up!
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE HOMEMADE PICKLES
You’ll need the following ingredients to get started with making pickles at home:
- peppercorns (or crushed red pepper flakes)
- anise seeds
- fresh herbs (optional)
- canning jars
Peppercorns and anise seeds are classic when it comes to pickle flavors.
Garlic is always a must (am I right?).
And then, because I happened to have it on hand, I threw some basil in this recipe too.
Fresh herbs are totally optional though so use whatever you have or use none at all.
HOW TO MAKE SIMPLE HOMEMADE REFRIGERATOR PICKLES
In my spicy garlic dill pickle recipe I have a video that shows how to make pickles. While that recipe uses slightly different ingredients, the method for these basic pickles is exactly the same so definitely check that post out.
Simple Homemade Refrigerator Pickle Method:
- Combine cucumbers and spices in a jar
- Pour pickling liquid on top to cover the cucumbers and fill the jar
- Make sure everything is submerged
- Cover and refrigerate
Feel free to change out the spices and herbs to what you have on hand and what you like.
As long as you have some peppercorns and garlic, you’re pretty much set for a basic pickle recipe.
These pickles come out crisp, tangy and perfectly spicy after just 12 hours in the refrigerator.
Although, the longer they sit the more tangy and “pickle-like” they get!
WHAT KIND OF CUCUMBER SHOULD I USE?
I like to use Kirby cucumbers also known as “pickling cucumbers” when I make these pickles at home.
Kirbys are smaller cucumbers with a rough bumpy skin. They are sold unwaxed which makes them a good candidate for pickling.
They’re also more crisp due to a very small seed area in the center compared to other cucumber varieties.
While other varieties of cucumber can be used to make pickles, seeking out pickling cucumbers like a Kirby cucumber will give you the best result.
WHAT TYPE OF VINEGAR IS BEST FOR PICKLING?
I use distilled white vinegar for this pickle recipe.
Alternatively, you can choose to use apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar.
WHAT PICKLE SHAPE IS BEST?
You can use this recipe on any shape pickle you choose.
If you prefer spears over rounds, go for it!
If you want to make “sandwich slice” pickles, cut a thin strip lengthwise down the cucumber.
*Note that thinner slices or rounds will pickle quicker than spears. So, if you choose the spear shape, you may want to leave the pickles in the refrigerator a few hours longer.
HOW LONG WILL HOMEMADE PICKLES LAST IN THE REFRIGERATOR?
Even though these aren’t canned under pressure, this refrigerator pickle recipe will last about 2 months.
After a couple of weeks however, they will start to lose their crunchiness.
Although, the their tang and pickle flavor will only develop more with time!
ARE PICKLES HEALTHY?
In fact, I love making homemade pickles as opposed to buying store bought because you’d be surprised by what you find on the ingredient list of some popular brands.
It’s not shocking to see ingredients like food coloring (often yellow 5), polysorbate 80 and “natural flavors” on your favorite brand labels.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather an ingredient list like this one without fake food dyes, emulsifiers and cryptic flavoring bundles.
HOW TO USE HOMEMADE PICKLES
They also totally level up some healthy sloppy joes too!
OTHER FOODS TO PICKLE
You can pickle lots of things like blueberries in this pickled blueberry panzanella salad, or mushrooms in this balsamic pickled mushroom crostini and even fruit like pineapple in this spicy pickled pineapple.
But, nothing is as classic and perfect for snacking as these!
Simple Homemade Pickles
- 2 small, kirby cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup white distilled vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
- Combine vinegar and salt in a small bowl, whisk together.
- In a large mason jar, add cucumber slices.
- Add garlic, basil, peppercorns, anise seeds and bay leaf.
- Pour in vinegar and salt mixture and then top with water to cover.
- Close lid and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before eating.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.