How to Make Refrigerator Dill Pickles {Recipe}

 Old Fashioned Refrigerator Dill Pickles Family Recipe by Amy Locurto at  LivingLocurto.com

I love my aunt’s old-fashioned homemade refrigerator dill pickles. While I was in Oklahoma, she made a few jars so I could share our family’s secret recipe with you.

This recipe for dill pickles has been in my family for many years. Aunt Tricia said that over time, she and my Uncle have added their own touches and ingredients. I swear, they are the best pickles I have ever eaten!

 Old Fashioned Refrigerator Dill Pickles Family Recipe by Amy Locurto at  LivingLocurto.com

Selecting Cucumbers for Pickling

Select very firm cucumbers. Do not buy commercially waxed cucumbers, they will not pickle properly. I recommend shopping at an organic grocery store or your local farmer’s market.

My aunt’s cucumbers are “National Pickling” cucumbers, they are irregular shaped and bumpy. She recommends using whole cucumbers for crisper pickles. They pick their cucumbers small just for pickling. Pickling cucumbers are often sold as “Kirby” or “Liberty” cucumbers.

You’ll need cucumbers, 1 Quart Pickle Jars, Tongs, funnel and the ingredients below.

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts Water
  • 1 quart White Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Pickling Salt (*makes enough liquid for six 1 quart jars)
  • Cucumbers
  • 4-6 Cloves of Garlic Chopped (about 2 cloves per jar)
  • 1 Onion Chopped (a small handful per jar)
  • Fresh Dill
  • Peppercorns (4 per jar)
  • Ball Pickle Crisp (1/8 tsp per jar)
  • Grapevine Leaf – one per jar (optional – it’s supposed to make the pickles crisp.)

*Note: Old-fashioned pickle recipes often call for Alum. Alum is a salt compound with varied uses from shrinking tissues, acting as a preservative, and helping to firm and crisp pickles. Alum contains aluminum which is linked to toxic effects if it is consumed in a large amount over time. However, most people do not eat large amounts of pickles. An updated alternative to Alum for making pickles crisp is Calcium Chloride. Ball has a product called Pickle Crisp, made with Calcium Chloride, that is supposed to work great.

If you want to omit this part of the recipe, I have read where soaking cucumbers in ice water for four to five hours before pickling is another way of making pickles crisp.

 Amy recommends:

Ball Pickle Canning Jars  Pickle Crisp for making Homemade pickles extra crispy!

View on Amazon: 

Pickle Canning Jars  •   Stainless Steel Tongs  •  Ball Pickle Crisp

 

Directions for Making Homemade Dill Pickles

Wash the cucumbers before canning by rinsing in water.

Sanitize your jars and lids. Clean jars with hot water and soap. My aunt placed her lids in boiling water and took them out gently with tongs.

Combine water, vinegar and salt to a pan and heat to nearly boiling. This makes the brine. The recipe says “Heat mixture just hot enough to put finger in.”

Add garlic, onions, Alum or Pickle Crisp (which ever one you prefer), fresh dill, 4 peppercorns and one grapevine leaf (optional) into a jar.

 Old Fashioned Refrigerator Dill Pickles Family Recipe by Amy Locurto at  LivingLocurto.com

The recipe has no exact measurements for these items. You can see the amount my Aunt used in the jars here.

 Old Fashioned Refrigerator Dill Pickles Family Recipe by Amy Locurto at  LivingLocurto.com

Pack cucumbers into the jars.

 Old Fashioned Refrigerator Dill Pickles Family Recipe by Amy Locurto at  LivingLocurto.com

Use a funnel to pour the liquid mixture over the cucumbers in the jar.

 Old Fashioned Refrigerator Dill Pickles Family Recipe by Amy Locurto at  LivingLocurto.com

Seal the lids on the jars and let them cool.

After the jars have cooled, place in the refrigerator for about 2 months to pickle before eating.

 Old Fashioned Refrigerator Dill Pickles Family Recipe by Amy Locurto at  LivingLocurto.com

If you make these pickles, let me know!

 

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Old Fashion Refrigerator Dill Pickles
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 2 quarts Water
  • 1 quart White Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Pickling Salt (*makes enough liquid for six 1 quart jars)
  • Cucumbers
  • 4-6 Cloves of Garlic Chopped (about 2 cloves per jar)
  • 1 Onion Chopped (a small handful per jar)
  • Fresh Dill
  • Peppercorns (4 per jar)
  • Ball Pickle Crisp (1/8 tsp per jar)
  • Grapevine Leaf - one per jar (optional - it's supposed to make the pickles crisp.)
Instructions
  1. Wash the cucumbers before canning by rinsing in water.
  2. Sanitize your jars and lids. Clean jars with hot water and soap. Place lids in boiling water and remove gently with tongs.
  3. Combine water, vinegar and salt to a pan and heat to nearly boiling. This makes the brine. The recipe says "Heat mixture just hot enough to put finger in."
  4. Add garlic, onions, Pickle Crisp, fresh dill, 4 peppercorns and one grapevine leaf (optional) into a jar.
  5. Pack cucumbers into the jars.
  6. Use a funnel to pour the liquid mixture over the cucumbers in the jar.
  7. Seal the lids on the jars and let them cool.
  8. After the jars have cooled, place in the refrigerator for about 2 months to pickle before eating.

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.

About Amy Locurto

Amy is a creative mom of two and graphic designer. When she's not working on Living Locurto, she's busy designing Printable Party Supplies and working on I Heart Faces, her photography blog. Find Amy on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Comments

  1. Brett Berkhammer says:

    Has anybody ever tried processing the jars so that they seal?

  2. Have to try this sometime…..

  3. Kristina Bizzarri says:

    My lids sealed – popped – so do I need to still keep them in the fridge before we open them?

    • David Reece says:

      Yes..this method requires they stay in the fridge all the time. It is not safe to store these without the proper canning process. Whether they seal or not, they are safe to eat as long as they have spent the entire time in your fridge.

  4. Can you use this recipe and make slices or spears?

  5. Thanks for the recipe, Amy. Can't wait to try it!

  6. Hi! I made these today only added a habanero pepper to each jar because we like our pickles spicy. I have used a recipe almost exact to this for several years in a row, now, and NEVER wait 2 months to open them. In fact they are delicious the very next day! Of course, they get better with age, but I was told not to store refrigerator pickles for more than 2 weeks? Do you know anything about that? We usually eat ours within 2 weeks of being made for safety. Keeping them for 2 months before opening is a new one to me!

    • Hi Lauri- This recipe has been in our family for decades. I’m just going by what I was told to do… never tried them before 2 months. That would be great if I didn’t have to wait:-) Recipes I have seen online when researching this says 2 months. So far so good for our family when it comes to safety.

  7. Hi Amy, I made these pickles in February and just opened them yesterday! They are great! I think I might have put just a little too much salt in mine though. Thanks for sharing your Aunt's recipe!

    Melissa Whitcher

  8. I just made these pickles, the first ever. So glad I found your recipe…thanks. I used 2 grape leaves, no alum or chloride and I will let you know if they stay crisp.

  9. Just made these today! Can’t wait to try them in two months. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  10. Hi Amy,
    This recipe was easy to follow…I made my pickles two months ago and just cracked open the first jar! They are salty, crunchy and delicious! Thanks for sharing this family recipe.
    Rita

  11. Julie Weaver says:

    I am trying a couple different reciepes for the refrigerator….hoping I can wait the desired time period to try them……we have been looking for a great pickle for “bloody mary’s”……also tried one for the water bath….will let you know how they all turn out.

  12. Thanks for this recipe. In this heat, it was a relief not having to boil a hot water bath. The jars looked beautiful and can’t wait to taste in 2 months. I also had some banana peppers that I used the brine on to test on.

  13. This pickle recipe is easy and fun to make! My jars are in the refrigerator and marked with the date in September that they will be ready to try……….but I couldn’t wait! It’s been only 3 weeks, but I had to try one.
    They are FABULOUS!!! This is the best recipe for refrigerator dills I’ve tried. Thanks!

    • Debbie- that’s great to hear. I have to wait until mid-end of Sept. to try mine! I can’t wait. I hope they turn out as good as my aunt’s.

  14. You didn’t mention how many 1 quart jars this amount of brine will fill.
    Can’t wait to try them !

  15. Just made some can’t wait to taste them in September!!

  16. Did u use white vinegar or cider vinegar? Can’t wait to try.

  17. My daughter and I just made these. We are so excited, but it is going to be so hard to wait for two months. We just wrote on the calendar that we can open them on Sept. 12. Yummy!!! It was a very special afternoon making them with my 9 year old daughter. Thank you!!!!!

  18. yummy. I just made some of these about a week ago. Which now looking at this picture, I should go get some.

  19. What if you can’t wait 2 months? ;)

  20. Lisa Mac says:

    So Amy, by sealing on the lids, you just mean putting the clean lids and rings on top of jars? We do not have to seal them by hot water bath? I just want to make sure I understood you. Thank you for sharing your family’s recipe. Blessings.

    • Aunt Tricia says:

      Lisa, I’m Amy’s Aunt Tricia. The jars don’t have to go through a hot water bath if they will be stored in the refrigerator. Just be sure the brine is hot when you pour it over the cucumbers.

  21. Michelle P. says:

    This is perfect, as I am picking about a dozen cucumbers/day and they are the pickling cucumbers so they are nice and small and perfect for this.

  22. So they are good in the fridge for two months or we should wait two months before eating them? How long are they good for?

    • You leave them in the refrigerator for 2 months so they can pickle, then you can eat them.

    • Aunt Tricia says:

      Rebecca, I’m Amy’s Aunt Tricia. Amy’s correct about letting them pickle for a couple of months before eating them. We have kept the jars in the refrigerator for a year, and they still taste good and keep their crunch.

  23. Looks like a great recipe…but can they be hot water processed to make them shelf stable?

    • Sorry, I’m not sure about that. This recipe is for refrigerator pickles. I would think the ingredients would work if you prefer to do shelf canning.

    • Aunt Tricia says:

      Scott, I’m Amy’s Aunt Tricia. Yes, this recipe can be hot water processed. We used to do that for shelf stability, but we think the pickles are crisper if we don’t put them through the hot water bath and keep them in the refrigerator instead.

  24. oh my girls would LOVE homemade dills!!…….my grandma used to make the BEST bread and butter/ sweet pickles, but sadly, I never got her recipe. Could you see if you aunt has one?

    beautiful pictures too Amy!!

    • Yes! I’ll check with her. I’m sure she has something. I only like sweet pickles if they are homemade and really crunchy. Those are the best!

  25. Aunt Tricia says:

    This is great! Thanks!

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