How To Quick Pickle (almost) Anything!

quick pickled dilly beans

How To Quick Pickle (almost) Anything! Today I’m exploring the vibrant world of quick and easy refrigerator pickles ~ these crisp homemade ‘quickles’ are more complex in flavor than commercial pickles. You don’t need any special equipment or complicated recipes!

quick pickles wake up your food!

Whether you’re grilling up a storm, tailgating with friends, or just looking for something to perk up your everyday meals, this quick pickling technique is going to come in so handy. Pickles add a fun splash of vivid color and tangy bite to your burgers and brats, and they’ll wake up your salads and cheese plates all year long. Pickles also make convenient healthy, low calorie snacks.

quick pickled recipes to try

quick pickled red peppers in a jar

what is a quick pickle?

  • Quick pickling is the process of immersing food in a spiced vinegar and water solution for immediate or short term consumption.
  • Quick pickles are sometimes called refrigerator pickles, because they’re stored in the refrigerator and eaten within weeks, as opposed to canned or fermented pickles which are shelf stable.
  • Quick pickled foods have a brighter, fresher, flavor and crunchier consistency compared to canned pickles because they haven’t been cooked.
  • Whereas you need special equipment and specific recipes for safely canned pickles, you can feel free to experiment to your heart’s content with these freewheeling quickles.

Quick Pickled Jalapeños

quick pickled jalapeños in a large jar

What foods can be quick pickled?

  • A better question might be what can’t be quick pickled!
  • Just about any fruit or vegetable, (even meat, fish, and eggs) can be pickled.
  • The majority of easy refrigerator pickles are done with vegetables like cucumbers, beans, carrots, onions, peppers, etc.
  • Some non traditional choices might be radishes, avocado, garlic, watermelon, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, berries, beets, ginger, jalapeños, whatever your garden or farmers market has on offer.
  • I’ve recently discovered the wonders of pickled fruit. My first experiment was with pickled blackberries, and the flavor is surprisingly wonderful. The sweetness of the fruit balances the bite of the vinegar. Try quick pickling strawberries, or cantaloupe!

Quick Pickled Vidalia Onions

Quick Pickled Vidalia Onions in a jar with spoon

how to make a basic quick pickle

  1. Start with firm, fresh vegetables that aren’t bruised or spoiled in any spots. Peel any tough skins or rinds (like watermelon) but leave softer skins intact. Avoid wax coated supermarket cucumbers because the pickling solution can’t penetrate the waxy surface, look for small pickling, English, or Persian cukes instead.
  2. Cut your vegetables into spears, sticks, slices, or chunks, depending on what type of pickle you want to make. Cutting your fruits or veggies helps the pickling brine penetrate, but you can also pickle foods whole, like whole hot peppers, or baby cucumbers. For a quick relish, finely chop everything.
  3. Fit the veggies tightly into a jar or airtight container of your choice. It’s recommended that you sterilize your container, so glass works best.
  4. Make a solution of vinegar and water (white or many other types of vinegar will work but only vinegar with an acetic acid content of at least 5% is appropriate for pickling. Most supermarket vinegars are fine, but do not use homemade vinegar, which doesn’t have a reliable acidity level..
  5. Use a ratio of at least equal parts vinegar to water, or 2 to 1 vinegar to water, depending on how strong you want the vinegar flavor to be.
  6. Add pickling spices, I usually add a tablespoon or 2 per cup of liquid.
  7. Salt is added, about a 1/2 teaspoon per cup, and a touch of sugar is optional. Note: don’t use iodized salt, which has additives that can interfere with pickling, use sea salt or kosher salt.
  8. Heat the liquid to a boil, then pour over your veggies to cover.
  9. Your pickles can be eaten in as little as an hour, but they’ll definitely improve overnight.

Quick Pickled Rainbow Carrots

pickling brine

what other ingredients can I add to my pickling brine?

Many many other herbs and spices can be added to a pickling liquid. The basic prepackaged pickling spice you can buy in the spice aisle of your supermarket is just a starting point. Loosen up and give yourself permission to play…

  • I recommend keeping a bottle of the pre-made pickling slice blend on hand so that you can be truly spontaneous when the urge to pickle strikes. Look for it right with the other spices in the spice aisle.
  • Another option is to go minimal with your flavors; for instance if you love cardamom, just add a palmful of lightly crushed pods to your brine. If you love black pepper, or coriander, do the same.
  • While most pickling spices are dried, you can certainly use fresh garlic or ginger. Fresh herbs work great.
  • For spicy pickles use dried chili flakes. For a sweeter pickle, add sugar to taste.
  • Add fresh herbs like tarragon, thyme, or dill, like I used in the dilly beans, below.
dilly beans in a jar

can I make an alcoholic pickle?

Alcohol and pickles are a natural pair…

Quick Pickled Fennel

quick pickled fennel in a mason jar

how to make homemade pickling spice

This is flexible, so don’t stress about exact amounts. Store it in an airtight container in the cupboard for up to a year.

  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed.
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice.
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds.
  • 2 whole cloves.
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger.
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled.
  • 1 cinnamon stick (2 inches)

Old Fashioned Spiced Crab Apples

Old Fashioned Spiced Crab Apples 2

how long do refrigerator pickles last?

  • Most food safety experts agree that refrigerator pickles should be consumed within a month, provided you’ve prepared them correctly and kept them refrigerated. They get better and better!
  • Make sure your pickles are immersed in brine. Top off if necessary with more vinegar, not water.
  • Note: If you are in a high-risk group for food-borne illness, treat refrigerator pickles as fresh food and consume them within 3 days.

Quick Pickled Giardiniera

Pouring hot brine into a jar of colorful giardiniera

where do I get my cute jars?

  • Almost all the jars you see pictured here are from a German company called Weck. They make glass canning jars in all sorts of shapes and sizes to accommodate any sort of pickle you can dream up. I use them for storage when I’m not making quick pickles or jams and jellies.
  • I like to purchase their plastic snap on lids for easy storing.
Weck canning jars

I love having these easy pickles in the fridge

  • Pickled vegetables make the best low calorie snacks! They’re so much more satisfying than regular cut veggies, but just as healthy and low in calories.

Quick and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

gin and tonic refrigerator pickles

how to use quick pickled vegetables

Every cuisine on the planet uses pickled foods in some capacity or other.

quick pickled onions
4.04 from 28 votes

How To Make a Basic Quick Pickle

How To Quick Pickle (almost) Anything! Today I'm exploring the vibrant world of quick and easy refrigerator pickles ~ these crisp homemade 'quickles' are more complex in flavor than commercial pickles. You don't need any special equipment or complicated recipes!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Diet Low Calorie
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 1 quart
Author Sue Moran


  • vegetables of your choice such as carrots or green beans, trimmed and cut to fill a quart sized wide mouth mason jar
  • 2 cups white vinegar or other mild vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp pickling spice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


  • Fit the vegetables into a clean (preferably sterile) quart sized mason jar as snugly as possible, leaving at least 1/2 inch at the top. I like to use wide mouthed jars for easy removal.
  • Heat the vinegar, water, salt, and spices to a boil in a saucepan, then pour into the jar to completely immerse the vegetables. Add the spices into the jar along with the liquid.
  • Let sit until cooled to room temperature, then cap and refrigerate.
  • Your pickles will be ready to eat in an hour, and will just keep getting better in the fridge for up to a month.
  • This makes 1 quart.

Cook’s notes

See post for tips and notes about quick pickling.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
e book

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    June 26, 2022 at 6:32 pm

    Hi Sue!
    Sorry, I forgot to ask about the cinnamon stick in the pickling spice blend! You indicate a 2″ stick, but should it be crushed or broken up? I’m just not sure how it gets incorporated into the flavour profile if the blend is being used right away.
    I apologize if I am missing something!
    Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      June 26, 2022 at 7:07 pm

      Hey Alex, thanks for the kind words 🙂 The cinnamon stick can be used whole, it’s meant to impart a subtle flavor. Cinnamon can be overwhelming when it’s ground.

      • Reply
        June 27, 2022 at 9:33 am

        Thank you once again, Sue!
        I appreciate the very prompt confirmation on the cinnamon stick, and YOU are so welcome and deserving of the accolades!

  • Reply
    June 26, 2022 at 5:28 pm

    Sounds so good! Can I use this same recipe to make pickled eggs? Maybe adding beet juice? Husband’s favorite bar food. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      June 26, 2022 at 6:14 pm

      yes, you can, and I need to do that too 🙂 Be sure your brine covers the eggs completely, and eggs would generally take a bit longer than veggies, so plan to let them marinate (in the fridge!) for a week or so before sampling.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2022 at 9:41 am

    5 stars
    I love this post, it’s simple yet concise and very enticing. I’m part of a non profit organization called Slow Food Whidbey Island and we are putting on a simple pickling demo on April 30 and, with your permission, I would like to use your post as a hand out. You would be given full credit and I will also include your Facebook page. This post would convince anyone to try easy pickling and would be a perfect addition to our demo.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      April 14, 2022 at 9:52 am

      Sure Leslie, thanks for asking!

  • Reply
    Irish Chef
    August 11, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Sue – question… Have you ever used commercial brine from jar’d dill pickles , brought it up to boiling and then poured over prepped quick pickle veg or fruit? I always hate to toss it out, especially the Klaussen brine.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      June 26, 2022 at 7:46 am

      I haven’t, but for quick pickles, that should work ok. It might not be as flavorful as a brine you make yourself, but it will work.

  • Reply
    Sue S
    August 11, 2021 at 11:38 am

    We love anything pickled! Is it ok to use saved glass mayonaise jars with their plastic lids or do I have to use the lids & rings that fit the Ball canning jars? Thanks so much can’t wait to get started.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      June 26, 2022 at 7:45 am

      As long as they’re clean, that’s fine. You are not canning these pickles, they’re meant for short term storage in the fridge.

  • Reply
    Mandy Young
    August 7, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    5 stars
    I see a lot of pickles in my future, thank you so much!!!

  • Reply
    Tricia B
    August 26, 2019 at 5:13 am

    We love adding pickled vegetables to salads, sandwiches and especially grain bowls. These all look wonderful! Pinned

  • Reply
    Priscilla Rochin
    August 25, 2019 at 8:08 am

    Hi Sue– I love your recipes and this one caught my eye that I received in my email subscription. I have saved a few jars from store-purchased pickles I have bought. I washed them in my dishwasher. Is washing in dishwasher enough to sterilize the jar or do I need to put them (with the lids) in a large pot of boiling water and for how long?


    • Reply
      August 25, 2019 at 8:28 am

      I think the dishwasher is fine, but I mention the sterilization because that’s the conservative recommendation, if you want to be extra safe. I think since quick pickles are refrigerated and eaten fairly quickly that you don’t need to worry about that. But if you want to, you would boil the jars for 10 minutes.

      • Reply
        Priscilla Rochin
        August 25, 2019 at 11:06 am

        Thank you!
        We’re growing sweet snacking bell peppers and jalapenos so I’m going to try this recipe. ?

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