Quick and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

My quick and spicy refrigerator pickle recipe will give you some instant pickle gratification. They’re ready in under an hour ~ and because these easy dill pickles aren’t processed in a hot water bath, they stay extra crunchy!

Photo of Quick and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles in a jar with a small fork tied with twine to the jar.

Everyone should know how to make a quick pickle

On this blog I’ve worked through most of the basic techniques and processes related to cooking and food prep: I’ve turned flour and water into bread with the help of yeast, I’ve harnessed enzymes to make cheese, and bacteria to make yogurt,  I’ve preserved, whipped, frothed, churned, infused, extracted, fermented, dehydrated, foraged, emulsified, and jellied, and now, with these Quick and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles, I’m finally getting around to pickling!

Picture of an open jar of Quick and Spicy Refrigerator pickles on a wood background with pickling spices.

Refrigerator pickles don’t require hot water canning , so they’re a good first pickling project.

All you really need to do is heat the vinegar, water, salt and sugar until the solids dissolve, then add spices, pour the mixture over the cucumbers, seal and refrigerate. You can eat them as soon as they’re chilled!

Overhead photo of pickling spices in a pot of water for Quick and Spicy Refrigerator pickles.

I put together an especially spicy pickling mix, with whole spices and hot peppers.

Since these are quick pickles, I beefed up the flavorings to make up for the short marinating time. Toasting the whole spices first deepens their flavor. I don’t strain them out, because I want them to keep flavoring the pickles as they sit in the jar.

Photo of cucumbers and pickling spices on a wood surface for Quick and Spicy Refrigerator pickles.

Best cucumbers for picking

You want to find small, un-waxed cucumbers. sometimes called pickling, or Kirby cucumbers. They are generally smaller, have thinner skin and fewer seeds. If you want to use ready made pickling spice, use about 3 tablespoons in place of the whole spices.

Overhead photo of cucumbers in a jar for Quick and Spicy Refrigerator pickles.

So many pickling projects to try…

Now that you’ve mastered the basic pickle, it’s time to move on to my unique Gin and Tonic Refrigerator Pickles. And then, of course, you will want to try your hand at making your own Old Fashioned Relish. You can pickle Vidalia onions, fennel, jalapeños, and carrots. After that, you will OWN the summer barbecue season, I guarantee.

Photo of Quick and Spicy Refrigerator pickles in a jar with a small fork tied to the jar with twine, against a wood surface scattered with pickling spices.

Use wide mouth jars to make it easy to get your pickles in and out

I used Kerr wide mouth pint jars for this project. These jars are so useful even after your last pickle is long gone. I use them to make and store salad dressing, (see my Authentic Caesar Dressing in 30 Seconds recipe) and even whip cream (check out my Mason Jar Cherry Crumbles with mason jar whipped cream.)

Notes ~

  • These Quick and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles make a great host gift to bring along to a picnic or barbecue, but be sure to save some for yourself!
  • Now that you’ve made your pickles, here are some fun recipe to use them in, that is, if you don’t gobble them all up first…first up, you need to make my Dill Pickle and Brat Soup, it’s a mind blowing recipe. And I predict you’ll become famous for this Dill Pickle Potato Salad, people are going to mob you for the recipe!
3.83 from 23 votes

Quick and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

Are you ready for some instant pickle gratification?  My Quick and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles are ready in under an hour ~ and because they're not processed in a hot water bath, they stay extra crunchy!
Course condiment
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Yield 2 pints
Author Sue Moran


  • about 8 small pickling cucumbers
  • 2 fresh Serrano chili peppers thinly sliced, seeds and all.
  • fresh tarragon sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves fresh if you can find them
  • 1 cup white or white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbsp rainbow pepper corns
  • 1 tsp allspice berries
  • 1 tsp whole coriander
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick broken in half
  • 6 cardamom pods


  • Cut off the stem end of your cucumbers so that they fit inside your jars, with their tips ending just below the rim. Cut them lengthwise into quarters. Fit the cucumber spears tightly in the jars, with a couple of sprigs of tarragon, the bay leaves, and the Serrano pepper slices fitted in between the spaces.
  • Put the spices in a dry pan and toast over medium heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan often. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan, heat the vinegar, water, sugar and salt, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Heat to a simmer, then turn off the heat and add the spices. Let cool.
  • Pour the liquid into the jars, filling to cover the cucumber spears. Make sure the spices get into the jars as well.
  • Cap the jars and refrigerate. You can eat them right away, but they will be more flavorful the next day. They will keep a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Thanks for pinning these Quick and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles!

*This post was updated from the original that aired in 2013.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    August 13, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    5 stars
    3 years and counting, this is my all time favorite pickle recipe!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2020 at 8:49 am

    5 stars
    I can see by the comments dates I am late to your blog, but really enjoying it!
    We have a lot of Brazilian Pepper Trees in FL. They are considered invasive, a nuisance and the Brazilian pink pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolius) berries are generally not considered to be safe for eating. Not sure if this is the same tree you reference in this article.

    • Reply
      May 13, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Yes, you’re right, it’s the Peruvian pepper tree that we have here.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    I’m about to start making these and I’m wondering if some water needs to be added to dilute the vinegar mixture?? I’ve tried making pickles a few years ago and they were inedible because the vinegar flavor ?? Hope my photos look as good as your!!

    • Reply
      March 15, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      I do a half vinegar, half water mix.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Oh my gosh, these look delicious! Good thing they’re easy to make, because I have a feeling a jar won’t last long around my house. Gotta try these ASAP!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2017 at 6:51 am

    My favorite kind of homemade pickle! I grew up with my mom’s recipe but I welcome all recipes. Love the photos and jar styling!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2017 at 5:22 am

    What a great way to add extra flavors and crunch to a dish. Love the spice s you added and the color. Gorgeous presentation Sue!

  • Reply
    March 12, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Killer food photography on this post, dearie! I can practically taste those spices. Well done!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    March 12, 2017 at 5:33 am

    I can’t wait for fresh, crisp cucumbers! And I can’t wait to make these beautiful pickles. Love all the spices too. Thanks!

  • Reply
    March 12, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Sue, I was wondering if jalapenos could be pickled with this method?

    • Reply
      March 12, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      I would guess so, I think I’ll try that this spring or summer Norma — let me know if you try and we’ll compare notes.

      • Reply
        March 11, 2017 at 8:06 am

        I would think they would be more crunchy if not processed. Look delicious.

  • Reply
    February 28, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Hi Sue, can you add more cukes to the liquid after you have gobbled up the first batch?

    • Reply
      February 28, 2016 at 11:49 am

      I haven’t tried that Chris, but I would think you could!

  • Reply
    September 4, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    These looked so amazing that I had to try them – just added the brine and have a fair amount leftover, but no more cucumbers. Any suggestions? I was thinking of maybe trying it with a sliced red onion …

    • Reply
      September 4, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Red onion sounds great — I love them on everything!

  • Reply
    August 13, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Just so you will know. You need to cut both ends of the cucumber. The blossom end is where the enzymes are that keep ripening the cucumber, making it soft and mushy.

    • Reply
      March 12, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      Great tip! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    May 15, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Never pickled either! How easy is that. Just perfect – must try.

  • Reply
    shannon weber
    May 14, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    pickles! I have seen a few posts here and there about house made pickles, and am really excited to try making them again this year. I made some last year, but they lacked something, and i feel like this may be one of those things which requires some trial and error to get them just right. I love the recipe you have for these; sounds exactly like what i’d like in a pickle, for sure.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    May 14, 2013 at 2:00 am

    How can someone make pickles look like a work of art! Only you Sue! They look delicious too!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Hooray for first homemade pickles ever! I love how spicy these guys are, and the tarragon is really interesting. I have a pickling project marinating in my brain too–maybe I should get on that sooner rather than later!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    I could live on pickles. Quite happily! Congrats on your first venture into picklehood! They look so enticing – I’d want the entire jar! 😀

  • Reply
    La Table De Nana
    May 13, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    I love jars..filled with beauty..your fork and twine makes them even more charming..

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