Sweet & Spicy Refrigerator Pickles
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Sweet & Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

What are Sweet & Spicy Refrigerator Pickles?

So, here is the story of sweet and spicy refrigerator pickles: Growing up, my Grandma made pickles fresh from her garden every Summer. She would can them and have them in her cellar all year. Every time my family would visit, she would let me pick out a jar to take home. She made both dill and Bread & Butter varieties. I truly believe that if hobbies can be genetic, I got mine from her. {This post may contain affiliate links, to learn more read our disclosure.}

We both LOVE(d) cooking and decorative needlework. It was a special bond as no one else in my family, on either side, every really had any interest in either activity. I did the needlework as a child, but wasn’t really “allowed” to cook until I was much older, so that was a love I found on my own.

While Grandma was an amazing cook. She was also a cook-by-memory style of cook. Which, unfortunately, led to most of her recipes passing with her. In fact, for all the hundreds of meals she must have made for me, I have but 1 recipe that she agreed to write-out for me. I don’t think there was any ill intention, she was just a care-taker to the core and always felt, “no, please, let me make it for you…”

Alas, I have neither of those pickle recipes to share with you. So, we are going to go in a slightly different direction. While I share her love of cooking, canning, isn’t really my thing. I both lack the cellar, and, I am terrible at keeping a food inventory. I have a chest freezer in the basement that, far too often yields an “oh, I have this response.” So, we are making refrigerator pickles instead. That means, they will be quick-brined, ready to eat in 2 hours, but at there best at 24 hours or more. They will keep for up to two weeks so long as they stay submerged in the brine. I really prefer this method as, I think they taste better fresh, rather than canned, and it eliminates the need to store, keep track of, and prevent my kids from breaking for months on end.

Helpful tips for making refrigerator pickles

Wide mouth mason jars make making the pickles much easier. I use these all the time, not just for pickles, but with meal-prep soups, etc as it is SO much less likely that you end up ladle-ing onto the counter. Also, if you get into using jars a lot for storage, meal-prep, etc you will soon discover that the metal lids that come with them will start to rust. Sure you can buy replacements, but I have become obsessed with these reusable colorful lids. They wash great and are perfect if your house is at all like mine and going from pickles, to soups to salad jars for lunches, to leftover pasta to take on the go, etc.

How to use Sweet & Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

Umm, eat them directly out of the jar? But seriously, some other great ways to use these homemade pickles include:

  • Add them to sandwiches and wraps. The flavor of homemade pickles simply cannot be matched by the jarred variety and these add the perfect flavor burst to summer time sammies and wraps
  • Use them to top burgers and hot dogs.
  • Add to egg or tuna salad for a spicy twist.
  • Add some of the leftover pickle juice (or the pickles themselves) to a Bloody Mary.
  • Use for a surprise gift. Put together a small basket containing a jar of the fresh pickles, some gourmet cheese, crackers, and a sweet treat for a perfectly thoughtful homemade coach or teacher gift.
Sweet & Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

Sweet & Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
brining time 2 hrs
Servings 2 mason jars


  • 16 oz pickling cucumbers
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 shallots
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 1 tsp paprika


  • Thinly slice the cucumbers and shallots. Crush the peppercorns. Finely chop the capers.
  • Place the cucumbers into 2 wide-mouth mason jars.
  • Add all remaining ingredients into a medium pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When boiling, remove from heat. Divide the seasonings between the two jars, do NOT strain.
  • Tightly close the lids and place in the refrigerator. Let sit for at least 2 hours, preferably at least 24 hours, before serving.

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