Easy Sweet and Sour Refrigerator Pickle Recipe

Easy Sweet and Sour Refrigerator Pickle Recipe

In Life:

Habits. Such a small word but such a crucial one. Each day our lives are made up of a collection of habits, some small and some large. Some of our habits serve us well while others ultimately do not. I’m an avid reader of the blog Zen Habits (along with 1 million + others, apparently). I appreciate Leo’s approach to slow and meaningful work in the realm of creating and maintaining habits.

To me, the most useful parts of his advice are only starting one habit at a time and starting that habit slowly and deliberately. That seems like the basis for real, permanent change, don’t you think? I feel like the more slowly you add a new habit, the better off you’ll be. My favorite example of Leo’s is flossing one tooth per night to get started. That’s always seemed so funny but so true. If you can’t make yourself do the whole mouth, at least do one, then two, then so on. Baby steps!

I know some people aren’t really into what Leo teaches. I’m sure there’s a fair amount of the population that hasn’t even given a real solid look at what their actual habits are and how those habits serve them. Introspection can be a scary thing for some. Personally, I couldn’t live without it. But I know I’m different from most folks And I am perfectly okay with that.

What about you? Are you a mindful keeper of habits? Are you fan of Leo & Zen Habits? Please share anything you’d like about these in the comments below.

In Cooking:

One habit that Jeremy would love for me to get into is keeping jars of these pickles around. This pickle recipe is very easy and produces a sweet and sour pickle that’s only barely spicy. It’s a quick prep item, too. Ready to go into the fridge in twenty minutes. But then….. then comes the dreaded 7 day wait. Yep, sorry. While these are EASY, they aren’t QUICK. As in quick to eat. But trust me, once you wait 7 days and bust into them, they will go rather quickly. Amazing how fast they disappeared over the weekend here at our house.

Easy Sweet and Sour Refrigerator Pickle Recipe

I know that there’s probably 1000 or more refrigerator pickle recipes out there but I just never found one that I truly loved. So I set out to create my own. I knew I wanted to use garlic and chili pepper in them. I also know that you should use Kirby cucumbers for pickles. If you’re buying pickles for this, make sure they’re Kirby because the Kirby pickles are unwaxed. Other varieties of cucumbers are waxed before going into the grocery store. These won’t pickle well. If you’re using home grown cucumbers, you can use whatever variety you’d like, although I recommend using small cucumbers for best results (smaller seeds).

Key Ingredients for my Easy Sweet and Sour Refrigerator Pickle Recipe

Below you can see that I’ve quartered a Kirby cucumber. Doesn’t it look like a pickle? A very light, crispy and crunchy one, but this is the pickling cucumber. Along with the red chile and garlic, I also used apple cider vinegar, kosher salt, mustard seeds, celery seeds and some dried dill. It was actually fresh dill that I’d dried myself from our gargantuan “dill-zilla” plant from earlier this year.

Sliced Kirby cucumbers for my Easy Sweet and Sour Refrigerator Pickle Recipe

Finally, something very important for me to point out here. These are refrigerator pickles. Which means they must always be stored in the fridge. These are very minimally heat treated (just the brine is heated), and that doesn’t provide enough heat to sterilize everything and kill enough enzymes that these will be shelf stable. These are meant to be stored in the fridge. Do not store them at room temperature. You will get sick and possibly worse. Okay, just wanted to make sure we got that out of the way. Pickling can be scary if done wrong. Always follow recipes as directed.

Packing Jars for my Easy Sweet and Sour Refrigerator Pickle Recipe

Let’s end on a positive note, shall we? Once you wait the full seven days for these pickles to mature in the refrigerator, you will have some pretty excellent pickles to snack on or to use as a garnish with a big, juicy burger or tasty sandwich. Jeremy loves to cut cheese slices for a snack and then grab 2 or 3 of these as a special treat for his cheese plate. I don’t blame the guy – I almost couldn’t stop eating these once we started!

Easy Sweet and Sour Refrigerator Pickle Recipe

Yield: 4 pints

Easy Sweet and Sour Refrigerator Pickle Recipe

This easy sweet and sour refrigerator pickle recipe contains Kirby cucumbers, garlic, red chiles, dill and mustard seeds. Slightly spicy, totally delicious.



  • 4 cups cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed

To Pack in Jars:

  • 12 small (about 3 inches long) Kirby cucumbers, quartered length-wise
  • 8 whole garlic cloves, split in half length-wise
  • 4 tablespoons dried dill or 1 cup fresh dill
  • 4 red chiles, with slits cut in them


  1. Combine all the ingredients in the "Brine" section in a small sauce pan and gently heat, only until sugar is dissolved.
  2. While that's heating, pack each pint jar with three pickles' worth of spears (12 spears), 4 garlic halves, a chile and a tablespoon of dried dill.
  3. Once the sugar's dissolved in the brine, remove from heat. Use a canning funnel and a ladle to transfer brine to jars. The ladle is important because you'll be able to scoop up mustard and celery seeds for each jar instead of them just all ending up in the last jar. Top off with just a little water if some of the pickles are above the brine.
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature and then secure jar lids. Refrigerate for 7 days. Shake gently every day to ensure that the flavors evenly distribute. These should last in the fridge for up to two months.

Prep:15 min

Cook:5 min

Total:20 min + 7 day wait period

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