Easy refrigerator pickle recipe: Spicy garlic dill pickles

Whether you’re a spice enthusiast or simply looking to add some zest to your culinary repertoire, these spicy pickles will surely hit the spot. These pickles are the perfect zingy side to sandwiches and make a great addition to charcuterie boards.

Is this spicy garlic pickle recipe safe for canning?

It’s important to clarify that the spicy garlic dill pickles recipe we’re discussing here is intended explicitly for refrigerator pickles. It’s not designed as a safe canning recipe for spicy pickles. When prepared as refrigerator pickles, they have a refrigerated shelf life of approximately two weeks.

What are refrigerator pickles?

water being poured into a mason jar of cucumber spears

Refrigerator pickles, as the name implies, are a type of pickle crafted with vinegar and designed for short-term storage in your refrigerator. Unlike other kinds, these pickles do not undergo fermentation or the rigorous processing necessary for long-term shelf stability. Instead, they offer a fresh and crisp texture, making them a delightful addition to your refrigerator’s culinary repertoire.

Benefits of refrigerator pickles

Refrigerator pickles are a hassle-free and speedy alternative to fermented or canned pickles. They don’t involve complex processes or specialized equipment, allowing you to enjoy homemade pickles in less time. 

What makes them truly unique is their adaptability. You can easily adjust the recipe to suit your preferences, whether spiciness levels, seasonings, or other ingredients. This flexibility sets them apart from fermented and canned pickles, where strict adherence to instructions and ingredient quantities is essential. 

In essence, refrigerator pickles provide a convenient and customizable way to relish homemade pickles without the usual time and recipe constraints.

Do I have to use a mason jar?

When making refrigerator pickles, you have flexibility when selecting your containers. Unlike canning, which demands specific jars and lids, refrigerator pickles allow you to work with what you have on hand. Any glass jar will suffice for this purpose, making it a convenient option for pickle enthusiasts. 

In fact, you can even repurpose and clean out jars from other products like store-bought pickles or spaghetti sauce, giving them a second life in your pickle-making endeavors. This adaptability simplifies the process and ensures that you can easily start making your own delicious refrigerator pickles without needing specialized jars.

How to make this recipe spicier

To infuse your refrigerator pickles with an extra kick of spiciness, here’s how you can elevate the heat factor:

1. Hotter chili flakes: One straightforward method is to increase the chili flakes you incorporate into the recipe. Adding more chili flakes allows you to dial up the spiciness level to your desired taste.

2. Fresh chilis: Introducing fresh chili peppers into the mix is another option. Slice up jalapeƱos, serranos, or habaneros and blend them with your cucumbers during pickling. This infusion of fresh chili peppers not only amps the heat but also adds a vibrant, zesty flavor to your pickles.

For a milder option: There’s no need to worry if the spiciness is too intense. You can easily tailor the recipe to your preference by reducing the amount of chili flakes or omitting them entirely. You can strike the perfect heat balance to suit your taste buds. Whether you prefer a fiery kick or a milder taste, adapting the spiciness of your refrigerator pickles is a simple and customizable process.

Spicy pickles WITHOUT dill

You’re in luck if you want to craft spicy refrigerator pickles but prefer to skip the dill. Since this recipe isn’t intended for canning, you can customize the flavor profile to your liking, including omitting the dill entirely.

Additionally, if you’re keen on infusing your pickles with different flavors, you can substitute the dill with other spices that pique your interest. Consider options like oregano or thyme to add a unique twist to your spicy pickles. This adaptability is one of the advantages of making refrigerator pickles, as it allows you to experiment with various seasonings and create pickles that cater to your specific taste preferences. So, whether you’re going for a dill-free option or exploring different spice combinations, the choice is yours to make your spicy pickles uniquely yours.

ingredients for spicy dill pickle recipe

Secret to crispy pickles

One of the distinct advantages of refrigerator pickles is their inherent crispiness, surpassing that of their canned or fermented counterparts. Unlike many canning recipes that incorporate calcium chloride or similar crisping agents, this recipe achieves crisp perfection without such additives.

Top Tips for the Freshest Pickles

To ensure your pickles maintain their ultimate crispness, here are a few secret tips to keep in mind:

  1. Opt for freshness: The fresher your cucumbers, the better the result. If you have the opportunity, plucking them straight from the garden is ideal.
  2. Choose small cucumbers: Opt for small pickling cucumbers rather than their larger counterparts. They’re naturally suited for achieving that coveted crunch.
  3. Remove the blossom end: Be sure to remove the blossom end at the base of the cucumber. This step helps maintain the pickle’s crisp texture.
  4. Harness the power of tannins: Adding tannins to your pickles is a secret weapon for preserving their crispness. This recipe utilizes bay leaves for this purpose. Alternatively, you can place a grape leaf at the bottom of your jar. These tannin sources work to prevent the breakdown of the cucumber’s cell walls, ensuring a satisfyingly crisp bite with every pickle you enjoy.

This spicy refrigerator pickles recipe combines crisp mini cucumbers with a blend of dried dill, red pepper flakes, and garlic for a zesty kick. With a simple assembly and an hour of refrigeration, you can enjoy these tangy and crunchy pickles as a flavorful addition to your favorite dishes or a satisfying snack.

a small mason jar of spicy pickles with garlic cloves scattered around

Spicy garlic dill pickles recipe

This spicy refrigerator pickles recipe combines crisp mini cucumbers with a blend of dried dill, red pepper flakes, and garlic for a zesty kick. With a simple assembly and an hour of refrigeration, you can enjoy these tangy and crunchy pickles as a flavorful addition to your favorite dishes or a satisfying snack.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Refrigeration Time 1 hour
Course Snack
Servings 16 servings


  • 4-6 mini cucumbers
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorn medley
  • 3 garlic cloves or more!
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup water


  • Begin by slicing the mini cucumbers into quarters, creating spear-like pieces. Similarly, quarter the garlic cloves and set them aside.
  • Add the dried dill, red pepper flakes, coarse salt, bay leaves, and peppercorn medley to the bottom of a mason jar.
  • Layer the quartered garlic pieces on top of the spice mixture.
  • Carefully stand the cucumber spears upright in the jar. Ensure not to pack them too tightly to allow the spices to evenly infuse each pickle.
  • Pour the white vinegar into the jar, ensuring it covers the cucumbers.
  • To complete the pickling solution, fill the remaining space in the jar with water.
  • Securely screw the lid onto the jar and shake it to evenly distribute the spices.
  • Refrigerate the jar for at least an hour (or ideally overnight) to allow the flavors to meld and develop.

Refrigerator pickles offer a straightforward and flexible way of making pickles tailored to your preferences. So, the next time you’re in the mood for that satisfying blend of spice and garlic, remember this recipe and savor the simple joy of spicy homemade pickles. 

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