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Quick pickled cucumbers aren’t just for burgers! These tangy snacks are easy to make at home with just a few ingredients.
For some people, burgers and sandwiches just aren’t complete without slices of cucumber pickles.
For others, they just love to snack on pickles, fishing them out of a jar with a fork (or their hands) as though reaching for a prize.
Tangy, sour, sweet, spicy — no matter how you love your pickles, they’re the perfect thing to make at home and impress your guests!
You only need a few ingredients to make cucumbers. In fact, you might even have everything you need already!
Ingredients for homemade pickles
While you can customize your pickles with different spices and flavors, this is a good starting quick pickle recipe if you are new to making them.
You’ll need about 1 large or 2 smaller cucumbers. Cucumbers can vary a lot in size, and the number you need will also depend on how thickly you slice them. You will be able to pack thinner slices more tightly in the jar.
You can use cucumbers you’ve grown in your garden, English cucumbers, or Kirby cucumbers.
You could even try Armenian cucumbers, which are extra-long and technically are muskmelons, not cucumbers.
All pickles need vinegar. For produce to properly pickle, you need to use at least 50% vinegar in your brine.
Lower levels of vinegar will result in a much less tangy pickle. Also, it’s important to note that if you choose to process your pickles in water bath canners, it must be 50% or higher vinegar to be considered safe.
I used rice vinegar for this batch. You can also use cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or distilled white vinegar. Choose your favorite!
Salt is a must for pickles. I use pickling salt, which is a very fine salt that dissolves quickly. If you don’t want to buy pickling salt (it comes in large boxes), you can use fine sea salt instead.
I add a small amount of sugar, but you can skip this if you prefer. If you use it, make sure it is granulated white sugar.
Peppercorns are a must for pickles in my book; you only need a few.
Mustard seeds are another must to help give a sharp flavor to the pickles. Yellow mustard seed is the most common.
Bay leaf might be a surprising ingredient, but it’s actually an important one. Bay leaves contain tannins, which help keep pickles crunchy as they sit in the brine.
This recipe is just for 1 jar of pickles, so feel free to increase all the quantities if you like. Make sure to keep your vinegar-to-water ratio the same!
How to make pickles
Grab a clean container to put your pickles in. I like to use a 1-quart Mason jar with a reusable lid. You can also use any container that has an airtight lid, such as a Pyrex bowl.
Slice your cucumber into rounds and pack them into the jar or bowl.
In another bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine water, vinegar, sugar, and spices, whisking to dissolve sugar and salt.
Pour over the cucumber slices, making sure they are submerged in the liquid.
If you need more liquid to cover the cucumber slices, add vinegar and water in equal amounts until covered.
Cover the jar or bowl and place in the fridge. They’ll need to sit for 24 hours, at which point you can taste them and then decide if they need more time before eating.
As the pickles rest, they’ll get more, well, pickled, so their tangy flavor will last a long time!
If you’re looking for different spices to add, there’s almost no limit on what you can do with pickles!
Try one or a few of these options:
- Garlic cloves
- Crushed red chile pepper
- Dill seed
- Sliced white onion
- Sliced hot peppers
- Coriander seed
- Cumin seed
- Fennel seed
- Whole cloves
- Cardamom pods
Are quick pickles pantry safe?
In short, no. Quick pickles, aka refrigerator pickles, must be stored in the refrigerator.
If you would like to can the pickles for long-term pantry storage, prepare a boiling water bath canner and use single-use lids on your jars.
For pint jars, you’ll need to process the jars for 10 minutes. Quart jars will need 15 minutes.
Remove from canner and let rest undisturbed on the counter for at least 12 hours. After 12 hours, press on the lid to make sure the seal has formed, then label and transfer to your pantry.
If the jars did not seal, store in the refrigerator.
Other pickle recipes to enjoy
Want to try your hand at other pickles? Try these:
Once cucumber season hits, you’ll love having this easy quick pickle recipe in your back pocket!
Quick Pickled Cucumbers
- 1 large cucumber
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pickling salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1 bay leaf
- Slice cucumber into rounds and pack into jar.
- In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine water, vinegar, sugar, and spices. Whisk to dissolve sugar and salt.
- Pour brine over the cucumbers, making sure the liquid level comes above the slices.
- Cover jar and place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before eating.
- Swap pickling salt with fine sea salt.
- Swap rice vinegar with cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar.
- If more liquid is needed, add water and vinegar in equal amounts.