Sweet and spicy refrigerator pickles are the perfect topping for your next backyard burger. Refrigerator pickles are easy for anyone to make at home - no canning involved. These pickles are perfectly sweetened with a kick of spicy jalapeño!
Do you love bread and butter pickles and spicy foods? If so, you're going to love this recipe for sweet & spicy refrigerator pickles!
They've got just the right amount of sweetness and a kick of heat. Thin sliced cucumbers and jalapeños are soaked in a salty-sweet brine with a pinch of red pepper flakes for good measure.
These pickles make a fantastic topping for your next burger or deli sandwich. Pair it with my recipe for burger sauce - the perfect flavor combination!
What are refrigerator pickles?
Refrigerator pickles are pickles that are made without traditional canning methods. They are not shelf-stable like regular canned goods, so they need to be stored in the refrigerator.
Refrigerator pickles are ready to enjoy two days after preparing, and will last for up to 2 months in the refrigerator.
This is a great way to use up your fresh garden produce. Plus, you're not spending the entire day in the kitchen boiling jars and heating up the house!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Apple cider vinegar - Can be substituted with white vinegar.
- Cucumbers - Pickling cucumbers (shown) or any slicing/salad cucumber can be used in this recipe. You'll need about 1 pound of cucumbers (I used four pickling cucumbers).
- Jalapeños - Can be substituted with other similar peppers you have on hand, like poblano or serrano peppers.
- Sugar - Granulated sugar adds sweetness to the brine. I've only tested this recipe with regular sugar, so I can't say how sugar substitutes may turn out. Sugar not only sweetens the brine, but also helps preserve the pickles.
- Seasoning - Salt, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes add flavor to your brine.
What type of cucumbers can I pickle?
Great news! You can pickle any type of cucumbers you have on hand. The best option may arguably be the pickling cucumber, which is grown for pickling. However, any cucumber will work.
I used pickling cucumbers in the photos shown in the recipe. English cucumbers, or slicing cucumbers, will produce a softer pickle, but taste just as good.
Do I need to sterilize my jars?
The need to sterilize jars in canning is to ensure that your jars are free of bacteria and fungi. When canning, the food is prepared so that it can sit in a sealed jar at room temperature for long periods of time without spoiling. Thus the need to ensure your cans are totally free from bacteria that will spoil your food.
Refrigerator pickles are not shelf stable, and will only keep for 1-2 months in the refrigerator. So, no, you do not have to sterilize your jars before making refrigerator pickles or freezer jams. They will only be stored in the refrigerator for a short time.
However, you are absolutely welcome to sterilize your jars if you want to, as an extra precaution.
What size jars do I need?
This recipe makes two pint (16 ounce) size jars of pickles. Or, you can make four 8 ounce jars, or one quart size jar.
If you have randomly sized jars or old, clean pickle jars in your home, these will work just as well. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the amount of pickles and brine needed to fill oddly sized jars.
Sweet & Spicy Refrigerator Pickles
- 1 pound cucumbers, thin sliced
- 2 jalapeños, thin sliced
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Pack two pint size jars with sliced cucumbers, jalapeños, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add vinegar, sugar, water, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Heat to boiling and cook for 1 minute, or until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool to warm.
- Pour liquid into jars to completely cover cucumbers and jalapeños. Depending on how tightly packed cucumbers are, you may have leftover brine.
- Tightly seal and refrigerate for 2 days to allow cucumbers to pickle. Store pickles in refrigerator for up to 2 months.
- Any cucumbers can be pickled. Pickling cucumbers will produce a firmer pickle, and slicing/English cucumbers will produce a softer pickle.
- Your refrigerator pickles need to be stored in the refrigerator. Since they are not canned, they are not shelf-stable and need to be refrigerated.
- The cucumbers need 2 days to pickle in the brine before enjoying. They are edible immediately, but need at least 2 days of rest for best flavor. Your pickles will get spicier the longer they set!