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In-a-Snap Easy Cucumber Pickles

I started making pickles last night after I put the pasta water on to boil and had them ready to serve with dinner just fifteen minutes later! They were even better cold for lunch today, so I added a little optional chilling time to the preparation. Even though these refrigerator pickles are so easy to make that you barely need a recipe, they taste like they came from a deli. You'll be proud to take them to picnics or family reunions and thrilled by how they brighten weeknight meals.

easy cucumber pickles

In-a-Snap Easy Cucumber Pickles

Active time: 5 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes. 8 servings. Gluten free, oil free, vegan.


  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 pound firm, slender cucumbers (454 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle


  1. Slice garlic crossways and lengthwise into strips and put into a glass or ceramic bowl, perferably one with a tight lid or cover.
  2. Cut a slice off both ends of each cucumber, taking a little bite of each as you go. Peel cucumbers as needed if the skin is bitter. (Sometimes the skin is only bitter on one end.)
  3. Slice cucumbers crossways into very thin slices, about 1/8th-inch across. Put slices in a colander that's resting on a plate or in a clean sink.
  4. To coax liquid out of cucumber slices, sprinkle them with about half the salt, toss, and sprinkle with remaining salt. Let drain for ten minutes, using your clean hands to toss and gently squeeze the cucumber slices a few times, separating any slices that stick together.
  5. Add vinegar and spices to garlic. When cucumber has finished draining, give it a final gentle squeeze then rinse under running water to remove most of the salt. Add to vinegar mixture and toss to coat. Chill for ten minutes if you have time. Refrigerate for up to four days.

Tips and Notes

  • These are refrigerator pickles, not canned pickles that rely on acid and heat to keep them safe for long-term, unrefrigerated storage. That means you can experiment with adding extra spices and ingredients. I'm going to try adding turmeric, fresh fennel, and slices of jalapeño (not all at the same time!). I'll also try this recipe with summer squash and jicama. For canning recipes, please rely on those tested by the USDA or extension agents. Valerie Taylor has a good post on Killer Canning that tells you why.
  • You'll naturally eat less when you include something acidic in your meals. The acidity lowers the glycemic index of the entire meal, slowing your digestion and making you feel full longer. Eating pickles regularly can help keep your waistline and your budget in shape. Source: Vinegar supplementation lowers glucose and insulin responses and increases satiety after a bread meal in healthy subjects, by Ostman E, Granfeldt Y, Persson L, and Björck I. in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005 Sep;59(9):983-8. (Note: the "bread meal" in the study is the standard meal used to test how food affects blood-sugar levels and more.)

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