This simple recipe uses vinegar to create that tangy pickled flavor. Cucumbers have the starring role, but other vegetables can easily be swapped in for plenty of variety. Our suggestion? Start with this easy pickle recipe and then try a wider array of vegetables or even hard fruits. Enjoy on a hot summer day or in a veggie-packed Bloody Mary.

What You’ll Need

  • 2 quart-sized or 4 pint-sized glass jars with lids


  • 8 cups sliced cucumbers
  • 1 cup onion or vegetable of choice. We also suggest green onions, green beans, peppers, carrots, or cauliflower.
  • 3 cups white vinegar (5 percent acetic acid)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 2 tablespoons flavoring per jar. Be creative! A classic mix may include fresh garlic, fresh dill, dried dill seed, black pepper, and red crushed pepper.


  1. Clean and sterilize jars by boiling for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix together vinegar, water, sugar, and salt.
  3. Boil the mixture for 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  4. Wash and prepare vegetables. Remove ends of the cucumbers and discard any blemished areas.
  5. Put flavorings in the bottom of each jar.
  6. Fill jars with vegetables.
  7. Pour vinegar mixture into the jars to within 1/2 inch of rim, making sure that vegetables are submerged in liquid.
  8. Put the lids on and label with the date. Keep refrigerated.
  9. Allow flavor to develop 1 to 2 days before serving and use within 2 weeks.

Note: Although the acidic conditions associated with pickling cucumbers generally keep the food safe, there may be an increased risk of Listeria in refrigerator pickles with low acid. People susceptible to foodborne illness, such as pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems, or those wanting to reduce their risks may want to avoid eating refrigerator pickles.

Special thanks for these instructions which are adapted from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension.

Originally published July 2014. Updated May 2016.