These basic pickles are a simple mixture of sugar, vinegar, water, salt, cucumbers, shallots, and Thai chiles. Make the brine, then layer everything in a 1-quart glass jar and let it hang out in the fridge for a day. If you like extra heat, add all four chiles; if you’re not a chilehead, stick to just one. Serve the pickles with chicken satay and peanut sauce or on a sandwich or burger.

Game plan: These pickles can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  • Yield: 1 quart
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 35 mins, plus at least 24 hours brining time

Ingredients (7)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound cucumbers (about 2 medium), sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced shallot (from about 1 medium)
  • 2 to 4 Thai chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced


  1. Combine the sugar, vinegar, water, and salt in a small saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar and salt have dissolved, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, place half of the cucumbers in a 1-quart glass jar. Top with half of the shallots and half of the chiles. Repeat with the remaining cucumbers, shallots, and chiles.
  3. When the brine has cooled, pour it into the jar and seal with a tightfitting lid. Shake or rotate the jar to evenly distribute the brine. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving, shaking or rotating the jar occasionally while the mixture’s brining. The pickles can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.