Guest Post: Refrigerator Pickles

April 17, 2012

Hi Readers!

When this surgery knocked me on my arse and I went trolling begging for guest posts, Alexandra steered me to a very kind, very prolific food blogger named Ann McElfresh. The Empress never steers me wrong, so I contacted Ann, and she generously offered to help my pathetic booty out.

I’m especially excited about this recipe for Refrigerator Pickles, because I love pickles. In all forms. I can’t wait to make a big jar of these and horrify my pickle-loathing husband when he finds them on the refrigerator shelf. Yes, I am evil, but I just cannot help myself!

Anyways, come visit Ann at her blog, Cooking Healthy for Me and please give her a warm welcome at my house!


Hi there!  I’m Ann – the foodie chick over at Cooking Healthy For Me!  I was so touched and flattered that Dana asked me to help out while she recovers from surgery…

When someone is sick –  most folks make something like chicken soup.  Me?  I made pickles.

I also posed this question to my readers at Cooking Healthy For Me:  What do canning, instant gratification and magicians have in common?  Read on, realizing that I’m using what I call “chick logic”…

So, yesterday I put a big ol’ check mark on my culinary bucket list when I made strawberry jam. Seriously, I want to can the world!   I want to make jams and jellies out of every fruit that comes in season.  I want veggies in glass jars, in neat rows in my pantry….

And I also want immediate results with minimum effort!  Once you stop laughing, I’ll tell you that truly, I’m not joking.

So…how can I do this?

Here’s the part where you suspend all logic..…


Yup, I found the magic in pickles!  They’re called refrigerator pickles.  Fresh tasting, minimal effort and they are so yummy that my honey bunny now thinks I am the smartest, funniest, cutest girl in the kitchen (never mind that I’m also the ONLY girl in the kitchen!)

On a serious note – if there is one – I was never a fan of bread and butter pickles but these are amazing!  Tasty, pretty and done in about 20 minutes.  The hardest part was waiting 24 hours to eat them and then trying not to eat them like potato chips!

Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

Very slightly adapted from

Print Recipe

Ingredients (makes appx. 2 quarts)

8 small cucumbers, washed and sliced about 1/4″ thick

1 medium onion, peeled and sliced VERY thin

3 cups sugar

3 cups white vinegar

1/3 cup salt (if you use canning salt, the liquid will be clear, I didn’t…)

1 Tablespoon mustard seed

1 scant Tablespoon celery seed

1 scant Tablespoon turmeric


Pack clean quart jars with alternating layers of cucumbers and onions.  Pack tightly.

Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed and turmeric in a sauce pan.

Heat the vinegar mixture until the sugar is melted and everything is combined.

Divide mixture into the quart jars and cap.  Refrigerate immediately.

After 24 hours, they’ll be ready!

I gotta tell you – and I’m not being paid to say so – I got a new mandolin from OXO.  It’s PERFECT for slicing the onions!

Don’t forget – these are NOT shelf stable.  They must be refrigerated.  But they sure are tasty, and certainly better for you than potato chips!


Thank you, Ann, for posting today! You’re wonderful.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly April 17, 2012 at 8:09 am

I’ll be using this recipe when our cucumbers start coming in!


Ann April 17, 2012 at 8:46 am

Hi Dana! Thanks SO much for letting me come and snack on pickles with you! The Empress is wonderful isn’t she? I hope you start to feel better soon!


TKW April 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm


That Empress farts out roses, I’m convinced. Yeah, she’s that good. glad to have connected with you via her! Your blog is great!


Jenna April 17, 2012 at 8:50 am

These look great–and actually doable! (I’m usually waaaay intimidated by canning recipes)


TKW April 17, 2012 at 6:28 pm


Me, too! I’m always convinced I’ll give someone salmonella or e-coli or some dreaded thing. I’m even afraid to make jam!


Arnebya April 17, 2012 at 9:17 am

I literally just got excited. At pickles.


TKW April 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm


And there is something wrong with that? :)


BigLittleWolf April 17, 2012 at 9:24 am

Now you have me considering preserving pickles. Can’t say I’ve ever thought of that before.



Trish April 17, 2012 at 10:02 am

These remind me of something my Granny used to make! I can’t wait to try these out. I’m all for long term canning — but rarely bother due to the amount of time involved in putting up a batach. These seem perfectly doable.


Jane April 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm

A favorite of my Grandmother’s, too, Trish! This recipe reminds me of her very own recipe. My mouth was watering just reading this post. Thanks, Ann, for stirring up the memories AND for helping out one of my favorite bloggers! (Get well soon, TKW! xoxo)


Alexandra April 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm

These are SO good. My college boyfriend’s mother used to make them, and I’d eat them out of stock when I’d visit!!

So glad you and Dana met. You two are such kind, nice, down to earth FOOD LOVIN’ women.



Ann April 18, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Thank YOU for the introduction! I had SO much fun making these and meeting Dana!


Emily @ Life on Food April 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I love Ann’s blog. These pickles look like a food project and I love that they are ready to eat so quickly.


Velva April 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm

These refrigerator pickles rock. I have some pickling cucumbers on the garden vines, almost ready to meet the canning jars. This recipe will be perfect for a few jars for the refrigerator shelf.



Liz April 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Dana, I hope you’re feeling stronger every day! So fun to see my friend, Ann, guest posting for you :)

Ann, I just love refrigerator pickles…my mom used to make them. I’d love to give your delicious recipe a shot!


TKW April 17, 2012 at 6:33 pm


Thank you so much for sharing your recipes and yourself with us today. xoxo


Heather April 17, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Oh how I want to… I just don’t know if I can do the bread and butter thing… I’m a strong dill girl all the way. But maybe, just maybe… We’ll see…
Thanks Ann for sharing and for your humor :)


Alyssa April 18, 2012 at 4:02 am

My husband and daughter used to go through JARS of refrigerator pickles every week. However, we can’t get them here (some issue with the shipping.) I hadn’t thought to make my own. Now I must!!!! Great recipe and guest post, Ann!


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes April 18, 2012 at 4:17 am

Mind if I side with your husband and profess my absolute HATRED for pickles. Sorry hon.


Barbara April 18, 2012 at 4:35 am

That is an amazing recipe! I’ve never canned pickles, but this makes it simple. We do something similar with freezer jams.


Eva April 18, 2012 at 6:26 am

What a lovely, fresh and tasty looking recipe. I think I might have to make these for a tapas dinner party we’re going to this weekend. Thanks, Ann.


Kim Bee April 18, 2012 at 7:50 am

Ann this recipe will be passed off to boytoy’s mom. The dude loves pickles. Great post my friend.

Dana- Hope you feel better soon.


Javelin Warrior April 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Dana, I’m so happy to see Ann guest posting here and it’s a pleasure to have discovered your blog. I’m new to your site, but now happily subscribed…

These pickles sound amazing, Ann – and what you’re telling me, is that I will need to buy canning jars, right? ;)


idiosyncratic eye April 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Do you have to include the onions for any scientific purpose? Just that I’m intolerant. Just of onions, not of most other things! ;)


Ann April 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I’m a firm believer that if you see something you don’t like in a recipe….leave it out! The onions lose that sharp bite when they’re pickled, but if you don’t like them – by all means skip that part!


TKW April 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm


Maybe try a few shallots instead of the onion? They are milder than onions and lend a lovely, almost floral taste to the mix? Otherwise, do what Ann says!


Ann April 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Oooh, shallots! YUM! I love that idea!


Katybeth April 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I was happily reading along thinking I could make this but wondering if I would and then you mention the mandolin from OXO which means if I made I could buy a new gadget to make it with…and since I think i have most of the ingredients…well, it only makes since to buy mandolin and give it a try–right? And I could say I canned for the first time in my entire of life–or is this jarring? Never mind…THANK YOU!


Ann April 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Hi Katybeth! I absolutely loved the way the mandolin sliced the onions so thin and quickly! It’s a great kitchen tool. I also have to say – I got a chuckle. It’s technically called canning – but I STILL call it jarring! We might be twins!


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