Food & Recipes

Quick Pickles 101: How to Make Refrigerator Pickles

by Rachael Ray Show Staff 12:08 PM, July 5, 2018

Aired July 5, 2018

No time to waste? No problem!

Thanks to quick pickles (a.k.a. refrigerator pickles), you can make a crunchy snack or garnish in a snap. No pun intended!

WHAT IS A QUICK PICKLE (a.k.a. a refrigerator pickle)?

Traditional pickles made from cucumbers and pickling brine can take up to week to ferment, but you can “quick pickle” pretty much anything — including onions, carrots, celery, cauliflower, radishes, chili peppers and eggs.

To make refrigerator pickles, you basically just marinate whatever you’re “pickling” in a heated combination of sugar and salt that's dissolved in an acid. (The acid can be white vinegar, cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar, to name a few.)

Then, as Rach says while making her Pickled Red Onions in the video above, "Let [the mixture] come to room temperature and chill until you're ready to serve."

It's that easy — and here are 10 recipes to get your started!

WHAT CAN YOU QUICK PICKLE?

CUCUMBERS


Quick Pickled Cucumber Salad

Classic cucumbers with mustard seed, fresh dill and jalapeno make this the ultimate zesty summer veggie side. Throw it together, then "let it hang out while your meat grills," says Rach. 

GET THE RECIPE: Quick Pickled Cucumber Salad

Sweet-n-Spicy Pickle Spears

Why choose between sweet and spicy when snack time rolls around? This pickle has a kick from pungent Fresno chile peppers and just the right dose of sugar to balance the heat.

GET THE RECIPE: Sweet-n-Spicy Pickle Spears

KIMCHI


Quick Kimchi Slaw

Kimchi is a traditional Korean condiment made from crunchy Napa cabbage and pungent Korean chili powder. It usually takes weeks to ferment, but you can get a similar earthy-tangy taste by using fermented chili sauce -- sriracha -- and store-bought pickled ginger as a shortcut (both easy to find in most grocery stores).

GET THE RECIPE: Quick Kimchi Slaw

RADISHES


Cucumber & Radish Pickled Salad

If you're looking for a super-basic pickled salad, bookmark this one. Just add thinly sliced red onion to the cucumber and radish, and give it a quick dip in white wine vinegar or cider vinegar spiked with sugar and salt.

GET THE RECIPE: Cucumber & Radish Pickled Salad

ONIONS


Pickled Onions, Peppers and Cucumbers

This is tangy, spicy combo is the perfect burger topping if we've ever seen one.

GET THE RECIPE: Pickled Onions, Peppers and Cucumbers

Pickled Red Onions

Just three ingredients (plus the onions) and you have a quick, bright topping that adds a tasty zing to tacos, sandwiches and more.

GET THE RECIPE: Pickled Red Onions

CHILI PEPPERS


Michael Symon's Pickled Chilies

These chilies pack a punch! A whopping two pounds of peppers go into this *hot* side, which pairs perfectly with Michael Symon's Grilled Hanger Steak.

GET THE RECIPE: Michael Symon's Pickled Chilies

CAULIFLOWER



Hot Pickled Vegetables

This recipe is a twist on giardiniera, an Italian classic. It’s the ideal marriage of pickled cauliflower, carrots, olives, red onion and hot cherry peppers.

GET THE RECIPE: Hot Pickled Vegetables

EGGS


Pickled Eggs

Shortcut alert: these eggs get their striking purple hue — and tangy flavor — from a jar of pre-sliced, pickled beets.

GET THE RECIPE: Pickled Eggs

CARROTS



Pickled Carrot and Celery Sticks

Carrots and celery sticks are common side for chicken wings — but pickled? It’s a flavor combo you won’t want to miss. (Plus, the Asian-inspired pickling brine has a kick from fresh ginger root!)

GET THE RECIPE: Pickled Carrot and Celery Sticks