Refrigerator Pickles (Lemon Pickles)

How to make pickles

Our cucumber plants have been producing well this year, and we’ve surely been enjoying their wonderful fruit, especially since this means more Cucumber Corn Relish Salad, more Mazidra, and more pickles!

Homemade Pickles

Making refrigerator pickles is uber easy!  It only takes minutes of your time. And no “store-bought, polysorbate 80, sodium benzoate, natural flavors, yellow 5-spiked” pickle can compare to these fantastically fresh homemade pickles!

What’s more, these luscious pickles are even vinegar-free (an ingredient we try to avoid).

Lemon Pickles

How do you make pickles without vinegar?  Use lemon juice.  You’ll love them!

These cool and crisp pickles taste amazin’.  So if you don’t have a garden or belong to a CSA, stop by your local farmer’s market and pick up a peck o’ potential pickles.

Ready, set, crunchalicious!

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How to make pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

Cool and crisp refrigerator lemon pickles.
Prep Time 8 mins
Marinating Time 1 d
Total Time 1 d
Course Condiment
YIELD 1 quart
All recipes on are property of jennifer’s kitchen and cannot be republished without written permission.


  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half
  • 4 small cucumbers - (pickling cucumbers work best)
  • 2 teaspoons dill seed
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons salt - depending on taste
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple juice concentrate - optional
  • 1 1/2 cups water, approximately


  • Place garlic in a quart jar.
  • Wash cucumbers and cut into slices.
  • Place cucumber slices in jar along with dill, salt, and lemon juice (and apple juice if desired).
  • Bring water almost to a boil. Pour very hot water into jars until cucumbers are covered.
  • Screw lid on jar and place in refrigerator. (I always give the jar a gentle shake before placing in frig – just to make sure ingredients are mixed well.)
  • Wait at least 24 hours before serving. The pickles will taste even better after two days of marinating.

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What is the difference between refrigerator pickles and canned pickles?

While the ingredients are almost the same, refrigerator pickles are not processed in the canner or hot water bath, and they aren’t sealed.  They need to be kept in the refrigerator, and they keep for about 7 to 10 days.  Refrigerator pickles tend to be a bit crunchier than canned pickles because they aren’t exposed to the high heat of the canning process.

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  1. 5 stars
    These turned out awesome! I have tried to make pickles without vinegar MANY times and they never panned out. These were great. I think the secret is cutting them into slices. Gets flavorful more quickly. We added some fresh dill and coriander seeds to the recipe as well because we love the flavor. Thanks again!

      1. 5 stars
        We polished off our first batch of refrigerator pickles. All set to make the 2nd for the new year. Given they have to be consumed in about 1 1/2 weeks because they are not canned and it was a full jar, this was a noteworthy first. They were so flavorful and pickle-like without relying on vinegar for that flavor. And also less crunchy than the other blah refrigerator pickles we have tried. Truthfully, I think even with the same crunchiness we would have adored but being less crunchy was a bonus! The slicing of the pickles made the difference in flavorful and allowing to soften – brilliant! I really appreciate how you don’t rely on the easy fixes to make things flavorful and impress guests. Takes some effort and ingenuity to do that. We really appreciate it because we can’t eat most of the bottled/packaged/canned items. Thanks again, Jennifer!

  2. Hi Jennifer, We canned pickles with lemon juice last year. This year we want to try pickle relish. I will use your recipe I think
    Will have to let you know how it turns out.

  3. Do these pickles taste like lemon and pickles or what is the actual taste? I buy lemon pickles from the local Pennsylvania Dutch Market and they are crisp and taste like lemony pickles. We love them and would like to make them at home. Any idea where to get the recipe?

  4. These are AMAZING!! My daughter has been put on the REID diet, which excludes pretty much all processed foods. She loves pickles and can’t have any of the vinegar or even fermented ones anymore. These are easy and delicious! So glad pickles are back on the menu. Thanks so much!

  5. 5 stars
    I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this recipe!!! As a 7th Day Adventist health reformer we do not consume foods that are fermented (foods with vinegar). Before finding this recipe I had to give up my love for pickles; not anymore!!! These pickles are amazing and they are healthier in my opinion. Thanks again!

  6. Since my Nautropath’s protocol is against vinegar, I think this is a great way to satisfy a pickle craving without having anything really fermented. I will be trying this recipe! Thanks for this!

  7. 5 stars
    I tweaked it a little. I used a bit more than 1/3 cup of lemon juice, I used several stems of fresh dill, the juice was 2.5 lemons worth and I sliced up the remaining half and put it in too, and I put about 5 or 6 cloves of garlic split in half. I just tasted them at the 24 hour point and I really, really like them. They were softer than I expected. I am wondering if they would hold more crunch if I use water that isn’t quite as hot. I didn’t catch it before it started bubbling (though it wasn’t a full rolling boil), but I did let it cool a little before pouring it in. I did only use 2 tsp of salt (Himalayan pink salt) and I may increase that a little.

    These were so easy to throw together and are extremely refreshing. I think next time it’ll need to be a double or triple batch!

    1. So thrilled you liked them, Heather! Thanks so much for the feedback.

      Using water that isn’t quite as hot will help the pickles stay crunchier but the pickles will have less flavor since the heat helps “infuse” the flavor into the pickles.

      Thanks so much for your comment and the rating. 🙂

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