How To Make Smashed Pickles

smashed pickles

The Spruce Eats / Jerry Leu

  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Pickling time: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 10 servings (3 20-ounce jars)

Ready to make the fastest pickles on the planet? Simply obtain a pile of crunchy kirby cucumbers, grab the nearest cast-iron skillet, rolling pin, or meat tenderizer and prepare to smash your way to glory. Giving each cucumber a moderate crush with a heavy object helps open up fissures and cracks that will help the acidic pickle brine penetrate quickly and effectively, without having to work its way through the cucumber's thick skin over several days

Refrigerator pickles are considered "quick pickles," as opposed to lacto-fermented pickles (which contain probiotic bacteria that are extra-beneficial for your health). That's fine, though — the point here is to get those cukes smashed apart and pickling so you can enjoy them in two hours or less.


  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • Seasonings of your choice (peppercorns, whole coriander seeds, yellow mustard seeds, garlic cloves, fresh herbs, and dried or fresh chilis all work well)
  • 20-25 kirby cucumbers

Steps to Make It

  1. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and seasonings in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool until room temperature.

  2. Lightly smash each cucumber using a heavy object and tear into 2- to 4-inch chunks or fragments with your fingers. The shape doesn't matter, but you want the pieces to be fairly large so they retain a good snappy crunch. The smash will partially dislodge the seedy, pulpy core — discard as much of it as possible.

  3. Tightly pack the cucumber pieces into three 20-ounce jars. Press down with your fingers as you pack to extract some of the cucumber juice, which will add sweet, fresh flavor to the brine as well as allow more of it to soak in. Try to fill all available space in the jars, squeezing cucumber pieces into every vacant spot.

  4. Pour the cooled brine over the packed jars, all the way up to the top, then seal the jars. It's fine if a little brine pours off the top during sealing, you just want to make sure the cucumbers at the top of the jars are fully immersed.

  5. Transfer the jars to the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours before serving. Any leftover pickles will keep in the fridge for two weeks. They're delicious after that, as well, but they may start to lose their crunch.

  6. Refrigerate any leftover brine and use to make pickled eggspickled beets, or any other refrigerator pickle you like. Enjoy!