How to Make Smashed Pickles

Smashed pickles on plate

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Fridge Time: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 40 mins

Ready to make the fastest pickles on the planet?


Watch Now: How to Make Smashed Pickles

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 to 25 Kirby cucumbers

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for smashed pickles recipe
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  2. 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.

    Combine vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and seasonings in pot
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  3. 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.

    Cucumbers smashed on a cutting board by a rolling pin
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  4. 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.

    Pack cucumber pieces into 20-ounce jars
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga 
  5. 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.

    Smashed pickles with liquid and spices in individual jars
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  6. Transfer the jars to the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours before serving.

    Chilled smashed pickles in jars on cutting board
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga
  7. Enjoy!

    Smashed pickles on a plate
    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga


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