Refrigerator Pickles-in-a-Bucket

Close-up of pickle
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Making refrigerator pickles is delightfully easy. You don't have to have any special canning equipment. In fact, you don't even need a stove. With this recipe, submitted by Jackielou01, all you need is a refrigerator and a few minutes to measure and chop your ingredients.

And since these pickles are made in a big bucket, rather than canning jars, you don't have to worry about whether your cucumbers are too big to fit in the container. So, if your garden has been turning out a bunch of baseball bat-sized cucumbers, this is a great way to put them to use.

Just follow these simple steps, and you'll be enjoying your first batch of sweet pickles two days from now.

Equipment Needed to Make Pickles in a Bucket

  • A one-gallon bucket: You can use an empty, clean ice cream container with a lid, or any other food-safe plastic bucket or jar with a lid.
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • A cutting board and knife (or mandolin) to slice the cucumbers and other vegetables
  • A refrigerator with enough space for the bucket


  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 large red pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 1 large green pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 1 large onion (cut into thin slices)
  • 5 cups cucumber (thinly sliced with peel intact)


  1. Slice the cucumbers, red peppers, green peppers, and onions. You can cut the cucumbers into spears or slices, whichever you prefer.
  2. Measure the first four ingredients—sugar, white vinegar, pickling salt and turmeric—into your bucket. Stir them well to mix.
  3. Add the sliced peppers and onion.
  4. Fill the bucket to the level of the liquid with cucumber slices. You will probably have more cucumbers than will fit. That's okay. Just hang onto the extras until after the next step.
  5. Put the lid on, and let the bucket stand for two hours. It can stand at room temperature. There's no need to put it in the fridge just yet.
  6. After the two hours are up, stir down the contents. You can usually add more sliced cucumbers at this point.
  7. Replace the lid, and place the bucket in the refrigerator. The pickles will be ready to eat two days after you put them in the refrigerator but will taste even better if you allow them to sit longer.

The pickles will keep for at least six months in the refrigerator. But, the recipe contributor, Jackie, says they never last that long at her house. Her family always eats them long before then.

As you eat the pickles, it's okay to transfer them to a smaller jar or plastic container. Just be sure to keep them covered with brine, so they don't go bad.

Have Other Vegetables You Need to Use Up?

Use this recipe to pickle other vegetables. Experiment with a bunch of different veggies, and you may just discover a few new pickle favorites.

Good to Know

If you don't have any pickling salt on hand, it's okay to use regular table salt. Just know that it may make your brine a bit cloudy. This is an aesthetic issue only.