Refrigerator dill zucchini pickles are the perfect recipe to make with that extra garden zucchini. Thin sliced zucchini is pickled in the refrigerator with fresh dill and garlic. No canning or cooking required!
Looking for new ways to use up that summer zucchini harvest? How about making a batch of refrigerator dill zucchini pickles! This small batch recipe makes two 16-ounce jars of zucchini pickles.
That's right, you can make pickles out of zucchini. Thin sliced fresh zucchini is pickled with dill, garlic, and peppercorns to make a salty, sour pickle that's perfect for your next backyard burger on the grill.
Plus, refrigerator pickles don't require any cooking or canning. Since they're stored in the refrigerator, there's no need to stand over a boiling pot in the middle of summer waiting for your cans to pop. Just 10 minutes of prep (or less if you're using a mandoline slicer), and you're done!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Zucchini - You'll need one pound of small to medium zucchini for this recipe. Small zucchini don't have hard seeds and have a mild, slightly sweet flavor, making them perfect for pickling. Zucchini can also be substituted with cucumbers to make a classic refrigerator pickle.
- Dill - Fresh dill is a must for this recipe - this is where you'll get that bright, sour dill flavor.
- Peppercorns - Add flavor to your pickles. You can also add a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes for a spicy dill zucchini pickle.
- Garlic cloves - Add flavor to your pickles. If you don't like garlic, these can be omitted without affecting the recipe. Or, substitute with half of a small onion that's been thinly sliced.
- Vinegar - White vinegar or apple cider vinegar works well in this recipe. It's important not to adjust the amount of vinegar and water in this recipe, as the vinegar is what's pickling your zucchini and acting as a preservative.
- Water - Combined with vinegar and salt, it creates a brine.
- Kosher salt - Kosher salt can be substituted with sea salt or non-iodized table salt. Iodized salt can change the color and flavor of your pickles, and is not recommended.
What do zucchini pickles taste like?
Zucchini has a very mild, slightly sweet flavor, and takes on the flavors of the ingredients added to it. Because the flavor of pickles comes from the ingredients added, they don't really taste different than pickles made from cucumbers.
The texture is slightly different, since zucchini have less water content and a more buttery, rich texture. Zucchini pickles also seem to maintain their crispness longer than cucumber pickles.
In short, the differences are small. If you didn't tell someone you made pickles with zucchini, they may not notice.
Slicing your zucchini
I highly recommend using a mandoline slicer, the slicing side of a box grater, or the slicing attachment on a food processor for slicing your zucchini. Using a slicing tool, rather than slicing by hand, not only saves time but also makes perfectly even slices.
⅛" will produce a very thin pickle, and ¼" produces a sturdier, thin, pickle slice. I sliced mine to ¼" in the photos.
- OXO Good Grips Chef's Mandoline Slicer
- Fullstar 6-in-1 Mandoline Slicer For Kitchen
- Professional Box Grater, Stainless Steel with 4 Sides
What size jars do I need?
This recipe calls for two pint size (16 ounce) glass jars. This recipe works with any combination of sizes that equals 32 ounces total, like four 8-ounce jars or one quart size (32 ounce) jar.
If you're repurposing old pickle jars and you're not sure of their sizes, keep in mind that you may need to make some extra brine (the vinegar, water, and salt portion of the recipe) to cover your zucchini completely.
Do I need to sterilize my jars?
No, your jars do not need to be sterilized for a refrigerator pickle recipe.
Sterilized jars are necessary in canning because the canned food is stored for long periods of time at room temperature. Jars are sterilized to remove bacteria and fungi before adding food. This ensures the food does not spoil when kept at room temperature.
Since this recipe is not intended for canning, and your jars are stored in the refrigerator at all times, there is no need to sterilize your jars beforehand. Any clean, dry jars will work.
How long do refrigerator pickles last?
Refrigerator zucchini pickles will keep for 1 to 2 months in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator.
I have not tested this recipe as a canning recipe, so I can't say how it would turn out, or how long a canned version would keep. Here's a great recipe for canned dill zucchini pickles: Food Life Design - dill zucchini pickles recipe
Refrigerator Dill Zucchini Pickles
- 1 pound small zucchini, thinly sliced
- 8 sprigs fresh dill
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 4 whole garlic cloves
- 8 ounces water
- 8 ounces vinegar, apple cider or white
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- In two pint size jars, add fresh dill, peppercorns, and garlic cloves. Then, pack jars tightly with sliced zucchini and set aside.
- In a bowl, add water, vinegar, and salt, stirring until salt is dissolved. Pour over zucchinis until jars are filled to the top. Any remaining brine can be discarded. If your jars aren't tightly packed (or you're using different jar sizes), you may need to make additional brine.
- Tightly seal, gently shake to disperse ingredients, and refrigerate for 2 days to allow zucchini to pickle. Store zucchini pickles in refrigerator for up to 2 months.
- Refrigerator pickles are not canned, and therefore not shelf stable, and must be stored in the refrigerator at all times.
- Zucchini can be substituted with cucumbers (any variety) to make a classic dill pickle.