The Best Refrigerator Pickles


Eggless Gluten Free High Altitude Homemade Ingredients No Seed Oils Vegan | Published September 26, 2022 by Mimi Council

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The best Refrigerator Pickles hail from a cook in the Organic Valley kitchen at their corporate office in Wisconsin. Learn how to make these classic pickles that your whole family will become obsessed with!

If you're looking for more ingredient recipes check out some of my other favorites like Pickled Red Onions & Peppers, Easy Garlic Herb Butter, or Homemade Ranch Seasoning Mix with No Sugar.

refrigerator pickles
refrigerator pickles

History of This Recipe

We were recently in Wisconsin visiting my friends at Organic Valley. One of the days we spent at their office in La Farge, Wisconsin. While we were at the office, we ate lunch at the Organic Valley cafeteria.

Now, cafeteria sounds like so grade school or summer camp – and you may think, lunch lady style food, it’s not that good, there’s no fruits or veggies, just a pile of plop on your plate. Well, at Organic Valley headquarters that couldn’t be farther from the truth!

The Organic Valley headquarters has a commercial kitchen that cooks two meals a day – breakfast and lunch, and they also cater events. There are also refrigerators stocked with milk and chocolate milk all day so you can go and grab a glass anytime you want. Not only are all the meals made fresh from scratch every day, but every ingredient they use is organic. Now, this is my kind of kitchen! So, when we were told we were going to be eating lunch in the cafeteria, I was totally okay with that. I was even excited about it.

We had steak sandwiches for lunch that day, and all their grassfed organic steak comes from Organic Valley cows just down the road. And it was beyond delicious. But what really stood out to me was these pickles that I just happened to add on top of my salad.

Delaney got them too, and we found ourselves not being able to stop talking about these pickles! I mean they were just refrigerator pickles, but they were so good that we talked about them even after we got home. So, I emailed one of my friends at Organic Valley and asked her if she knew anyone who worked in the kitchen, and luckily, she did.

She introduced me to Cindy, an Organic Valley chef. And I asked Cindy if she wouldn’t mind sharing her refrigerator pickle recipe with me because I just wanted to make them for myself! Of course, she was happy to. So, I wanted to share a little bit of Cindy’s story here and she was kind enough to let me share her recipe for refrigerator pickles with all of you as well.

Because according to Cindy, “it should be enjoyed”. And I couldn’t agree with her more. So, thank you Cindy for making these amazing refrigerator pickles and for sharing with all of us!

Interview with Cindy

Mimi: How long have you worked in the Organic Valley kitchen?

Cindy: I have worked in the OV kitchen for 5 1/2 plus years. I started here when the building first opened here in Cashton. Best decision I ever made to join the OV workplace.

M: Who or what inspired you to want to become a chef?

C: There were three people who influenced my love for cooking. Both my maternal and paternal grandma’s and my dad were great cooks!!!!! I spent a lot of time as a child with my grandparents. My grandma’s both loved to cook for the family, and I was allowed actually encouraged to be a part of cooking the meals. I have fond memories of time spent with them. Gathering vegetables from the garden and meat from the freezer to prepare the meal. The pickles were always one of my favorites.

So, when I stared working at OV in the kitchen as salad bar prep person, I decided to bring in some of grandma’s recipes – the pickle recipe being one of those. I never expected them to be the hit that they are. But when the croppies bring guests in those pickles are one of the things on the salad bar most commented about!

I really enjoy making people happy with the food I make. My dad loved to cook and was asked by many people to cook for events for them. He enjoyed making people happy by the food he made, so I guess I come by it naturally. 

M: What does it mean to you to work at OV?

C: It means a lot to me to work at OV as they have the same values that I was raised on. OV gives me the opportunity to grow in my job position, they are very supportive of ideas I come up with for the salad bar line. I simply couldn’t ask for a better place to work. OV allows me the freedom to be me!!!!

M: So, tell me the story behind these pickles, or pickled cucumbers, what do we call them?

C: We are going to call the pickle recipe Grandma Tillie’s Refrigerator Pickles. This recipe came from her family when she moved here from Germany with her husband Otto, my grandpa. She made these pickles with cucumbers from her garden. I remember helping pick the cucumbers, onion, and green peppers from the garden, and making the pickles with her and always loved eating them. I have very fond memories of spending time in the kitchen cooking as a child. Little did I know than that it would help mold me into the person I am today. 

M: Small world because I have a grandpa Otto too, and he was a butcher. It’s my dad’s middle name, and I loved the name so much, that my first dog was named Otto. He recently just passed, but was the love of my life!

C: Such a small world that you and I both have an Otto 🙂

refrigerator pickles

Why You'll Love This Recipe

Easy AF: This recipe is easy AF! You just need a few simple ingredients.

Homemade: This easy recipe for homemade pickles is so much better than buying them from the store. When you make your own pickles you can exclude things like natural flavors, colors, and more that store bought pickles can have.

Use on Everything: This easy recipe for refrigerator pickles can be used on literally everything! Add them into salads, onto sandwiches, onto burgers, hot dogs, and so much more. You can even just eat them out of the bowl.

Ingredients

Large Organic Cucumbers

Organic Yellow Onion

Organic Green Bell Pepper

Wholesome Organic Cane Sugar

Organic White Vinegar

Organic Celery Seed

Frontier Co-Op Fine Sea Salt

Tools Needed

Large Mixing Bowl with Lid (like a pyrex)

Mixing Bowl

Whisk

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refrigerator pickles

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Don’t peel the cucumbers but slice them in thicker slices (about ¼-inch). You should have about 8 cups once sliced. Set aside. Cut the yellow onion, in half and then slice. Set aside. Cut the green pepper into strips, set aside.

Step 2

In a large bowl, layer cucumbers first, then onion, then green pepper. Sprinkle the sea salt over the top. Cover and let sit for 2 hours, then drain off liquid.

the best refrigerator pickles
refrigerator pickles
refrigerator pickles

Step 3

In a medium bowl, add the cane sugar, white vinegar, and celery seed and mix together. Pour over the cucumber mixture and mix well. Let the veggies sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 to 3 days, stirring once day (this is the hardest part!). After a couple days, they are ready to eat.

refrigerator pickles
refrigerator pickles

Tips

  • Make sure to slice cucumbers thin, the thinner the better!
  • I use a big pyrex bowl for this recipe because it has a lid. This is the best way to store these in the fridge while they “marinate”.
  • The pickles will shrink down as they sit in the fridge, so it may seem like the liquid is not covering them completely that's okay!

FAQ's

Can I use mini cucumbers?

Yes, feel free to use large or mini cucumbers. I've made this with both.

What can I eat these with?

Use these pickles for burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, and more!

refrigerator pickles

Craving More?

The Best Refrigerator Pickles

Mimi Council
These are the best Refrigerator Pickles I've ever had. This recipe couldn't be easier, with just 7 ingredients, you can make homemade fresh pickles that can be used as a salad topper, a snack, on burgers and so much more!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Resting & Chill Time 3 days 2 hours
Total Time 3 days 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Ingredient
Cuisine American
Makes 16 servings
Calories 76 kcal

Equipment

  • Large Mixing Bowl with Lid

Ingredients
 
 

  • 6 large cucumbers
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 226 grams cane sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed

Instructions
 

  • Don’t peel the cucumbers but slice them in thicker slices (about ¼-inch). You should have about 8 cups once sliced. Set aside.
  • Cut the yellow onion, in half and then slice. Set aside.
  • Cut the green pepper into strips, set aside.
  • In a large bowl, layer cucumbers first, then onion, then green pepper. Sprinkle the sea salt over the top. Cover and let sit for 2 hours, then drain off liquid.
  • In a medium bowl, add the cane sugar, white vinegar, and celery seed and mix together. Pour over the cucumber mixture and mix well.
  • Let the veggies sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 to 3 days, stirring once day (this is the hardest part!). After a couple days, they are ready to eat.
  • Store in the fridge for up to 1 month (if they will last that long!).

Video

Notes

High Altitude — Follow the recipe as noted.

Nutrition

Calories: 76kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 1gFat: 0.3gSaturated Fat: 0.03gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.02gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 440mgPotassium: 182mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 109IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 0.5mg
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