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Old Bay Refrigerator Pickles

December 6, 2019 by Nicole Collins

Isn’t it ironic?

Don’t you think?

A little too ironic? Yeah, I really do think.

Don’t you love it when I start our sessions with serenades? Be thankful you can’t hear it. There’s a reason why I only perform concerts in the shower.

Today’s recipe is super ironic, because we’re making one of the few foods that I really wish I loved but can’t stand, in reality.


No matter how hard I try, I just don’t like pickles. I don’t hate pickles. And every time I’m near a pickle, I try it to see if I like it yet. But the result is always the same. Yuck!

Until today!

If there’s one stereotype about Marylanders, it’s that we put Old Bay on everything. I’m sure you can attest to that since probably half my recipes have Old Bay in them. Old Bay makes everything better. And, Old Bay makes pickles edible.

So today, we’re making Old Bay Refrigerator Pickles!

Let’s talk about refrigerator pickles for a second. Refrigerator pickles are much less labor intensive than regular pickles to make, because we don’t have to go through the full sterilization/sealing/waterbath routine that you have to do to safely can foods. And, we don’t have to make 16,000 batches at once. Today’s recipe actually only makes 2 jars.

Refrigerator pickles are made by pouring a hot vinegar/water/salt/sugar solution over cut cucumbers and herbs/seasonings in a clean mason jar, sealing them by hand, leaving them to cool, then sitting them untouched in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Refrigerator pickles fall in that “the longer it sets, the better it gets” category. But, because they don’t go through the complete canning process, the shelf life is reduced to 2 weeks-1 month. Fine for a pickle hater like me! I don’t need a forever supply of pickles!

We’re going to season our Old Bay pickles with, you guessed it, lots of Old Bay! In addition, a little fresh dill, lots of smashed garlic, and a few black peppercorns also go in the jar with our cucumbers before they take a warm bath in apple cider vinegar, water, salt, and sugar.

One thing to keep in mind when making pickles…the quality of the pickles depends on the quality of your cucumbers. The fresher the better. And, if you have access to a farmer’s market with fresh, local produce; that’s your best bet. If your cukes are reaching their end of life, your pickles will have a much shorter life too.

These pickles are TANGY! My pickle testers fell on both sides of the spectrum when it comes to if they prefer sweet or tart pickles. You can increase the sugar in the recipe if you prefer them on the sweeter side. But, the spiciness from the Old Bay is what really takes over the show. It’s a nice hit of heat in the background that even made a believer out of this pickle hater.

Alright, everyone. That’s all I’ve got for today. Time to turn the radio in my head back on.

Enjoy, and let’s eat!


Old Bay Refrigerator Pickles

Serves: 16 pickles Print


  • 1 large cucumber, cut into 16 spears (or sliced, if you prefer)

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning

  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns

  • 2 sprigs fresh dill


  1. Divide garlic, peppercorns, dill, and Old Bay between 2 1 pint mason jars. Divide cucumber spears between jars.

  2. In a medium saucepan, bring water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat when the mix starts to boil, and pour over prepared mason jars, dividing evenly and making sure to fully cover the cucumber spears. Give the jars a 2-3 taps on the counter, and place the lids on the jars. Shake the mix, and allow to cool at room temperature. Once cooled, place in the fridge for at least 24 hours before opening. Enjoy within 2 weeks- 1 month.

Recipe notes:

*The longer these marinate before you open them, the more flavorful these will be. The longer it sets, the better it gets.

*There are different theories around the internet about the shelf life of refrigerator pickles. Since they're not going through the full canning and sterilization process, they're not going to last nearly as long. 2-4 weeks is about the time frame you'll want to use these up, but the nose knows. So, if they start to smell funky, toss them. Do make sure you give your jars and lids a good cleaning before using them, though.

*Keep in mind the fresher your cucumbers, the fresher your pickles. Don't use a cucumber that already has one foot out the door.

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