Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Quick pickled cucumbers in just 4 hours. #pickled @mjskitchen mjskitchen.com

While my mother canned some of the best sweet pickles I’ve ever had, she also made these little batches of quick pickled cucumbers as a condiment for the dinner table or as an afternoon snack.  It wasn’t a dish that I helped with (because it’s so easy!), so I never learned how she made them, but I certainly remember how they tasted.  I knew the marinade had vinegar and sugar, but what type of vinegar, what other ingredients and at what proportions – I had no idea.  So many years ago (pre-internet, if you can imagine such days ever existed), I started playing around, trying to get the marinade just right for that deja vu moment. After a few batches, I had it.  I’m not sure if it’s my mom’s quick pickled cucumber recipe, but it sure reminds me of hers.  Ever since then, I have been using these little “pickles” in salads, sandwiches, as a snack, and as a side for pot stickers and other dishes.

Of course, now that I do have internet, I find hundreds of recipes for these quick pickled cucumbers. Mine is a little different but one I’m going to stick with because I like it.  If you haven’t made these quick pickled cucumbers, you should.  They are SO easy and SO good!


Quick Pickled Cucumbers Recipe

Recipe Author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen

Yields about 2 cups
Prep time: 10 minutes prep, 4 hours to overnight marinate


1/2 large seedless cucumber, or 1 medium cucumber, seeds removed (if not organic, I usually peel or partially peel)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. unrefined peanut oil


  1. Thinly slice the cucumber. Place in a large self-sealing plastic bag.
  2. Combine the sugar, vinegar and salt in a microwave safe container and heat in the microwave on high for 20 seconds.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the oil and whisk.
  3. Pour the vinegar mixture into the bag with the cucumber and seal. Shake to coat all of the cucumber slices with the vinegar.
  4. Press as much air from the bag as possible and seal tightly. Lay the bag on the counter and press it flat so that there is only one to two layers of cucumber slices.  Lay the bag flat on a shelf in the refrigerator.
  5. Let marinate at least 4 hours, turning halfway through. You can also marinate overnight, turning the bag in the morning.


Kitchen Notes

For Spicy Pickled Cucumbers add a touch of red pepper flakes.

One of the things that I love most about these “pickles” is that the taste and the texture change the longer they marinate.  When I want a crispier pickle with less sweet, I use after 4 hours (like the ones in the picture). For a softer and sweeter pickle, I marinate overnight.  You don’t have to use them all at once either.  They’ll last for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator so you can use them as you need them.

This batch of pickles was used in my Mango and Jicama Salad.

O.K – so I talked to my older sister the other day whose long term memory is “a little” better than mine, and was told that this isn’t my mother’s recipe!  Apparently, my mother’s recipe used water, white vinegar, more sugar and salt and no oil.  Oh well.  Close enough.

I know that the addition of the oil may seem strange, but I’ve tried them with and without the oil, and personally, I like them better with the oil.  The oil seems to tame the vinegar and makes the bite easier on my palette.  I like vinegar, but I don’t like things to taste too vinegary which I know sounds weird since this is a pickle recipe!

This Quick Pickled Cucumber recipe has been linked to Frugal Food Thursday, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, My Meatless Monday, Tuesday’s Tasty Tidbits, Weekend Potluck, Hearth and Soul, Bizzy’s Recipe Box. Be sure to visit these blog hops to see more tasty recipes.

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25 Responses to “Quick Pickled Cucumbers”

  1. Alea Milham August 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    I love this fast alternative to traditional pickles! Pinned this recipe to my canning board.

  2. Mom Photographer July 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    It sounds really good!

  3. Lili July 30, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    If you love the oil in your pickles, you should try a little Asian flair to them. Instead of peanut oil, use several drops of roasted sesame oil, add finely chopped or minced raw ginger or pickled ginger & radish, a spritz of lemon juice or zest, even a few drops of soy sauce and top with sesame seeds. Black seeds, unhulled or hulled for a very nice flavor accent. If you shred the cucumber you can be eating the pickled mix in under an hour. Start this before you start cooking your meal and it’ll be ready just in time. You may also have had this in sushi restaurants with a bit of seaweed or fish sauce added, very nutritious. But of course don’t forget your rice wine vinegar, salt and sugar. I mix all ingredients together and stir a few times. The vinegar, salt and sugar will make the cucumber exude the juice so the pickles have more juice and stay crunchy. This works with shredded cucumber or thin slices, very appetizing.

    • mj July 30, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

      Thanks Lili! I actually have tried roasted sesame oil in these pickles and do use it when I’m serving them with Asian cuisine. It’s quite good! For a more neutral, but still nutty flavor, the unrefined peanut oil works best for me. Thanks for sharing other variations for pickled cucumbers! I’ll have to give your suggestions a try. I love these pickles and can just eat them right out of the bowl!

  4. Jayne June 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    I love the sound of these! Love pickles and love the idea of “quick” pickles. Can’t wait to try. Just hope my cucumbers grow!

  5. Susan with Permanent Posies March 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    Love pickles! Any pickles! But, I think I would really love some quick ones. Yum!

  6. Claudia February 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    I like to make these too, but want to try your version. The technique of plastic bagging them and nuking the marinade for instance.

  7. Jennifer Eloff August 6, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    Yummy – I do something similar with canned green beans for a special green bean salad that I make.

    • mj August 7, 2011 at 10:22 am #

      I love pickled green beans but it’s been years since I’ve had. I’m going to have to go to your site and check them out!

  8. Simone August 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    I’ve never tried pickling my own cucumbers but this does look fairly easy and achievable… And delicious too! So I’ve got to give this a try!

    • mj August 2, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

      Simone, I hope you do try them. I know you’ll enjoy them! Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Nads August 2, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    The whole family loves these! For summer these cold tart cucumber slices can’t be beat. They are the perfect accompaniment to a heavy entree or even a sandwich and with a glass of iced tea they make a perfect snack. I have even been known to make a sandwich of them with some miracle whip, lettuce and cilantro. Yum. Some times I throw in some slices of sweet onion. Like you MJ, every time we eat them it takes me back to the good old days of open windows and screened doors and the hum of the ceiling fan pulling in hot humid Louisiana air that we tried to pretend was a cool breeze. For the heat wave the whole nation has been having, this no-cook cool recipe was a good idea.

    • mj August 2, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

      Nads, You describe it all so well!!!!! Thanks!

  10. Manu August 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    I LOVE pickles and cucumber pickle is my favourite, yet I have never made it! I love that this recipe is so quick to put together! Thanks for sharing it MJ! <3

    • mj August 2, 2011 at 9:40 am #

      Well, then I guess it’s time! -:) Hope you enjoy them!

  11. sally August 1, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Yum! This recipe takes me back–my grandmother used to make something similar.

    • mj August 1, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

      Thanks Sally! Every time I eat these pickles, it takes me back.

  12. Ann July 30, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    Wow – these sound amazing! I love good pickles. Recently, it’s been something I can’t get enough of!

    • mj July 31, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

      Thanks Ann!

  13. Kim - Liv Life July 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    I’m not a pickle fan, however… if I call these guys marinated cucumbers I love them! I’ve actually made a similar recipe and it’s clipped and in my to repeat recipe book. Who knew they were pickles??!! Nicely done!

    • mj July 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

      Totally understand the “pickle thing”. “Marinated cucumbers” works just fine! Regardless of what we call them – they are so good and are definitely a repeat recipe in this house! -:)

  14. Heather @ CurlyGirl July 30, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    I love this idea! Now I think I’m going to have to try this…

    • mj July 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

      I hope you do! Enjoy!


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