Cheater’s Pickles

Quick and easy pickles that come together fast, with a shock from ice cubes and a touch of sugar helping them move from raw to something between a pickle and a refreshing salad in just about a half-hour.

Cheater’s Pickles

  • Servings: 6-8 servings

These quick refrigerator pickles allow you to enjoy crunchy pickled vegetables in under 30 minutes. Raw vegetables are tossed with vinegar, sugar, and fragrant spices, then shocked in an ice bath to quick-pickle them. The end result lands somewhere between a fresh salad and a fully pickled pickle. A perfect way to use up garden vegetables. Fresh herbs other than dill, like basil or a bit of mint or chive, can be used. A few slivers of sweet onion are nice, too.


  • 2 English cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Handful of ice cubes
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar, Champagne vinegar, apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • Several pinches of flaky salt, such as Maldon
  • Several grinds of black pepper, optional
  • 2 tbsp snipped fresh dill, mint or chives, or a mixture, optional
  • ½ Vidalia onion, sliced into thin half-moons, optional


  • Cut off the ends of the cucumbers and use the tines of a fork to draw long stripes down their lengths. Slice the cucumbers like bread-and-butter pickles, about 1/8-inch thick, and pile them into a large shallow bowl. Sprinkle the sugar over the cucumbers and stir in well. Scatter the ice cubes over the slices and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Chill in the freezer for 1/2 hour.
  • Drain the cucumbers in a colander and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Put the cucumbers back in the bowl, sprinkle the vinegar over them evenly, and stir well. Add the salt and pepper, if using, and stir well to combine. Toss in the herbs and the onions, if using. Refrigerate until ready to serve. They will still be good the next day, though not quite as crisp.

  • Kirby or pickling cucumbers (which actually taste better) can be substituted, but they have more seeds than English cucumbers. If the cucumbers are seedy, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Slice into half-moons.

25 calories· 0 g fat· 0 g saturated fat· 0 g monounsaturated fat· 0 g polyunsaturated fat· 6 g carbohydrates· 0 g dietary fiber· 4 g sugars· 0 g protein· 184 mg sodium·