Swedish Cucumbers are a snap to make! Ready to eat in just hours, you will love the fresh, briny sweetness these easy quick pickles bring to the plate. (No canning required!)
What's the Story Behind this Recipe?
When I was a little girl, no matter what time of year, I could always count on finding a jar of Swedish Cucumbers in my Auntie's refrigerator. When she made her cucumbers during summer canning season, they were miraculously ready to eat just in hours – months before the first lid came off our homemade dill pickles. I loved their crisp sweet-and-sourness, and ate them every chance I got.
As an adult, I learned that our version of Swedish quick pickle – made with allspice – is known in Nordic pickling circles as the “winter variation,” but we eat these tasty little cucumber slices year-round. (The everyday version uses dill and peppercorns in place of the allspice in our “family” recipe.)
Why You Will Love this Recipe
Swedish Cucumbers are a snap to make! They require no canning, and virtually no clean-up.
Our recipe makes exactly one quart of quick pickles in less than ten minutes. Once you get them jarred, simply let them rest in the fridge for a few hours, and they’re ready to eat! (They are even better the next day; so if you can, let them chill overnight!)
What Goes into this Recipe
The ingredients needed for Swedish cucumbers is short and simple. All you need is few simple pantry staples and a pound and a half of cucumbers.
★ Cucumbers: We’ve always used regular cucumbers for these quick pickles; however, I’ve recently started making them with English cukes, and really like how they turn out. So, in my experience, you can use either one.
★ Vinegar: Use white vinegar. I suppose you could use cider vinegar, but that will change the flavor profile somewhat.
How to Make this Recipe
Prep the cucumbers
Peel and then slice the cucumbers ⅛ to 3/16-inch thick.
If the cucumber slices are any thinner than ⅛-inch, the quick pickles will lose their tugor (i.e., crispiness) too fast. If they are thicker than about 3/16 inch, they don’t absorb the brine as quickly.
Fill a one-quart jar with cucumber slices up to the very top. It’s OK if it is very full. The cucumbers will settle when the hot brine is added.
It is also OK if slices are stacked in the jar; however, make sure each slice has been separated from the others before placing it.
Prepare the Brine
Combine water, sugar, vinegar, allspice and salt in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, bring vinegar mixture to a simmer, stirring just until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Remove the prepared brine from the heat.
Pickle the Cukes
Use a measuring cup with a pour spout and/or a canning funnel to carefully pour the hot vinegar syrup over the cucumbers.
Put a lid on the jar and refrigerate until brine has completely cooled; preferably overnight.
FAQs & Expert Tips
I usually let the cucumbers set out for a few minutes, but putting a warm, freshly brined jar in the fridge should be fine.
As most of us have learned the hard way at least once, very hot glass and very cold surfaces do not play well together. Cracking from the sudden temperature change is called thermal shock.
I've always used this rule of thumb: If you can comfortably hold the jar in your bare hand for 10 seconds, then it's probably cool enough to put in the fridge. On the other hand, if the jar is too hot for that, then it is too hot for the fridge.
In the case of Swedish Cucumbers, the prepped cucumbers in the jar are cold (or room temp at the warmest), so when the brine is poured over them, the liquid cools and the jar warms simultaneously, balancing the overall temperature in a matter of a minute or two. In other words, the jar never gets hot enough to pose any real threat of thermal shock.
As with most quick pickles, Swedish Cucumbers should always be stored in their own brine in the refrigerator. They are best eaten within the first week; after that, they will begin to lose their signature crunch.
Scandinavian Quick Pickles > International Flavors
Interestingly, these "winter version" Swedish Cucumbers bear a striking similarity - both in flavor and texture - to the pickled cucumber salad that is ubiquitous in our local Thai restaurants. If you're in need of a quick little Thai-food-friendly side, simply add a little red onion to some Swedish cukes and you're set! (#swedishthaifusion)
Not surprisingly, Swedish cukes are a great accompaniment to our Greek Turkey Burgers, too!
More Pickle Recipes
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- 1 Mason jar with lid
- 1 medium saucepan
- 1½ pounds cucumbers about 2-3 large cucumbers
- ⅔ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8-10 whole allspice
- Peel and then slice the cucumbers ⅛ to 3/16-inch thick.Fill a one-quart jar with cucumber slices up to the very top.
- Combine water, sugar, vinegar, allspice and salt in a medium saucepan. Over MEDIUM heat, bring vinegar mixture to a simmer, stirring just until the sugar has completely dissolved.Remove the prepared brine from the heat.
- Put a lid on the jar and refrigerate until brine has completely cooled; preferably overnight.
Swedish Cucumbers be stored in their own brine in the refrigerator. They are best eaten within the first week; after that, they will begin to lose their signature crunch.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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Originally published August 15, 2013. Post has been updated with new images, content, and recipe instructions to improve reader experience.
Love this method of pickling cucumbers!! I have some extra cucumbers in the fridge so I can't wait to try this recipe with them!
I'm a huge fan of pickles. These Swedish pickles sound wonderful and are going on my 'must make' list right now.
What a delicious way to use cucumbers. So much flavour.
Renée B. says
So easy, too! Thanks for stopping by!
Michelle Evans says
Hello! Do you let the brined cucumbers cool a little bit before putting in the refrigerator? I am worried about shattering jars because of the differing temperatures . Thanks!
I usually let them set out for a few minutes, but putting a freshly brined jar in the fridge isn't a concern in the same way it is with, say, water-bath canning jars, etc. This is because the prepped cucumbers in the jar are cold (or room temp at the warmest), so when the brine is poured over them into the jar, the liquid is cooled and the jar is warmed simultaneously; thus, the jar never gets hot enough for the temperature change to result in a thermal shock when simply set on a shelf in the fridge.
I'm on a low-salt diet. I notice these pickles call for 1 teaspoon of salt but you say down in the "Comments" that you no longer salt them. So...it's okay to omit the salt? Thank you.
I think you are referring an answer I gave to this question:
I replied that I've never presalted the pickles, but I do use salt in the brine.
That said, salt is not required for fresh-pack (vinegar) pickle recipes [Source: USDA Complete Guide (2015)], so you can leave it out of this recipe if need be.
Do these need to be refrigerated after putting in mason jars & there?
Also how long is shelf life?
Thank you on advance.
They need to be refrigerated, and have a self-life of about a month.
These pickles look delicious. I saw another recipe where they put the cucumbers into the salt first for a couple of hours to get rid of some of the water in them.
Do you think that's not necessary?
Renée ♥ says
Thank you, Pascal! Over the years, I've made these pickles both ways, and in my experience, the only thing salting seems to do is make the cucumbers, in equal parts, the tiniest bit more soggy and briny. Since I prefer my pickles on the crisp side, I no longer ever salt them. Also, one of the things I really like about this cold pickle preparation is that you retain some of that fresh cucumber flavor. I think the additional salt detracts from that flavor as opposed to adding to it.
These look delicious! I love pickled cucumbers and your recipe seems easy to make! I'm excited to try making this one at home. I'll report back with how it turned out and hopefully its as delicious as you mention! Thank you so much for sharing!