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Sweet and Spicy Pickle Recipe

These are the best pickles and the easiest sweet and spicy pickles recipe ever! They are crispy, tangy, and the perfect way to spice up your next burger or sandwich. There is no cooking of the brine mixture necessary to make this recipe.

two jars of sweet and spicy pickles in two jars

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You will love this sweet heat pickle recipe. The pickles are similar to bread and butter pickles with a little spice, and they are so fresh-tasting, once you start making your own you will skip the grocery store pickles.

🤍Why you will love this recipe

  • It is a great recipe! It’s quick and easy to make; no cooking or hot water bath is required.
  • The pickles stay crunchy since there is no heating process that can make pickles soggy.
  • They are super fresh and delicious, you just might eat the entire jar in one sitting.

If you like homemade pickles, be sure to give these zucchini garlic dill pickles or pickled jalapenos a try too!

an overhead view of the ingredients for sweet and spicy pickles: pickling spice, apple cider vinegar, salt, honey, jalapeno peppers, cucumbers and cinnamon stick

Here is What You Will Need

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This is an overview of the ingredients and instructions that you will need to make this recipe. Scroll down a bit further for ingredient substitutions, and complete cooking instructions which are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.



Here is how to make sweet and spicy pickles with jalapenos

Prepare the ingredients: Rinse the cucumbers and jalapeno peppers, and measure the seasoning blend and the vinegar.

Grab a clean pickling jar or two, depending on how many jars you plan to make. Each pint jar will take one to two cucumbers.

an overhead view of sliced cucumbers and jalapeno peppers on a cutting board

STEP 1: Cut the cucumbers into slices about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, and slice the jalapenos into rings.

STEP 2: Stuff the cucumber slices and peppers in alternating layers into a one-pint jar.

cucumbers and jalapeno pepper slices in a jar
An overhead picture of a jar filled with cucumber and jalapeno slices with pickle spice on it

STEP 3: Top the cucumber and pepper combination with pickling spice.

STEP 4: Add the salt, vinegar, honey, and water. Cover the jar and lightly shake it up.

overhead view of sliced cucumers and pickles in a jar with the brine

Note: This is a small batch recipe and will make a one-pint mason jar of pickles for multiple jars of pickles, double or triple the ingredients.

Ingredient notes and substitutions

Cucumbers. You can use any type of cucumbers available to make this spicy pickle recipe.

Personally, I think Kirby cucumbers are the best cucumbers, they are smaller in size and have thick skin which helps to keep the pickle chips crispy.

When Kirby or fresh from my garden cucumbers aren’t available, I use the small Persian or English cucumbers.

Jalapeno Peppers – These add heat to the pickle brine. If you don’t like the heat and prefer sweet pickles, leave the jalapeno peppers out.

Substitute jalapeno peppers with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes or a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and adjust to your taste.

Pickle Spice. Look for a good quality store-bought pickling spice or you can make your own, here’s my recipe for homemade pickling season.

Apple Cider Vinegar. Is my preferred vinegar for making pickles. We like the tart flavor and health benefits that it adds to the pickle brine.

Apple cider vinegar can be substituted with an equal amount of white vinegar.

Honey. Since the brine is not heated, I like to use a liquid sweetener such as local honey because it will dissolve faster.

If you don’t have honey, you can substitute it with an equal amount of real maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or agave nectar.

Cinnamon Stick. Adds a nice flavor to the pickle chips. If cinnamon sticks aren’t available, you can use a pinch of cinnamon chunks or leave them out.

Sea Salt. Fine-grain sea salt is my preference for making refrigerator pickles because it dissolves nicely in vinegar and water. You can also use pickling salt or kosher salt to make these pickles.

Overhead view of 2 mason jars filled with pickles and brine

Tips for making the best sweet and spicy pickles

Even though these pickles will stay crunchy, here are a few more tips to ensure that your pickles stay crisp.

For pickle chips with ripples, use a wavy crinkle cutting tool.

What to serve with refrigerator pickles

Serve these easy refrigerator pickles with a hot dog, or favorite burger like this grilled caramelized onion burger, a turkey Reuben burger, veggie sandwich or a grilled cheese sandwich.

They also taste great as a snack or add them to your favorite charcuterie board.

Try making my pickle hummus recipe with these pickles!

How to store homemade spicy pickles

Store your refrigerator pickles in the refrigerator for up to a month in a tightly sealed glass jar.

Sweet and spicy refrigerator pickle variations

Balsamic Sweet and Spicy Pickles. Use 3 tablespoons of white or regular balsamic vinegar instead of apple cider or white vinegar.

Sweet and Spicy Zucchini Pickles. Swap out the cucumbers with slices of zucchini.

Sweet and Spicy Pickled Vegetables. Steam or blanch green beans, cauliflower, carrots or asparagus. Rinse them off with cold water and add them to a jar and cover them with brine and seasonings.

Change up the Peppers. Use a different type of hot pepper such as habanero, cherry peppers, or slices of poblano peppers or even mild green or red peppers.

Add Garlic and Onions – add a few garlic cloves of smashed garlic or a handful of sliced sweet or red onion.

Leave out the pickling spice and add a teaspoon of celery seed or mustard seed and black peppercorns with a sprig of fresh dill.

five cucumber pickle slices on a white plate

💡Tips for making the best sweet and spicy pickles

Even though these pickles will stay crunchy, here are a few more tips to ensure that your pickles stay crisp.

  • Thick sliced cucumbers will stay crisp longer; slice the cucumbers about 3/4 to 1 inch thick for best results.
  • Add a grape leaf or black tea leaf to the top of the jar. The leaves contain natural tannins in them, which helps to keep the pickles crispy.
  • Trim the ends off of the cucumbers before placing them in the jar. The blossom that can be at the end of the cucumber contains an enzyme that can soften the cucumbers in the brine.
  • If you prefer less heat in your refrigerator pickles, add a few slices of the jalapeno pepper to the pickle jar instead of the entire pepper or sprinkle in a little bit of red pepper flakes.
What’s the difference between making canned pickles and refrigerator pickles?

Refrigerator pickles are quick pickles that don’t go through a canning process. They are usually made in small batches. The ingredients are combined in a jar and stored in the refrigerator.
The canning process is more time-consuming and is usually made in larger batches. The benefit of canning pickles is that canned pickles have a longer shelf life and don’t need to be refrigerated until they have been opened.

Are homemade pickles healthier than store-bought pickles?

These homemade pickles are made with simple wholesome ingredients. There are no added food dyes or preservatives, and you can control the amount of added salt and sugar when you make them yourself.

Can you re-use the pickle brine once the pickles are gone?

Yes, you can re-use the pickle brine for a second batch of refrigerator pickles as long as they haven’t been in the refrigerator for longer than 2 weeks. Once the cucumber slices are gone, add more fresh cucumber slices and adjust the flavors. Store them in the refrigerator for one to two weeks.

Are you too tired to cook dinner?

If you’re feeling uninspired when it’s time to cook dinner, this free guide will help you make a quick and healthy dinner with ingredients you have in your kitchen.

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two jars of sweet and spicy pickles in two jars

Sweet and Spicy Pickles

Sweet and spicy pickles are crispy, tangy, and the perfect way to spice up your next burger or sandwich!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 19 minutes

Click on serving size to scale this recipe

Course: Appetizers & Snacks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sweet and spicy refrigerator pickles
Servings: 13
Calories: 15kcal
Author: Anne
Scale this Recipe 13



  • Slice the 2 cucumbers into 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick slices and slice 1 jalapeno pepper into rings
  • Layer the slices of cucumbers and the jalapeno slices into a one-pint mason jar.
  • Add the 1 tablespoon pickling spice.
  • Next, add the 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon sea salt fill the jar with water.
  • Gently shake the jar to mix everything together.
  • Store the pickles in the refrigerator for at LEAST 4 hours, and 24 is best.



NOTE: This recipe is a small batch recipe, and will make a one-pint mason jar of pickles. For multiple jars of pickles, double or triple the ingredients.
  • For crisp pickles, add a grape leaf to the top of the jar.
  • Substitute jalapeno peppers with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes.
  • For less heat, use 1/2 a jalapeno or leave it out.
  • Substitute the honey with an equal amount of any liquid sweetener such as maple syrup, brown rice syrup or agave nectar.
  • Apple cider with an equal amount of white vinegar.
  • Honey with an equal amount of maple syrup, brown rice syrup or agave nectar.
  • Cinnamon stick with a pinch of cinnamon chunks.
  • Sea salt with pickling salt or kosher salt.
  • Try balsamic vinegar for an even sweeter flavor.
  • Swap out the cucumbers for zucchini.
  • Change up the peppers, use habanero, cherry or poblano peppers.
  • Add a few cloves of garlic and 1/4 cup sliced onions.
  • Leave out the pickling spice and use a teaspoon of celery or mustard seed and black peppercorns with a sprig of fresh dill.
  • Change up the vegetables and use steamed or blanched green beans, carrots, cauliflower or asparagus


Serving: 2pickle chunks | Calories: 15kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.004g | Sodium: 538mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 47IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used

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    1. Hi Katie, Thanks for your comment, I just updated the recipe. You will need 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey in this recipe. If you like a sweeter taste, add 2 tablespoons.