These no-cook refrigerator spicy maple bourbon pickles are quick to make and an easy way to have tasty pickles in your fridge all the time. They’re a fantastic twist on classic dill pickles and perfect for the summer BBQ season! All you need is some cucumbers, vinegar, maple syrup, some spices, and of course, bourbon. Grab some mason jars – or any large glass jars with a sealable lid, and you’ve made your own pickles.
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When B first came to me about making these spicy maple bourbon pickles, I said, “You have come to the right place.” And if you like a good pickle like I like a good pickle, you have also come to the right place. Every summer I grow cucumbers just for pickling, and I thought “I’ve never put bourbon in my pickles before.”
Fresh cucumbers and spicy jalapeno brined in vinegars mixed with maple syrup and a bit of bourbon. What’s not to love? This great sweet and smoky take on a basic spicy dill pickle recipe is sure to be your new favorite way to eat pickles.
They’re easy to make and they last a long time in the fridge. Well, they’ll be good for over a month, but you’ll be lucky if they last a week! It’s probably a good idea to make 2 jars. Serve them with burgers, falafel, pop them in salads, or one of my best tips, just pull them from the jar and pop them in your mouth.
Why You’ll Love These Spicy Cucumber Pickles
- A pickle-lover’s delight! Slightly smoky with a sweet heat and a little zip, you may never make regular pickles again.
- Great way to use up cucumbers (or other vegetables) growing in your garden (or going in the fridge). With this quick and easy recipe and only a little effort, you can have homemade pickles in the fridge all the time!
- Versatile. They’re great with, well, everything, and they’re great snacks too.
- Easy and no-cook. It’s an easier, no-cook way to make your own pickles for when you want to have them without having to deal with heating the brine on the stove or special equipment for canning.
Ingredients in Spicy Bourbon Pickles
You just need a few simple ingredients, including some bourbon of course, to make these easy refrigerator maple bourbon pickles.
- Cucumbers – Truly any standard cucumbers will do, but if you can get pickling-specific cukes like Boston pickling, Kirby cucumbers, or English cucumbers, do so. They have a thinner, less waxy skin that I prefer in my pickles. Either way, you’re looking for smaller, even cucumbers with minimal seed for best results.
- Jalapeno – I like to use a large jalapeno for extra spiciness
- Distilled white vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Hot water – Just heat it in an electric kettle or microwave
- Bourbon – Treat yourself to the good stuff, there will be plenty leftover.
- Maple syrup – Treat yourself to the good stuff here too. This flavor is key!
- Garlic cloves – rough chopped
- Spice Cabinet: all-spice berries, dried dill, dehydrated chopped onion, whole black peppercorns, red pepper flakes, fennel seed
For the jalapenos: You can omit the jalapeno if you don’t like spicy, though there is a variety known as the “coolapeno” that has no heat to it. I accidentally grew that variety once. If you do like spicy, feel free to add another jalapeno to up the spice level. Or move your way up the Scoville scale to something a little spicier like a fresh cayenne or habanero peppers. You can also use whole dehydrated red chili peppers.
For the maple syrup: Agave would be a good replacement for the sweet aspect of this ingredient, but you’d lose a lot of the flavor. You could maybe try molasses, but I think I’d start with half the amount of maple syrup. Also, molasses will definitely make the brine darker.
For the garlic: You can use jarred or freeze dried minced garlic if that’s what you usually keep on hand. I like to use about 1 Tbsp of minced garlic per clove required in the recipe. I don’t really recommend powdered garlic for pickle recipes.
For the spices: Whole spices, sometimes broken, are most often used for pickling. Ground spices tend to make the liquid murky, even somewhat sludgy with the ground spices collecting at the bottom of the jar. You can try whole white or pink peppercorns or coriander seeds instead of black pepper. Whole mustard seeds and celery seed are also common pickle ingredients you might like to try.
I haven’t tried other liquors yet, but I think a scotch or whiskey would work well in place of the bourbon. A reposado or anejo tequila might be nice as well. I think a blanco or young tequila might be a bit too abrasive.
If you’re looking for the bourbon flavor without the alcohol, there are a variety of companies that actually make an alcohol-free bourbon. Free Spirits makes an alcohol-free bourbon, among other spirits.
I like to use a combination of apple cider vinegar and white vinegar to give these pickles a deep flavor with a crisp, clean taste to them as well. You can feel free to play around with the amounts of each type of vinegar to your particular liking. You can also give the pickles a slightly sweeter flavor without adding more sugar by using rice vinegar or white wine vinegar.
The only vinegars I tend to stay away from for these are aged red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar. For pickles without vinegar, you can make a fermenting brine with salt and water, but this will take some adjusting.
Other Pickling Vegetables
You can also use this simple brine recipe to quick-pickle just about any vegetable, but be sure to use good, fresh vegetables for pickling. It’s a great brine for red onions or zucchini.
I also sometimes like to blanch harder vegetables like whole green beans or large carrot slices then shock them in an ice-bath to help boost their color and par cook them before pouring the brine over and setting them in the fridge.
How to Make Spicy Maple Bourbon Pickles
Good news, this recipe really couldn’t be easier, especially if you have one of the slicer lid attachments from Microplane. Just slice the cucumber and hot pepper, put it in the jar, cover it with the spices and vinegar-bourbon mixture, seal it up, shake it and put it in the fridge. Hot spicy maple bourbon pickles are on the way!
Step 1: Prep
First, get a clean 32 fl oz glass container with a screw-tight, sealable lid. We prefer using a 32-oz wide mouth Mason jar.
Slice your cucumbers and jalapeno into 1/4 inch slices and place them in the jar. (More on how to slice cucumbers for pickles below.) Rough chop the garlic and add it to the jar as well.
Step 2: Add the brine spices
Then, crush the all-spice berries and fennel seed under your knife to help release the oils. Add these and all the rest of your spices to the jar.
Step 3: Finish the spicy maple bourbon refrigerator pickles
Next, add the bourbon, vinegars, and maple syrup. Carefully pour the hot water over everything, close it tightly with the lid, and give it a good shake to mix all the ingredients.
Step 4: Let the spicy quick pickles steep.
Place the pickles-to-be in your refrigerator and allow to steep for at least two hours. (I prefer overnight.)
How to Slice Cucumbers for Pickles
You’ll want to use a very sharp knife, or even a mandolin slicer if you have one and really want to pull it out from wherever you’re storing it. You want to get an even 1/4 inch thickness of each slice from the whole cucumber. You need that uniformity of thickness because thicker slicers would take longer to absorb flavor, and slices that are too thin will degrade quickly in the brine.
The Best Kitchen Gadget for Slicing Cucumbers
This is where kitchen gadgets are really useful, and when it comes to gadgets for culinary slicing the only place to go is Microplane. We met them at The Inspired Home Show in Chicago, and that’s where I instantly fell in love with their Mason jar lid slicer attachments we used for these pickles.
It’s a lid that screws on to any wide mouth mason jar and has the slicer or shredder or spiralizer built in, so the food goes directly into the jar. No knife, no cutting board, no muss, no fuss. I instantly knew it would be perfect for pickles and so much more.
The slicer lid we used for these makes the cucumber and jalapeno slices all the exact same thickness. And slicing the jalapeno while just holding the tip reduces the oils from getting on my fingers…and accidentally into my eyes or nose.
How Thick to Slice Cucumbers for Pickles
Cucumber slices should be an even 1/4 inch thickness all the way through the length of the cucumber. This can be a difficult task, even for someone with proficient knife skills. Again, that’s why I love the slicing mason jar lid attachment from Microplane.
How to Serve No Cook Refrigerator Sweet Pickles
There is no shortage of ways to serve these spicy bourbon maple pickles, but here are a few ideas to get you started.
They’re a great addition in or as a side with:
- Vegan Burgers (like our copycat Beyond Burger recipe!)
- White Bean Vegan Tuna Salad
- California Veggie Burgers
- Veggie Bagel Sandwich
- Mediterranean Hummus Wraps
- Falafel bowl or Pita
How to Store Leftover Spicy Fridge Pickles
You can store your pickles right in the jar you made them in. Make sure the lid is on tight and it’s well-sealed.
How long do refrigerator pickles last?
Properly stored, refrigerator pickles will last 4-5 weeks.
Can you freeze pickles?
I don’t recommend freezing pickles.
More Cucumber Recipes:
I really do hope you try these delicious spicy maple bourbon pickles. They may just change your pickle preference permanently.
I know I became an instant fan of them and they’ll be making a regular rotation in the refrigerator.
If you do make them, we’d love to hear about it and cheer on your kitchen greatness! Leave a comment and star rating below. Not only do we love hearing from you and appreciate your feedback, but it helps others like you find more of our recipes.
- 1/2 - 3/4 lb cucumbers (about 1 Kirby or 1/2 a long English cuke)
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup hot water
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup bourbon
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2-3 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 3-4 all-spice berries, crushed under a knife
- 1/4 tsp dill
- 1/4 tsp dehydrated chopped onion
- 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp fennel seed
- Prep the ingredients: Get a clean 32 oz glass container with a screw-tight, sealable lid. Slice your cucumbers and jalapeno into 1/4 inch slices and place them in the jar. We use our Microplane jar top slicer to make this super easy! Rough chop the garlic and add it to the jar as well.
- Add the Brine Spice: Crush the all-spice berries and fennel seed under a large knife or with the bottom of a glass to help release the oils. Add these and all the rest of your spices to the jar.
- Finish the pickles: Add the bourbon, vinegars, and maple syrup. Carefully pour the hot water over everything, close it tightly with the lid, and give it a good shake to mix all the ingredients.
- Steep: Place the pickles-to-be in your refrigerator and allow to steep for at least two hours. (I prefer overnight.)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 29Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 0g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.