Fire and Ice Pickles

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Fire and Ice Pickles turn store bought dills into sweet and spicy pickles overnight! You’ll love their sassy flavor and crunchy bite that’s truly addictive!

fire and ice pickles once they are finished.
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

What are Fire and Ice Pickles?

Fire and Ice Pickles are made with store-bought pickles that turn something plain into something spectacular! The spice represents fire and the sugar brings the sweetness to this delicious recipe.

Some folks call these Cheater Pickles because they’re so easy to make. You basically buy a large jar of dill pickles at the grocery store and cut them into thick slices. Add red pepper flakes, white sugar, and your choice of spices or hot sauce.

pickles after processing in fire and ice brine.

Recipe Highlights

The end result is four pint jars of sweet and crunchy pickles with a little bit of heat. Since they’ve already been through the pickling process, these easy refrigerator pickles are a great way to enjoy a burst of flavor without a lot of work!

You might be wondering why this spicy pickle recipe isn’t made from hot bread and butter pickles. It’s the garlicky dill flavor combined with sugar and spice that makes the flavor so unique!

Some folks call these Christmas pickles because they pack them in mason jars and give them as gifts during the holidays. At Christmas time, they taste amazing as appetizers on a charcuterie board (ad) or as a snack for Game Day!

ingredients needed for fire and ice pickles.

Equipment

  • 4 pint size mason jars, bands, lids and jars washed and dried

Ingredients

See recipe card for quantities.

  • store bought whole dill pickles – do NOT use kosher pickles or the recipe won’t work
  • white granulated sugar – adds sweetness and creates the brine
  • red pepper flakes – use more if you like it spicy, use less or none at all if you don’t
  • mustard seed – gives the pickles a little kick, but not too much
  • tabasco sauce (optional) – only use this if you are a hardcore spice lover
Mt. Olive whole dills in a 80 ounce jar.

Where to Buy Whole Dill Pickles

Purchase a large jar (at least 80 ounces) of WHOLE DILL pickles at the grocery store. I use Mt. Olive brand, but Vlasic is also a great option. These whole dills are the key ingredient. It makes a difference what type you buy!

If you can’t find a large jar, buy several smaller jars instead. But, do NOT purchase kosher pickles or this recipe won’t work. The jar must say Whole Dills or original dills on it. Kosher dills will not work properly.

Some stores no longer carry whole dills. I bought mine at Food Lion. You can also purchase them online, (ad) but they might be more expensive.

You can cut corners and use dill chips (not kosher) that have already been sliced, but they do not produce the same crunchy bite. I recommend sticking to the original recipe if at all possible.

Instructions

1 – Drain the juice from the jar and place pickles in a colander. Save 1 cup of juice and set aside.

whole dills after being drained in a colander.

2 – Cut pickles into thick or thin slices depending on your preference. I cut mine into 1/4 inch.

pickles cut in 1/4 inch slices

3 – Place slices back into the jar they came in. Alternate pickles, sugar, spices and reserved juice until you reach the top of the jar.

sugar and crushed red pepper layered in pickle jar.

4 – Stir or shake jar until the sugar is almost dissolved. Close the lid and leave at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes until there is no more sugar showing at the bottom of the jar.

pickles in large jar after being shaken.

5 – After 2 hours, stir the pickles well, close the lid, and refrigerate overnight.

pickles ready to go into refirgerator.

6 – The next day, open the lid and you’ll have super sweet and slightly hot pickles with a touch of garlic and outrageous crunch! The sugar combines with the juice to make its own brine. It turns plain dill pickles into a sweet and spicy delight!

tongs lifting pickles out of a jar.

7 – Transfer the pickles into pint size mason jars and close the lids. Give as gifts…but be sure to save some to enjoy!

Remember that this recipe is not shelf stable and must be refrigerated at all times.

pickles in a small white dish with a mason jar in the background.

Variations

The original recipe is best, but if you like spicier food, or you want to add your own special touch, here are a few additions you can try.

  • chili peppers – not for the faint of heart!
  • fresh dill – adds more dill flavor to the brine
  • red bell peppers – a nice festive touch over the holidays
  • black peppercorns – for folks who love black pepper
  • diced onions – these will marinate and become sweet and spicy onions
  • hot pepper sauce – add your favorite type of hot sauce to kick things up a notch
  • pickled jalapeno peppers – can also use fresh, but pickled are less spicy
  • jarred minced garlic – stay away from fresh garlic because it might cause bacteria issues

If you like a bigger crunch, you can make homemade pickles with fresh cucumbers, sugar and white vinegar. Refrigerator bread and butter pickles will become hot and spicy when adding tabasco sauce or red pepper flakes.

Recipe FAQS

What if I can’t find whole dills?

Sometimes it’s hard to find whole dills and if that’s the case, it’s fine to use dill pickle slices. Remember to use the hamburger dills and not anything that says kosher on the jar.

How big should I make the slices?

Some folks cut their slices 1/2 thick. I like mine about 1/4 inch. It’s really up to you, so be as flexible as you want. The main thing to remember is that you want the slices to be consistently the same size.

How does the sugar create a brine?

When the sugar breaks down, it combines with the pickle juice to create a brine that marinates even further. You’ll be amazed at how much liquid is left behind when you check the next day.

Why are these sometimes called Christmas pickles?

Since the color scheme is red and green, they’re very popular over the holidays. They also make the perfect appetizer for Christmas parties and hostess gifts.

sugar and red pepper added to pickles in a jar.

What to Serve with Sweet and Spicy Pickles

fire and ice pickles after processing in refrigerator.

Handy Tip: Prepare Ahead!

If stirring inside the large glass jar is too difficult, prepare pickles in a large bowl instead. Make sure to wash and dry lids, bands and mason jars before use.

Storage Tips

This Fire and Ice Pickles recipe hasn’t been through the canning process, so it must be stored in clean glass jars in the refrigerator. Store up to 3 months in the fridge if they last that long!

The longer these spicy pickles sit, the better they taste. Some folks wait up to 5 days to transfer them to mason jars, but I never can wait that long! They taste great to me after waiting overnight.

The best tip is to taste them to see if they’re sweet and sassy enough. I usually let them sit in the fridge a few days before I give them as gifts so they have a longer brine time.

Recipe Card

fire and ice pickles in a small dish.

Fire and Ice Pickles

Fire and Ice Pickles turn store bought dills into sweet and spicy pickles overnight! You'll love their sassy flavor and crunchy bite that's truly addictive!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Refrigeration: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 30 minutes
Servings: 32
Calories: 84kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Equipment

  • 4 pint size mason jars

Ingredients

  • 80 ounces whole dill pickles (do not use kosher)
  • 1 cup reserved pickle juice
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (use less if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

Instructions

  • Drain the juice from the jar and place pickles in a colander. Save 1 cup of juice and set aside.
  • Cut pickles into 1/4 inch slices.
  • Place pickle slices back into the jar they came in. Alternate pickles, sugar, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds and reserved juice until you reach the top of the jar.
  • Stir or shake jar until the sugar is almost dissolved. Close the lid and leave at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes until there is no more sugar showing at the bottom of the jar.
  • After 2 hours, stir the pickles well, close the lid, and refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day, open the lid and you'll have super sweet and slightly hot pickles with a touch of garlic and crunch!
  • Stir pickles really well and transfer them into pint size mason jars with juice. Close bands and lids. Tie with twine or a pretty bow for gift giving if desired.
  • Store pickles in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Notes

  • Recipe yields 4 pints. Each pint jar yields 8 servings.
  • Make sure to store pickles in the refrigerator since they are not shelf stable.
  • Do not use kosher pickles or this recipe won’t work.
  • If you can’t find whole dill pickles, use regular hamburger sliced pickles instead. Make sure they don’t say kosher on the jar. 

Nutrition

Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 688mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    These pickles will surprise you. They’re not as spicy as you might think. I like to make them with hot sauce to give them even more heat, but they’re great just like they are.

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