Do Pickles Need to Be Refrigerated? (Explained!)

As the name suggests, pickles are small cucumbers pickled in brine or vinegar (less commonly, some other solutions are used, too). That primarily gives them their signature taste.

But it’s also the reason pickles have a natural ability not to turn bad that quickly. Because of that, many people tend to think that pickles don’t need to be put into the fridge. But is that, in fact, true?

So do pickles need to be refrigerated? Yes, pickles need to be refrigerated, because in many cases, pickles are sold unpasteurized. Because of that, the bacteria in the pickles are still alive, and cooling is required to slow down their activity.

This is just a simple answer, though, because, as we’ve touched a bit, it always varies by each case. Therefore, we have to take a closer look.

So let’s not waste any more time and just jump right into it, shall we?

Do Pickles Need to Be RefrigeratedPin

Do pickles need to be refrigerated after opening?

Pickled cucumber (commonly known simply as pickles in Northern America) are, as the name suggests, cucumbers pickled in a brine or vinegar. Because of that, pickles can stay good for reasonably high amounts of time.

With that in mind, though, pickles can still turn bad; they just don’t do that so quickly. After you open them, they will start to do it quicker, though, and because of that, you should always refrigerate your pickles after you open them.

What happens when you don’t refrigerate pickles after opening?

If you wouldn’t that, the pickles would soon start to spoil because they can get contaminated pretty easily after they’re opened. Bacteria then start to grow there, and you should, therefore, always refrigerate pickles after opening.

Why do some pickles need to be refrigerated?

Having to refrigerate all of the pickles after you open them is one thing, but there are also some kinds of pickles that should simply be refrigerated always, even when they’re sealed. 

That’s because many pickles are not pasteurized, which means there are still active bacteria there. So those kinds of pickles should be in the fridge from the beginning, no matter if they were opened or not.

How long can you leave pickles in the fridge?

But for how long will the pickles stay eatable when in the fridge? Believe it or not, you can leave the 

Do unopened pickles need to be refrigerated?

As we’ve already explained just a few paragraphs above, there are a lot of kinds of unpasteurized pickles. And in this kind of pickles, there is still a lot of bacteria that can grow even when the jar is yet unopened. Hence, even unopened pickles need to be refrigerated in some cases.

On the other hand, pasteurized pickles were prepared in a way that kills all of the bacteria, which results at the end of the fermentation process. Due to this fact, pasteurized pickles can be left out without any worries.

If you’re not sure how to tell those two kinds of pickles apart while shopping, don’t worry, it is pretty straightforward. Because of the differences in their storage, you can find pasteurized pickles in the section with canned food, while the unpasteurized ones will be in the refrigerated section.

Do Vlasic pickles need to be refrigerated?

Vlasic pickles use some brine and vinegar, making them able to last for some time, even at room temperature. Nevertheless, putting them into the fridge is much recommended.

And if you have already opened the jar, Vlasic pickles need to be refrigerated without any doubt.

Do Dill pickles need to be refrigerated?

Dill pickles are a term referring to popular pickles that are, as the name suggests, seasoned with dill. This means they’re nearly the same as the regular pickles, meaning Dill pickles need to be refrigerated when they’re not pasteurized.

If they are, it isn’t needed to store them in the fridge, at least until you open them. After that, you should store your pickles in the fridge always, regardless of their kind or whether they were pasteurized.

Do Kosher Dill pickles need to be refrigerated?

In the last paragraph, we talked about Dill pickles, and nothing changes with pickles known as Kosher Dill because this kind of pickle usually differs just because there’s some garlic.

Therefore, Kosher Dill pickles need to be refrigerated, well at least when they’re not pausterized. When they are, you can leave them out until you open them. But, then, refrigerating is once again much recommended.

Do Claussen pickles need to be refrigerated?

Claussen pickles are a popular kind of pickles, probably mainly thanks to the fact they’re not processed in many ways, which gives them incredible flavor. But it also means that they’re not pasteurized.

Hence, Claussen pickles need to be refrigerated. That is especially true after you open them, but you shouldn’t leave them out for long, even when they’re closed.

Do homemade pickles need to be refrigerated?

Ok, so now we’ve covered the most popular kinds of pickles sold in supermarkets, but what about the homemade ones? 

In most cases, homemade pickles need to be refrigerated because otherwise, they would probably start to turn bad in a matter of days or weeks.

That’s because although they underwent the pickling, homemade pickles are, for obvious reasons, usually not pasteurized, meaning there are still some active bacteria in them. And in order to stop their growth, refrigerating is crucial.

Do canned pickles need to be refrigerated?

No, canned pickles usually don’t need to be refrigerated because they’re most often pasteurized. Unfortunately, this process kills all of the bacteria in the pickles, which means they have a hard time spoiling even when left at room temperature.

But with that in mind, there definitely still are some kinds of canned pickles that are not pasteurized, and putting those in the fridge is needed.

Additionally, you should also be reminded that you should refrigerate every kind of pickles after opening them.

Can pickles be left unrefrigerated?

As we’ve explained above, pickles can be left unrefrigerated, at least when they’re pasteurized and not opened. 

You should always store them in the fridge when you open your pickles, but an unopened jar of pasteurized pickles doesn’t have to be refrigerated because it was simply made precisely that way.

How long can pickles last unrefrigerated?

And believe it or not, pickles can last even as long as a few years unrefrigerated! That’s because, in pasteurized pickles, there are no bacteria to grow, which means it is very hard for them to spoil!

Can you eat pickles left out overnight?

Yes, you can eat pickles left out overnight because pickles usually don’t turn bad that quickly.

So although we’ve mentioned above a few times that they should be refrigerated, leaving them out just overnight simply isn’t that much of a problem.

With that being said, though, some pickles can turn bad even just over the night (for example, a jar of Claussen pickles), so you should rather check them out before eating them.


Storing pickles may be an arduous task because although they usually won’t go bad at room temperature, in some cases, refrigerating is needed.

That’s because some pickles are unpasteurized, which means there’re still active bacteria in there. Because of that, you should always refrigerate them.

On the contrary, pasteurized pickles can stay good on their own, and putting them into the fridge isn’t necessary then. 

But with all of that being said, it is also important to point out that no matter the kind, you should always store your pickles in the fridge after you have already opened them.


Image credits – Canva

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