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Do Pickles Go Bad if Not Refrigerated After Opening?

Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Lauren Beck

Are you wondering what happens to pickles after they have been opened and not refrigerated?

Well, wonder no more. The answer is a resounding yes – pickles can indeed go bad if not stored in the refrigerator. Without refrigeration, these beloved brined delights are susceptible to mould and bacteria growth, posing potential health risks.

Hence, it is crucial to keep your pickles chilled, even after unsealing the jar. Let the cool embrace of the fridge be the guardian of your pickles’ freshness and ensure a safe and delectable pickle experience.

How Long Can Pickles Last Unrefrigerated?

Ideally, opened pickles should be refrigerated and consumed within two weeks.

If you do leave them out unrefrigerated, they should be eaten within a few days. After that, the risk of food poisoning increases.

What Is the Shelf Life of Pickles?

The shelf life of pickles depends on a few things, including how they’re stored and whether or not they’re refrigerated.

Unopened, commercially canned pickles on the shelf will last 18-24 months.

Once opened, they should be refrigerated and consumed within two weeks. Homemade pickles will last for about one month in the fridge.

Does Pickle Brine Prevent Bacteria Growth?

Pickle brine is an acidic solution that can help prevent the growth of bacteria.

However, it’s not 100% effective and should not be relied upon to keep pickles safe from spoilage.

If you’re unsure whether your pickles are still good, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and throw them out.

How To Tell When Pickles Go Bad?

Here are a few signs that your pickles have gone bad:

  • They’ve been unrefrigerated for more than a few days.
  • The jar is cloudy, or the pickles are slimy.
  • There is mould growing on the pickles or in the jar.
  • The pickles have an off smell.

If you see any of these signs, throwing out the pickles is best.

What Happens If You Eat Bad Pickles?

Eating spoiled pickles can cause food poisoning with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Prioritize food safety to prevent these issues.

In severe cases, it can lead to dehydration and even death. If you think you may have eaten bad pickles, contact a doctor or medical professional immediately.

How to Store Pickles Properly?

jar of pickles

To ensure that your pickles stay fresh and safe to eat, follow these storage tips:

  • Store unopened jars of pickles in a cool, dark place.
  • Once opened, transfer the pickles to a clean, airtight container and store them in the fridge.
  • Discard any pickles that have been unrefrigerated for more than a few days.
  • If you’re unsure if your pickles are still good, err on caution and throw them out.

By following these storage tips, you can help ensure that your pickles will stay fresh and safe to eat.

How Long Do Pickles Last After Opened?

Opened pickles can last for months in the refrigerator if stored properly.

Transfer them to an airtight container or keep them in the original jar. Check for spoilage signs and follow guidelines.

How To Make Homemade Pickles?

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try your hand at making homemade pickles. Here’s a basic recipe to get you started:


  • 1 pound cucumbers, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed


  1. Combine cucumbers, vinegar, water, sugar, salt, dill weed, mustard seed, celery seed, and garlic in a large jar or container.
  2. Stir well to combine.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, up to 2 weeks.
  4. Enjoy!

Ways To Enjoy Pickles

Pickles are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Add them to sandwiches and burgers.
  • Chop them up and use them as a relish or topping for hot dogs and brats.
  • Use them as an ingredient in potato salad or macaroni salad.
  • Add them to your favourite Bloody Mary recipe.
  • Chop them up and use them as a garnish for soup or chilli.

Are Pickles Good for You?

Pickles are a good source of vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium [1]. They’re also low in calories and fat-free.

However, pickles are high in sodium, so eating them in moderation is important. If you’re on a low-sodium diet, you may want to avoid pickles or look for brands that are labelled “low sodium.”

Are Pickles Cucumbers?

Pickles are cucumbers that have been soaked in a brine (salt water) solution and then sealed in a jar or container.

The pickling process gives them their distinctive flavour and crispy texture.


To maintain the freshness and safety of pickles, proper storage is paramount. Though pickles are undeniably delightful and versatile, uncertainty regarding their condition warrants a cautious approach.

When in doubt, it’s wise to discard them rather than risk any potential issues.

However, if you’re feeling adventurous and inclined towards culinary exploration, why not try your hand at crafting homemade pickles?

Embark on a pickling adventure, and savour the satisfaction of creating your own flavorful and perfectly preserved jar of pickles.


Lauren Beck
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