The Ultimate Guide to Quick Pickled Vegetables (2023)

How to quick pickle vegetables, from cauliflower to beets to green beans! These refrigerator quick pickled veggies are great for preserving fresh veggies and adding flavor to your dishes.

The Ultimate Guide to Quick Pickled Vegetables (1)

I always thought that pickling vegetables required a long and drawn out process. That is, until I actually tried it for myself. In all actuality, pickling vegetables is extremely easy, quick, and a great way of bringing new life to your veggies!

At this point I’ve pickled just about everything I can get my hands on, to include cabbage, jalapeños, onions, radishes, and of course cucumbers.

So to bring it all together, I’m sharing the ultimate guide to quick pickled veggies so that you have a comprehensive list of how to pickle anything you’d like!

The Ultimate Guide to Quick Pickled Vegetables (2)

The basics of pickling

There’s a big difference between quick pickling and canning. Though they’re both the same concept – preserving vegetables – they’re very different.

Quick pickling involves brining and marinating, and allows for short term storage. It’s the method I’ve been using to make all of my homemade pickle recipes.

Canning, on the other hand, requires a stronger pickle brine and a hot water batch. This method allows for long term storage, but it’s a bit more technical and involved. It also requires specific steps in order to prep the food to stay edible for the long term.

It’s important to note that all of the recipes included in this post are quick pickling recipes that last for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. These recipes have not been tested for long term canning. Be sure to follow the best USDA canning practices if canning for long-term storage.

The Ultimate Guide to Quick Pickled Vegetables (3)

Veggies that can be pickled

Pretty much any vegetable that you can think of is able to be pickled. You can make quick pickled vegetables like cauliflower, squash, mushrooms, broccoli, or even asparagus!

Similarly, fruits also work! It may sound crazy, but trust me… they’re delicious. We’ve done pickled grapes, but you can also try pickled berries, melon, cherries, and peaches.

(Video) How To Make Pickles Without A Recipe

Pickling fruits and vegetables creates an acidic result that adds an interesting but delicious dimension to any recipe like tacos or salads. It brings new life to the pickled item, creating a completely new flavor while extending the shelf life.

The Ultimate Guide to Quick Pickled Vegetables (4)

Ideas to get you started

Here are some of the pickled foods that I’ve created. They’re all very easy to make, with each one requiring right around 5 minutes of hands-on prep time.

Cauliflower: Pickled cauliflower utilizes 1 cup hot water, 2 tsp non iodized salt, 1 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, 2 cups chopped cauliflower, 1 tsp whole black peppercorns, 2 cloves crushed garlic, and a pinch crushed red pepper flakes.

Green Beans: To make pickled green beans, you’ll need 1 cup hot water, 2 tsp non iodized salt, 1 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, ½ lb (226 g) trimmed green beans, 5 to 10 sprigs (1 to 2 tsp chopped) fresh dill, and 2 cloves crushed garlic.

Beets: Pickled beets involve using 1 cup hot water, 2 tsp non iodized salt, 1 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, 1 to 2 beets (diced or cut into half moons), a single tsp sugar, 1 bay leaf, and 1 clove of crushed garlic.

Jalapeños: To make pickled jalapeños, you’ll need 1 cup hot water, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp non iodized salt, 1 cup white vinegar, 10 to 15 jalapeños, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 bay leaf, a pinch cumin, and a pinch oregano. You can make these less spicy by removing the some of the jalapeño seeds.

Radishes: Pickled radishes require 1 cup hot water, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp non iodized salt, ¾ cup white wine vinegar, ½ lb of radishes, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1 bay leaf, ½ tsp of crushed red pepper, and ½ tsp coriander seeds.

Cucumbers: Refrigerator pickles will require 2 pickling cucumbers (or 1 English cucumber), 1 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, 1 cup water, 1 tsp non iodized salt, 10 sprigs (2 tsp chopped) fresh dill, 4 cloves crushed garlic, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp whole black peppercorns, and a pinch crushed red pepper flakes.

Onions: Pickled onions simply require ½ cup hot water, 1 tbsp sugar or honey, 1 tsp non iodized salt, ½ apple cider vinegar, and 1 large thinly sliced red onion.

Cabbage: To make pickled cabbage, you will need ¼ of a red cabbage, ½ cup apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, ½ cup water, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp ground black pepper.

Grapes: For pickled grapes (and most fruits), you will need 1 cup hot water, ½ cup sugar, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 inches peeled and thinly sliced ginger, 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp whole black peppercorns, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 bay leaf, and 2 to 3 cups of seedless red grapes.

The Ultimate Guide to Quick Pickled Vegetables (5)
(Video) The Complete Guide to Fermenting Every Single Vegetable

How to make quick pickled vegetables

Let’s get into the nitty gritty and talk about the steps required to bring pickled veggies to life. Here’s an easy 3-step method that I used to create my quick pickle recipes.

  1. Prepare the brine: First, heat water in either a kettle, the microwave, or on the stove until steaming hot. Stir in the salt until dissolved, and then stir in the vinegar. I like to add the vinegar last (as opposed to heating it up with the water) to help cool the brine faster. These are quick pickles after all!
  2. Pick your pickle: Choose your flavor, then add all of the ingredients to a lidded non-reactive container (like a glass jar or ceramic vessel). Pour the brine liquid over the ingredients and sure they’re covered. You may not use all of the liquid.
  3. Let it pickle: Next, let the jars and their contents cool to room temperature, then seal them shut and transfer them to the refrigerator. Let them pickle for at least one hour before digging in!

And there you have it! Delicious, easy, and quick pickled vegetables. I can’t wait for you to try them out. Enjoy!

The Ultimate Guide to Quick Pickled Vegetables (6)

How to Quick Pickle Vegetables

5 from 15 votes

Prep: 10 minutes

(Video) How to Quick Pickle Vegetable Scraps for a Tasty Treat and a No Waste Kitchen

Author: Sarah Bond

Calories: 41kcal

Servings: 1 jar of pickled veggies

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How to quick pickle vegetables, from cauliflower to beets to green beans! These refrigerator pickled veggies are great for preserving fresh veggies and adding flavor to your dishes.


Pickling Brine

  • 1 cup hot water 236 mL
  • 2 tsp non iodized salt*
  • 1 cup vinegar apple cider or white vinegar, 236 mL

Pickled Cauliflower

  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups chopped cauliflower

Pickled Green Beans

  • 5 to 10 sprigs fresh dill about 1 to 2 tsp if chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • ½ lb green beans trimmed, 226 g
(Video) Why I always have Pickled Onions in my fridge.

Pickled Beets

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 to 2 beets diced or cut into half moons


  • Brine: Heat water in either a kettle, the microwave, or on the stove until steaming hot. Stir in salt until dissolved. Stir in vinegar.

  • Pick Your Pickle: Choose your flavor, then add all of the ingredients to a lidded non-reactive container (like a glass jar or ceramic vessel). Pour liquid over ingredients so that they are covered (you may not need all of the liquid).

  • Pickle: Let cool to room temperature, then seal shut and transfer to the refrigerator. (Let pickle for at least 1 hour before digging in.)

Tips & Tricks

  • *Non iodized salt should be used when pickling. Iodized salt can cause your pickled products to turn a dark color.
  • Storein the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Not tested for long-term canning storage.Be sure to followbest USDA canning practicesif canning for long-term storage.
  • More pickling inspiration:
    • Jalapeños
    • Cucumbers
    • Radishes
    • Grapes
    • Red Onions
    • Cabbage

Nutrition Information

Serving: 0.25cup Calories: 41kcal (2%) Carbohydrates: 8.4g (3%) Protein: 0.4g (1%) Fat: 0.1g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 1187mg (52%) Potassium: 165mg (5%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 7.2g (8%) Calcium: 18mg (2%)

Did You Make This?

Leave a comment below and tag @liveeatlearn on social media! I love seeing what you’ve made!

(Video) Homemade Veggie Pickles | Buddy Oliver

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What is the most important ingredient in pickling vegetables? ›

Vinegar is the most important ingredient in quick-pickle recipes. Without an adequate amount, the pickles will not be safe to eat. Use any vinegar with 5% acidity. Select tender vegetables without blemishes or mold .

Does quick pickling remove nutrients? ›

Learn more about the nutritional benefits of pickling »

They also contain antioxidants and many of the nutrients present in the original vegetables that are pickled, but it should be noted that the pickling process does destroy water-soluble vitamins, like vitamins B and C.

What is the best ratio of vinegar to water for pickling? ›

The basic ratio for quick pickles is 1:1 vinegar to water, and includes some combination of salt and sugar. Another ratio that is commonly followed is the 3:2:1 method, using three parts vinegar, two parts water, and 1 part sugar.

What is the difference between pickling and quick pickling? ›

The major difference between quick pickling and regular pickling is that we're not canning anything, and the vegetables must be stored in the fridge and eaten within a month or two of making them.

Do you boil vinegar before pickling? ›

The Process

Vinegar-based pickling is a much faster process than fermentation pickling. In its quickest form, you'll just boil a vinegar solution, pour it over the the object of your pickling desire, let it all cool and stash it in the fridge.

Which vinegar is best for pickling? ›

Most pickle recipes call for distilled white vinegar. This is the clear, colorless vinegar made by fermenting grains. It has a mellow aroma, tart acid flavor and does not affect the color of the light-colored vegetables or fruits.

Why do you soak vegetables in salt water before pickling? ›

The first step in making pickled vegetables is to allow the clean, cut vegetables to soak in salt or a strong saltwater solution for at least 3 hours, or sometimes overnight. As the vegetables swim in salt, some moisture is drawn from the tissues, which helps to preserve crisp texture through the pickling process.

Do you need to boil before pickling? ›

Also, think twice before using red wine vinegar to pickle: It'll turn all your vegetables pink. Some vegetables, like crunchy carrots and okra, should be boiled a little before pickling. Others, like delicate zucchini and cucumber, don't need to be cooked ahead of time.

Do quick pickles need to be submerged? ›

A: Quick pickles are delicious. And easy: Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, water, and aromatics; boil and pour over veggies, covering them with a clean kitchen towel to keep them submerged. Chill for a few hours (overnight is even better), and presto—you're a bona fide pickler.

How do you keep pickled vegetables crisp? ›

Getting Crisp Home Pickled Vegetables
  1. Use only just-picked vegetables for pickling. ...
  2. Use only top quality vegetables for pickling. ...
  3. Use only safe, research-based recipes to pickle foods. ...
  4. Use low-temperature pasteurization. ...
  5. Making refrigerator pickles. ...
  6. Use of alum. ...
  7. Use of calcium to firm pickles. ...
  8. Use of ice to firm pickles.

Why do you add sugar when pickling? ›

Sugar in pickling is used to balance the tartness of the vinegar. Although the sugar can be eliminated from pickle recipes, the pickles are likely to be too sour. Note: Under no circumstances should the amount of vinegar be decreased or diluted to compensate for less sugar.

Why do we add sugar and salt in pickling? ›

The bacteria ferment sugars in the food to form lactic acid, which then prevents the growth of food poisoning bacteria and moulds. The amount of salt added controls the type and rate of the fermentation. If 2-5% salt is used, the fermentation is carried out by a series of bacteria that produce lactic acid.

Does quick pickling have probiotics? ›

Quick pickles made in vinegar will not hold nearly as much beneficial bacteria potential as fermented pickles. Fermented pickles are considered a probiotic food, which means they contain beneficial strains of bacteria that, if consumed often, can contribute to the population and diversity of our gut microbiome.

How many times can you reuse vinegar for pickling? ›

To be on the safe side, we wouldn't recommend reusing it more than once, although some say you can safely reuse it 2 or 3 times. Again, watch for changes in the clarity of the brine. BONUS!

Which is better for pickling white vinegar or apple cider vinegar? ›

Use apple cider or white distilled vinegar, but the pickles may taste best with the recommended type in the recipe. Apple cider vinegar is milder and offers a different flavor note than white distilled vinegar. Any vinegar should be at least five percent acetic acid. Read every recipe carefully.

Is apple cider vinegar better for pickling? ›

Because apple cider vinegar is made from apples rather than barley, corn rice or wine, it gives pickles a mellower taste. Using a white distilled vinegar, for example, will create a harsher flavour. But as well as being gentler on your palate, using apple cider vinegar also adds health benefits to pickles.

Why is turmeric used in pickling? ›

Turmeric: Adds an unmistakable earthy richness and produces the vivid yellow brine necessary in many finished pickle jars. Garlic and onion: Add aromatic, flavor-enhancing depth to what would otherwise be bland, one-note cucumbers.

Is pickled food good for your gut? ›

Fermented foods like pickles are basically probiotic superfoods, packed full of good bacteria that can support the health of your gastrointestinal microbiome and are good for your gut bacteria.

How soon after pickling can you eat pickles? ›

To allow pickles to mellow and develop a delicious flavor, wait at least 3 weeks before eating! Keep in mind that pickles may be ready to enjoy earlier. It's all up to you and your tastes! Just don't let them go too long or the veggies' texture can deteriorate and turn rubbery.

What is quick pickling? ›

Quick pickling is the process of immersing food in a spiced vinegar and water solution for immediate or short term consumption. Quick pickles are sometimes called refrigerator pickles, because they're stored in the refrigerator and eaten within weeks, as opposed to canned or fermented pickles which are shelf stable.

Can I reuse my pickle brine? ›

Once a brine has been used to can something, that's it. You can't do it again because you can't guarantee the acidity level once it has been heated up, hot water processed, absorbed by vegetables and refrigerated for an unknown amount of time.

Can I mix vinegars when pickling? ›

Brine Basics

Any basic vinegar is game — white vinegar, apple cider, white wine, and rice vinegar all work well. You can use these vinegars alone or in combination. Steer clear of aged or concentrated vinegars like balsamic or malt vinegar for pickling.

What is the best salt to use for pickling? ›

When it comes to pickling recipes, fine-grain pickling salt is the best choice for a pure, uncloudy brine. On the other hand, kosher salt is ideal for drawing the moisture out of meat and flavoring pasta water.

What are the two main pickling methods? ›

There are two main methods for pickling foods, a quick way and a long way. The quick way to pickle is to marinate to food in a seasoned vinegar solution. For those with more time to spare, the long method of fermenting in a salty brine yields results well worth the wait.

Why should long periods of soaking vegetable be avoided? ›

Vitamin C and members of the vitamin B group are water-soluble, and while nutrient loss may be minimal when soaking raw vegetables, soaking will reduce the quantity of these essential vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in your body, so you must get them from your diet each day.

What are the 3 types of pickling solution? ›

There are three general methods for vinegar-brine pickling: quick-pickling, salt-brine pickling and the vinegar-brine soak and rinse method. Within those methods, there exist many variations, recipes and approaches to make things like relishes and chutneys.

What is added to prevent pickle from rotting? ›

Vinegar (due to low pH) is mostly used as a preservative in pickles, vegetables, and meat items. The acidic environment inhibits or stops microorganisms from growing or surviving.

Why do you put salt on cucumbers before pickling? ›

You will need a recipe, most of which will tell you to salt your sliced cucumbers and let them sit for about 3 hours (more is better). This salt treatment draws water out of the cucumbers and flavors them, so it's critically important.

How do you prevent botulism from pickling? ›

What else should I know about preventing botulism? Refrigerate any canned or pickled foods after you open them. Always use traditional methods when preparing Alaska Native foods. Refrigerate homemade oils infused with garlic or herbs and throw away any unused oils after 4 days.

Do you need to burp when pickling? ›

If you don't burp the jar, you might find the contents escape of their own accord. The brine will start to go cloudy, which is a good thing; just keep burping the jar. After a week, the pickle flavours will start to develop; after two, they'll start to taste good.

How long before you can eat a quick pickle? ›

Once you add the hot brine, the contents will move around a bit. The last step is to simply cover your soon-to-be pickles in the brine straight from the saucepan, and wait! Just 24 hours later you'll have an array of sweet, salty pickled vegetables to share.

Do you pickle with hot or cold water? ›

The temperature can bring out flavors, which leach into the brine. She recommends using hot brine to pickle opaque vegetables or spices such as root vegetables, kabocha squash and garlic. Cold brines are useful if you're looking to preserve the texture and crunch of a vegetable.

How much sugar do you add to pickling vinegar? ›

We'd recommend no more than two tablespoons of sugar, because once your pickled products get too sweet, there's no going back to their savory goodness. As far as salt, you don't need much since you're adding vinegar, but a good rule of thumb is to use one teaspoon for every two tablespoons of sugar.

Do you have to soak cucumbers in salt water before pickling? ›

You may remember Grandma soaking cucumbers in lime or alum before pickling. This is no longer recommended and, indeed, it isn't necessary if you use freshly picked cucumbers, follow an up-to-date tested recipe, and heat process pickles for the correct length of time.

What does lime do to pickles? ›

Pickling lime is sometimes used during the pickling process to give pickles an extra crunch. It's a form of food-grade calcium hydroxide. Traditional canning recipes usually suggest soaking freshly sliced cucumbers or other vegetables in pickling lime for 10 to 24 hours before canning them.

Why did my homemade pickles get mushy? ›

If the pickles are soft, they are spoiled from the yeast fermentation. Don't use them. Using too weak a salt brine or vinegar solution may cause soft or slippery pickles, as can using moldy garlic or storing the pickles at too warm a temperature. These pickles are spoiled and should be discarded.

Can I use brown sugar instead of white sugar for pickling? ›

Sugar. You should use no more than 1/4 cup of sugar in your pickling solution. White granulated sugar is most commonly used. Brown sugar adds good flavor but can turn light-colored fruits and vegetables darker.

Why we add oil in pickles? ›

Oil used in pickles acts as a binding agent which binds all the spices and the vegetable or fruit of which we are making the pickle. Oil can help in sealing off air/oxygen and gives the pickle an oily and rich texture.

What does the addition of salt during pickling do? ›

Salt gives the good guys an edge.

Adding salt to your pickling brine is one important way to help lactic acid bacteria win the microbial race. At a certain salt concentration, lactic acid bacteria grow more quickly than other microbes, and have a competitive advantage.

What are the disadvantages of pickling? ›

Pickling alters the taste of foods permanently, therefore the pickled item might not be a possible consideration as a substitute for a fresh ingredient in a recipe. High-sodium products like pickles can cause higher blood pressure so moderate your pickle consumption.

What ingredient gives flavor to the pickles? ›

Acetic acid (vinegar) is the primary ingredient used in pickle manufacturing. After water, it makes up the bulk of the pickle liquor and contributes significantly to the flavor of the pickle giving it a sour taste. Additionally, it also has a preservative effect and is nontoxic.

What can I use instead of sugar for pickling? ›

Stevia is the only sugar substitute I use in canning pickles. Sugar Alcohols like Erythritol and Xylitol will make pickles soft over time.

Are quick pickled vegetables good for you? ›

People preserve some pickles in a fermented brine that contains beneficial bacteria, which means they can be a good addition to a healthful diet. Fermented pickles offer more health benefits than other pickles. Even unfermented pickles, however, are rich in vitamins such as vitamin K and vitamin A.

Does heat speed up pickling? ›

The heat will soften your veg a little and speed up the pickling process. Let the jars cool to room temperature, then transfer them to the fridge.

What are the two methods used in pickling? ›

Pickling can be divided into two main categories: chemical pickling and fermentation pickling. In chemical pickling, the food is placed in an edible liquid that kills microorganisms and includes brine (high in salt), vinegar alcohol, or oil.

Do you need to add sugar to pickling vinegar? ›

If pickling things for the long haul, make sure to process your cans safely.) "Pickles are about vinegar and salt, not sweetness," says Perry. Yes, you should have some sugar, but be wary of recipes that call for more than a ¼ cup of sugar. Your brine should lean salty, not syrupy.

Why do you need sugar in pickling? ›

Sugar in pickling is used to balance the tartness of the vinegar. Although the sugar can be eliminated from pickle recipes, the pickles are likely to be too sour. Note: Under no circumstances should the amount of vinegar be decreased or diluted to compensate for less sugar.

Why do you soak cucumbers in ice water before pickling? ›

For a quick and easy way to help ensure crisp pickles: soak cucumbers in ice water for 4 to 5 hours before pickling. This is a safer method for making crisp pickles. Using lime, or calcium hydroxide, in solution for soaking cucumbers changes the amount of acid in the cucumber tissue.

Should you salt vegetables before pickling? ›

For most, the first step is to salt the vegetables – this draws out the excess moisture. Salt is essential to all pickles, no matter where (or how) they're made: you'll see it used in recipes for German sauerkraut, Korean kimchi, Indian chutney, Italian or Greek olives, French cornichons and Japanese tsukemono.

What keeps pickles away from spoilage? ›

The preservation of pickles occurs by a combination of high acidity, salt, reduced water activity, and added spices. Pickles are prepared by using one of two main methods: lactic acid fermentation of the food material with or without the addition of salt and the preservation of foodstuff in acetic acid (vinegar).


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