Quick pickling vegetables is one of the most important techniques to know in the kitchen. It’s key to brightening up a dish, adding crunch and balancing flavors. This article will dive into all things quick-pickling—you’ll know how to pickle anything in no time!

Why Quick-Pickle Vegetables

Quick-pickling is one of the easiest ways to add seriously BIG flavors to your home-cooked meals. Quick pickled vegetables are great for finishing dishes and dressing up entrées so they look just as great as they taste.

It’s a good idea to keep a batch of pickled red onions on hand because they’re the perfect addition to sandwiches, salads, burgers, hummus, tacos and so much more. But onions aren’t the only vegetable that takes well to being pickled! 

Quick pickling any assortment of vegetables is quite simple and can be done in mere minutes. No long simmer time, no extra long preparations and no long wait whatsoever.

image of pickled cucumbers and onions in a glass bowl with text overlay

How to Quick-Pickle Vegetables

It’s quick and easy, so let’s get into it.

  1. First, select your vegetable(s) to turn into a pickle-y delight.
    Some recommendations include but are not limited to: yellow/red/white onions, cucumber, carrots, radishes, green beans, beets, turnips, bell peppers, jalapenos, cabbage and then some.
  2. Once you’ve chosen a selection of vegetables, make sure they’re thoroughly rinsed and cut/trimmed to size. At ZK, we would recommend you cut them into thin slices, as the pickling process runs much smoother that way.
  3. Next, you’ll need to gather white vinegar, water, honey (or sugar) and kosher salt. This is really all you need. Sometimes you’ll see recipes using apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar. You can use either; the only difference is a slight change in flavor. You can always try both ways to figure out which you prefer!
  4. Combine your vinegar, water, sweetener and salt together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately pour hot brine over vegetables in a bowl, making sure all of the vegetables are submerged. From here, you can leave them submerged to hang out for a bit—a minimum of 15 minutes though the longer, the better. 

That’s it! Now you’ve got some perfectly pickled vegetables to last you three whole weeks when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

If you enjoy some uber-tangy pickled products, use a full cup of vinegar and skip out on the water altogether. Just the opposite? If you’d prefer it even milder, use ½ cup of vinegar and ½ cup of water instead. 

Formula for Quick Pickling

  • 2 cups thinly sliced vegetables
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt.

Feel free to incorporate some optional add-ins for even more flavor. Smashed garlic cloves, whole peppercorns, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, and dried bay leaves are a few classics. 

Recipes That Use Quick-Pickled Vegetables

Are you searching for some further pickling inspiration? Keep reading to find some great recipes that highlight your newly pickled vegetables. We also break down all the deets in this article about Quick Pickled Red Onions if you’re ready to put your pickling skills to the test.

Make use of those tangy pickled vegetables hanging out in the fridge! Most dishes benefit from a bit of acid at the end and these recipes prove that to be true. Featuring dishes that use pickled red onions (our fave) to pickled carrots, cucumbers, daikon and more!

Aside from the recipes below, platy around with adding pickled onions to Sautéed Broccoli, Roasted Green Beans, and our Butter Lettuce Salad.

If you give this super easy quick pickling formula a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo of your dish, dressed in pickled veggies & tag @zestfulkitchen on Instagram. We love hearing about and seeing your ZK creations!

We are always here to help, so if you have any quick pickling problems or kitchen cooking questions, leave a comment or send an email to lauren@zestfulkitchen.com. We love to hear what ya’ll are thinking of and how we can further help you to gain confidence in the kitchen.

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About The Author

Loretta McGraw is a senior in journalism and mass communication at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Iowa State University. She is currently working as a Digital Food Publishing Intern here at Zestful Kitchen while attending classes and engaging in extracurricular media organizations on campus. After graduating she hopes to continue mastering her writing skills in the magazine industry.

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