Pickled Zucchini Recipe

Pickled Zucchini Recipe

A lot of chefs will get a brine down and then cook every vegetable in it. That’s why restaurant pickles are often too tart or too sweet. Not these pickled zucchini.–John Gorham and Liz Crain

LC Holy Pickled Zucchini! Note

Uh, in case you’ve yet to take a gander at the yield for this recipe, you best take a seat. See, this pickled zucchini recipe makes tons of pickles. Tons. Well, not literally tons. But close. We’re leaving the recipe as is, just in case you’ve got a bumper crop of the late-summer veggie. You can easily scale the recipe down, though, if you’ve not yet got so much zucchini on hand that you’ve resorted to leaving it on your neighbor’s porch in the dead of night. Holy pickled zucchini! As for how to use up those zucchini pickles, far be it from us to tell you what to do, though we heartily recommend this almost obscene Bacon Manchego Burger.

Special Equipment: Mandoline

Pickled Zucchini Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Makes about 5 pounds


  • 6 cups Champagne vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 3 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 2 yellow onions, julienned
  • 5 pounds zucchini, unpeeled, thinly sliced with a mandoline


  • Make the brine
  • 1. In a large nonreactive pot (not aluminum!) bring the vinegar, sugar, salt, celery seeds, turmeric, mustard powder, and onions to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  • 2. Add the zucchini to the brine, making certain all of it is immersed. (If any of the zucchini slices are sticking out of the brine, use a plate or smaller lid to weight them.) Let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • 3. Return the pot with the zucchini and brine to medium-high heat and bring to a boil, uncovered. Boil the zucchini, still uncovered, for exactly 3 minutes—no more and no less.
  • 4. Pour the zucchini and brine into a shallow nonreactive pan to cool completely. Ladle the cooled zucchini and brine into your favorite glass jars and refrigerate. (There’s no need to properly can and seal the pickles, since these are what’s known as refrigerator pickles.) The pickled zucchini will be ready to eat in 1 day and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Apr 01, 2014

I scaled down the recipe for pickled zucchini to a third of the total amount of pickles. I used 26 ounces zucchini for my scaled down pickle recipe. This still yielded a bit over 1 quart pickles. I also used both the thick (1/4 inch) and thin (1/8 inch) slice settings on my mandoline. Both sizes produced a great zucchini pickle.

Testers Choice
Linda Pacchiano

Apr 01, 2014

This pickled zucchini recipe was very simple. I used my mandoline to slice the zucchini 1/8 inch thick. I only made a small amount of pickled zucchini. It was easy to cool them in the pan they were boiled in, so I skipped the step to transfer them to a shallow pan before placing them in a glass jar.

Testers Choice
Jackie G.

Apr 01, 2014

I made 1/4 of this pickled zucchini recipe, and that made far more than enough pickles. I sliced the zucchini into 1/8 inch-thick slices with a mandoline. When adding the zucchini slices to the brine, I found that you need to gradually submerge the slices into the brine. They won’t all fit in at once. I found the warning to boil the zucchini slices “for exactly 3 minutes—no more and no less” a tad melodramatic. The pickles are not that fussy. The finished product was very good. I'm not sure whether or not you can tell that these are zucchini pickles and not pickles made with cucumbers.

  1. italianchef says:

    I have frozen sliced zucchini from last summer….can i pickle these…. If it is possible, do i defrost or leave frozen?

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Italianchef, you should be able to pickle these though they won’t be quite as crisp as freshly picked. I would defrost them then continue on with the recipe. Let us know how they turn out.

  2. italianchef says:

    Hi Beth….Thank you so much for the advice! I had so many zucchini last year…and got sick of them….so I froze ..but still have not wanted to cook them!…this is giving me a reason to take them out! Will report back!

  3. Millie says:

    Any tips on a reasonably priced but still good champagne vinegar? My grocery store has tiny bottles (200 mL) that go for a bit over $10.

  4. Nova says:

    In what way would using regular white vinegar change the flavor? Would it be just as good, but a little sharper, or just not work at all?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Nova, I haven’t made this pickled zucchini with white vinegar, so I can’t say for certain, but I suspect that’s exactly what the taste would be—a little sharper, a little less tangy. That said, I’ve always been curious to use white in place of cider vinegar. If I get the time to try it, I’ll let you know what I find, and I hope you’ll do the same? Many thanks!

  5. Terri D says:

    I have an overabundance of zucchini (why did I plant 3 plants?!?!?) so I desperately need a recipe to try. This one sounds good – except the sugar. My husband and I do not like sweet pickles, and the amount of sugar in this recipe seems too high for us. I wonder about cutting out the sugar entirely? Or if I still need sugar, what is the least amount that I could get away with, I wonder?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Terri, I understand, it’s too sweet for my tastes, too. In theory, I’d like to encourage you to tweak this recipe, but in actuality, I’m not going to because I can’t guarantee the results and I don’t want you to be disappointed. If you’re really quite smitten with the spices in this recipe, then by all means, go ahead and tweak the amounts at your own risk. Although may I suggest that you consider a pickle recipe that’s already tried and true and calls for less sugar so that you have a little more guarantee of everything being in balance? Perhaps these Israeli Pickles recipe? Or these Bread and Butter Pickles? And actually, I’m testing a recipe for Pickled Vegetables that doesn’t call for any sugar or, for that matter, any vinegar. It’s a truly old-fashioned pickle and I’m really curious to see how it turns out. We’ll have to wait a couple weeks for the results, but if you want to give it a twirl, email me at renee@leitesculinaria.com and I’ll be happy to share the recipe with you in the spirit of experimentation.

  6. sam says:

    can sugar be replaced by splenda?

    • David Leite says:

      sam, we didn’t test it that way, and we don’t know the effects of Splenda on the pickles. Sorry, don’t want to steer you in the wrong direction. I’d suggest checking Splenda‘s site.

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