These pickled carrots are a quick and easy refrigerator pickle made with carrots that are bathed in slightly spicy mustard, coriander, fennel seed, and cider vinegar solution. Here’s how to make them.
What a way to take carrots to another level! First, we make them ridiculously tender in a spa-worthy salt scrub, then they get a luscious bath in a tongue-tinglingly tangy spiced pickling liquid. It’s the ultimate detox, a stress-melting treatment for today’s urban carrot.
I try to always have these quick pickled carrots in my fridge. I use these diced up in a summer salad and they’re the ultimate garnish for a Bloody Mary. They also make a perfect companion to a plate of cured meats or good cheese. This basic vegetable pickling liquid is what I use for almost any root vegetable.–Seamus Mullen
☞ Table of Contents
Pickled Carrots FAQs
How do you serve pickled carrots?
Well, the recipe author suggests adding these stunning pickles to salads, and we suggest this little Zucchini and Fennel number, using them with your Sunday morning Bloody Marys, or laying some out with meat and cheese board. We love them for simple snacking, alongside a sandwich or burger, and think they’d even be swell placed on the table where a lovely roast chicken or pork tenderloin is being served.
What is a guindilla pepper?
The guindilla is a chile pepper from the Basque region of Spain. It has a mild heat level and is long and thin. It’s typically pickled in white wine vinegar.
How long do refrigerator pickles keep?
Stored in a covered jar or container in the refrigerator, these quick pickled carrots will keep for 4 to 6 weeks.
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon finely chopped or crumbled guindilla pepper or pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig dill
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 cups Salt-Baked Carrots or blanched carrots
- Combine all of the ingredients except the carrots in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. The liquid should be reduced to about 3 cups.
- Remove the pan from the heat. (You can cool, cover, and refrigerate the pickling liquid for up to 1 month. Bring it to a boil again just before using.)
- If using thickish carrots, cut them on the diagonal into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices; if using slender carrots, cut them into sticks.
- Place the carrots in a nonreactive bowl. Pour the pickling liquid over the carrots. Cover and refrigerate until cool. The carrots can be served right away; however, if you let them soak for at least 45 minutes in the refrigerator, they'll take on considerably more of the characteristics of a pickle.
Pickled Carrots Variation
An Even Quicker PickleThis pickle brine can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. You can keep it around for any last-minute pickling needs.
An Even Easier PickleIf you crave an even quicker pickle, simply blanch the carrots rather than bake them.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I don’t even know how to explain these pickled vegetable flavors. They mix up the taste buds and I’m tongue-tied. Despite being a two-stage recipe, it was easy and generally took little prep or supervision to get to pickled carrot goodness.
I’m smitten with the spices and how the vinegar shamelessly assaults my mouth only to have the carrot bring up the rear to smooth everything together. I like you, little complicated carrot.
I have a confession to make. I was all set to make this recipe and was going to town trimming carrots and prepping the pickling liquid when I realized I didn’t have the pound of salt that I was certain was lingering in the pantry. I made these pickles anyway, skipping the salt bake and blanching the carrots in salt water for 1 minute and then rinsing them under cold water to stop the cooking process. I then proceeded with the recipe from there.
The pickled carrots were delicious and took no time at all to throw together. I packed my carrots into a large Mason jar and poured the pickling liquid directly over. I couldn’t stop myself from sampling them after just 10 minutes, and they were already flavorful.
They were best, however, after sitting in the refrigerator for a full day. Tart but sweet and just a little bit spicy, the fennel seeds really stand out and pair well with the natural sweetness of the carrots.
When I make them in the future, I’ll try to get my hands on the guindilla pepper or will increase the amount of red pepper flakes because I do like a spicier pickle. One other small point is the fact that the apple cider vinegar is very fruity and imparts a strong flavor. I think if making it again, I’d use half apple cider and half regular white vinegar for a milder vinegar taste.
Even with the shortcut, these were a winner and my husband and I can’t stop snacking on them. I’ll make them with the salt-baked carrots next time and can’t wait to see how delicious they are.
They were delicious. Mine were just fine even after 10 days in the fridge. (It’s hard to eat 3 pints of pickles in 10 days!) I really like the quick “canning” recipe much better than spending hours over a canner after blanching the 50 pounds of vegetables necessary to make it worth the effort.
When I first saw this recipe for quick pickled carrots, I was quite excited, but then when I saw that you salt-baked them first, I was doubly excited! The salt baking, which entailed fresh herbs from my garden, lemon peel, pink and black peppercorns, and salt brought loads of flavor to the profile. I’d chosen both yellow and red carrots from the farmer’s market to bring some color and distinction to this dish.
The recipe was dead easy but removing the peels after they’d baked was a bit tricky. I found that letting them sit a little in the bowl while hot made them easier to peel.
I then proceeded to the quick pickle. It, too, was dead easy. A few spices, including fresh coriander from my garden, and some vinegar went into the pickling liquid. I left the carrots in the fridge for several hours and served them with some grilled chicken and a side salad of arugula to balance out the bitter and sour.
I really liked this recipe and can see many uses for the pickles, such as on a charcuterie platter or mixed into a green salad, even chopped and added to a carrot salad for a little sharpness along with the sweet. The pickling liquid would also work well with a mélange of root vegetables.
We had vegetables from our CSA and fresh rosemary and thyme from the garden. I salt-baked the carrots and the beets, then ate the delicious beets and used the carrots (not without some substantial taste testing first!) for the pickles.
The salt mixture didn’t completely cover the vegetables at all, but the spices and herbs did contribute great flavor to the baked veggies. It was hard to scrape off the skin and I’d skip that step for the carrots in the future: presuming they’re organic, I’m fine with the peels on my carrots. Neither the dish towel nor the paring knife suggestion worked well for me. At this point, there were some tasty cooked vegetables.
On to the pickling! Again, there were fresh herbs from the garden, both thyme and dill, plus garlic from the CSA. I neither had nor could I quickly get ahold of the guindilla pepper specified so I substituted a pinch of red pepper flakes. After bringing the vinegar and water to a boil and then simmering for 20 minutes, I no longer had 3 cups, so I added some more water.
While we didn’t wait to sample the baked vegetables, we did wait the minimum 45 minutes of soaking time in the refrigerator before sampling the pickled carrots and they were delicious served as an accompaniment to the quintessential burger, potato salad, and watermelon summer picnic.
If I’d made them a day earlier, I’d definitely have included them in the terrific everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salad we’d had the night before, and I love the idea of using them as a companion to good cheese. I’m also going to be a big fan of keeping the basic pickling liquid around for last-minute needs.
Originally published August 21, 2012