These pickled zucchini are a little tricky to put into words. They’re not too sweet, not too tangy, and not like anything pickled you’ve ever experienced. If we had to draw comparisons, we’d probably liken them to bread and butter pickles. But don’t take our word for it.

As for how to use these refrigerator zucchini pickles, far be it from us to tell you what to do, though we suggest you start anywhere you’d use a regular cucumber pickle. And of course, there’s this almost obscenely indulgent Bacon Manchego Burger, which was crafted with zucchini pickles in mind.

Oh, and this recipe makes tons of zucchini pickles. Well, not literally tons. But close. Which is perfect if you’ve got a bumper crop of zucchini. Otherwise, consider yourself warned, although you can easily scale the recipe down.–David Leite

Pickled Zucchini FAQs

What vinegar is most similar to Champagne vinegar?

Asian rice vinegar is the most similar, so is the best substitute. You can also use white wine or sherry vinegars – although they’re a tad more harsh. Red wine or apple cider vinegars can also be substituted, but they’ve both got much heavier and less sweet flavor than champagne vinegar, and they’ll also alter the color of your pickles slightly.

What kind of salt can I use in my zucchini pickles?

Pickling salt is an excellent place to start but you do have more options beyond that. Kosher salt, like Diamond Kosher, is another great choice. But for pickling, you’ll need to avoid salt that has anything added to it, like table salt. Iodine or anti-caking agents can make your brine cloudy so make sure to read the label before proceeding.

What else can I do with a glut of zucchini?

It’s late summer, and you’ve got more zucchini than you know what to do with. It seems like it happens every year. Besides making this fantastic pickled zucchini, here are a few ideas:

– Make a low-carb sheet pan zucchini pizza bake
– Start your day with a bowl of zucchini and eggs
Roast or pan-fry it as an easy side dish alongside roasted meats
– Make zucchini noodles (zoodles)
– Stir it into your favorite chocolate cake or walnut bread

How long do refrigerator zucchini pickles last?

Stored in a covered jar in the refrigerator, these quick pickles will last for up to 3 months.

A close-up of a glass jar, filled with sliced, pickled zucchini and a few slices of onion.

Pickled Zucchini

5 / 3 votes
These pickled zucchini, preserved with Champagne vinegar, celery seeds, tumeric, onions, are easy to make, not too sweet, and can be used just like cucumber pickles.
David Leite
CourseCondiments
CuisineAmerican
Servings80 servings | 5 pounds
Calories25 kcal
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time1 hour 45 minutes

Equipment

  • Mandoline; Mason jars and lids

Ingredients 

  • 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 about 1/4 or 1/8 inch thick

Instructions 

  • In a large nonreactive (that means not aluminum) pot, bring the vinegar, sugar, salt, celery seeds, turmeric, mustard powder, and onions to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  • Toss the zucchini in the pot, making certain every last slice is immersed in the liquid. (If any of the zucchini slices are sticking out of the liquid, use a small plate to weigh them down so they remain submerged.) Let the zucchini rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Place the pot with the zucchini and liquid over medium-high heat, uncovered, and bring to a boil. Boil the zucchini, still uncovered, for exactly 3 minutes—no more and no less. Remove from the heat. Immediately pour the zucchini and brine into a shallow nonreactive (again, not aluminum) 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. As the name implies, they're kept in the refrigerator, which means there's no need to properly can them.) The pickled zucchini will be ready to eat in 1 day and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. 
Toro Bravo Cookbook

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 25 kcalCarbohydrates: 5 gProtein: 1 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 711 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 5 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2013 John Gorham | Liz Crain. Photo © 2013 David Reamer. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

A great zucchini pickle.

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

This pickled zucchini recipe was very simple. I only made a small amount and 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.

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. The pickles aren’t that fussy.

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.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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18 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have used roughly the same recipe for over 25 yrs (that dates me). My recipe calls for apple cider vinegar (much cheaper than Champagne). Also instead of cooling the pickle before I put them in jars, I fill the jars with the zuc and onion then pour the hot liquid over them seal the jar securely with lids and rings, turn them upside down on a towel till jars have cooled. I lost a jar in my back of my pantry and 2 yrs later they tasted just like I had made them yesterday.

    1. Toni, I think there are as many different ways to make pickles as there are home cooks. Yours sound nice. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Pat, the acidity level of this pickle mixture is not designed for canning and long-term room-temperature storage. We have other pickle recipes on the site that are lovely for canning, though, if that’s what you have your heart set on doing. Kindly check them out!

  2. What is Champagne vinegar and would it be possible to sub this recipe with a different vinegar?

    1. Pat, Champagne vinegar is made from the grapes used for Champagne. A white wine vinegar will be slightly different but close enough to use in this recipe.