Pickled Zucchini

These pickled zucchini are sorta sweet, sorta savory, and easy as can be to toss together. Use 'em however you use cucumber pickles. Here's how to make them.

Pickled Zucchini Recipe

These pickled zucchini aren’t too sweet, aren’t too tangy, and aren’t like any other pickle you’ve ever had. 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 up these 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 also this almost obscene Bacon Manchego Burger. Oh, and this recipe makes tons of zucchini pickles. Well, not literally tons, but close, just in case you’ve got a bumper crop, though you can easily scale the recipe down. Originally published April 1, 2014.Renee Schettler Rossi

Special Equipment: Mandoline; Mason jars and lids

Pickled Zucchini Recipe

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

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

Directions

  • 1. 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.
  • 2. Toss the zucchini in the pot, making certain every last slice is immersed in the liquid. (If any of the zucchini slices are misbehaving and sticking out of the liquid, use a small plate to weight them down so they remain submerged.) Let the zucchini rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. Immediately 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. 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.
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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 zucchini and 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 great results.

This pickled zucchini recipe was very simple. 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.

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. 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.

Comments

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

    1. 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. 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. 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. 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?

    1. 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. 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?

    1. 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.

    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.

    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!

  6. 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.

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