Pickled Zucchini

These pickled zucchini, preserved with Champagne vinegar, celery seeds, turmeric, and onions are easy to make, not too sweet, and can be used just like cucumber pickles.

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

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.

Pickled Zucchini

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

Prep 45 minutes
Cook 5 minutes
Total 1 hour 45 minutes
80 servings | 5 pounds
25 kcal
5 / 3 votes
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  • Mandoline; Mason jars and lids


  • 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


  • 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. 
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 25kcal (1%)Carbohydrates: 5g (2%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 711mg (31%)Potassium: 88mg (3%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 5g (6%)Vitamin A: 57IU (1%)Vitamin C: 5mg (6%)Calcium: 8mg (1%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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.

Originally published April 1, 2014


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  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!

    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.

  2. 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.

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