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 zucchini 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
Servings80 servings | 5 pounds
Calories25 kcal
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time1 hour 45 minutes


  • 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. 
Toro Bravo Cookbook

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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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    1. 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.

  1. 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 and I’ll be happy to share the recipe with you in the spirit of experimentation.

  2. 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!