Homemade quick pickles are easier than you think – and oh so versatile! We have everything you need to know to make your favorite vegetables into snappy brined pickles in just 24 hours.
All you’ll need to do is whip up a simple brine and add your veggies and flavorings of choice. We made Scallion Jalapeño Pickles, Turmeric-Ginger Radish Pickles, Herbed Rainbow Pepper Pickles, Asparagus Garlic Pickles and Thyme Shallot Pickles, but the possibilities are endless!
What is a quick pickle?
Quick pickles are easy-to-make refrigerator pickles that don’t involve a complex canning process. While quick pickles don’t quite have the depth of flavor as a traditionally fermented pickle, they’re still delicious and can be used in a wide range of applications.
Essentially, a quick pickle is a vegetable (truly any vegetable!) brined in a solution of vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Note that it’s important to store quick pickles in the refrigerator if they are not canned.
Choose your vinegar
Just as there are countless vegetables to pickle, there are also unending options when it comes to vinegar for your brine. You can use your favorite vinegar and experiment with different kinds for different vegetables.
White vinegar is the most basic, all-purpose option for quick pickles. (It’s also the most cost-effective, often going for less than $3 for a gallon.) However, we also love using rice vinegar, apple cider, champagne vinegar or even sweeter varieties like balsamic.
If you’re using a more syrupy vinegar, we recommend using a mixture that includes a lighter white or apple cider vinegar to thin it out a bit. And remember, darker vinegar will color your pickles, so if you’re concerned about aesthetics, stick to a lighter- or clear-colored brine.
Make the brine
Now it’s time to make the brine. For simplicity, we stick with a simple brine recipe of equal parts water and vinegar, plus a bit of sugar and salt to cut the acid. You’ll need to heat the brine to dissolve the sugar and salt.
Quick pickle flavorings
Spices, herbs and other flavorings are the key to a great quick pickle. You can get as creative as you’d like, or you can stick to the basics.
Herbs: Use fresh or dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, dill, etc. to add flavor to your pickle. Dill pairs perfectly with fresh cucumbers, while thyme complements tomatoes. (Yes, pickled cherry tomatoes are a thing – they’re delicious!)
Spices: Whole spices like peppercorns, red pepper flakes, dill seed, mustard seed and star anise are excellent additions. You can also use some ground spices like turmeric, which blends well. We added turmeric to these Ginger Turmeric Radish Quick Pickles!
Other ingredients: Fresh ginger and fresh garlic are two of our favorite additions.
Fill your jars
While the brine is heating, prepare your jars with the sliced vegetables of your choice and any flavorings you’d like to add. Remember that you’ll need about an inch of headroom at the top of the jar. And you will need to completely cover the vegetables in the brine. It’s best to really stuff the jars full with veggies while they’re dry. Once you add the hot brine, the contents will move around a bit.
The last step is to simply cover your soon-to-be pickles in the brine straight from the saucepan, and wait! Just 24 hours later you’ll have an array of sweet, salty pickled vegetables to share. Once we fill the jars with the brine, we seal the jars, let them cool for an hour or two on the counter, then transfer to the refrigerator. They’ll last up to 2 months in the fridge. (NOTE: quick-pickled onions/shallots will not last as long. At most, up to a few weeks.)
Need some new canning jars? These 16 oz. wide mouth ball jars are our favorite!
How to use quick pickles
We love eating homemade quick pickles straight from the jar, but here are a few other ideas for making the most of them:
- Homemade quick pickles are the perfect condiment for any burger (veggie or regular). We’re partial to pickled red onion and jalapeño on our veggie burgers!
- Top your next homemade ramen with quick pickled radishes
- Pickled red onions are my go-to topping for pretty much any taco recipe. They’re delicious on these spicy black bean and cauliflower tacos! (On the same note, they’re also perfect for homemade nachos.)
- Add a few jars of homemade pickles to your next crudité platter.
- Use as a tangy salad topping or mix-in. I added some of our quick pickled asparagus to a salad the other day and it was delicious!
- Add to a sandwich. This vegan chickpea melt really benefits from the crunch and tang of pickled onions!
Don’t let these basic ideas limit your creativity – the possibilities are endless!
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The quick pickle recipes here include Ginger Turmeric Pickled Radishes, Thyme Pickled Shallots, Scallion Pickled Jalapeño, Pickled Rainbow Peppers, Garlic Rosemary Pickled Beets and Dill Pickled Asparagus.
Brine for all recipes:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
Ginger Turmeric Pickled Radishes:
- (Optional: sub white vinegar with half rice vinegar, half apple cider vinegar)
- 1 large bunch radishes, sliced thinly
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin planks
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
Herbed Rainbow Pepper Pickles:
- 4 sweet mini peppers, sliced into rounds
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
Thyme Pickled Shallots (or red onion):
- 1 large shallot or red onion
- 5–6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
Dill Pickled Asparagus:
- 1 large bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1/4 cup fresh dill
Rosemary Garlic Pickled Beets:
- 3 small beets, quartered*
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 4 sprigs rosemary
Scallion Jalapeño Pickles:
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 scallion whites, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced into rounds
For all recipes, prepare ingredients and place in a clean glass jar.
Prepare brine by combining all brine ingredients in saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat to a simmer until sugar and salt are dissolved.
Remove from heat and pour brine directly into glass jar with other ingredients. Make sure to cover produce completely. Seal jars and refrigerate.
*Roast or steam your beets before pickling. Alternatively, you can slice raw beets very thinly and pickle – I prefer them this way as it retains the crunch!