Quick Pickled Zucchini

Quick Pickled Zucchini Recipe

You've all heard me whine before - as much as I love San Francisco, summer here leaves something to be desired. It's beautiful, don't get me wrong. Just this morning I went for a jog through Golden Gate Park, the fog settled in low, the streets damp, trees and buildings a block ahead tapered off into a misty haze. Everything was reduced to a moody, muted palette accented by an occasional burst of color from, say, a swatch of confetti-colored dahlia blooms. Quintessential San Francisco. Dreamy, but a summer spent in the low 60°s nonetheless. That said, I'm not quite ready to give up on a proper dose of sunshine yet, and I'm preparing to temporarily flee SF for one of my favorite warm weather get-aways - but more on that later.

Quick Pickle Recipe

Today, I thought I'd share a recipe for the zucchini pickles I've been making all summer - at least we get proper summer crops here ;)...These pickles have gone camping with us multiple times, and I've tried to keep a steady supply of them in the refrigerator. I like them on cheese-slathered crostini, big and small - see the photo up above. They're good these veggie burgers, certain tacos, and simple green summer salads. If you come up with other ideas for them, let me know. The only thing that takes much time here is draining some of the liquid from the zucchini, if you plan ahead a bit, the rest of the process only takes a couple minutes.

Quick Pickle Recipe

As far as flavor and seasoning go, this recipe delivers a bit of spicy bite from the mustard seeds and red chile, coupled with a hint of sweet, but not much. If you like a super-sweet pickle, double the sugar, and go from there. Same goes for the spiciness.

Zucchini Pickles

There are quite a number of ways to play around with the personality of these pickles. Sometimes I shave the zucchini paper-thin, resulting in a whispy tangle of pickled zucchini and onions. Other times I want my pickles to have a bit more bite, structure, and definition. In those instances, I slice the zucchini thicker, perhaps 1/8-inch, and let them drain as long as possible, sometimes overnight refrigerated. Also worth noting, when I make them for our personal condiment stash, I used a brown natural cane sugar. It gives the pickle liquid a brownish cast that, quite frankly, weirds people out if they don't know what is causing it. So, if I'm making the pickles to bring to a BBQ or something, I'll make them with regular organic cane sugar - one that is lighter in color.

3 medium zucchini (1 pound / 16 oz / 450 g), thinly sliced

1 medium white onion, thinly sliced

3 shallots, thinly sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons fine grain sea salt

1/4 cup (small handful) fresh dill sprigs
1 small fresh red chile pepper, very thinly sliced
1/2 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds

3/4 cup / 180 ml cider vinegar

3/4 cup / 180 ml white wine vinegar

1/3 cup / 1.75 oz / 50g natural cane sugar

Toss the zucchini, onion, shallots, and salt together in a colander and place over a bowl to catch the liquids. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least a couple hours. Toss once or twice along the way. You're aiming to get as much liquid out of the zucchini as possible.

When you're finished draining the zucchini, shake off any water. At this point you want the zucchini as dry as possible. Place in a 1 liter / 1 quart jar along with the dill, chile pepper, and mustard seeds. Alternately, you can cram them into a 3/4 liter Weck jar like I do, but it's always a bit snug in the jar.

Combine the ciders and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves, and continue to boil for a few minutes. Pour the liquid over the zucchini and seal the jar. Let cool, then refrigerate. The pickles are good for a week or so.

Makes one large jar.

Prep time: 120 min - Cook time: 5 min

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Oh - this looks wonderful! A perfect, end of the summer treat!

Tabitha (from single to married)

It's now clear to me that it's possible to pickle almost anything and it will taste good.

I've been putting off buying some proper mason jars, but I think I'm going to cave this week. There are just too many ideas to try, and this one is now very high on my list! Yum.


I have 3 zucchini in the fridge that were looking for a recipe! Thanks for posting.


Just wondering if you have ever tried a sugar free version of this recipe?


Yes! I have a ton of zukes from my parents' garden that need to be used pronto. I will be making this this weekend.


Beautiful picture with the bread!! I have one large zucchini that will be perfect for this recipe. I recently posted a comparison of two different types of zucchini bread on my own site. :)

A Teenage Gourmet

Yummm!! This recipe looks so easy and really good. Have you ever tried making zucchini relish? It is much better then the regular pickle relish. Thanks for the recipe!


Do you ever can these in the "put them away for another (non-foggy) day?" Are you aware of any adjustments I'd need to make to this recipe for the correct pH balance?
I've just started boiling water processing tomato sauce, preserves, etc. and I'd love to have something wonderful like this to do with all of these dang summer squash!

Chef, Interrupted

The lack of a great summer is really one of the only things (that and The Great Lakes) (oh. and the one year I have left in school) that stop me from moving to the Bay Area.

Did you know that every time I go there to visit family, I keep an eye out for you? :)


Thanks. I'll make this and add it to the arsenal of zucchini dishes I've been making this summer.

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

This recipe sounds very good. I make dill pickles every year and do a Mexican pickled onion recipe. This year I am adding pickling jalapenos, sweet and savory. The pickled zuccs sound like it would be good on sandwiches and as a side accompaniment. Love your recipes.

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

Oh I love pickles! Have not yet tried doing them myself though. Beautiful pics as usual. Thanks for the inspiration :)

Joe @ Eden Kitchen

These pickles sound like a wonderful alternative to the regular cucumber pickle. I love zucchini as it is, but pickled vegetables are even better. Thank you for the wonderful idea!

jodye @ 'scend food

I can definitely see the appeal of these wonderful little things on a tartine with fresh goat cheese or feta...A great way to reminisce about Summer!


I'm also wondering about changes that would allow for longer storage - any ideas? Thanks!


I had fully intended to make some sort of pickle this year and never really did. For some reason, It scares me. I did make lots and lots of jam though!

Christie - Honoring Health

Lovely pickle and i'd love it in a sandwich ..

The natural brown sugar version seems more like my type and a bit spicier too....

You know i keep recommending your recipes to people .


I have zucchini coming out of my ears. Thank you Heidi for another recipe I can do with my over flowing zucchini stock.

Anna Getty

Great idea for the zucchini I am buried in right now, Heidi. Thank you. I love the first photo - the blurred arch of trees echoing the line along the top of the jars is very evocative.


This looks amazing. It would be such a good gift too! Mmmm.


Oh I've never seen that before -looks great!

Simply Life

Making pickles has been on my list all summer for some reason I am pickle challenged. So I will try this quick pickle.
While my aunt was alive, I used to come to SF every fall to run the Bridge to Bridge. I told her and my friend Holly who lives in North Beach. Fall is SF's summer and always had great weather...so plenty of sunshine is coming your way!!!!!!!!!!!


ahhh, i love zucchini and pickles, i don't see how i would not like that, must make! i'd love to live in SF one day, but i definitely feel like i could go back home (spain) in august, to enjoy some heat...

Adriana from Baking Powders

Got about 12 different summer squashes on the counter ... will have to try this on about half of them. Thanks!


I pickled zucchini for the first time this year. I grilled it first though.

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

I've been into pickling lately. I will definitely try this. Thanks!


a refreshing use for all those leftover zucchinis this time of year. is that goat cheese under there? i'm imagining those flavors together on a toasty piece of bread with cool, fresh goat cheese and the nutty crunch of pignoli. that's an afternoon snack i'm craving!




Great recipe for the pickles, I like the addition of the mustard seeds and fresh dill. The images from the sun glistening on the fields is amazing.

Très magnifique et Bon Appétit!

Cajun Chef Ryan

I have never made zucchini pickles, but those sound great. I will have to keep this in mind for next year when we are drowning in zucchini and don't know what to do with them.

City Share

yummy! i am always looking for new ways to use zucchini, and this one is definitely on the agenda for this week. thanks for the recipe, and the lovely images!


Seattle summers are much the same...and this year especially. I'm a little heat deprived. Maybe some spicy summer pickles would help!

The Rowdy Chowgirl

Perfect for using up the last of my summer zucchini! Thanks!


These sound great, and I like that they don't have too much sugar. I've been making the zuke pickles from zuni cafe and they're quite good but a little too sweet for me. Thanks!


This post is soo timely! I just got a lot of zucchini to use up and I can't wait to pickle them. Your jars look so pretty!

Shaheen {The Purple Foodie}

Thank you! Am looking forward to pickling the 3lb zucchini we've been growing this summer

maggie kerr

Beautiful recipe and beautiful pictures, Heidi..what a classic, simple n' delicious recipe! Thank you for sharing.

The Healthy Apple

Here I've been sitting looking at PILES of zucchini - despairing what to do with it all! Along came this blog post.... perfect!


I'd put in red onions because they give everything a hint of pink--a lovely color that I'm sure would compliment the zucchini pickles. I'm making this recipe today!

Debra Daniels-Zeller

These look delicious! Could I can my zucchini pickles in a hot-water bath so they last longer? I will definitely have to give these pickles a try.


I used to can. A LOT. But I never once considered using zucchini for pickles. And now wonder why not? I no longer have the garden I did many years ago so haven't done cucumbers in quite awhile; but now...no problem, I've got zucchini coming out of my ears. Thanks!

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle

"Good for a week"?

I have a similar recipe that goes directly into the freezer in the glass canning jars once it cools to room temp.
Check the label on the box the jars come in - it says "freezer safe"
And they are.

That way I can extend the life of my zuke pickles & gift others with them.

Freezer Canning is the way to go ; )


I have some gigantic zucchini and yellow squash that would be perfect for this. But since pickling is new to me...I'll admit I'm scared :-)

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

What a great way to save some summer for those chilly winter days! Nice recipe and beautiful photography.


This is exactly what I need to use the mass of zucchini still coming from the garden. I have done zucchini relish before, but never just pickled...looking forward to trying. Thanks!

Amanda at Enchanted Fig

Thank you! Just wondering. Is all that sugar a must for the recipe to work? Has anyone tried a few drops of stevia instead?


Sounds yummy. Can you also pickle this so they last longer (heat processing)?


Heidi, how beautiful both the receipe and the thought of being able to go for a job alone without worry. That really makes me sigh and for the first time in my old life feel envy for the very first time. San Francisco was always only for business trips for me and how I wish I had been able to enjoy it the way you do. thanks for lovely receipes and beautiful thoughts for the day.


Heidi, I am wondering where that jar came from that the pickles are stored in?

Thanks so much for all the wonderful recipes. They, really, have changed my dietary life. They support my shift to grains and veggies so much better than other sources. And, man, your photography is wonderful. Good food, good photography AND superb writing. A feast!


I'll trade you a 60 degree summer for a 90+ degree summer any day!!!!

Pickles look great, as does every recipe on here. Thanks for lots of great ideas and new favorites, too.


While all you folk in the northern hemisphere are desperately trying to find ways to use up the prolific and excess summer produce, we down-under can just look forward to all this while huddling in front of the fire!!


Oh, how I long for those '60's summers! Grass is always greener, they say, but I'd take sixties over nineties, any day of the year. Still and all, I know it leaves you a little shivery. These look like a fine way to beat the cool blues...


These are now officially on my to do list, however I must go to the store for my zukes... The oklahoma heat killed off all my plants! I would love some of your weather if you're willing to share!


What an awesome idea!! It seems like so many people have a plethora of zucchini hanging out and this is the perfect thing to do with it!


Yum. I made pickled cauliflower that we enjoyed all summer. I love pickled anything and like the idea of the pickles on crostini. I often serve homemade pickled condiments and can't wait to play around with these.


Do you mean three zucchini of one pound each, or three zucchini totalling one pound?

And how would this be with zucchinis large enough to be classed as lethal weapons? Our landlady keeps leaving those on our doorstep.


I am not fond of anything that has even a hint of sweet in it. Could one avoid the sugar entirely? Is there some reason to use sugar? Could one use more hot peppers instead?


Hi! Thanks for the great site, I am a regular reader. I enjoy it for the lovely looks, your cosy writing style, and not in the least, inspiring recipes.
I need some help (not food related) I believe I found a link on your site to a funky little to do calendar once. Maybe it ways in one of your favorite things list? I have been going nuts trying to find it! If you know what I mean, could you send me a link? If by chance if you have no idea what I mean, because it was not on your site, sorry!


What a superb easy and tasty sounding recipe - I think these would also make a lovely gift in a pretty jar.
:-) Mandy

Mandy - The Complete Cook Book

I simply must make these for my man. A cute present idea, too!
Thanks a bunch,
Heidi xo

Heidi - apples under my bed

Last year I had so many zucchini that I decided to try making pickled zucchini. I love the idea but sadly it turned out horribly. I'll have to try your recipe instead.

Love the photos of the light coming through the trees and brush. Beautiful.

Thank you.


When you say seal the jar, does that mean regular canning seal (like the boiled water and all) or just tightly close it?


I'm curious as to what the other jars are in the header photo!

I plan to try making these pickles later today or tomorrow.

Sylvia, you might be talking about teuxdeux.com. I started using it when Heidi shared it and it is pretty neat.


We made these last night with the tofu burgers you posted earlier this summer. We both agreed it was one of the best meals we've made... possibly ever.

Anne Marie

Just a note to say I hope you and your loved ones aren't part of the San Bruno blast. So sorry for those who are.


man, I love a good pickle recipe. i tend to eat them straight outta the jar and as a result don't have them for toppings on other foods, but i'm ok with that ;).

i was in SF passing through for our PCH drive a couple of weeks ago. gorgeous, but definitely cool; i'm not sure i'd like it like that all summer, but then again, it's been way hot here in chicago....

heather @ chiknpastry

Why can't these be canned.? Would love them in a few months or for Xmas gifts. Great site.


I made these last night. I had never eaten pickled anything before except for pickles, but for some reason it looked and sounded really good.

And it was. I just had some for lunch on a slice of toasted sourdough with goat cheese.

Thanks! Once again I have tried something with one of your recipes and enjoyed it.


A lovely change from pickled cucumbers. Thanks for sharing this, Heidi.

dinners & dreams

CIao, what a nice blog. I am a vegetarian, I have been here ages ago, and I'll be back again.



I love pickled anything. There is truly nothing better. I also love your neck of the woods. I went to CAL( a very long time ago) and can still smell the beginning of fall this time of year. It is so distinct. Why did I ever leave? You live in a perfectly magical place, filled with art, intellect and terrific food!

the urban baker

Yum! i have never made zucchini pickles but thee look awesome! I love the idea of zucchini pickle crostini.


I've been doing bread & butter zucchini pickles over here... and with the big zukes, I have been making zucchini relish http://www.livegreenwearblack.com/2010/08/pickled-zucchini-relish.html


Seems so simple! I've made quick jalapeno slices before, but never thought about zucchini! This looks wonderful. :)


J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

More than anything, I'm dying to know what the pink stuff in the jars is...


Just don't come to Santa Cruz.. it is just as foggy... sigh... however, you blog and the pickled goodness makes me smile. Thanks for the sunshine :)

Nicole @ The Dirty Oven

Perfect timing with lots of zucchini in the house, so I made these. They are super easy and fun to make. And they are really delicious. One thing -- there wasn't enough liquid in the recipe to cover my ingredients entirely, so I added a bit of boiling water until everything was covered. They turned out great. I may have to try this on other veggies, sliced paper-thin.


I've already kicked off my canning season and still have some zucchini too, Ive never pickled them but this sounds perfect! Thanks!

Jennifer @ Maple n Cornbread

I made these yesterday and think I could happily eat the whole jar today! They are so good. I've also just made the split pea & pepita salad to your recipe and mixed thru some cherry tomatoes ... wow! Your recipes are fabulous :)


Just made these. The chopping took quite a while, but I think it will be worth it. The jar is so pretty and colourful! Almost as good as getting to eat them!


So, please, how sweet are they? I loathe sweet pickles, or bread and butter pickles. (I have a hard time with savory and sweet at the same time.)

I enjoy dill pickles, and other sour tasting pickles. Would this work without the sugar?

I make a delicious hummus with pickled red bell peppers added to the chick peas & tahini, but it works for me because I neutralize the sweetness with good curry powder and several dashes of cayenne.


Constance in the Sierra Foothills of CA, where we definitely have summer. And free range chickens and real eggs.


I did not know you could pickled the Zucchinis. I love this, many times there are simply too many Zucchini bread to go around, having this option is great! Thanks.

Pam @ Kitchen Cookware Set

My husband has been asking me to make pickled zucchinis for him, but the recipe he loves comes from his ex-girlfriends Bulgarian grandmother. I hope this recipe will erase that memory. Thanks for sharing!

Casey Angelova

This looks fantastic! I'm not a huge zucchini fan, so I can't wait to try this recipe! I love making pickles and I'm sure this will make a zuke-lover out of me yet.

Incidentally, summer on the east coast was horrendous this year. I would have given my left arm for summer days in the 60s. :) Too many days in a row in triple digits can be a little taxing.


I usually don't care for pickles (except for pickled ginger), but this is inspiring. I may have to try it!

Dina Avila

I love the pictures and I am glad that you all had a great crop this summer. It is nice to have this fine vegetable for canning. I can not wait to try your recipe. I have been using the same one for years and sometimes, I wonder if, I am missing out on something or weather I should add to my list of favorites.


Hey, Heidi! I had some wonderful pickled zucchini in Amsterdam last month(at Restaurant De Kas - have you ever been? I think you would love it.) and I haven't been able to get it out of my head. I've been wanting to attempt a batch of them myself, but I haven't known where to begin. Now I know: I'll begin right here! Thanks so much for this recipe.


looks yummy!! I'm gonna try this at home.

Natura Cleanse

Hi Heidi -

Love the site, your recipes are inspiring to me.

Do you think there is any reason why we can't can this and put it on the shelf?



Sarah Craighead Dedmon

Man those look good! I did a quick pickled zucchini style slaw the other night that turned out awesome! I served atop a charcoal grilled turkey breast. It was delicious!


This recipe sounds very good. Tho haven't tried them myself. Let me try :) thanks a lot


This recipe sounds very good. Tho haven't tried them myself. Let me try :) thanks a lot


These sounded great so I made them last week. Couldn't find a small red chili pepper so used 1 jalapeno and 1 banana pepper (quite the kick); used half Splenda/half sugar and an extra zucchini that was lying around; didn't have glass jar so just used a tight-sealing plastic container. The recipe was quite forgiving as it turned out great, thanks!


Pickling, pickling, pickling! I've been refining and chasing new recipes--this looks like one for the larder. Thanks!

tom @ tall clover farm

I made these this weekend and they were delish! So easy. A perfect way to use extra summer squash. I'll make another batch today to share with friends.

Lindy Lew

Excellent recipe. I've made it twice already. Thanks!


I picked my last 3 garden zukes just before leaving town for a few days--this was a perfect way to use them up quickly. When we returned, we cracked open the jar and enjoyed these delicious pickles with goat cheese and crusty bread. LOVED them! I have since realized that I accidentally read "scallions" instead of "shallots" but it was a happy accident that worked great. I also upped the sugar to 1/2 c. and they were still plenty pungent. Will be making more this week!


Those of you who are wondering about sweetness. I made this recipe using the full amount of sugar called for in the recipe. (Come on, people, it's only one third of a cup!)

The only modification was that I used (sweet) cippolini onions in place of the shallots, b/c that's what I had on hand.

The result is QUITE tart - that's a lot of vinegar that the sugar is balancing. And the chili pepper adds a nice bit too. These are nothing like sweet relish or bread 'n butter pickles.


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