Quick Pickled Celery, an easy refrigerator pickled celery recipe in a light vinegar brine. A tasty and easy way to preserve your celery without canning!

pickled celery slices in a jar on a white table

Not sure what to do with leftover celery? Try pickling it! This simple and quick refrigerator pickled celery recipe takes only 2 hours to perfectly pickle celery slices to use as toppings for burgers, salads, and tacos.

👉 Ready to learn how to quick pickle celery? Let’s do it!

celery, garlic, water, vinegar, sugar, and salt on a table before pickling
Ingredients: celery, garlic, herbs, water, vinegar, sugar, salt

How to make (step-by-step photos)

1️⃣ Step One: Wash and cut celery

The first step is to prep the celery! Simply break off 3-4 celery stalks and give them a good wash, then cut off the leaves and hard white stem.

The cut celery into small, bite-size slices – we like to cut them about 1/4 inch (or 1/2 centimeter) thick.

sliced celery on a wood cutting board before pickling
Slice celery

2️⃣ Step Two: Prepare the pickling jar

Next it’s time to prepare the jar that you will pickle the celery in. Choose a large, wide jar so that you can leave 1/2 inch of space after you fill the jar with the brine.

Add the celery, garlic, herbs (if using), mustard, and red pepper flakes (optional, but we highly recommend if you like a bit of spice).

celery slices in a jar before pickling
Add celery to pickling jar

3️⃣ Step Three: Prepare and add the pickling brine

You can't make pickled vegetables without brine! This is what adds the “pickled” flavor to vegetables and fruit.

Our go-to refrigerator pickling brine formula is usually:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup vinegar (distilled vinegar, white wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are our favorites)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (granulated white or brown)

We increase or decrease the amount of brine depending on the amount of vegetables we’re pickling, but this is the foundational recipe we use that always produces great tasting pickled vegetables.

a small sauce pan with salt and sugar inside on a white table with a measuring glass of water and a bottle of apple cider vinegar
Add salt, sugar, vinegar, and water to pan

To make the brine:

  1. Add water, a vinegar of your choice (see our tips for vinegar below), salt, and sugar to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Pour the hot brine into the pickling jar and completely cover the celery, then close the lid tightly and allow it to cool down on the counter until it reaches room temperature.

💡 Want more tips for making pickling brine? Check out my full recipe, tips, and advice for making a refrigerator pickling brine here.

a small sauce pan filled with water and apple cider vinegar brine on a stovetop with a wooden spoon
Boil the brine, the pour over vegetables

👉 Which vinegar should you use for pickling celery? We like a light vinegar for pickling celery because it has such a light natural flavor that can easily be overpowered, so we opt for white vinegar or white wine vinegar.

bottles of red wine, white wine, distilled, rice, apple cider, and balsamic vinegars on a wooden table
Test out different vinegars to find your favorite brine recipe

4️⃣ Step Four: Refrigerate celery pickling jar

Once the jar is cool, put the jar into the refrigerator and allow the celery to pickle in the vinegar brine for at least 2 hours (see below for time recommendations).

celery slices in a jar with pickling brine
Refrigerator at least 2 hours

⏱ How long to quickly pickle celery?

If you want to serve quickly, let the celery pickle for at least 2 hours. For best results, we recommend letting the slices soak up the brine for at least 24-48 hours.

These refrigerator pickled celery slices are good up to two weeks in the refrigerator as long as they are submerged in the vinegar water.


❓ Questions and quick tips

What jar should I use for pickling celery?

Choose a small but wide and tall jar. There should be about 1/2–1 inch (1-2 cm) of space between the top of the celery and the lid so that you can completely submerge in the brine liquid.

How long before you can eat pickled celery?

You can eat pickled celery after it has been in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. However, we suggest waiting for 24-48 hours for the best results.

How long do pickled celery cloves last?

As long as celery slices are completely covered with brine, they will last for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. If any piece of the celery is sticking out of the water, there is potential for bacterial growth, so make sure to use a tall jar and to completely submerge them in the brine.

How do I know if my pickled celery has gone bad?

Quick pickling vegetables and fruit in the refrigerator does not come with the same food safety hazards as traditional pickling and canning. However, to make sure your celery garlic stays safe while stored in the refrigerator, make sure to completely cover it in the liquid brine and to feel it before eating. If the slices are slimy, throw them out.

refrigerator pickled celery in a jar on a white table

💡 Ideas for serving

Here are a few recipes and ideas to get you started:

  • Add on top of burgers. Add pickled celery on top of veggie burgers for an acidic flavor kick.
  • Top tacos. Sprinkle a few pickled celery slices on top of tacos for a flavor contrast.
  • On a pickable platter. Add a bowl of pickled celery to a platters with dips and snacks.

♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips

We're all about living a more eco-friendly lifestyle here at Fork in the Road! Here are some tips for making this recipe more sustainable:

Don't toss out celery leaves! Celery leaves are actually edible and can be used in a Celery Top Pesto or even in a Leftover Celery Leaf Salad.

Take advantage of celery season! The best time to pickle celery is when it's in season, which is late summer through early fall in most areas (click here to see when celery is in season in your area).

a close up photo of pickled celery in a jar

🧅 More quick pickling recipes

Want to quick pickle more vegetables? We’ve got you covered:

Quick Pickled Celery

Quick Pickled Celery, an easy refrigerator pickled celery recipe in a light vinegar brine. A tasty and easy way to preserve your celery without canning!
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Ingredients

  • 4 stalks celery, about 3 cups
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Optional: fresh herbs, red pepper flakes

Instructions 

  • Prep the celery: Wash celery and cut off leaves and white stem. Then cut into thin slices (about 1/4 inch in width) and set aside.
  • Prepare the pickling jar: Add sliced celery to a large jar with mustard, garlic, and optional add-ins like herbs and red pepper flakes.
  • Prepare and add the brine: In a medium saucepan bring the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil. Once boiling, pour into the jar until the liquid completely submerges the celery. Let the jar cool on the counter until it reaches room temperature.
  • Pickling instructions: Once cooled, close the lid on the jar securely and put the jar into the refrigerator and let the celery pickle for at least 2 hours before serving, but for best results serve after at least 24 hours. Quick pickled celery slices are good up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Vinegar: White vinegar, white wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are the best vinegar choices for this recipe.
  • Recommended jar: Choose a large and wide jar with about 1/2 – 1 inch space (2-3 cm) below the lid.
  • Other recommended tools: small saucepan, cutting board, knife set
  • Prep ahead and storage: Refrigerator pickled celery should be made at least 2 hours before serving, but for best results make at least 24-48 hours ahead. Keep the jar refrigerated and it can be enjoyed for up to two weeks. Do not freeze.
  • Nutrition notes: Nutrition information is calculated with all brine ingredients (including full amount of sugar, salt, etc.), however the celery won’t absorb all of the liquid so the actual nutrition information is less than listed here.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 22kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 0.2g, Saturated Fat: 0.03g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 1824mg, Potassium: 116mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 182IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 26mg, Iron: 0.2mg