Refrigerator Pickled Zucchini Ribbons, an easy pickled zucchini recipe that's ready in just a few hours and is the perfect way to preserve your zucchini harvest. Your new favorite condiment or snack!

pickled thinly sliced zucchini in a glass jar with pickling brine on a white counterop

Looking for something to do with your bounty of zucchini? Making quick pickled zucchini is a great way to preserve it while in season so you can take advantage of its fresh flavor all year long. Fermenting and canning vegetables can be intimidating and time-consuming, but it's still possible to homemade pickled zucchini — in the refrigerator!

👉 To make quick pickled zucchini in the refrigerator, follow these four simple steps:

  1. Prepare the zucchini by cutting it into thin strips, or “ribbons.”
  2. Add the zucchini, spices, and seasonings into a large jar.
  3. Make a salted vinegar brine and pour into the jar with the zucchini.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and enjoy right away, or store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Ready to learn how to make refrigerator pickled zucchini strips? Let's do it!

whole zucchini and bowls of water, vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard, garlic, and fresh herbs on a white table
Ingredients: zucchini, vinegar, water, salt, herbs, garlic, seasonings

🥣 How to make pickled zucchini in the fridge (step-by-step)

1️⃣ Step One: Thinly slice zucchini into ribbons

Start by preparing the zucchini. Wash it to remove any dirt, then cut the ends off.

Next, slice zucchini into long, thin strips with a knife or a mandolin. Make sure the zucchini slices fit into the jar you will use to store them.

♻️ Sustainable cooking tip: Save the zucchini ends and any other scraps. Reduce food waste by adding these to homemade vegetable stock.

sliced zucchini strips on a cutting board on a white table
Sliced zucchini into thin strips

2️⃣ Step Two: Prepare the pickling jar

Place zucchini ribbons into a tall jar along with fresh herbs, mustard seeds, garlic cloves, and red pepper flakes. If you have other veggies, like sliced radish, bell pepper, or carrots on hand, you can add them to the jar if you'd like.

Make sure there is about 1/2 – 1 inch (1-2cm) of space above the zucchini slices and below the jar's lid so that they can be completely covered with brine. This is necessary for the zucchini to pickle evenly.

zucchini slices in a pickling jar on a white table
Add zucchini and seasoning to a jar

3️⃣ Step Three: Prepare + add the brine

Brine is key for pickling vegetables! This salted and sugared vinegar water is what adds the “pickled” flavor to the zucchini.

👉 Here is the foundational recipe we use for refrigerator pickling brine:

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

We adjust the amount of brine depending on how many veggies we're using, but this is our go-to recipe that always ends in great results for pickled vegetables.

Making brine takes just a few simple steps. You'll start by adding water, a vinegar of your choice (see our recommendations below), salt, and sugar to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

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

Add the hot brine to the pickling jar by pouring it to completely cover the zucchini slices. Tightly close the lid and allow it to cool down to room temperature.

pickling brine pouring into a jar filled with sliced zucchini
Add brine to the zucchini pickling jar

👉 Which vinegar is best for pickling? If you're looking for a mild flavor, distilled white vinegar is your best choice. White wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar are slightly more flavorful, and are a great option for pickling. Malt and balsamic vinegar have a strong flavor, which should be avoided when making pickles (unless you prefer it!).

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 to quickly pickle zucchini

Once cooled, place the jar of zucchini slices in the fridge and wait for it to pickle in the salted vinegar brine.

pickled zucchini in a tall glass jar on a white table
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours

⏰ How long to quick pickle zucchini

Zucchini should pickle for at least 2 hours before eating to ensure it soaks up the brine and has flavor. However, for best results we suggest letting the zucchini soak for at least 24-48 hours.

Quick pickled zucchini strips can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month. Make sure the zucchini pickles stay submerged in the vinegar so they last as long as possible.


❓ Recipe questions + quick tips

Can I use zucchini instead of cucumber for pickles?

Zucchini can be used for pickling instead of cucumber. Although the vegetables are very similar, cucumbers have higher water content and tend to be juicier. Zucchini tastes slightly more bitter than cucumber, but it's still a great option for refrigerator pickling.

How do you preserve zucchini?

You can preserve zucchini by pickling it in the refrigerator! Simply submerge zucchini slices in a pickling jar along with brine and seasonings. Keep it there for at least 2 hours to allow the zucchini to absorb the liquid brine. After making pickled zucchini, it can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 month.

What jar should I use for refrigerator pickled zucchini?

Pick a jar tall enough to store the pickled zucchini slices. There should be about 1/2 – 1 inch (1-2cm) of space between the peels and the lid so that they can completely submerge in the brine liquid.

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

Quick pickling vegetables does not come with the same food safety hazards as traditional pickling and canning. However, to keep your pickled zucchini safe in the refrigerator, make sure they are completely covered in brine. Check their texture before eating them: if they feel slimy, the zucchini slices should be discarded in compost.

pickled zucchini ribbons on a white table

🌿 How to serve pickled zucchini

There are so many ways to enjoy pickled zucchini, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • On a large snack board. Add refrigerator pickled zucchini to a charcuterie selection of fruit, nuts, and vegetables.
  • Combine with salads or bowls. Use as a topping or side for your favorite salad, bowl, or other dish. Try it with our Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Salad or Ginger Soy Tofu Bowl.
  • Use as a condiment. Pickled zucchini makes for a delicious condiment. Similar to regular pickles, they add a tangy flavor to sandwiches, burgers, tacos, and other dishes.
  • Keep on hand for snacking. Pair zucchini pickles with a handful of nuts or seeds for a tasty balanced snack.

♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips + tricks

Making this recipe is a great way to reduce food waste in itself, but you can take your eco-friendly lifestyle even further with these tips:

Enjoy during zucchini season. Stock up on zucchini while it's seasonal during the summer and early fall. The Seasonal Food Guide's seasonality calendar will tell you exactly when zucchini is in season near you.

Save jars to use for quick pickling. There's no need to buy new jars to pickle vegetables! Save the glass jars you have from other foods, which you can wash and remove the label from.

Keep the veggie scraps. Don't toss the zucchini ends or any other scraps you accumulated while prepping this recipe. Save them to flavor soups and other dishes with our homemade food scrap vegetable broth.

Grow your own zucchini. If you have a garden, give planting some zucchini a try! This way, you'll always have enough on hand for pickling during zucchini season without needing to travel anywhere (and you'll save money, too!).

zucchini slices in a pickling jar on a white countertop

🧂 More quick pickling recipes

Try out our other easy pickled vegetable recipes:

Yield: 8 servings

Refrigerator Pickled Zucchini Ribbons Recipe

pickled zucchini ribbons on a white table

Refrigerator Pickled Zucchini Ribbons, an easy (and tasty!) pickled zucchini recipe that's ready in just a few hours in the refrigerator.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (450 grams) zucchini
  • 1/4 cup oregano, or other herbs
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Instructions

  1. Cut zucchini into thin strips: Using a knife or mandolin, cut zucchini into long strips after washing.
  2. Prepare the pickling jar: Add cut zucchini to a large jar and add dill or other desired herbs, mustard seeds, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
  3. 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 zucchini. Close the lid on the jar tightly.
  4. Pickling instructions: Let the jar cool on the counter until it reaches room temperature. Once cooled, put the jar into the refrigerator and let the zucchini slices pickle for at least 2 hours before serving, but for best results serve after at least 24 hours. Quick pickled zucchini are good up to one month in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Vinegar: White vinegar, white wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are the best vinegar choices for this pickled vegetable recipe.
  • Recommended jar: Pick a jar tall enough to store the pickled zucchini slices. There should be about 1/2 - 1 inch (1-2 cm) of space between the peels and the lid so that they can completely submerge in the brine liquid.
  • Other recommended tools: small saucepan, cutting board, knife set or mandolin
  • Prep ahead and storage: Refrigerator pickled zucchini 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 one month. Do not freeze.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 27Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 797mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g