Quick pickles are the perfect way of adding crunch and spice to any meal. These fresh and light pickled cucumbers and radishes are addictively good, and the easiest fridge pickles you will ever make. Ready to eat on the day they’re made.
What are quick pickles, and why make them?
Also known as fridge pickles, these quick and easy pickles are the go-to recipe for when you want a pickle in a hurry. Crunchy, spicy, sweet, sharp and moreish, my quick pickled cucumber and radish slices are a must-have all year round.
They are also an especially good way to perk up boring watery supermarket cucumber and radishes (my favourite vegetables to pickle).
I get a bit addicted to them and especially in the summer, when I make a HUGE jar every couple of days. Unlike traditional pickles, these are fresh and light with no need to mature. They make the perfect accompaniment to salads, cheese and cold meats.
Whether you eat them on open sandwiches, Scandinavian style, or with a mezze spread, they are perfect to lift a simple summer meal or to remind you of sunnier days in winter. They also make a very pretty edible garnish when you want to impress!
You really can’t go wrong with this easy pickle recipe. Because your pickles are kept in the fridge and eaten within 48 hours, you don’t need to worry about many of the issues that come with traditional preserving. Heat the vinegar with the flavourings, pour it over the vegetables and you’re done!
Why you will love these pickles
- Super quick and easy to make
- Crunchy, light and spicy with just the right amount of sweetness
- They are addictively good!
- Endlessly variable and adaptable, perfect for using up a garden glut
- Ready to eat the day you make them
Quick pickles ingredients
The vegetables need to be fresh and in the best condition. Quick pickling is not the time to use up tired fridge bottom vegetables that are going limp. You want some crunch in your pickle.
How to prepare vegetables for quick pickles
The vegetables have to be sliced thinly, so that the vinegar can penetrate quickly. The best way to do this is with a mandolin slicer, which can very quickly render any vegetable into a pile of paper thin slices. But do take care to keep your fingers away from the blade!
Aromatics for quick pickles
I used cardamom and coriander seeds with some fresh dill, but you can mix and match:
Spices for quick pickles
- all spice
- juniper berries
- mustard seeds
- nigella seeds
- coriander seeds
Herbs for quick pickles
- coriander (cilantro)
- chives or finely sliced spring onions (scallions)
How to make quick pickles
Step one – Gather the ingredients.
Step two – Prepare the vegetables by slicing them thinly. The best way to do this is with a mandolin, but take care; it’s very easy to slice your fingers. Be sure to use the finger guard that comes with your mandolin.
Step three – Put the vinegar, herbs, sugar and spices into a saucepan along with a teaspoon of sea salt. Heat so that the vinegar is hot but not boiling, and the sugar and salt have dissolved.
Lots of recipe for quick pickles skip this stage, but I find if you heat up the vinegar the flavours of the spices and herbs are much stronger
Step four – Pack the sliced vegetables into a jar and then pour the vinegar mixture over, making sure the vegetables are covered. Seal, cool and put in the fridge to infuse for about an hour until chilled before serving.
What do I serve quick pickles with?
I love these pickles straight from the jar, but they are great in a sandwich, in a burger, with oily fish or with a salad.
FAQs, hints & tips
What other vegetables can I use?
As well as the standards of quick pickled radish and cucumber, why not experiment with any of these:
How long do quick pickles last?
Keep in the fridge and eat within two days. I usually make a second batch with the leftover picking vinegar and eat the next day. Do not try to use it a third time, as it will be too diluted by then.
- 4 radishes (thinly sliced)
- ¼ cucumber (thinly sliced)
- 60 ml white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 30 g white sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 3 pods cardamom
- ½ tsp coriander seed
- 1 sprig dill
- Place the vinegar, sugar, salt, coriander and cardamom pods into a pan and gently heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
- Add all the other ingredients and allow to cook before transferring to a jar in the fridge.
- Leave to mature in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Use within two days.
These are delicious and crisp, and perfect with many meals. My Mother used to make these with cauliflower added. Really good, and yes, very addictive.
What a brilliant idea, Helen. So easy and just the thing for making radish that little bit more interesting.
These really do make a tasty crisp addition to salads. Lovely to have handy in the fridge.
I’m not keen on strong pickles, but these are very palatable and lovely and fresh.
A lovely addition to summer meals. Tasty and crispy and a good way to use veggies.
I enjoy pickling vegetables and they add a certain extra to salads. These are particularly nicer with the fresher taste.
Really fresh and tangy, they make a great addition to summer meals.
These delicious pickled veggies have been lovely to enjoy. I often make them now. The kids love them too.