Pickled Cauliflower (refrigerator pickles)
Quick pickled cauliflower is a fun way to eat this favorite vegetable, with loads of zesty flavor and a nice crisp snap!
Crunchy as a fresh dill pickle, and just as tasty, pickled cauliflower is a surprisingly fun way to enjoy this ubiquitous white vegetable. We’ve been seeing cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza crusts, roasted cauliflower, cauliflower tacos, even cauliflower nachos (which are so good, by the way!).
I love salads featuring cauliflower, like this roasted cauliflower salad with arugula and sweet potato. And this creamy cauliflower, potato, and cheddar bake is so yummy! But maybe cauliflower pickles are something new for you.
Quick refrigerator pickles are such a great way to get your pickle fix. There’s no canning involved and it’s surprisingly easy to make a quick pickle. You’ll see a bunch more recipes at the end of this post for pickling other vegetables. Don’t be stuck on plain ol’ dill or sweet pickles — almost any vegetable benefits from a soak in tangy spice and herb infused vinegar.
Try adding pickled cauliflower to your next charcuterie board or relish tray. People really love munching on these healthy, very low calorie nibbles. They provide a nice tangy contrast to the usual cheese and meat offerings.
About this recipe
Refrigerator cauliflower pickles are so easy and versatile. It’s a great way to eat your vegetables, low calorie and economical. Pickled cauliflower is an interesting side to sandwiches or roasted meats. I’d guess that anyone who says cauliflower is bland and boring hasn’t tried pickled cauliflower.
You can make this recipe in about 10 minutes. All you’ll need is a couple of jars (recycled jars are fine) and a small saucepan.
What you need
As always, scroll down for the printable recipe!
- Cauliflower: A whole head of fresh cauliflower will fill about two quart size jars.
- Spices & Flavors: This is the part where you can have a little fun (keep scrolling for some of our suggestions). The recipe we’ve tested uses fresh garlic, fresh dill, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds. Red pepper flakes are an optional addition that will make your pickles spicy.
- Pickling Liquid: You’ll need white vinegar, water, sugar (not much, just 3 teaspoons), and salt.
How do you pickle cauliflower?
The process is simple. Wash and dry two wide mouth quart canning jars (Mason jars). If you have a couple of recycled large-sized pickle jars, those will work fine, too, as long as you have tight fitting lids.
- Wash the cauliflower florets. If you can, give them a spin in your salad spinner to remove any excess water, or blot them with a clean towel.
- Divide the garlic cloves, peppercorns, mustard and coriander seeds, and dill sprigs evenly between the two jars, and then add the cauliflower florets, filling the jars right up to the top.
- Heat the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a saucepan until it comes to a boil and then pour the mixture into the jars over the cauliflower.
- Cover the jars tightly and cool to room temperature. Once they’ve cooled, put the jars in your fridge for at least twenty-four hours to let the flavors soak into the cauliflower before eating the cauliflower. If you’re like me, you’ll have a hard time waiting that long!
How to make this recipe your own
- Add other veggies. Cauliflower and carrots make a nice color combo but you could add other crisp vegetables, too, such as sliced onions, green beans, or celery. Experiment and see what you like best.
- Add a 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric for a bright yellow color.
- Increase the sugar for a sweet pickle, or make the pickles without sugar. A little sugar does temper the acidity of the vinegar but it’s technically optional.
- Use a different kind of vinegar: cider vinegar or rice vinegar are good options. I wouldn’t recommend balsamic or malt vinegars because their flavor is too concentrated.
- Play around with the herbs and spices. Other good herb choices are fresh thyme, oregano, or rosemary. Bay leaves are a good addition, too.
- Not a garlic fan? Leave the garlic out. Or if you really love garlic, add a few more cloves.
- Looking for a cooked Italian pickle? Try this recipe for Giardiniera from The Spruce Eats, with cauliflower, pearl onions, carrots, and celery.
Cauliflower pickles will keep in the fridge for three to four weeks. The flavor will intensify with time.
More Quick Pickles
Refrigerator quick pickled vegetables are so popular and once you’ve tried a few of these easy recipes, I’m sure you’ll understand the hype!
- Pickled Red Onions — one of my most popular recipes, you’ll find yourself adding pickled red onions to almost everything!
- Pickled Green Beans
- Quick Pickled Radish Recipe
- Pickled Asparagus Recipe
- Refrigerator Dill Pickles
- 2 quart size mason jars
- 4 garlic cloves, halved
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 4 sprigs fresh dill
- 1 head (2 lbs.) cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Optional: 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Wash the jars and lids well with hot soapy water, rinse, and dry.
- Divide garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and dill evenly between two jars. Fill to top with cauliflower florets.
- In a small saucepan, bring water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat and pour into jars. If needed, top off with water.
- Cover jars and cool to room temperature before moving to the fridge.
- Refrigerate at least 24 hours before eating. Cauliflower pickles will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.
- Cauliflower pickles will keep in the fridge for three to four weeks. The flavor will intensify with time.
- If desired, add other veggies. Cauliflower and carrots make a nice color combo but you could add other crisp vegetables, too, such as sliced onions, green beans, or celery. Experiment and see what you like best.
- If desired, add a 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric for a bright yellow color.
- You can increase the sugar for a sweet pickle, or make the pickles without sugar. A little sugar does temper the acidity of the vinegar but it's technically optional.
- Other types of vinegar that will work: Apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar. We do not recommend using balsamic or malt vinegars.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 11Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 399mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g
RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.