This pickled cauliflower recipe is the tastiest way to use up all those fresh garden vegetables - no canning required! You'll love this super simple refrigerated pickling process that results in sweet & tangy (with a hint of spice) fresh cauliflower pickles paired with bell peppers, onion, garlic, and fresh herbs. Perfect for snacking, parties, or even gifts!
Quick Pickled Cauliflower
Quick and Simple. Pickling cauliflower is super easy and simple without the hassle of water bath canning. Just fill mason jars or any jar that seals tightly with your ingredients and top with the hot pickling liquid. Let it cool, then place in the fridge to blend the flavors and then eat 'em up!
Summer Treasures. I love to do this simple pickling process for many of my summertime garden favorites, such as beans, peapods, cauliflower, carrots, pickles, or peppers. You can also change up the ingredients for different flavor profiles as you desire.
Healthy. You may use a sugar substitute such as allulose to make this sugar free and keto friendly. Refrigerator cauliflower pickles are plant-based, low carb, gluten-free, and low-calorie! Honey or other natural sweeteners may be used as well.
Pickled Cauliflower Recipe Ingredients
Here are the ingredients you will need to make easy pickled cauliflower recipe:
- Cauliflower: for this recipe, I used a medium-sized head of cauliflower cut into small florets. This recipe is easily doubled or tripled so feel free to use more than one head of cauliflower.
- Bell Pepper: use any color of bell pepper you desire.
- Sweet Onion: I liked the sweet onion with this recipe because of the red pepper flakes; they balance each other deliciously!
- Garlic: whole cloves of garlic are added to the jar. Purchase a small whole head of garlic or purchase the pre-peeled ready-to-use garlic cloves-remember to lightly smash your cloves to release their oil and flavor.
- Red Pepper Flakes: add more or less based on your preference.
- Granulated Sugar: you can use plain white sugar or a sugar substitute. I prefer using allulose as it does not cloud the water. Check the ratio of sugar equivalent and adjust accordingly.
- Kosher Salt
- Apple Cider Vinegar: using apple cider vinegar gives a slightly sweeter flavor profile than white vinegar.
- Optional: fresh herb sprigs of dill or thyme.
For exact ingredient quantities, please see the recipe card below!
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Substitutions and Variations
- Add a variety of fresh herb sprigs such as rosemary, oregano, or dill.
- Use any variety of sweet bell pepper you choose, or use a variety.
- Use a halved or sliced jalapeno in place of red pepper flakes if desired.
- Add in other vegetables, such as thinly sliced carrots or radishes.
- Use white vinegar in place of apple cider vinegar if you choose to.
- If you prefer a sweeter pickled cauliflower, feel free to add more sugar. Start with an extra 1/2 cup of sugar.
- Add extra flavor to your pickle brine by adding mustard seeds, coriander seeds, or any other of your favorite pickling spices.
How to Make Pickled Cauliflower
Making pickled cauliflower is easy - here's how. For full instructions, please see recipe card below.
1. Add cauliflower and vegetables to an airtight container.
2. Make pickled cauliflower brine.
3. Pour the hot liquid into the jars covering the vegetables.
4. Cool completely, then refrigerate at least 2 days before serving.
How To Use This Recipe For Pickled Cauliflower
Cauliflower pickles make the perfect snack any time of day!
Serve as a side to any of your favorite grilled or roasted meats.
Drain the liquid and add it to your next charcuterie board--pairs well with a variety of cheeses, olives, salami, and crackers.
Garnish your favorite bloody mary with your spicy pickled cauliflower-yum!
Here are some great recipes that would go well with pickled cauliflower:
How to Store Cauliflower Pickles
Store in the fridge for up to 1 month in an air-tight container.
How long does Pickled Cauliflower last?
I find that for the best taste and crunch, they are best if consumed within one month of making them. I have had them in the fridge for longer when I have made larger batches, and they still taste good, but they do start to get soft over time.
Pickled Cauliflower Recipe FAQs
Yes, they can go bad. Depending upon the original canning method, the time frame in which they go bad is different. Water bath canned vegetables are stored on a pantry shelf and can last up to 1 year, sometimes longer. Refrigerated pickled vegetables usually last for 1 to 2 months.
Make sure that once your cauliflower cools on the counter and you place your air-tight lid, transfer it to the fridge and chill let it sit for a minimum of 24 hours before consuming. This ensures the best flavor.
If your pickled cauliflower has turned pink, it is likely due to a chemical reaction between the natural pigments in the cauliflower and the brine or other ingredients used in the pickling process. This color change can be a result of various factors, including pH, minerals, and other compounds in the ingredients.
While the color change might be surprising, it's usually harmless and doesn't necessarily indicate spoilage. However, if you notice any unusual or off-putting odors, flavors, or textures in the pickled cauliflower, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid consuming it.
No, you do not need to rinse pickled vegetables before consuming them.
1. Start with firm and fresh vegetables.
2. Clean the vegetables well and remove any spoiled spots.
3. Choose a crispier vegetable to pickle - cauliflower, cucumbers, carrots, beans, etc.
4. Use a vinegar with 5% or high acid content (white, apple cider, and rice).
5. While not necessary, you can use a pickling salt. It is finer and purer because it does not contain a anti-sticking agent that some salts do.
6. Try using ingredients that help to crisp vegetables, such as alum or Pickle Crisp.
Oh yes! Cauliflower is low in calories, low carb, high in fiber, and loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants! Cauliflower pickles are the perfect healthy snack! Feel free to use a sugar substitute in this recipe.
You can pickle any vegetable, and some are better than others. I find that "crunchy" veggies such as cucumbers, carrots, beans, pea pods, cauliflower, broccoli, and even asparagus are great for making pickles!
Best Recipe For Pickled Cauliflower
- 1 medium head of cauliflower (cut into small florets)
- 1 medium red, orange, yellow or green bell pepper (trimmed, seeds removed, and then cut into slices)
- 1 medium sweet onion (peel, halved, then cut into slices)
- 4 cloves garlic (peeled and lightly smashed)
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup granulated sugar (an equivalent amount of sugar substitute may be used, such as allulose or stevia)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- (optional): sprigs of fresh dill or thyme
- In a large jar, bowl, or several smaller jars add layer in cauliflower, bell peppers, onion, jalapeno, garlic, and fresh herbs if using.
- In a saucepan add vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil.
- Using a funnel, immediately pour the hot liquid into the jars until the vegetables are fully covered.
- Leave uncovered on the counter until completely cooled. Cover tightly then refrigerate at least 2 days before serving.
- Don't miss all of our helpful hints, substitution ideas, cooking tips, and other delicious recipes that can be found in our post. Check it out!
- VARIATIONS: Add in sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary, oregano, or dill; Use any colorful sweet bell pepper; Use a halved or sliced jalapeno in place of red pepper flakes; Add other vegetables such as thinly sliced carrots or radishes.
- Add up to a ½ cup more sugar if you prefer a sweeter pickled cauliflower.
- I used a 52-ounce (1.5 liter) hinged lid mason jar, but any lidded airtight container or bowl will work.
- SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Makes a great snack or side to any favorite grilled or roasted meat. Drain the liquid and add it to your next charcuterie board - it pairs well with various cheeses, olives, and salami.
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