Slightly Sweet Zucchini Fridge Pickles

August 5, 2015(updated on August 30, 2021)

two jars of finished pickles

When I was in Portland a couple weeks ago, my parents’ garden was in full swing. There were pole beans, baby greens in a big tub, slicing cucumbers, and an endless number of zucchini. I spent most of my time there preoccupied by the zucchini and all the culinary options it offers.

three zucchini

I pan-fried thick rounds in olive oil and garlic one night. The next day I made a big batch of zucchini butter to spread on toast and toss with pasta. I also made a huge batch of quick zucchini pickles for my parents to layer into their sandwiches.

zucchini in food processor

One thing you might notice about this recipe is that it calls for whole grain mustard rather than dried mustard seeds. This choice was driven entirely by what my mom had available in the house. And truly, I think the prepared mustard was a really nice addition. It adds a bit of extra body to the liquid and a nice roundness to the finished pickle.

finished zucchini pickles top

Because I made these pickles with an eye towards sandwiches, the slices are pretty thin. I you prefer something a little chunkier, feel free to do a thicker cut. You could also process these in a boiling water bath. However, if you have the fridge space, the texture of the fridge version really is a bit more sturdy and toothsome (which I like). To each his own!

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Slightly Sweet Zucchini Fridge Pickles

Servings: 2 quarts


  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pickling or fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain prepared mustard
  • 2 1/2 pounds zucchini
  • 1/2 large sweet onion
  • 4 garlic cloves


  • Combine the vinegar, water, coconut sugar, salt, and mustard in a pot that can hold at least 4 quarts. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  • While the pickling liquid heats, trim the ends off your zucchini and thinly slice using a food processor, mandoline, or kitchen knife.
  • Cut the onion into thin half moons.
  • Gently bash the garlic cloves enough to help the cloves come away from their peels.
  • Once the liquid is boiling, add the sliced zucchini and onion to the pot. At first it won't seem possible that their will be enough liquid, but within a minute or two, the zucchini will wilt into the liquid.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and divide the pickles between two quart jars. Tuck a couple peeled garlic cloves into each jar.
  • Let the jars cool until the are at room temperature. Put lids on the jars and stash them in the back of the fridge for at least a couple of days (though they'll get better over time).
  • These pickles should keep at least 8 weeks in the refrigerator.

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23 thoughts on "Slightly Sweet Zucchini Fridge Pickles"

  • And not a tint of red from the accident. You ARE talented! Hope your hand is better. The slices do look perfect.

    I’m going to have a lot of eggplant next week. Would this recipe work with it, or is the texture wrong?

    1. It’s true, I kept all the blood out of these pickles! And I really don’t know how this would work with eggplant. I think the texture might be funky.

  • I can’t wait to try these! Local Alaskan grown zucchinis are looking so good right now I’m looking for new ways to use them and this is definitely one I will try!

  • A friend just dropped off a grocery bag full of zucchini that left me wondering what I was going to do with it all. I wonder no more. Thanks Marisa!

  • Do you know if this recipe can be made successfully with stevia or erythritol instead of sugar (for a low sugar diet)?

    1. I’ve not tried it, so I can’t speak to the substitution. However, since this is a refrigerator pickle, there’s no safety implication in making that swap.

  • can i use this recipe to make them shelf stable if i process them like 10 or 15 minutes? anything extra i’d need to do to make this work? what about that whole “sprinkle with salt and cover with ice water for an hour” step that i see on shelf-stable bread and butter pickle recipes? thanks! i love this blog!!

  • At Step 5, add the zucchini and onion to the pot and then what? Simmer? Boil? Just soften for a minute or so?

    1. You leave the heat just where it was and let the zucchini sit in the brine for about two minutes, until they have softened enough that they’re covered in the brine. Once that happens, you remove the pot from the heat.

    1. You could use dried mustard seeds. I’ve only made this particular recipe with the whole grain mustard included in the ingredients, so it’s hard for me to guess at what would work beyond the dried seeds.