How to Pickle Carrots

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Ever wonder how to pickle carrots? They’re so easy, you can make them today with ingredients you probably have on hand!

Over the years, I have grown to love all sorts of pickled things except pickled cucumbers. 

I’m not sure what the reason is, because I do love cucumbers in other applications, but at any rate, I’ll happily eat up some pickled onions on a taco or dilly beans as part of a cheese tray.

pickled carrots in a jar with carrots and tongs on a plate

I love carrots every which way, from carrot salad to carrot fritters, and I have been itching to put up a batch of pickled carrots for a while. 

Fortunately, I recently had a lot of CSA credits to use and decided to load up on carrots.

How to flavor pickled carrots

When it comes to pickling carrots, you can opt for a more sweet flavor, spicy heat, dill, or a number of other varieties. 

Vinegar is of course a must for pickling, but there are many different kinds. I’ve pickled with apple cider vinegar and white wine vinegar, and each gives its own flavor. This particular recipe uses regular white vinegar.

I prefer to use dried spices for pickling, which last longer and have more potent flavor. Black peppercorns and crushed red pepper are essentials in my book.

pickling spices, garlic, and sliced carrots on a cutting board

When it comes to salt, you can seek out “pickling” salt, or simply use a fine sea salt. Pickling salt tends to come in a very large box, so if you don’t think you’ll be doing a lot of pickling in the future, swapping is fine. Just be sure to choose a variety that dissolves easily.

What carrots do I use for pickling?

Some folks use baby carrots for pickling, but I prefer to use the ones I get from my backyard garden or local farmers.

Don’t worry too much about the size of the carrot, as you will need to cut them down to fit your jars. 

While orange carrots are the most common, you can use purple or white as well. Use whatever kind is available to you!

sliced carrots on a cutting board

Note that if you do a mix of colors in your jars, such as purple and orange, the final pickled carrots will end up being mostly orange due to the blanching and processing.

If you happen to get carrots with the tops still attached, try making my carrot top pesto.

Do I have to cook carrots for pickling?

For my pickled carrots, I do a quick blanch before adding to jars and processing in the water bath. This softens the carrots slightly and allows the pickle flavor to absorb better. 

It also reduces enzyme activity, which means the flavor is better preserved. 

Blanching only takes 60 to 90 seconds (depending on the size of your carrot planks). You boil them briefly and then dunk into a bowl filled with ice water, or set in a colander and rinse with cold water. This stops the cooking process so the carrots don’t get too soft!

sliced carrots in a bowl filled with ice water

If you plan to eat the carrots quickly, however, you can simply add them to the hot liquid for about a minute before packing into jars.

Do I have to can pickled carrots?

If you’re not interested in getting into the world of water bath canning, no problem! These carrots can be stored in the refrigerator instead.

Simply let the carrots cool on the counter and store the jars until ready to eat. Whenever I choose to store these in the refrigerator, I keep the jars in the back where it is typically coldest. 

pickled carrots in a jar with carrots and tongs on a plate with a kitchen towel beside

Stored in the refrigerator, the carrots should last a few months. 

pickled carrots in a jar with carrots and tongs on a plate

How to Pickle Carrots

Pickled carrots are so easy, you can make them today with ingredients you probably have on hand! This recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Preserves
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 23 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed

Instructions

  • If water bath canning, fill a canning pot with water and set to boil. Heat three half-pint jars or two 12-ounce jars in the water while preparing recipe.
  • Wash and trim carrots, then slice to fit inside your jars. The size of your jar will determine the length of the carrots. Cut into quarter sticks.
  • Heat a small pot of water to boiling and fill a large bowl with ice water. Add carrots to boiling water and blanch for 90 seconds, then dunk into ice water, stirring to stop cooking process.
  • In a medium pot, combine water, vinegar, and pickling salt and bring to a boil.
  • Combine coriander seeds, peppercorns, pepper flakes, and celery seed in a small bowl.
  • Remove jars from water bath and add a garlic clove to each, then divide spices equally among jars. Pack carrots into jars tightly.
  • Pour hot vinegar mixture into jars, leaving about 1/4-inch headspace. Place on lids and screw on bands.
  • If water bath canning, process carrots for 10 minutes, then remove and let rest 24 hours.
  • If refrigerating, let cool to room temperature, then store in the fridge until ready to serve. For best flavor, wait 48 hours before eating.

Nutrition

Calories: 23 kcalCarbohydrates: 4 gSodium: 86 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 2 g
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