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Pickled cauliflower is a tangy, crunchy addition to the relish tray! This easy pickle recipe is prepped in minutes, with no blanching required.
Everyone is all about cheese boards these days, but what about relish trays?
We always had relish trays growing up, where veggies played a starring role. But raw veggies aren’t always that exciting, even with bacon onion dip.
How about pickles, though?
Pickles are a great addition to any appetizer spread, and can be served with basically anything.
If you haven’t tried pickled cauliflower, it’s time to give it a go! Even if you don’t normally like cauliflower, this tangy snack will have you going back for more.
Ingredients for pickled cauliflower
Pickling vegetables is quite simple, so you only need a few ingredients to make this!
Cauliflower – I buy a whole head of cauliflower and cut it myself for pickling.
You can buy pre-cut bags of cauliflower, but the pieces are usually fairly large, so you’ll probably need to cut them a bit. Cut vegetables also do not last as long as whole, so be sure to check for dark spots or slimy bits and buy the freshest you can find.
If you want to use purple, yellow, or green cauliflower, keep in mind that the color can leach out during the pickling process. You can blanch the cauliflower to help prevent this from happening.
Vinegar – Use cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar. The cider vinegar adds just a bit of extra flavor and tang.
Water – I use tap water, but if yours doesn’t taste good, use filtered or distilled water.
Pickling spice – Pickling spice is a blend of ingredients such as mustard seed, celery seed, peppercorns, and more. You can make your own pickling spice, or buy a blend at the grocery store.
Pickling salt – This very fine salt dissolves easily, so it’s ideal for pickle brines. One box will last a long time unless you are a pickle fiend!
You can swap in fine sea salt if you don’t have pickling salt.
Granulated sugar – To add a little sweetness to the pickled cauliflower, the brine has a small amount of sugar.
How much vinegar is needed for pickles?
It’s important to use enough vinegar in your pickling liquid, otherwise you’re not really pickling your veggies!
If you’re canning pickles, you need at least 50% vinegar in your pickling brine. This is to prevent bacteria from forming and making sure your pickles are safe to eat.
I stick with this same ratio when I am making refrigerated pickles that aren’t canned, too.
How to pickle cauliflower
Grab a mason jar or container with a tight-fitting lid to put your pickles in. You want to choose a jar that will be large enough for the cauliflower to be completely submerged in the brine.
Add the pickling spice to the jar.
Then, cut the cauliflower head into small pieces. I cut my cauliflower so the pickles are bite-size, but smaller ones are great too and will help fill in the jar.
Stuff as much of the cauliflower as you can into the jar.
Don’t worry if you don’t use it all! You can always make more brine or use the rest of the cauliflower in another recipe.
The next step is to make the brine. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar.
Bring the solution to a low boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Once they are completely dissolved and the brine is gently bubbly around the edges, remove it from the heat.
Place the prepared jar on a kitchen towel or trivet and pour in the hot brine, leaving ¼ inch of space from the top of the jar. You might not use it all.
Use a chopstick or small wooden dowel to press against the sides of the jar and remove any air bubbles, then add more cauliflower or brine as needed.
Screw on a lid and let cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator.
If canning, process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove and let rest on the counter for 24 hours, then check for seal and transfer to the pantry.
Make sure to let it sit for at least two days before enjoying for the best flavor.
If you want to make this pickled cauliflower recipe your own, mix up the spices!
Add more red pepper flakes or even a small whole dried chile.
Add dill seed or dried dill for extra tang.
Add strips of bell pepper or garlic cloves.
Pickled cauliflower will last in the refrigerator for about 2 months.
If you process the jar in a water bath canner, it will keep in the pantry for about 18 months. Do not store in the pantry unless you’ve canned the jar!
Keeping your pickles in the coldest part of the refrigerator (usually the top shelf) will help them last longer.
More pickle recipes to love
Create a pickle spread with these recipes:
You’ll love how easy quick pickled cauliflower is to make — and eat!
- 1 tablespoon pickling spice
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon pickling salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Divide pickling spice among 2 8-ounce jars or 1 16-ounce jar.
- Cut cauliflower into small florets, discarding any leaves or large stem pieces. Pack into the prepared jar(s).
- In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, pickling salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve sugar and salt.
- Pour over cauliflower, filling the jar with ¼-inch headroom. The cauliflower should be completely covered, but you might not use all the brine. Use a chopstick or wooden dowel to remove any air bubbles, then add more cauliflower or brine as needed.
- Screw on lid(s) and let cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator.
- For pantry storage, process jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- Let pickle for at least 48 hours before eating for best flavor.