An easy quick pickled watermelon radish recipe perfect for adding spice and crunch to your favorite dishes. These bright radishes benefit from a quick pickle which brings out their full flavor while toning down the bite that watermelon radishes are known for. No waiting for fermentation!
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Watermelon radishes are one of our favorite winter veggies. We love their bright color and sharp flavor. We typically roast watermelon radishes (and yes you should try this recipe!), but every now and then we need a change. A quick pickle is the way to go. No canning required and these pickled watermelon radishes keep for a week in the fridge.
What Is the Quick Pickle Method?
Quick pickles, or refrigerator pickles, as they are often called are vegetables that are brined in vinegar, water, salt, and sugar mixture. Quick pickles don’t develop the intense flavor that fermented pickles do, but they also only require a few hours in the brine before they can be enjoyed. Quick pickles also do not require canning when refrigerated, hence the name refrigerator pickles.
What Ingredients are in Pickled Watermelon Radishes?
- Watermelon radishes- Any size works. The fresher the radish the crisper the crunch.
- Vinegar- This recipe calls for distilled white vinegar but you can use any light vinegar like rice or champagne vinegar to make pickled watermelon radishes. I have tried red wine and cider vinegar but they discolor the radishes and the color is the best part of this dish!
- Salt & Sugar- All quick pickles need a balance of sweet and salty.
- Bay leaves, Peppercorns & Other Seasonings- Seasonings can be altered to your taste. Typically, I use bay leaf and peppercorns. But you can use whole peeled garlic, coriander seeds, whole cloves or crushed red pepper. The total spices should be 1 tablespoon per pound of watermelon radishes.
How to Make Pickled Watermelon Radishes
Because we are using a quick pickle rather than a fermentation method these pickles can be ready in under 20 minutes. However, depending on how I am planning on using them I sometimes make them several hours in advance so they can chill in the fridge.
- Prep Radishes- Rinse your watermelon radishes well and trim the ends. Cut the radishes to your preferred shapes. I usually do rounds because I can cut them smaller later if needed. But feel free to do half rounds or matchsticks. The key to the cut is consistency in size so they pickle evenly and quickly.
- Prepare Pickle Brine- To quick
picklethe radishes, heat equal parts water and vinegar in a small pan until lightly boiling. Add in equal parts salt and sugar, stir until both are dissolved. Place the sliced radishes and seasonings in a heatproof jar or bowl. Pour the heated mixture over the radishes.
- Pickle-Push down the radishes to ensure they are completely submerged. You can add more water if necessary. Once cool, allow the watermelon radishes to chill in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes before using. The recommended wait time is 2 hours.
How to Use Pickled Watermelon Radishes
While we eat watermelon radishes the most in the Winter, we find them locally all year round so we have learned to incorporate them into all sorts of dishes.
Here are some of my favorite ways to eat pickled watermelon radishes:
- On tacos, especially fish tacos
- Julienned and added to our favorite spicy coleslaw
- On a burger or grilled chicken sandwich
- With sushi or sashimi
- To jazz up a basic garden salad
- Julienned and used as a garnish on our vegan cream of celery soup
- As a garnish on a spicy Indian curry (the acid cuts through the creaminess and spicy nicely)
How to Store Quick Pickled Radishes
These pickles are not canned. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. But we recommend eating within 10 days for maximum crispness. If you process and can the jars, they can be stored at room temperature unopened.
Want to know more about watermelon radishes? Check out watermelon radish guide featuring a round-up of our favorite vegetables!
Pickled Watermelon Radishes
- 1 pound watermelon radishes
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- Wash and trim both ends of the watermelon radishes. Cut the radishes into thin rounds or your desired shape. Place in a heatproof jar or bowl with the bay leaf and peppercorns.
- Heat vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small pan until the mixture comes to a boil and the salt and sugar are dissolved.
- Pour the mixture over the radishes, Push the radishes down until completely submerged. Add more water if needed.
- Allow the watermelon radishes to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Pickles will keep up to a week in the fridge.
- The pickling spices can be adjusted to your tastes. Try fresh herbs or dried chili peppers.
- Apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar can be substituted for the white vinegar.