Spicy Quick Pickled Radishes

Super easy-to-make pickled radishes that pack a punch! cookieandkate.com

My refrigerator shelves are one knock away from an avalanche. I have plastic wrap-covered bowls of leftover sorghum stacked precariously on top of pickle jars. I’ve snatched a falling jar of precious pine nuts from mid-air at least twice. (Side note: I once snatched up a free-falling baby by the ankle. That was a relief.)

I have a hard time finding cooking inspiration when my fridge is jam-packed with leftovers to be consumed by yours truly. And to tell you the whole truth, every time I find myself cooking a family-sized meal, I hear a little whisper of a worry in the back of my head. “I hope I don’t cook alone forever,” it murmurs.

radishes

Growing up, I always enjoyed the creative aspect of combining different ingredients in the hopes of a delicious outcome. I didn’t formally take it upon myself to learn how to cook until after college, though. At the time, I was working as a waitress and reading books about the food industry and nutrition. I wanted to eat well and couldn’t afford to eat out all of the time, so I decided it was time to learn how to cook for myself.

That was the perfect stage to start cooking—if I’d had others to feed at that time, I would have resented the obligation and felt insecure about my limited skill set. Cooking had always seemed like a form of domestic defeat but I found cooking for myself to be empowering. Independence! Self sufficiency! Hell yes!

sliced radishes

It’s been about six years since I started cooking. Over the years, I’ve grown more confident in the my abilities and I’m now at a point where I would welcome some company in the kitchen. My ideal cooking partner would be tall, handsome, intelligent, kind and hilarious with strong muscles—I mean, a healthy appetite. I need help with these leftovers. And the dishes, pretty please. Sometimes I worry that I’ve missed the right opportunity or that I’m impossibly picky or maybe I’m just not in the right place…

Thinly sliced radishes - cookieandkate.com

Anyway. Today I’m sharing my new favorite condiment since my refrigerator is already whispering to me about all the family-sized meals in there. I’ve been putting radishes on everything lately because they lend a lovely bite without overpowering other flavors like, say, raw onions can. Their pickled counterparts pack a spicier, vinegary punch. These crisp, spicy radish pickles are super easy to make and liven up everything from tacos, burgers, salads, toast, sandwiches and more.

I don’t know what took me so long to try making quick pickles—they’re so simple and easy to make. I finally experimented with them a couple of months ago (as evidenced on Instagram), after reading the nth reference to quick pickles in Bon Appetit. I ended up pickling all of my leftover produce that day. The radishes and red onions competed for top place. Pickled carrot ribbons are awesome, too.

The nice thing about quick pickles is that they’re ready almost right away, but beware that boiling vinegar will stink up your kitchen. I’ve learned that the thinner you slice the vegetables, the sooner they soak up the flavors of vinegar and spices. I caved and bought a mandoline for such tasks—it makes super thin slicing quick and easy, but it’s also a good way to lose a fingertip. A sharp chef’s knife works well, too. Quick pickles keep well for a few weeks in the refrigerator, which is enough time for this single lady to polish them off.

how to make pickled radishesSpicy quick pickled radishes, a delicious condiment that's ready to eat right away! cookieandkate.comQuick pickled radishes for tacos, salads, burgers and more! cookieandkate.com

4.9 from 7 reviews
Spicy Quick Pickled Radishes
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Super simple, spicy pickled radishes that are ready to eat immediately! These pickled radishes are amazing on tacos, burgers, salads and more. Recipe as listed below yields about 1¼ cup pickles.
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • ¾ cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (this yields very spicy pickles, so use ½ teaspoon for medium spicy pickles or none at all)
  • ½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds (optional)
  • Optional add-ins: garlic cloves, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, coriander seeds
Instructions
  1. To prepare the radishes: Slice off the tops and bottoms of the radishes, then use a sharp chef's knife or mandoline to slice the radishes into very thin rounds. Pack the rounds into a pint-sized canning jar. Top the rounds with red pepper flakes and mustard seeds.
  2. To prepare the brine: In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, honey or maple syrup and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, then pour the mixture over the radishes.
  3. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. You can serve the pickles immediately or cover and refrigerate for later consumption. The pickles will keep well in the refrigerator for several weeks, although they are in their most fresh and crisp state for about 5 days after pickling.
Notes
Recipe adapted from The First Mess and Bon Appetit.
Make it vegan: Substitute maple syrup or agave nectar for the honey.
Change it up: To the best of my knowledge, you can pickle any thinly sliced vegetables in this manner. Try carrot ribbons, cucumbers, red onions, cabbage and/or fennel! The thinner you slice the vegetables, the faster they absorb the vinegar solution and taste like pickles.

Comments

  1. says

    Aw, Kathryn! You’ll find that tall, dark and handsome partner/dishwasher! You’re quite a catch, you know! In my experience, it’s right when you stop looking and worrying that love finds you. Your recipes are SO good for someone that has only been cooking 6 years, bravo. I just discovered pickled radishes myself and I just love ‘em. I love that you made yours spicy.

    • says

      Thank you, Nicole. We’ll see! I feel like six years is a lot of cooking, but I have so much more to learn! I’ve yet to master from-scratch mac and cheese. :) Glad you appreciate the pickled radishes, too!

  2. Sarah says

    I’m very sure that you are not to picky, what does that even mean in this context? Although it might be hard to believe sometimes, the time will come when you’ll have someone to cook for and with. You’ll notice when it’s there and you won’t miss it!
    Thanks for this post, pickled anything is my new favourite!

    • says

      Thank you, Sarah! We’ll see. I hope I’m not unreasonably picky. Perhaps “selective” is a better way to put it. I seem to live in a city with very few eligible bachelors, let alone bachelors that have the qualities I’m looking for.

  3. says

    It sounds like you and I started cooking in the same context/way. If I would have been required to cook for others when I started cooking, I probably would have hated it. I’d be worried about not making enough food, not having it all done at the same time, etc. Plus, things usually take me about an hour longer than I think they will. :-/ Not so great for meal planning. But I also hear you on the whole cooking-for-yourself situation. I know you will find that perfect partner – you’re a catch, girl! Some lucky guy will snatch you up soon enough.

    • says

      Thanks, Sara! Cooking for others is always a little stressful so I’m glad we both had some years to learn how to cook on our own. Thanks for the sweet words re:dating. We’ll see!

  4. says

    I’m a HUGE fan of radishes! I’ve really only recently been introduced to them. I’ve started buying bunches and adding them to practically anything that I reasonably can – salads, toasts, sandwiches, etc. – and as much as I love pickles, I’m sure I’ll love these, too!

  5. says

    I always love your photos, Kate, but I particularly love the way you’ve captured those radishes! Isn’t it incredible that there is a vegetable as bright a shade of pink as that! So cool!
    Anyway, I love your idea of pickling veg .. I’ll have to remember that one. & try not to worry about the single thing. I used to feel the same as you but did recently get married (I’d rather not advertise my age on the www but let’s just say I was well beyond the ‘normal’ age to settle down!) ;-)

  6. says

    Ooooh, I love this as an idea for a different hamburger topping. I have such a hard time thinking of what to do with radishes — seems like I use them for one recipe and then have a bunch leftover that I end up throwing out. This recipe would definitely get rid of that problem. Thank you for sharing!

    • says

      Yep, you can just pickle them for later! I’ve been throwing fresh chopped radishes on all of my Mexican meals and salads lately. I love that crunch.

  7. says

    Kate, thanks for sharing such a sweet {and spicy!} post. We all decide to cook for so many different reasons. I am challenged by my garden and try to capture all of its freshness, quickly and efficiently. It is overwhelming at times. I have some French Breakfast Radishes that are ready to be picked today, so I will make an adaptation of your recipe here. You have only bright steps ahead of you! XO, Jayme

    • says

      Thank you, Jayme! I have a tiny little garden this year. I’m crossing my fingers that my tomato plant takes off. Enjoy the pickled radishes! I bet your super fresh version will be extra tasty.

  8. Ellen Pollak says

    I’m going to try your recipe but without the red pepper flakes.I don’t do well with anything spicy, I have a very sensative stomach. I use both red radishes and Daikon when I make a salad. I have a salad just about every day either for lunch or supper and put EVERYTHING in the salad that could possibly be eaten raw.I make my own salad dressing which I also use as a marinade. I use oil, rice vinegar, paprika, parsley and garlic powder. I have a Tupperware container that has room for shaking and I keep it in the refrigerator. I can’t tell you the proportions because its different every time and I use different oils and sometimes I will use Balsamic vinegar instead of rice vinegar. This recipe was my Mother’s who was a self-taught and excellent cook. She didn’t know how to bake (except for “Spritz” cookies) and I taught her how to make bread and various cakes. She also watched Julia Childs and learned from her.

  9. says

    Love the honesty and vulnerability in this post. It can be hard to write that way, but it makes readers connect with you on a whole different level. These radishes are beautiful and any guy would be lucky to be served such wonderful food! He’ll be happy to clean up, too :)

  10. says

    What a personal post! Two things:

    1) Please tell me more about how in the world you ended up catching a free-falling baby by the ankle in mid air; and
    2) I’ll join the chorus here and tell you not to worry. It’s better to wait a bit longer for the real gem than to end up with the wrong guy. And besides. I rarely make peanut-butter-flavored desserts (which are my favorite) because my man does not like them… sometimes I’d rather just cook for myself :)

    • says

      Raquel, I’m sorry for my late response! Re: 1) I was babysitting a fussy baby who rolled off the changing table when I was changing his diaper. Thank God I caught him by the ankle before he hit the ground. And 2) thank you! If/when I find the right dude, I’m sure I’ll grumble sometimes about accommodating his taste buds. Hopefully he’ll love vegetables et al.

  11. Monica G says

    Hi Kate, I so identify with your thoughts on “domestic defeat” and “resent[ing] the obligation”. That’s THE reason I stayed away from cooking for so long, until 3 years ago when I felt the “I’m not a 50’s housewife” point had been made ;-) I sucked when I started; I had no instincts. Even now cooking is still a source of frustration at times. However, there is no meal equal to the one made by oneself with healthful, fresh ingredients. And yes, that’s empowering!

    • says

      Oops! I’m sorry I didn’t answer you sooner, Monica. I was babysitting a wiggly one-year-old when I was younger. I was changing his diaper and the changing table didn’t have guards along the sides. He rolled right off and I grabbed him by the ankle when he was in mid-air! I still think back to that day as the day I almost ruined a baby. Yikes.

  12. says

    Thanks for the recipe and the personal post, Kate! I can definitely relate — I am currently trying to make my way through a big (albeit tasty) pile of leftovers. I often have the same worries as you, often wondering if I’d have different luck if I lived elsewhere. (I live in NYC, which despite its whopping population and sizable number of bachelors still hasn’t yielded any potential partners.) But, I’m sure we’ll each meet someone to cook for soon enough :)

    • says

      I’ve heard that it’s impossible to date in NYC! Fight the good fight out there, Nicole. I thought Kansas City would be a good place to meet guys just because it’s way bigger than where I was living in Oklahoma, but it ranks as one of the worst cities for dating. Ugh!

  13. says

    Kate, your Single Lady posts always make me feel empowered and adventurous. It seems like all of the food bloggers I read these days are linked to their man… Does there really need to be a food-bloggess-expected-profile emerging?

    I mean, yeah, I totally feel you in the arena of the one mouth household. Nevertheless, POWER TO THE SINGLE LADIES!!!

    Keep adventuring :)

  14. says

    I used to cringe at those Portlandia skits of hipsters making pickles at home but I am now a full convert :) Having a jar of pickled red onions to top with carnitas with, pickled daikon and carrots for banh mi sandwiches and Mexican pickled carrots for just plain snacking on at all times is wonderful.

  15. says

    Yay, pickles! I have a batch of radish & carrot pickles in my fridge right now. I love the hot pepper flake in yours! SUPER SPICE.

  16. says

    I am about the same age as you are Kate, and I have those same thoughts too. As many people have already said though, I trust that things will happen when the time and place is right (for both of us!) – and at least in our cases, we’ll be totally prepared to feed those big strong men when they come along : )

  17. Aimee says

    Single. Taken. Who cares? You’re fabulous either way!

    Keep doing what you’re doing, we love you for it!

  18. says

    The photos of the radishes look SOOOOO LOVELY!!!!! I just couldn’t stop staring at them! I hear you about leftovers in the kitchen!!!! There’s loads left in mine too! These pickled radishes are sooooo great and versatile! I love how easy they are to make and can be used on almost EVERYTHING!!!!

  19. says

    So, so pretty! And just a note of reassurance: once you find that hilarious, smart, handsome and strong man, you’ll probably still be making family sized meals and catching rebellious bags of pine nuts. There’s two of us in this house and I’m always cooking AS IF I had 5 teenaged football players on the premises. xoxo

  20. Tracy says

    Can I can them? My pigs and chickens will be so sad to never see all the radishes my husband buys that go to waste in their food. I’m not a radish fan but can appreciate a good recipe and will be trying this for Mr. Mrs.
    And don’t sell being single short. There will be twice as many dishes in the sink!!!

    • says

      Hey Tracy, thank you! I cannot vouch for canning these radishes—they’ll keep well in the fridge for a month or longer. Recipes really need to be designed for canning to be safe for long-term storage, and I’m no expert in that arena, so please don’t try to can these. The quick-pickled version does taste quite a bit different from raw, sliced radishes, so who knows? You just might like these radishes. :)

  21. Morgan Leigh says

    I made these tonight for “taco Sunday”, which I just made up because really it was just “dinner”. They were excellent! Thanks for sharing!

  22. says

    Your paper-thin radish slices are just so pretty! I am on my second mandoline — I plumb wore-out my first, and yes, I lost plenty of skin. AHHHH. I am getting better at staying intact! These pickles sound perfect for tacos, pasta salads, summery sandwiches – YUM!

    I wish that your Mr Perfect kitchen-partner would come along! I do not think you are too picky, I think you just have standards. You stick with ‘em. Being married is incredibly difficult. But also rewarding, yes, indeed. Do I sometimes wish I was only cleaning up my messes instead of two people’s worth? Perhaps ;) But my husband is just a terrific eater. I would be 200 lbs if he weren’t :) Also he’s my best pal. When he works nights and I feel single, I eat terribly, and also become so grateful for my furry pup there to keep me company!

  23. says

    I will pickle anything and everything I can get my hands on! I’ve been doing a super quick pickled radish that just consists of soaking radish slices in vinegar for about 20 minutes, but I love all the added ingredients you put in yours, especially using maple syrup. I have to try that one! Unfortunately, my Mr. Right doesn’t always like to eat the healthy food that I like to cook, so I usually end up trying to eat all the leftovers myself, too. One day I’ll get him over the healthy eating side! I have no doubt that you will find some to cook with, and I’ll cross my fingers for you that they are tall, dark, and handsome :)

  24. says

    You will definitely find the right person one day Kate, it’s just a matter of timing. You definitely need to feel right about the person that you’re going to spend your time, energy and love on. Aaron and I were friends for five years before we figured out that we wanted to be together. Pretty strange, as prior to that I dated various people and doubted whether I was being realistic in my expectations, whether I needed to change things about myself, yada yada. I thought I was condemned to be alone forever. Then things happened out of the blue and I’m glad that I didn’t compromise on what my heart knew was important. You are AMAZING and I know that this difficult time will pass. You deserve someone who will make your life richer, who will support you and make your heart feel at peace. I hope I didn’t prattle on too much but I definitely know how it feels to self-cater and want someone to eat the leftovers… it’ll happen. Huge hugs to you beautiful! Oh, and these radishes? Absolutely gorgeous… they are visually stunning and sound like a perfect condiment for everything (except possibly ice cream… but heck, I’d try it). Love that picture of Cookie and the radish, sweeeet! xx

  25. says

    Eek. I nearly passed out at that photo showing a mandoline being used with a bare hand like that! I wonder if you could add a caption underneath it saying, for illustration purposes only, *always* use the handguard — just so no one tries to do like in the photo, maybe…

    Recipe sounds great, looking forward to trying it with some liquid stevia to cut back on the calories… Cheers!

  26. says

    The only vegetable I’ve ever quick pickled is onions, and they made my life. They revolutionize sandwiches and burgers. I’ve never been big on radishes, but that’s probably because I’ve never pickled them!

  27. says

    Also, I second what Laura wrote about dating/finding the right person. I think you and I are the same age(ish) and I had definitely given up on finding the right person/accepted the fact that I might just not ever find someone when I met my fiance. It takes going through a whole lot of not right people to find that right one, but you should never compromise on what you want. You are way too awesome for that.

  28. says

    You will definitely not be cooking alone forever Kate!
    I went for many many years watching friends get married and then suddenly (at one of those weddings) some ginger haired dude pulled up a barstool next to me and started talking. Now, 18 months later he is my favourite dining companion whether we are sitting at our dining room table or snuggled on the bed with baked beans and toast.
    Whoever comes into your life will come at the right time, and they will surely never go hungry :)
    Also, I love quick pickles too! I’ve only ever tried onions though, so I’m sure radishes will make a lovely (and rather pretty) change.
    And another thing – that handy snatching from mid-air talent is enviable for someone like me who carries a dishtowel all the time to clean up evidence of her klutziness!

  29. says

    Yum! Making these tomorrow– looks like great flavor for salads… or just about anything :) I recently started pickling ginger, and love to just eat it straight.

  30. says

    Gorgeous photos!! I recently bought a madoline and I am nervously experimenting with it, with the fear of slicing a finger in the back of my mind. These radishes look amazing – so thinly and perfectly sliced!

    Your hunky cooking partner will come along at the right time for sure when you least expect it – or at least someone that can do the dishes after you cook some fabulous meals! I didn’t really cook much until I met my husband, so he has watched me fumble through the kitchen from the get go. Just think – you’ll have that all worked out when you meet the right guy, so he’ll be mesmerized by all your fantastic meals :)

    • says

      Thank you, Leah! I’m afraid of my mandoline, too. I bought some special gloves that are supposed to protect my fingers, but they caught the blade a couple of times already. I hope I can find a better solution soon. Thanks for the encouraging words. :)

  31. Mandy says

    I made these last night (to go with your tasty black bean tacos) and they are my new favorite! I’ve never been a fan of traditional pickles and only recently discovered that I liked radishes, so I took a risk and am so glad I did! These will become a fridge staple.

  32. says

    Just made these pickled radishes. I like my pickles just a little bit sweeter, so doubled the sugar, added a chunk of ginger, garlic, mustard seeds and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

    They are soaking right now, cooling down, but I tried one and they are not going to last long!

  33. Dennis says

    When I think of Kansas City, I think of the best BBQ in the world or great steaks, so it’s surprising to find a vegetarian blog from K.C. That said, I made your pickled radishes and they were GREAT!

    p.s. Cookie will let you know when you’ve met the right guy. While dogs generally aren’t judgmental, they know.

    • says

      Well, I grew up in Oklahoma, but that certainly doesn’t explain the vegetarianism, either! I’m glad you enjoyed the radishes! Thanks for the tip. :)

  34. Ashley Marie says

    I made these and love them. I would eat them from the container, with a fork, standing right in front of the fridge. What else could I pickle? Beets?

    • says

      They’re good, right?! You could pickle beets. Fennel is awesome. Carrot ribbons. Squash ribbons. Cabbage. Red onions. I want to pickle my own jalapeños. The thinner you slice the vegetables, the quicker they taste like pickles!

  35. Craig says

    Hey Kate,
    A friend gave me a whole bag of radishes from their garden – I’ve never been really fond of them and wondered what the heck I was going to do with them!!! (My Scotish background leaves me hating to throw anything away!!)
    I found your recipe for pickled radishes and thought, what the heck, give it a try. I didn’t have red pepper flakes or honey on hand, so I used dried, smoked chipotle peppers and brown sugar.
    I ground the mustard seed and chipotles in a mortar and pestle and added black pepper corns. Now THAT brought out the heat!! I made enough to share with my friend and today I bought more radishes at a local veggie stand.
    Thank you so much for your recipes!! Just opened a new window for me!!

  36. Slavomira says

    Kate, I stumbled upon your pickled radishes while searching for a solution to my overly-zealous farmer’s market-ing. I just had to have ALL the beautiful produce! (Your recipe was the first google hit). What a fantastic solution to the amazing radishes I bought. I had no apple cider vinegar- but red wine vinegar combined with sherry vinegar yielded some super sweet, super hot pickles. i’m notoriously heavy handed on the hots… and I’m about to eat the whole jar.

    Also, I appreciate your comments about cooking for one. I, too cook for one most of the time, and am always seeking ways to keep my stomach from getting bored on the third day of leftovers! Thanks for your approachable and delicious recipes! I’m looking forward to trying them all!

    R/Slavomira

    • says

      Slavomira, thank you! I’m glad you found my pickled radishes when you needed the recipe! Your super sweet, super hot pickles sound amazing.

  37. says

    Kate,

    Thank you so much for your recipe. I live in Nicaragua and fresh produce is often sold right at our door by the local farmer’s.

    A man was selling some really great looking radish in a big bunch a couple of days ago. I don’t know why I bought two bunches. Then I had a problem, what do do with all these radishes?

    So I had my daughter, Sarah, do research and she came across your post here.

    The only way I have eaten radish is raw with salt. Your recipe is terrific! Thank you so very much :)

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