pickled-carrot-sticks Recipes

pickled carrot sticks

Seeing that it is a whole eleven days into aught-eight, I’m going to stagger a guess that you’re sick of carrot sticks by now. But I don’t want you to feel bad about it. We all hit that wall between our ambition and the reality that being “good” all of the time is no fun from time to time. Hey, some of us walked right past the gym last night and proceeded to go shopping instead. I’m just saying.


But since carrot sticks are inherently good, and good for you things, I see no reason to throw them out with the resolutions bathwater. Because what if that, uh, bathwater was bright and tangy? What if had a buttery dill vibe? What if it had a kick of garlic? What if you pickled your carrot sticks? If you were me, you would not be able to keep your tongs out of the jar. I had one of those “oh, let me try one and see how they came out” moments before I went to work Thursday morning. Then I tried another one. And another. Um, I had pickled carrot sticks for breakfast–I am gross. But these are not.


Be warned, however, the brine is so good it’s going to get you thinking “what can I pickle next?” Alex has been on the pickle prowl for a couple days now and I see him eying the leeks in the fridge, the beans in the pantry. I don’t like the way he looks at them. I hid the rest of the purple potatoes. I’m sleeping with one eye open.

pickled carrot stick

One year ago: Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Mustard-Caper Butter

Comments RSS: Comments are such a big part of smittenkitchen.com, its about time I had a separate feed for them, now located in the sidebar. Much thanks to my WordPress Guru for getting my RSS feeds working again. Turned out the culprit was a single space in a line of code. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

Pickled Carrot Sticks
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

1 pound carrots, cut into 3 1/2- by 1/3-inch sticks
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup cider or plain vinegar (the former makes a sweeter, milder brine)
1/4 cup sugar
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons dill seeds*
1 1/2 tablespoons salt

Place carrots in a heatproof bowl. Bring remaining ingredients to a boil in saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. Pour pickling liquid over carrots and cool, uncovered. Chill carrots, covered, at least 1 day for flavors to develop.

Carrots keep, chilled in an airtight container, 1 month.

* From my own experience, and from comments I have received, I’ve learned that dill seeds aren’t always the easiest thing to find. Mine are from McCormick, but they were also the only bottle I could find in the two different stores I went to. If you can’t find them, use fresh or dried dill instead. You can put the dried dill in with the brine as you boil it. If fresh dill, I would drop it in the container your are storing the carrots in, just before you put them in the fridge.

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84 comments on pickled carrot sticks

  1. jessica mae

    deb, have you ever tasted dilly beans? i am hoplessly addicted to them and rather than have a 6 dollar a jar addiction to add to my long list of other food addictions, i was thinking of making them myself. i was going to give your brine a shot, but was wondering if i should use the same weight in green beans as you would use in carrots.

  2. krista

    These sound wonderful! fyi – I have had good luck getting dill seeds and other hard-to-find spices from Penzeys – http://www.penzeys.com/. They have a huge selection, shipping is relatively minimal (especially if you are ordering multiple items) and the quality is fantastic, as long as you can wait a week or so for your pickle fix.

  3. simply recipes just did a post on pickling onions today — great minds think alike i guess! i have quite a bit of unused vinegar sitting around in my apartment, i will definitely give this a try! pickled leeks actually sound kind of good, i think! lovely carrots, btw!

  4. deb

    Hillary — I had forgotten about that! Great minds. I loved her pictures from them (I was struggling so much getting carrot pictures in the evening.)

    Rachel — I definitely think you could however (big however) I am not an expert in food safety and when in the past I have made canning suggestions I’ve been corrected more than once. However, if you follow the proper safety procedures, I can’t imagine why these guys wouldn’t last.

  5. Hannah

    Looks delectabulz! Deb’s all Om Nom Nom…(Oops, C.O. speak invades every aspect of my life now! Enh!) Anyone else having problems with the full post not showing in their feeds? I use Google Reader, and it only showed the very beginning of this post, which is unusual. :(

  6. deb

    A few more site things: If you notice small wonky things going on in the next couple days, it is because we are upgrading to the latest WordPress and (and!!!) moving to a new server this weekend. Finally! This genius I hired feels confident he can do it with no downtime. How amazing is that?

    And yes, we are *auditioning* partial feeds. For now. Please don’t revolt.

  7. Stu

    Man, do I hate Partial Feeds.

    Mostly because it means that I’m forced to decide whether I want to read an article or just go to the next one. I often as not just go to the next one, rather than open up another window to read.

  8. I’ll give these pickled carrots a whirl. They look delicious. Recently we tried pickled okra and it was great (I said tried, not made.) But then again, we’ve been on an okra kick since last fall. It was plentiful at the farmers’ market and we sort of became addicted.
    P.S. I love the cut glass bowl in your first (and last) photo(s). It’s beautiful!

  9. There’s nothing gross about eating pickles for breakfast. The kimchi nation does it all the time. Putting something pickled and garlicky in your mouth first thing is one of the top five nice ways to wake up.

    I think that fresh squeezed orange juice can’t hold a candle to kosher pickle brine as a breakfast drink.

  10. Joy

    Yum… I love pickled anything, but carrots, with their crisp sweetness, are just so perfect for a good old bath in brine. I made these this afternoon, and they are less than the prescribed 24 hours refrigerated, but they taste great already. I made my brine with dried dill (since, as predicted, I didn’t have dill seed handy) and I used 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/2 cup cider because I was feeling indecisive.

  11. I made these not 20 minutes ago, while procrastinating the class preparations I’m supposed to be doing. The brine smells lovely! I too used dried dill (since the Thriftway didn’t seem to have dill seed) and I made them with baby carrots (which I halved and quartered) because I only have small jars, but I’m sure they will be delicious anyhow.

    They’re cooling on the counter. I’m impatient!

  12. pascale

    when im putting my pickled lovelies in jars, should i be putting them in with the brine? yes?

    ive pickled two pounds of carrots and a giant bag of baby cukes….. complete success, with the only downside being the loss of the tip of my finger.. ouch!

  13. eg

    I’ve been eating these all week. They are so very good. I, too, have been fantasizing about what else I could give a bath in the yummy brine.

  14. Jonathan

    OK – I’m way behind on your blog and catching up… but for a little kick try adding a hot pepper in there. Try a fresno for very mild spice and good flavor; a bulgarian carrot pepper for more spice and a really interesting flavor; and a serano if you really like it hot :) I avoid jalapenos as I’m bored of their flavor and have a particular disdain for them pickled… but that’s purely a personal bias :)

  15. terri

    I just stumbled across your web site and I must say that I am hooooked!!!!!
    In my browsing, I thought that I saw a recipe for pickling spice and for pickles..
    Now that I want to try it out I can’t locate it. Could you please help????
    I also have to comment on your beautiful pics!!!! My mouth is watering just from the photos alone. Great work!

  16. terri

    Thanks so much for the info.. I will keep looking, I have to admit your blog is now the first thing I check in the am (while I have my morning coffee) Thanks for a great start to my day!!!!!! :)

  17. What a coincidence. I just made pickled carrots this morning and then stumbled across your blog in the afternoon. I love pickled carrots. I used pickling spice but will try your brine next time. I made something similar to your brine and pickled Japanese cucumbers.

  18. OMG these pickles are amazing! Ok I didnt totaly follow the recepy (in that i added loads more garlic – im a big fan of garlic) and forgot to cook it with the liquid so out it in raw… they are sooooo good! :D

  19. sb

    this is so exciting! i was JUST looking for a pickled carrot recipe. i have a question, though- has anyone ever tried making pickled carrots with cumin? and like the powdered version, not cumin seeds?

  20. Just wanted to let you know that I made these the other day. I don’t usually like dill pickles (OD as a child, probably) but wow, I cannot stop popping these in my mouth!

  21. Kim

    These are delicious! I’m in the process of making my third batch in two days. I had company over yesterday for football and everyone raved about them.

  22. Cristy

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I’ve made them several times now, as I’ve recently become addicted to pickled snacks. I just wanted to mention that each time I’ve used fresh dill and I’ve found that the best way is to put the dill with the raw carrots, so everything gets limp together when the liquids are added.

  23. i just made these–moved them to the fridge, anyway–and now i can’t decide if the whole house smells like vinegar, or if i do. the latter would be a problem!

    i added some mustard seeds and peppercorn along with the dill, sugar, and salt, and used apple cider vinegar…it seems like they can’t help but come out well with all that.

  24. emi s

    I just made these, and oh man, they’re delicious. They’ve only been in the fridge for about half an hour though – I can’t wait to taste them tomorrow. I also sliced up some daikon radish and added it. I think pickled carrots and daikon will go well together.

  25. Eva

    I’m in love with most pickled things (except the pickled brussel sprouts my mom currently has in our pantry) and we often have quick fridge pickles (I don’t know what else to call them) sitting in our fridge. These are not in our fridge, as they are sitting in my lap right now. They make a tasty tasty tasty midnight snack.

  26. Clea

    I finally am commenting on this post to say…this is probably the single recipe I make the most. I always switch things up– this time, I used white vinegar with a splash of apple cider, and the dried herbs/spice mixture included dill, ginger, and red pepper flakes. I love snacking on these during the week and am going to bring this batch to a potluck on Wednesday– thanks again for starting my pickled carrot addiction!

  27. Emily

    I just made these tonight. They are sitting in my fridge and I am itching to pull them out and start munching on them, but I’m holding out until tomorrow so they’ll be really flavorful and fully delicious. I was wondering which type of vinegar you used when you made these, or if you’ve tasted it both ways for yourself.

  28. Tami

    I love pickeled things as well we pickle green beans all of the time, with hot peppers for a kick, I also have started pickeling celery, what a great snack and I must say the perfect garnish for bloody marys. I do not put sugar in my pickeling liquid, just water, vinagar spices and of course hot peppers. I also process them so they will last in the pantry, however they never last long. The processing also cooks the veggies just right so they are still crunchy but not raw tasting.

  29. I just made these tonight, and I have to say this is the best pickling brine I’ve ever tasted, and from just a test-taste of one single, tiny carrot stick I can already tell that I’m going to need more carrots…
    I did make one tiny adjustment though. I melted the sugar and let it get all caramelly in the pan before I added the water and vinegar and such…and then let the caramel dissolve. I also nixed the dill (because I, uhm, don’t have any at all in my house) and threw in an extra clove of garlic. Oh my GOD! Yum! Thank you for sharing this!

  30. Sarah

    These pickles are wonderful~using them for an appetizer at a Locavore dinner we’re having tomorrow. But a quick question~when I added the lightly bashed garlic cloves to the vinegar/water/salt brine in the saucepan, they turned a very peculiar blue shade (no dill or anything in the brine yet to give it color) Is that normal? An interesting kitchen science experiment? Mutant garlic?

  31. I’ve made pickled carrot sticks before, but I don’t think I did it right because they were not even close to edible… I am going to attempt again with your recipe and hope that they will turn out! Yours look GREAT!

  32. Lauren

    Forgive me if this is a silly question, but I remove the carrots from the brine after the day is up right? :D

    And how long does the brine keep; can I re-use it later for more tasty carrots? Because the batch I just made is half gone already.

    1. deb

      Lauren — No reason you can’t reuse the brine once. I like to keep the carrots in, they get more pickled, and of course, stay moist. (Most pickles are stored in their pickling liquid.) And no, mine never last either!

    1. deb

      It will but to warn, it gets a little stinky. Tastes great but definitely emits its cauliflower “fumes” in a container. Best to pickle it and eat it within a day or so.

  33. Kimberly

    I’ve been a “lurker” here for years… and love all your recipes!!! I did this one a while ago with golden beets and I must say it was lovely! Thanks!

  34. Lisa

    I love this recipe! I’m 4 weeks pregnant with my second and pickled carrots have been a constant craving. I’ve been buying them at 6 bucks a pop for a small jar (cringe) but I made 4 jars of these over the weekend and canned them. So yummy! I also added a hot pepper to one jar – it was to die for! Thanks so much for this website, it’s quickly become a favorite!

  35. eris

    The word “brine” means a salt solution, not a vinegar solution.

    Really. That’s why the ocean, notably salty, is referred to as the briny deep.

    These concepts are not interchangeable.

    And the blue-green garlic is the result of oxidation and exposure to an acid (in this case, the vinegar in your pickling solution). It’s safe to eat, but if you want whiter garlic, don’t bash it first.

  36. When Do I put the pickled carrots in the jars and close the lid, and put them in the fridge? Should I wait until the mixture cools down? Or immediately put the carrots and then the hot liquid in the jars and close the lid?
    Thank you!

    1. deb

      I usually cool them completely before putting them in the fridge, though I’m not sure it is necessary. I would not put a lid on until they are cool.

  37. Debra

    YUM! I made these with fresh dill and white vinegar 2 days ago. Tried one tonight. I only hope I don’t eat them all before our Christmas party on Wednesday. Thank you, Deb, for all the fabulous recipes. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  38. Debra

    Also, Deb, you should request a commission from the Progressive utensil company. I just love the small tongs in your photo so I did an online search and went out and bought that very pair. They’re just perfect with the little tines.

  39. I have these cooling on the counter right now. I’m using fresh dill, so haven’t added it yet but the carrots that have just been sitting in the warm brine for about an hour are already delicious!! I hope I don’t eat them all before my sister-in-law’s bbq on Saturday :)

  40. Rachel

    I was chopping carrots to make for my son and I had a bunch left so I figured I would throw them up for a quick pickle. Just sipping the brine was delicious! I can’t wait to taste them after they’ve sat for a few days.

  41. Jenn in Madison

    These are delicious! They will look beautiful in jars, similar to dilly beans. It will be nice to have such a fun and brightly colored item to share with friends during the cold months. Our CSA just bestowed 2 giant bags of carrots, so I know I’ll be making more.

  42. Savannah

    I made these during christmas as an alternative to the plain boring boiled and buttered carrots that usually get served. I really didn’t want to share them, they were so delicious! I plan on making them again very soon.

  43. LG

    Are you supposed to strain out the dill seeds when pouring the hot pickling liquid over the carrots? My guess was yes, since your carrots didn’t seem to be covered with them in the ‘after’ photos, but I’d love to hear whether other folks did that or left them in.

  44. Lauren

    Thanks for the recipe! The only problem i had was that i found them to be quite salty. No one else has mentioned it, so maybe it’s just me. I poured out about 1/4 of the brine and replaced with water. Hoping that will mitigate it a bit.

  45. Heather from Canada

    So I’m going to go ahead and give this one about 1000 stars. My husband has vinegar running through his veins and has been begging me for pickled carrots ever since his grandma who used to make them passed away about 8 years ago. Not having all the equipment for “real” pickles I never made them, but I made these ones yesterday. They are incredible! My husband having somehow consumed all the regular vinegar, I used some white wine vinegar which I most fortuitously purchased about two weeks ago. I also used dried dill and boiled it with the brine, and I used sea salt so I am not finding them overly salty. So why yesterday? Well, I had just emptied a pretty little jar of olives to add to a funeral sandwich tray, and thought, hey, this looks like the right size for the smitten kitchen carrot pickles! Also, I had these wonderful thin, long young carrots calling from the fridge – I didn’t even need to peel them, just scrub them well and slice away. The recommended weight fit perfectly in my jar, and lo – the brine filled it perfectly to the top! Behold, my new carrot pickle jar! Well, I guess I should stop waxing poetic about these pickles – the dog has set off her three minute warning that it’s her supper time.

  46. Laura in Milwaukee

    Just a heads up Deb (and maybe you knew this already and if so, just ignore me), but I was a little surprised to have a HUGE political ad pop-up on your site today… With video and sound and everything. I haven’t seen ads like that on your site before but maybe it is something new? Just wanted to let you know. It won’t change my devotion to you or your site! :)

  47. Ann

    Just wondering if i can can these using the method where you pour the hot pickling liquid over carrots in the jar , close and refridgerate to seal the jars?

  48. Ron

    @ Ann…you would have to use a hot water bath to seal jars for it removes the air from the jar besides sealing the jars.

    I am going to try baby carrots with this recipe and see how they turn out.

  49. I saw this recipe here on your blog ages ago and and thought *yum! I’ll have to try this!*. Fast forward to today when I’m rummaging in the fridge for an afternoon snack. I had a bowl of sliced cukes marinating in white vinegar and I saw that my husband had stuck some carrot and celery sticks in the bowl too. I nibbled a brined carrot and WOWZA!!! Even just with a brine in plain white vinegar the carrot was DELISH!!! Not ahsamed to admit I ate them ALL. I went right over to the computer and looked up this recipe! I’ll be making these as soon as I can round up the dill seeds! Question about the sugar, is it really noticeable in the end product? I prefer the sharper, more garlicky end of brines, just wanted to know how sweet the carrots would be after their bath….

  50. After a slightly-less-than-cursory glance it appears you don’t have a recipe for pickled green beans. I know you love you your pickled items and I’m guessing I could use the giardeniera recipe for green beans/carrots/whatever else tickles my fancy? Any thoughts? I kinda thought pickled veggies would be a lovely start to a heavy brisket entree…

  51. Della

    I just made these, and satisfied my immediate-upon-smelling-vinegar pickle need by crunching on a Kosher dill while I’m waiting for the carrots to pickle! I thought,”How did I miss these when they were first posted?” and then realized I saw it and just didn’t have time. Now, I’m on vacation and a diet, so it’s perfect timing! And, I had some volunteer dill growing in my garden, so I even had fresh dill, courtesy of an over the fence neighbor! PS: you’re missing the apostrophe in your you’re here: “container your are”.

    PSS: love the new “human check”!

  52. DianeKirkland

    I made these as part of a Christmas gift this year and they were well-received. Question — do you use kosher salt or table salt in your recipes; if kosher, which brand? Thanks! Diane

  53. Jess

    OMG these are amazing, and so easy! My roommate and I mistakenly made a half batch yesterday and they were gone the same day. We will certainly be making a full batch as soon as we pick up more carrots. This will be perfect with fresh dill and purple carrots from the market this summer!

  54. Meg

    I really like this idea for carrots (which my CSA is delivering to me in abundance this time of year)! I made a similar version of these, except cut my carrots to the size of matchsticks. Then I’ve been able to drain them and mix them into grain salads with chicken, etc. It’s a nice way to get a little more depth to the flavor and jazz up a salad. Thanks for the inspiration!

  55. Sam

    Hi Deb!

    I absolutely love this recipe! Is there any particular reason for letting the carrots and brine cool in a bowl rather than placing them directly in the jar and doing it there?

    Thank you!!

  56. Della

    I’ve made these before and loved them. I was brainstorming all the yummy things I was going to include in a main dish Italian salad and thought of these, except I’m going to pickle carrot coins since they will be easier to eat in a salad!

  57. Sandy

    Hi! Just ran across something where you said dill seeds can be hard to find. Just in case you find some cheap ones, you might like to do this. Mine are $1.00 or so for the shaker kind, from the ethnic grocers here in Chicago. Anyways, I sprinkle them right in the garden. Several times a season, then again in winter, and in early spring before anything comes up. I get dill up the gazoo. All summer and fall.

  58. Mimi

    I used the mandoline to slice my carrots. Didn’t have dillseed, so I used fennel seeds. And it tastes great!! I have ordered dill seeds from amazon now, for the next batch.
    This really pimps up a normal sandwich :)