This quick pickled celery recipe adds a zesty, crunchy tang to your chopped salads, and is the ultimate wingman for your chicken wings. Customize the flavors with different herbs and spices, and serve it alongside your smoked or grilled meats.
Do yourself a favor, spend 10 minutes, and make this quick pickled recipe. Go ahead, grab the celery stalks out of your fridge that was going to go bad, warm up the brine, and get ready for a tangy bite.
Even if you’re not the biggest celery stick fan, this recipe has its place. Chop up the pickled celery and add it to pasta salads, deviled eggs, or even chicken salads.
Choosing Celery for Pickling
It’s critical to have high-quality produce for pickling because you can’t hide anything with this process. Fresh celery will make a huge difference with the flavor and texture.
Celery comes in many shapes at the grocery store, here are the most common ways to purchase and choose:
- Whole celery bunch – Look for bright green leaves. The ends should still have color, not wilting or shriveling at the top. Make sure to feel the ends to see if they are soft or firm.
- Celery hearts – These are typically sold in bags, and are pre-trimmed celery bunches. Look for the same characteristics with color and firmness. Celery hearts are more prone to damage because of their packaging.
- Celery stalks – Stores will sell these in bags and also on display as singles. Typically these can be a tad dry, as they’ve been removed from the bunch and trimmed. Make sure the ends are not dry and wilting.
Clean Celery Before Pickling
Make sure to clean the celery thoroughly when you are ready to use it. This is especially critical when making quick pickled celery to ensure no dirt or bacteria is going into the jar.
Wash each stalk under cold water, making sure to brush off any dirt particles. Soak the celery in a mixture of water with a tablespoon or two of white vinegar to kill off any tiny bugs.
Pat the celery dry and get ready to slice!
To make this easy pickle recipe, you’ll need just a handful of ingredients:
- Celery stalks: Choose firm stalks without any blemishes, as they’ll pickle best.
- Jalapeno: This is optional, but adds a little sharp heat. Half of a pepper is generally plenty for this recipe.
- Distilled white vinegar: Provides a clean, tangy flavor to the pickling brine.
- Rice vinegar: Adds a sweet, mild flavor profile to the brine. Use an unseasoned rice vinegar for the cleanest flavor.
- Sugar: Adds a touch of sweetness to balance out the tanginess of the vinegar. Use either brown or white sugar depending on your tastes.
- Kosher salt: Helps preserve the pickled celery and adds flavor. Do not use table salt.
- Mustard seed: Adds a hint of spice and complexity to the pickled celery.
- Fresh Dill: Use a few sprigs to create that fresh-flavored pickle brine we all love.
- Black Peppercorns: Just a few will add an earthy sharpness to the celery.
Variations and Substitutions
Most of the ingredients above are highly recommended, though you can easily leave out the jalapeno to keep the pickled celery recipe milder.
- Red pepper flakes: Use these in a pinch if you don’t have a jalapeno. Adds a nice layer of heat.
- Garlic: Toss in a few cloves which will add a mild savory note.
- Bay leaf: These have a great herbal punch, especially if you don’t have fresh dill.
- Thyme: Use a combo of thyme and dill if possible, the flavor is bright and savory.
- Shallots: Slice a small shallot in half and add it in. The color of the brine might change because of this, but the flavor will be aromatic and savory.
- Celery seeds: Adding a teaspoon of dried celery seed will boost the natural flavors quite a bit.
How to Make Quick Pickled Celery
There are only a few steps, this is a very simple process. Make sure you start with clean celery, and choose whether or not you want to keep the celery in long stalks or diced.
- Wash and trim the celery stalks. Measure out the celery to see how long it needs to be to fit into a glass mason jar. Cut celery stalks to the same length, you should have about 2-3 pieces per stalk.
- Add the celery and spices to the jar. Place the spices and herbs at the bottom, and pack in the celery stalks. Make sure to add in the slice of jalapeno if using.
- Heat the brine on the stove. Combine the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Stir to dissolve the ingredients and turn off the heat.
- Pour the hot liquid over the celery, carefully. The boiling water helps the celery to fully absorb the brine. Make sure the celery stalks are completely covered with liquid, using a weight if needed to press them down.
- Allow the brine to cool before storing it in the fridge. Don’t grab the jar for a bit, the pickling liquid needs to cool off to room temperature. Once it has, place a lid on the mason jar and let it sit in the fridge overnight if possible for the best flavor.
This recipe for quick pickled celery will be fresh for about a month, but the texture and taste are best during the first two weeks. The longer it rests in the fridge, the softer the celery will be.
Food to Pair with Pickled Celery
Now that you’ve made this tangy, delicious snack the hardest part is deciding how to use it.
- Pair with grilled meats: Smoky, savory flavors taste delicious with a complementary tangy bite of anything pickled. Try Grilled Chicken Wings, Brisket Burnt Ends, or even alongside Smoked Jalapeno Poppers.
- Tuna salad or egg salad: Dice up the quick pickled celery and toss it into your cold sandwich salads.
- Pulled chicken salad: This tangy celery is very delicious in a chicken salad, especially if you use smoked pulled chicken. Try it in the smoked Chicken Pecan Salad for a burst of flavor.
- Stir-fried recipes: Stir-fries are known for bold, vibrant flavors, and pickled celery takes these to the next level. Adding this crunchy, tangy bite really does transform the dish.
- Bloody Mary drinks: Yup, shove it into a glass of the classic drink. Make sure you have bacon!
- Charcuterie: Everyone loves a board with cheese, meats, and all the things. Quick pickled celery needs to be part of the party, alongside a dollop of pickled mustard seeds.
- Pasta salads: It’s a struggle to think of delicious vegetables to pop into pasta salads sometimes, but diced pickled celery saves the day. Try adding it to the Southern macaroni salad for the ultimate banging bite.
More Quick Pickles to Try
Give any of these a try, they are all excellent pairs for grilled and smoked meats:
- Quick pickled red onions
- Smoked pickled jalapenos
- Pickled mustard seeds
- Spicy Curtido cabbage slaw
- Sweet and spicy pickles
Quick Pickled Celery RECIPE
This recipe is simple, quick, and extremely flavorful. Give it a try and I promise you’ll be eating more celery than you’ve imagined. At Chiles and Smoke, we’re here to bring people together with bold flavors, using spice and flames to ignite the food and friendships.Print
- 5 stalks of celery
- ½ jalapeno, sliced lengthwise (optional)
- 1 cups water
- ½ cup distilled vinegar
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 sprigs of dill
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- Wash and trim celery stalks. Measure out the celery to make sure it can fit inside a glass mason jar. Slice each stalk into the same length.
- Add the spices and celery to the mason jar. Place the spices and herbs in first, then pack the celery sticks into the jar. Add the slice of jalapeno if using.
- Heat the brine on the stove. Add the water, vinegar, salt and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Whisk the brine to dissolve the ingredients and turn off the heat.
- Pour the hot brine into the jar. Carefully, add the brine and make sure the celery is completely submerged. Use a weight to press them down if needed.
- Allow the pickled celery to cool before storing in the fridge. Place a lid on the mason jar and set it in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. The celery will stay fresh for up to a month, but maintains it’s crunch the best during the first 2 weeks.
- If you need more brine, simply add a mix of 50/50 vinegar and water to the jar to top it off.
- You may peel the celery before adding it to the jar if you feel the skin is rough.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Sauces & Salsas
- Method: Pickling
- Cuisine: Condiment
Keywords: quick pickle, pickled celery, quick pickled celery, pickle brine, spicy celery