Have You Ever Tried to Pickle Potatoes?

November 17, 2015

It was said in passing, almost as if it was something we must have had before, not something we weren’t aware of at all: And, yes, you can pickle potatoes! 

Wait, what? Well, we were told just that when the U.S. Potato Board recently visited our offices and left us with A) all the potatoes that we could want (seven varieties, countless colors) and B) the quick and easy tip that yes, indeed, you can pickle potatoes.

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After inquiring about the process quickly, as if we were trying to lock it away in our brains for later experimentation—because, well, we were—we asked what we thought were all the pertinent questions: 

  • What kind of potatoes would it work for? Any potatoes; bigger should be sliced, and smaller can stay whole.
  • What would you pickle it in? Any pickling brine that you would generally use!
  • How long would it take? A week or two of brining.

Our minds whizzed—we had to try it. After some research and findings (never pickle raw potatoes), we boiled a sack of small ones for a about ten minutes (a short period, you don't want them to be mushy), mixed up a very simple pickling brine of cider vinegar, garlic, and salt, and combined them in a jar to await judgement.

After a week of brining, they tasted strongly of their brine: cider-vinegary, garlicky, and salty (and deliciously so). They'd go well with some cured salmon, and would be delicious sliced thinly and added to a sandwich. It's an understatement to say that potatoes are blank canvases for pickling brines; we imagine they'd sidle up to just about any flavor profile and amplify it. Have you ever pickled potatoes? If so, what are your tips and what have you pickled them with? 

Pickled potato photo by Alpha Smoot; raw potato photo by James Ransom

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • WIC
  • sudelaney
  • Tim Kimball
    Tim Kimball
  • Johnny Pham
    Johnny Pham
  • Heather | Delicious Not Gorgeous
    Heather | Delicious Not Gorgeous
I love oysters and unfussy sandwiches.


WIC April 12, 2022
While awaiting the magic to happen in the brine, should they be refrigerated or put in a dark corner?
sudelaney May 6, 2020
A Mexican restaurant close to where I live pickles potatoes, carrots and jalapenos together & it's wonderful!
Tim K. March 19, 2019
you CAN pickle raw potatoes [or any firm vegetable, like any soft vegetable]. the result will take longer and be firmer. i like it that way. turnips, carrots, beets.

and good potatoes do have a taste, and it is great.

make kimchi potatoes [not potatoes IN kimchi]. just use your kimchi pickling ingredients. delicious.

new potatoes, cut in half, are my favorite.
Johnny P. November 7, 2016
Why can we not pickle raw potatos? researching everywhere cannot find anything.
Heather |. November 18, 2015
bon appetit did a feature this summer on al's place (in sf), who serves pickled french fries. i'd love to try those, but i'd rather make these (so much easier and no cleanup after frying!).
Rebecca November 17, 2015
Oh of course you can pickle potatoes but why have I never thought to do this before. My mind is whirling with pickley potato ideas. I cant wait to experiment.
Samantha W. November 17, 2015
I know! I know. It seems so simple yet I had never thought of it, either.
Steph July 21, 2018
Wow Rebecca!
We totally agree. Mind blown. Send potato pics ASAP

Ps my friend sat on a sack of potatoes once
Anna R. November 17, 2015
I make a marinated quick pickle with par boiled new red or yellow potatoes, red onion, red wine vinegar, lots of garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes, fresh ground pepper, a pinch of sugar & a little dill and serve them cold. They are always a favorite, though it's a bit tricky to get the the texture just right. You want them just slightly firm, but not crunchy...
Samantha W. November 17, 2015
Wow this sounds excellent! I agree on the texture -- a tough balance, but you really know when you get it right!
Anna R. November 17, 2015
Yeah, the red wine vinegar, garlic & dill give them a nice punchy Mediterranean/Greek flavor. Perfect to serve with grilled meats on those warm summer BBQ days!
anaj November 17, 2015
first saw this idea in Zahav!
Samantha W. November 17, 2015
Oh cool! Do you remember if the potatoes were small or large? And what was the brine?