Cocktail Carrots are super easy to make and take only a couple hours to pickle in the fridge. Make them earlier in the day and you have an instant appetizer to offer your guests while dinner cooks.
By Maya Parson
I used to eat at a place that served a little dish of Moroccan spiced carrots alongside its sandwiches. The sandwiches were excellent, but I would have eaten there for the coriander and cumin flavored carrots alone.
I started pickling my own carrots with those spiced carrots in mind. One day I accidentally dumped caraway instead of cumin seeds into the brine. It was a happy accident—the pickles were delicious.
It was also a good lesson: carrots are like the little black dress of the vegetable world. They can be basic and uninspired, but with the right “accessories,” they are smashing.
I make these “Cocktail Carrots” regularly with garlic, oregano and hot chilies, but I also love them with cumin, caraway, or fennel. You can mix up the spices however you like. (I’ve offered several variations below.) Crunchy, spicy, and a little bit sweet, they are terrific for serving with cocktails or beer, or for garnishing a Bloody Mary.
The best part? Cocktail Carrots are super easy to make and take only a couple hours to pickle in the fridge. Make them earlier in the day and you have an instant appetizer to offer your guests while dinner cooks.
- 1 cup (236 milliliters) water
- ¾ cup white vinegar (177 milliliters)
- 2 Tablespoons (24 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) salt
- Carrots cut into 4-inch lengths to fill jar (about 5 medium-sized)
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon (2 grams) sliced hot red pepper or ¼ teaspoon (1/2 gram) chili flakes
- 1 sprig fresh oregano or ¼ teaspoon (1/2 gram) dried. (Variation: ½ teaspoon [1 gram] cumin, caraway OR coriander seeds in place of oregano. Or try a cinnamon stick or piece of star anise.)
- ½ teaspoon (4 grams) fennel seeds
- 1 3-inch (76 millimeter) strip of lemon peel
- To make brine, bring water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a simmer.
- Remove from heat.
- Place seasonings and carrots into jar.
- Cover with hot brine.
- Cover and let cool at room temperature for about an hour, then refrigerate.
- Pickles must soak in brine at least 2 hours and preferably about 4-5 before eating.
- They will become more strongly flavored (and softer) the longer they soak.
- When you’ve eaten them all (it will happen faster than you think!), save the brine and reuse it for another batch!