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Spicy Pumpkin Pickle Recipe (Refrigerator Pickle)

It’s pumpkin EVERYTHING season, and a good idea to take a break from those sweet (so sweet) pies and try this delicious tangy spicy pumpkin pickle recipe.

View into a glass jar with clear liquid, orange vegetable slices, garlic and red chilis

An easy overnight refrigerator pickle recipe, this delicious grown-up pickle will keep up to two months in the refrigerator.

Try it yourself and let me know what you enjoy it with! And if you prefer your pumpkin on the sweet side, this delicious vegan pumpkin bread might be just the ticket.

Serve it with:

  • As a vegan side dish over white rice (or lemon rice with coconut)
  • Over coconut rice (or anything coconut-y)
  • As a side for Japanese recipes such as sushi and tofu main dishes
  • Paired with feta or creamy mild cheeses as part of a cheeseboard!
  • Between courses as a palate cleanser

Customize your pickle

This simple spicy pumpkin pickle has a ton of flavour but you can also adjust some of the ingredients to make it your own, and swap out or omit certain aromatics.

Garlic cloves – you can omit these if you really hate garlic, otherwise I would totally keep them in, and if you’re a big fan of garlicky flavour you could even increase it from three cloves to seven!

Front view of sliced pumpkin and garlic and red chilis in a glass jar

Red chili peppers – I use two to get the perfect kick of spice but you can reduce it to one pepper if you’re tolerance runs towards milder spiced dishes, or increase to three if you’re a fan of a lot of heat!

Lime juice – I like this pickle super tangy and with lots of lime flavour and use four limes (yielding about half a cup of lime juice). But if you’re not as big a fan of lime as I am, or would prefer a more subtle lime tang, just use two limes and add two more tablespoons of vinegar and two of water.

White wine vinegar – I use white wine vinegar as I prefer it’s lighter slightly more delicate flavour,but you can also swap it out for apple cider vinegar.

Sugar – as you can probably guess, I like my pickles firmly on the side of sour and savoury, and three tablespoons of sugar is just enough for my liking, but if you must indulge your sweet and sour tooth more heavily on the side of sweet, try four tablespoons. Not five, I mean come on, it’s not jam we’re making here!

Ginger – I love pumpkin and fresh raw ginger when paired together and find they really do go well with a lot of Japanese and some Chinese recipes. Try pumpkin pickles instead of ginger alongside your sushi! However, if you’re making this pickle to pair more with cheeses, or you’re just not a fan of ginger, you can omit it altogether.

Refrigerator pickles?

close up of jarred pumpkin pickles with pale grey background

Just an FYI, if you’re a pickling newbie like me you may not know the difference between refrigerator pickles and regular pickles.

Important to note is that refrigerator pickles can last up to two months in the – you guessed it – fridge ONLY. Properly canned pickles, on the other hand, can last for years in the cupboard while unopened.

How to make spicy pumpkin pickle

Okay, so now that you’ve decided to make this super easy overnight pickle, let’s see how you do it. Read the section above on customizing your pickle before you start to make it.

I do not recommend making any other customizations such as changing up the amount of liquid (although adding other herbs and spices would be fine).

Take about 12.5oz (355g) of peeled pumpkin (I just grab those vacuum-packed chunks from the salad section of the store), chop into large columns about an inch thick, and mandoline the chunky columns to give thin bitesize pieces of pumpkin.

If you don’t have a mandoline you can use that long hole on the side of your box grater, slice very thinly by hand, or even use a ribbon peeler to make long ribbons and chop them into smaller chunks.

Quarter a small onion and slice thinly. Thinly slice two red chili peppers, and three large garlic cloves.

Peel and thinly slice about half an inch of fresh raw ginger, and then cut the thinly sliced ginger lengthways into tiny batons.

Add all the vegetables to a medium-size pot, along with two teaspoons of black peppercorns (see picture below).

Saucepan with sliced pumpkin, onions, ginger, red chili peppers, garlic and black peppercorns

Add the white wine vinegar, lime juice, water, salt and sugar and bring to the boil over a high heat. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat slightly to maintain it at a roiling simmer, and cook for four to five minutes.

Test the pumpkin with a fork. It should be “al-dente”, yielding to the fork but not becoming mushy. If ithe pumpkin isn’t done yet, test it every minute until done (as this can depend on how thick the slices are), but be careful not to overcook the slices or they’ll dissolve later.

Decant to a suitably sized glass container (I use a 16 oz pint preserves jar). I prefer not to use plastic as the pickles will be sitting in my fridge for a while.

Side view of preserves jar filled with orange vegetables and garlic

Whichever container you use, make sure the liquid is just about covering the vegetables (you can add a few tablespoons extra of water if required).

Leave on the counter to cool to room temperature (will take roughly around three hours) and then move to the fridge and leave overnight.

Your pickles will be ready the next day (pumpkin pickles for breakfast anyone?).


Did you make this recipe? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating in the recipe box, review, or comment below.

Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian), I love seeing all your creations!

Yield: 1 pint

Spiced Pumpkin Pickle Recipe (Refrigerator Pickle)

View into a glass jar with clear liquid, orange vegetable slices, garlic and red chilis

This tasty tangy spicy pumpkin pickle has melt-in-in-your mouth thin al dente slices of pickled pumpkin, onion, garlic and chili peppers and is the perfect addition to any fall plate

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 12.5oz peeled pumpkin
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 red chilis
  • 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • Optional - ½ inch ginger (0.35oz peeled)
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • Juice of 4 limes (½ cup)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar


  1. Slice the pumpkin into inch thick column and then mandoline.
  2. Quarter and thinly slice the onion.
  3. Thinly slice two red chili peppers and three large garlic cloves.
  4. If adding the ginger, thinly slice and then cut again lengthwise to make very thin short batons.
  5. Add the vegetables to a pot along with the black peppercorns.
  6. Add the vinegar, lime juice, water, salt, and sugar.
  7. Bring to the boil and then reduce the temperature slightly and allow to bubble away for 4-5 minutes until the pumpkin slices are al-dente.
  8. Leave to cool at room temperature for three hours then refrigerate overnight.
  9. Done!


Check out the "customize your pickle" section above to find out what you substitute and/or increase/decrease.

Make sure not to overcook the pumpkin as if too soft it will disintegrate.

This refrigerator pumpkin pickle will keep for around two months in the fridge (not the cupboard).

If you're planning on serving this pickle with cheese I would omit the ginger.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 82Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 10mgSodium 322mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 1gSugar 5gProtein 4g

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