Quick Pickled Apples


Pickled apples on a salad.

What’s an Apple Pickle?

In this world there are two types of people, pickle lovers and pickle haters. Until a few years ago, I fell into the hater category. So, what changed my mind and my palette? I was served pickled cranberries on a salad during the holidays. That burst of tart and tangy flavor was a total game changer for me. I’ve been hooked on exploring pickles ever since.

Over the past few years, I’ve been branching out and making all sorts of fruity pickles in my own kitchen. These Quick Pickled Apples are my newest creation.

Stemilt’s Pink Lady apples are the perfect apple for pickling because they are very firm and dense in texture, and have a wonderful tart flavor that I just love! Plus, Pink Lady apples resist browning when you slice into them. Therefore, you can take your time with this sweet apple pickle recipe and not fret about browning.

Not sure what pickling spices are? Most well-stocked grocery stores sell pre-made pickling spices, which contain a blend of yellow and brown mustard seeds, allspice, cinnamon, bay leaves, dill seed, cloves, ginger, black peppercorns, star anise, coriander, juniper, mace, cardamom and crushed red pepper.

If you are feeling adventurous try making spiced pickled apples by adding in extra cinnamon, gloves, and ginger!

Pink Lady apples in someone's hands

Quick Pickled Apples are simple!

  1. First, you make the brine. This consists of equal parts water and vinegar with some sugar, pickling spices, and a bit of salt.
  2. Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring them to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 8-10 minutes. The sugar will dissolve and the brine will infuse with the flavors of the pickling spice.
  3. While the brine is simmering, slice the apples. I prefer to slice mine on a mandolin so that I have thin, uniform slices, but you can use a knife too. I also opted to leave the core in my quick pickled apples, but you can remove the core if you wish. If you do decide to leave it in though, be sure to remove any seeds or seed fragments before adding the apple slices to the brine.
  4. Transfer the apple slices to a large bowl and pour the brine through a strainer over the apple slices. This will strain the pickling spices and leave you with a nice clear pickling brine.
  5. Add a few cinnamon sticks and star anise pods to the bowl and allow the pickles and brine to come to room temperature. Since apple slices float, you will need to create a weight of some kind to make sure they stay submerged. Try placing a smaller bowl inside the large bowl and covering the whole thing with plastic wrap.
  6. Once everything is cooled, transfer the apple slices, star anise pods and cinnamon sticks by pouring the brine into a pickling jar. Your brine will now be a gorgeous shade of pink from the peel of the Pink Lady apples!
  7. At this point, you will have a bit of leftover brine. Feel free to discard it or get really creative and make cocktails or drinking vinegars with it.

These quick pickled apples are tart, tangy, sweet, and a bit sour all at the same time. And they add the perfect pop of flavor to brighten up salads, layer on to sandwiches, or as an unexpected addition to charcuterie and cheese boards. While they’re delicious enough to stand alone, they can also provide a much needed burst of acidity when paired with rich meaty mains like pork roast.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp pickling spice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Stemilt Pink Lady Apples
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise pods

These quick pickled apples are tart, tangy, sweet, and a bit sour all at the same time making them the perfect pop of flavor to brighten up salads, layer on to sandwiches, or as an unexpected addition to charcuterie and cheese boards.

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  • Yield
    12 servings
  • Prep time
  • Cook time
  • Total time
  • Cuisine
    European, American
  • In Category
  • Level


  1. Combine water, vinegar, maple syrup, pickling spice, and kosher salt in a small to medium sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer for 8 - 10 minutes.
  3. Wash apples, core them if desired (no need to peel them). Transfer the slices to a quart sized bowl.
  4. Add star anise pods and cinnamon sticks to the bowl with the apple slices.
  5. Pour the brine through a strainer into the bowl with the apple slices, then cover and let come to room temperature.
  6. Once they have cooled to room temperature, transfer the apple slices, cinnamon sticks, and star anise pods to a pint sized glass jar.
  7. Fill the jar with brine, and discard any left over brine. Cover and refrigerate.


  1. The apples will float - to keep them submerged, set a smaller bowl inside on top of the apple slices and wrap the two bowls tightly with a layer of plastic wrap. This should keep the apples submerged.
  2. They are good for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.
  3. You can use leftover brine from the pickling process to make delicious drinking vinegars, AKA shrubs, or even cocktails!

Nutritional Information

Per Serving

  • Calories: 88
  • Fat Content: 0.6g
  • Cholesterol Content: 0mg
  • Carbohydrate Content: 20.4g
  • Sugar Content: 17.5g
  • Protein Content: 0.5g
  • Sodium Content: 141.7mg