If you're looking for a great way to enjoy cherry tomatoes, pickling might just be the answer! Pickling is a traditional preservation method that involves immersing food in a solution of vinegar, salt, and spices. The result is a tangy, flavorful condiment that can be used in a variety of dishes.
Pickled cherry tomatoes are particularly appealing because of their small size and sweet flavor. They make a great addition to salads, sandwiches, and charcuterie boards, and can even be used as a garnish for cocktails. They also keep well in the fridge, so you can enjoy them for weeks or even months after pickling.
If you're new to pickling, cherry tomatoes are a great place to start. They're easy to work with and produce a delicious result. Plus, once you've mastered pickling cherry tomatoes, you can experiment with pickling other fruits and vegetables, like cucumbers, carrots, garlic scapes, cauliflower and more!
Why you Should Make these Easy Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
- A tasty way to preserve cherry tomatoes you have in the fridge.
- They are a perfect accompaniment to a cheese board or charcuterie board.
- They are a great healthy snack when you’re craving something sweet and sour.
- Add them to Bloody Marys or Caesars!
- Add them to pasta salads, potato salads, enjoy them as a side with labneh balls.
A Note on Seasonality
Although you can make this recipe any time of the year, it is truly best in the summer when cherry tomatoes are in season (or if you have a huge glut of them from your garden). I would recommend you buy your tomatoes from the farmer’s market whenever possible, and choose organic when available.
I love growing cherry tomatoes in my garden. They are easy to grow and loved by adults and children. In my book, Seed to Table, you will find growing guides for Tomatoes and herbs. So, if you have never attempted to grow your own tomatoes, my book makes it super easy for you. My book also includes pickling and fermenting primers to help you preserve food at home.
I make this quick pickle recipe regularly during the summer. If you're looking for more tomato recipe ideas, check out my very popular 10 things to make with cherry tomatoes blog post. You can also use this recipe to make pickled green tomatoes with any unripe tomatoes you have left over on your vines at the end of the season.
This recipe is incredibly easy and only has a few ingredients. Scroll down further for ingredient notes and substitutions.
How to Make Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
You don’t need any special equipment for this recipe. It comes together in a few simple steps:
1) Prepare the jar. To a clean jar, add the garlic clove, whole peppercorns, and dill sprigs. Set aside.
2) Prick the tomatoes. Prick each cherry tomato with a skewer or toothpick (1-2 times). This will allow the brine to penetrate the cherry tomato during pickling. Add the cherry tomatoes to the mason jar.
3. Prepare the brine. In a small pot on medium heat, combine vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Warm through until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
4. Assemble. Carefully pour the hot brine over the cherry tomatoes, making sure they are submerged in the brine. Tap the jar to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar, cover, seal and let cool to room temperature on the counter. Refrigerate for at least 48 hours before enjoying (but if you really can’t wait, you can enjoy them the next day).
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Cherry Tomatoes: The size of the tomatoes matters. Obviously, this is a cherry tomato pickle recipe, so using larger tomatoes might not yield the same results, especially since you would have to cut them into chunks. The recipe will work with small-fruited varieties (pear, cocktail or grape tomatoes). Ripe tomatoes are ideal.
- Fresh Herbs. I like using dill for that traditional pickle flavor but you can certainly use woody herbs (thyme and rosemary). There’s nothing stopping you from trying it with different herbs like fresh basil or even parsley.
- Garlic: One clove of garlic is all your need to give the finished product a nice garlicky aroma and flavor. However, if you are not a fan or if you have picky eaters, you can omit the garlic.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: I like apple cider vinegar in this recipe, but use what you have on hand. White distilled vinegar, champagne vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, and white wine vinegar will work well. Avoid using darker vinegar like balsamic or sherry as the finished product will look murky and not appetizing.
- Spices: Mustard seeds are traditional, but feel free to add dill seed, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, coriander seeds or other spices of choice.
- Additions: Sliced red onions can also be added to the jar.
This recipe for quick pickled cherry tomatoes is for a refrigerator pickle, meaning the finished product is NOT shelf stable and must be stored in the refrigerator. Store in an airtight container (mason jar preferred). Refrigerator pickles will last for up to 2 months. Make sure the jar is refrigerated and never left out on the counter for more than an hour at a time.
I encourage you to check out my Refrigerator Pickle recipe for more information and variations.
- Make sure your equipment is clean. Wash the mason jar with warm soapy water. You don’t need to sterilize the jar when making a refrigerator pickle like you do when water bath canning, but it wouldn’t hurt if you did. To sterilize the jars, boil them in a large pot of water for 10 minutes and carefully remove them with tongs to drain.
- Choose unblemished and fresh cherry tomatoes. I would personally avoid pickling any cherry tomatoes that have gone mushy or the skin has cracked.
- You can use green cherry tomatoes too. Green tomatoes will hold their shape and have more of a crunch to them when pickled compared to ripe cherry tomatoes.
- Don’t skip the pricking step. Poking a small hole in the cherry tomatoes will help them take up the brine and pickle from the inside out.
- You can use pint jars or half-pint mason jars (500ml or 250ml). I would personally avoid making too large of a batch at any given time. Always use a glass jar when pickling. Don’t use metal or plastic as there are no guarantees that the pickling liquid won’t interact with the container material. Glass is the safest option.
A refrigerator pickle is, as the name suggests, not shelf stable and should be stored in the refrigerator.
Yes, you can pickle cherry tomatoes. It’s a good idea to prick or skewer them before pickling to allow the bring to penetrate. You’ll end up with juicer, tangier, and more delicious pickles this way.
Other Tomato Recipes You Will Enjoy
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Pickled Cherry Tomatoes
- 1-2 Pints Cherry tomatoes
- 1-2 Garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ teaspoon Mustard seeds
- 1-2 Dill sprigs
- 1 cup Apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup Water
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt or pickling salt
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- Black peppercorns, dill seed, coriander seed, chili flakes.
- Prepare the jar. To a clean jar, add the garlic clove, mustard seeds, and dill sprigs (and any additional add-ins you wish). Set aside. If using small jars, divide the ingredients equally.
- Prick the tomatoes. Prick each cherry tomato with a skewer or toothpick. This will allow the pickling solution to penetrate the cherry tomato during pickling. Add the cherry tomatoes to the mason jar.
- Prepare the brine. In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Warm through until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
- Assemble. Carefully pour the hot brine over the cherry tomatoes, making sure they are submerged in the liquid. Tap the jar to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar, cover, seal and let cool to room temperature on the counter. Refrigerate for at least 48 hours before enjoying (but if you really can’t wait, you can enjoy them the next day).