Vietnamese Daikon and Carrot Pickles

For a lower glycemic option, you can substitute the 1 cup of sugar with 3/4 cup of agave syrup.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes approximately 5 pints


  • 2 pounds carrots (about 5 medium sized carrots), peeled
  • 2 pounds of daikon radishes (about 2 large daikon), peeled
  • 1 cup plus 4 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups warm water (warm enough to easily dissolve sugar)
  • About 5 pint jars


1 Julienne the carrots and the daikon radishes. Cut them first crosswise into 2 1/2 inch long segments. Then cut 1/4-inch thick slices lengthwise. Stack the slices and cut them again into 1/4-inch thick batons.

2 Place the carrots and daikon radishes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 4 teaspoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt. Use your clean hands to toss the carrots and daikon with the salt and sugar until well coated. Continue to mix the carrots and daikon with your hands until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. They are ready once you can bend a piece of daikon all the way over without it breaking.

vietnamese-carrot-daikon-pickles-1.jpg vietnamese-carrot-daikon-pickles-2.jpg

3 Transfer the carrots and daikon to a colander, rinse with cool water and drain well.

vietnamese-carrot-daikon-pickles-3.jpg vietnamese-carrot-daikon-pickles-4.jpg

4 In a bowl (a 8 cup pyrex measuring cup works great for this) mix together one cup of sugar, the white vinegar and the warm water, until the sugar dissolves.

5 Prepare clean jars. Pack the daikon and carrots tightly into the jars. Pour over the pickling liquid to cover. Seal. Refrigerate.

The pickles should sit at least overnight before eating; their flavor will improve with time. They should last 4 to 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

Traditionally served in Vietnamese street sandwiches called Banh Mi. These pickles would be great with anything that would typically be served with coleslaw or sauerkraut, like hot dogs, or barbecued pork, or even with salad or wrapped into a spring roll. Or just eat them straight.

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  • Three-Cookies

    Why are steps 2 and 3 necessary? I normally put the veges straight in the pickling liquid.

    You can do that. Massaging some sugar and salt into the vegetables will help achieve a nice consistency, and just a little salt gets absorbed into the vegetables. You rinse off the excess before adding the pickling liquid, which has no salt. But really, it’s totally up to you. You can skip these steps if you want. ~Elise

  • laura @ glutton for nourishment

    oh my, i’ve been on a huge banh mi kick lately. thank you for this!

  • Flourish and Fancy

    I’ll be trying this! Thanks for sharing.

  • katalia

    What jars are those? I’ve been looking for some good re-usable jars like this.

    Can’t wait to make the pickles. Banh mi is one of my favorite things because of the lightly pickled veggies.

    Will regular radishes work? My CSA has been delivering a lot of those … and I have no idea what to do with them!

    I picked up the jars at Cost Plus, here in Sacramento. If you do a Google search for “french canning jars” you’ll find other sources. As for regular radishes, my father loves to make pickled radishes, which I think you make the same way you would make pickled carrots, just choose your pickling juice. (I don’t have a recipe yet, but you can find plenty online.) If you wanted to make these Vietnamese pickles, they really do require the daikon radish, which is wonderfully mild. ~Elise

  • Debra Campbell

    Would it be possible to can these? I’ve done carrots with garlic as a side to Mexican dishes and I can them.

    You could try it, but heating the carrots and daikon as much as you would need to with a hot water bath that canning requires may change the flavor. ~Elise

  • Maryfe

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ve always wondered how to make these things because they are so good! Would love to make bahn mi sandwiches too. Do you happen to have a recipe for the vietnamese bbq pork?

    Look at the sandwiches at this wonder site about banh mi by my friends Diane and Todd of White on Rice Couple. ~Elise

  • Katrina

    Very cool recipe. Thanks!

  • KM

    The same method could also be used for onions, like red onion or white/yellow onion. Thinly sliced and pickled. Then also put on the banh mi sandwiches. A banh mi chain called Lee’s Sandwiches adds pickled onions in their sandwich in addition to these pickles. I’ve also tried these pickles on bbq pork, braised pork belly, etc… The slight acidity, and sweetness goes well with fatty items.

    My mom told me that steps 2 & 3 are necessary because it helps the pickle stay longer, and maintain a crunch. If not done, it can become mushy, and go bad faster.

  • my spatula

    aahhh, i grew up eating these and always have them on hand in the fridge. yours look perfect!

  • Faith Kramer

    Would probably work well as a topping for a street-style taco, too.

  • razzle

    Ohhhh…I’m in Heaven! I always go to my mother in law for anything that needs pickling (like pickled veggies to eat with grilled beef and rice). But these, I have to try myself. I love Banh Mi sandwiches and eat them every week and drive my husband crazy because he hates sandwiches! Now I can make my own. I’m not sure but I think if you shred the carrots and daikon and add a cucumber that is what they serve with satay beef or lemongrass beef on a stick. I’m not sure that is the right pickled veggie grouping though. But it looks like it in Thai and Cambodian restaurants in southern california.

  • Mary

    Awesome! I’ve always wanted to try and make them! They’re so refreshing, and good with anything.

    Now if you could figure out how to make that pickled cabbage that’s often an appetizer at Japanese restaurants, then you would make my week. (Many failed attempts of my own).

    …Unless you make it the same way?….

  • sillygirl

    I made some of this a while ago and it keeps for a long time – still have some in the refrigerator – and use it in all kinds of sandwiches. You can chop a little up finer to go in a filling with mushed garbanzos and a little onion and mayo – or add a little to a tuna salad. Yum!

  • Nate @ House of Annie

    I think it would be GREAT on hotdogs. I’m wondering if you can put some julienned slices of jalapeno in with the daikon and carrot?

  • Christy

    Amazing. A (dot) mazing. I could eat that by the barrel. (I’m actually not kidding.) What a great suggestion!

  • angela

    I have a jar of pickled beetroot eggs in the fridge inspired by you and it looks like I’m going to be adding this jar to keep it company. Actually I’m on my second batch of pickled eggs, I took them to a lunch party and my French friends went mad for them, they’d never tasted anything like it!
    I think they call daikon ‘radis noirs’ here and I’ve often wondered what to do with them, will try this and report back.

  • Sally

    Elise, I am definitely on a pickle jag. Made some pickled beets and onions and thought of you; they’re inspired from my German grandmother. Also, a commenter mentioned trying your recipe :) I’m going to add this link to my post along with the others. So, on to something different! Thanks for this recipe, next on my list.

  • Amy

    Wow! This looks easy and fabulous, and so light! (Just like the poached chicken last week–thanks for that. I made an even lazier version on my second attempt by substituting a ziploc bag for the plastic wrap.) Is the sugar necessary or would Splenda be an acceptable substitution?

    Hi Amy, great question, no idea on the answer. I would do a search online for the answer to that one. ~Elise

  • Carolyn Jung

    I love these in just about anything. Their sweet-tangy crunchiness is just addicting. I didn’t know they kept for a month. I should make a huge batch now then. :)

  • CatherineH

    YAYY! I’m so glad you learned how to make this Elise! I’m vietnamese, and putting this stuff in banh mi is one my favorite ways to eat it.


  • Russ

    ” Pickled daikon, sliced crosswise, are often served with sushi at Japanese restaurants.” Huh?! Are you referring to takuan, the bright yellow pickled daikon? It is rarely seen in sushi restaurants, except in the center of maki-zushi. Or are you referring to the bright pink pickles always served as a condiment with sushi? That is pickled ginger.

    You’re right. I meant with Japanese food. I lived in Kyoto, Japan for a year and daikon pickles were served with everything (though not sushi). Here in the states, it’s hard to find a Japanese restaurant that doesn’t also serve sushi or is known as a sushi restaurant, so that was the source of my error. Will correct. Thank you. ~Elise

  • elizabeth

    These pickles are beautiful! I’ll have to try them . . .

  • Emma

    I ADORE these pickles, particularly in Banh Mi and am a few weeks away (slugs permitting) from a positive glut of carrots and radishes – so I know what I’m going to do with them now!

  • Jennifer

    Just made this. The recipe really intrigued me and I’m trying to not eat any processed foods, but make things myself. I would recommend for beginners like me to use a mandarin slicer instead of cutting it yourself. I don’t have good cutting skills and this took me over an hour to cut the daikon and carrots into slices and they were still too thick. However, once that was done, the rest was so simple to do. I will be looking for a slicer, else I will just go to the asian market a couple miles from me as they sell them in pints already. But I just had to try… :)

    • Elizabeth Arredondo

      Thank you very much for mentioning about the Mandarin slicer because my hands cannot take all that so I seen with the knife just to find a store that will sell one.

  • thefarnz

    Elise, if you added whey to this pickling, and fermented the end product, would they be long lasting?

    No idea. ~Elise

  • Kendra

    I made these babies a few weeks ago and let me tell you! Those puppies are pungent in a small work space-lol! My co-workers were like, “What the hell is that smell?” I pridefully showed them my do chua and explained to them why it wafted throughout the bookstore as it did. :)

    These are fantastic straight out of the jar and I know now, Elise, why you eat them straight out of the jar as well. I bought a case of organic carrots and daikon radishes through my coop and let loose. I also used organic cane sugar instead of white refined sugar with no consequences.

    Thank you, Elise, for a wonderful recipe I will surely enjoy for many pickling months to come. :)


  • hing

    Great recipe, thanks for the inspiration, my first time pickling anything and this was a great way to start. I must have used some older daikon, since its flavour was more aggressive than I normally like.

    One suggestion I have, is to hold off on using all the warm water, and use just enough to suit your taste, adjusting accordingly. In my batch, due to the strong daikon taste, I had to adjust with more sugar and vinegar.

    Next time I make this (very soon), I might try using rice wine vinegar instead of white vinegar and see how that comes out. Or has anyone already done so, and can report back with their findings?

    • Bil

      Rice wine vinegar works very well with shredded daikon/carrot salad. I
      ‘m eating some right now as I type this. It’s a Japanese recipe I know as “namasu”. You shred about a pound of daikon, equal amount carrot and sprinkle it with a little salt. Leave it alone for 15 minutes or until limp and then add 3 Tbl rice wine vinegar, 3 Tbl white wine vinegar, 1 Tbl Mirin or Sherry and salt to taste. If you are on a low sodium diet you can always rinse the salt off before adding the vinegar. I like this salad topped with mixed nuts.

      Asian groceries usually carry handy kitchen utensils and one that I use a lot is a very fine grater that makes the vegetable almost like angel hair pasta.

      All the best!

  • Jessica

    Loved these with grilled meat and steamed rice!

  • Lynn

    thanks for the recipe. just made it. it looks so colorful and pretty! excited for future banh mi