Fermented Carrots with Garlic (Recipe)

Fermented carrots?  We’ve made a vinegar-based carrot pickle for years (it’s extremely spicy) that remains one of the more popular items in our pantry.  This fermented version has no spice and contrasts the natural sweetness of the carrot with the sour of fermentation.  The carrots also have great texture (much the same as a deli pickle retains it’s crunch).  We will eat these as a snack, garnish, salad dressing or as part of a side dish for dinner.

Fermented Carrots with Garlic (Recipe) Garlic February Carrot

If you’ve never fermented carrots (or anything) before, this is a great place to start.  It’s very easy to do and you can start with a single carrot (we used half of a giant one).  The recipe is easily scalable so you can make as much or as little as you want. They ferment on your counter and are stored in the fridge when complete.

Fermented Carrots with Garlic (Recipe) Garlic February Carrot


Fermented Carrots – Ingredients (multiply to make as much as you want)

  • 0.5 pound carrot, sliced evenly (I use a mandoline)
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced as thin as you can (I carefully use a mandoline for this)
  • 1.2 teaspoons kosher salt (approx.)
  • 2 cups de-chlorinated water (I boil it and let it cool to ensure there is none)

Fermented Carrots – Instructions

Note: One of the keys to fermentation is to keep the vegetables submerged.  People often use a small mason jar inside a wide-mouthed one (we describe that process in our 1-pound sauerkraut recipe here) but you could also place 1-cup of water with 1-tablespoon of salt into a ziplock bag and use that to keep your vegetables under the brine.  I found that this wasn’t an issue with my carrots – they didn’t float so I didn’t weigh them down.  I suspect you won’t have to either.

  1. Toss the carrots and garlic with the salt.
  2. “Massage” the carrots – pick up small handfuls and squish them with your hands.  This colored helps break the cell structure down and helps liquids release from the carrots.
  3. Place the vegetables into a non-reactive jar (a glass one, like a mason jar is ideal)
  4. Leave the vegetables for a few hours.  There’s no real magic number here but I wait 3 or 4.  A bit of orange-colored juice will have been coaxed out of the carrots and into the jar; this is a good thing.
  5. Cover your vegetables with de-chlorinated water.
  6. Place carrots in a warm place in your kitchen (I put them on top of our highest shelf).  I like to find a space that’s somewhere between 60-75 degrees (approximately).  They should be loosely covered (beware of tightly covering them as fermentation will build pressure).  Most people use cheesecloth to keep flies and dust out but I use a reusable coffee filter like this.
  7. You should start to see small bubbles within 1-3 days (the timing will largely depend on temperature).  I like to taste right from the start but many people only begin tasting after 2 or 3 days.  When the carrots are as sour as you’d like (often once the bubbling stops), you’re done!  Place in the fridge; they will keep a long time in there.

If you’re still not convinced, maybe the cast of Portlandia can convince you to pickle that too!?!

What would/ do you use fermented carrots for?


  1. i like the idea of fermenting carrots – thanks for the article
    but the link to the Portlandia pickle video is totally juvenile and about as funny as benny hill might be to a 10 year old – but i guess stupid sexual innuendos are appealing to perverts of all ages

  2. ooh. I love ferments. I’ve never tried simple carrots, I must! I’ve got a few rolling around in my fridge still from the garden. sounds like I’ve got a little project on my paws. thanks guys!

    • Hey Tigz!

      I’ve been letting these get full sour. They have the best texture – I’m really excited about it.

      I think of you as my fermenting buddy even though we haven’t met. :)

      I’m trying to make some chickpea snacks tonight – kind of like wasabi peas only I’m making them with dehydrated kimchi… I know it’s incredibly geeky but I’m pretty excited to give them a try. :)

      Happy Sunday!

  3. i did not know you could ferment carrots alone – now i am definitely going to try it
    the first time that i fermented cabbage – i put some carrot slices in with it and they turned out great
    i also added a fair amount of garlic, onion and habanero pepper
    i used the rubber stoppers on mason jars with the vapor locks that i read about in another one of your articles
    they quit bubbling after only 3 days – i wonder how long just carrots will go -
    i’m with you on the strength – i like for them to go full sour
    thanks again

    • Thanks Spammy! :)

      My carrots have stopped bubbling but are definately progressing. I taste them every day – I’m not sure if it was in my ead but last night they appeared to taste milder. This is one of the most fun things about fermenting – you never know exactly where it will go. :)


  4. Last time I tried to pickle carrots I used salt but no additional water; they fermented pretty well, but then after a few weeks in the fridge went a bit slimy. Not nice at all. I’m going to try again this way. BTW, fermented carrot slices make an astonishingly good fried nibble. Just a quick fry in a quarter-inch or so of good olive oil.

    • Thanks for sharing Jeremy! LOVE the idea of having them fried; something I hadn’t thought of.

      I’ve had really slimy beets recently. I’ll let you know if these carrots go slimy. If they do, I’m going to experiment with them by rinsing well then dehydrating… :)

      Let us know how it goes! Joel

  5. Do you cover them at all while they are doing their bubbling away? I was thinking just the lid of a mason jar and not the screw-on part, just to stop the dust getting in? And (much as I hate using it) would bottled water work too, rather than boiling and allowing to cool?

    • Hi Cea,

      I’ve amended the post – it’s a good catch. You’re right that a loose-fitting lid is a good idea. Most use cheesecloth; I’ve put a link in step 6 to a reusable coffee filter that I use. Resting a lid loosely will also work. I’ve put a sealed lid on it before; you have to remember to let the pressure release frequently and, if enough builds up, that can be a very messy experience!

      Most bottled water should work though I can’t speak for all. If it’s pure distilled water, I see no reason why it wouldn’t… :)


  6. I’m starting these tonight! instead of massaging them i put them in a pint jar with the garlic and salt and shook them around for awhile, and again every once in awhile. I’ll just pour in the boiled/cooled water later to cover. Oh and I’m adding a touch of jalapeno. Also might add a bit of whey I have in the fridge from paneer-making this weekend. I haven’t used whey yet for fermenting (although I’m eyeing a beet kvass recipe on nourished kitchen), but I have a bunch leftover and looking for low labour ways to use it. Have to admit I kind of like just drinking it! Especially when it was super fresh.

    • Great idea about the jalapeno! I haven’t drank whey but could totally see the appeal! Let me know how it went!

      The advantage of ‘crushing’ them is to help break the cell walls and makes the water extraction easier. It is, however, totally optional. :)

  7. If you have not fermented carrots before note that they are high in pectin so your liquid may seem slimey or gel like. This is normal. I was a little scared of my carrots until I looked it up. Yummy, slime and all.

    • Hi Melanie!

      Thanks for leaving the comment. I was traveling for work so am late in my reply. I’ve had slimy beets but not carrots. I do adore fermented carrots though too. :) Did you rinse the slimy ones, eat them as is or was the texture not your thing? With our beets, I struggled with the texture…


  8. Did this but used ginger instead of garlic. Really easy and tasty. I am now ready to dip my toe a little further into fermenting!

    • Great news Colette! I’m afraid that fermented toes may be a little beyond my ability but….

      Glad you gave it a go! It’s a lot of fun and, like you’ve discovered, easy to experiment with. :)

      Well done and congrats! j

  9. :) yes that may be an acquired taste lol!

  10. Thanks for the recipe! I have never tried fermented carrots but I just whipped up a batch and am looking forward to the results…

  11. Trying this right now, #1. First ferment for me & glad when I googled that your post came up first in The Google :)

  12. Joel,

    thanks for the recipe! I have just prepared 3 jars, because I had a huge load of carrots to “get rid of”, it sounds great. So far, I have fermented cucumbers only and am making my own Sauerkraut each fall, so I am pretty sure, I’m gonna like those…

    I was wondering if I need to screw a lid on the jars before storing them in the fridge after fermentation. I guess so, but wanna make sure.

    Thanks, I’ll try some of your other recipes, too!

  13. Beryl Thacker says:

    We have been making our own Sauerkraut for a few years and often we have to make more to finish off the year. After the cabbage has fermented we can it in mason jars-seal it it boiling water and store it in our pantry. Has anyone tried canning the fermented carrots?

Leave a Reply