This Japanese Pickled Daikon radish recipe is fresh, delicious and easy to prepare. Yes you can make this popular Asian condiment at home and enjoy it's crunchy texture and a slightly sweet and sour flavor.
The easy pickled daikon is perfect as a side dish for Asian foods, sushi, grilled meats and makes a tasty sandwich topping as well. Toss a little in a stir fry or salad for and extra burst of flavor!
What is a Daikon?
Daikon is a type of large winter radish that is popular in many Asian cuisines. The name daikon itself means "big root" in Japanese. The white radish has a mild peppery and slightly sweet flavor with a crisp crunchy texture. Daikon is eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. Pickled daikon is a popular condiment in Japan, Korea, and other parts of Asia. It is often served alongside sushi or as part of a bento box.
Pickled daikon radishes are made by marinating radish slices in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and salt. This pickling process helps to preserve the daikon and gives it a unique flavor. The Japanese pickles are eaten as-is or use them as an ingredient in other dishes such as salads, soups, and stir-fries
Korean radish and Chinese radish can also be used to make pickles like this. The differences are minimal.
How to Select a Daikon Radish
When selecting a daikon radish for pickling, look for one that is firm and heavy for its size. This is an indication of freshness, Avoid radishes with soft spots or blemishes. The skin should be smooth and unblemished, and the color should be bright white. If you are able to smell it, it should have a mild, sweet aroma.
How to Make Japanese Pickled Daikon
Let's make a batch of these quick pickled radishes. Follow along here with pictures or jump down to the printable recipe card if you prefer.
The recipe makes 12 servings, enough to fill two pint jars with the quick pickles.
Prep Time: 20 mins Rest Time: 1 day
Ingredients for Daikon Pickles
Here is everything you need to make these crunchy Asian pickles.
- 1 ⅓ pounds daikon radish (about half a large daikon radish)
- 1 cup vinegar (unseasoned rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar are all fine)
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ ounce fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large bird’s eye chili (or other long spicy chili pepper)*
- 1 teaspoon whole mustard seed
Set aside two clean pint jars and lids or an airtight container large enough to hold the pickles.
Peel daikon and slice the radish into ¼ inch thick by 3 inch long sticks.
Peel the ginger and slice thinly into 6 or so even slices.
Chop the stem off the pepper and slice in half. Peel and crush garlic cloves.
Pack the daikon slices tightly in the glass jars.
In each jar, place ½ a pepper and 3 slices of ginger and a sprinkle of mustard seeds.
In a medium sauce pan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt.
Cook the vinegar mixture over medium heat, stir occasionally until just simmering and the sugar has dissolved.
Pour the hot pickling liquid over the daikon. Tap the jars gently to release any bubbles. Pour in more of the vinegar mixture, until the daikon is covered by at least a ¼ inch of liquid.
Put the lids on the Mason jars tightly and put in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 day.
Variations on the Recipe
Here are a few simple changes you may like to utilize when making your own daikon pickles.
You can make other pickle shapes. Rather than spears, slice the radish into circles. You will need smaller daikon for this. Some like to cut the root vegetable into cubes. Another option is the shave the radish (like pickled ginger).
Yellow Daikon Radish Pickles get their color from turmeric root. To make your homemade pickles this color add a teaspoon of ground turmeric to the pickle brine.
For a spicy pickle, use one full chili pepper sliced in half per jar rather than just half. There is also the option of swapping crushed red pepper flakes for the fresh peppers.
Another popular way to make pickled daikon is with carrots. When doing this I like to cut both root vegetables into narrow spears. This pickled vegetables combo is great on Bahn Mi sandwiches. For more on pickled carrots see my Quick Pickled Carrots recipe.
How to Serve
Pickled daikon can be served as-is, or used in a variety of dishes. The Asian pickles can be served room temperature or chilled. Here are some ideas:
- Serve as a side dish with steamed rice and other Japanese dishes and Korean food. Korean fried chicken is often served with Korean pickled radishes like these. It is so common in fact Korean radish pickles are called chicken mu.
- Add to salads for a crunchy texture and tangy flavor.
- Use as an ingredient in sushi rolls.
- Mix into stir-fries for added flavor and texture.
- Use as a topping on sandwiches, burgers or my Tofu Lettuce Wraps.
- The acidity of the radish pickles make them a great pairing for fatty meat too.
How to Store Quick Pickled Daikon
Quick pickles need to be stored in the refrigerator, they are not shelf stable. They will last in the fridge for a several weeks, but are at there best in the first week. They will lose more and more crispness as time goes on.
Not really. Daikon is a Japanese radish, but the similar Korean radish is called Mu. Mu is a squat round radish compared to daikon and has slightly firmer flesh. The pickling process and results are very similar though.
The pickled radish has a mild, slightly sweet and sour flavor with a hint of pepperiness too.
More Easy Asian Recipes
If you are looking for more tasty Asian recipes, try my
- Try my Japanese Steakhouse Yum Yum sauce. It is good drizzled on rice, sandwiches and meats or as a dip for vegetables.
- If you are new to Japanese cooking, my Pork Katsu recipe is a great place to start. It is a simple to make and approachable Japanese dish that kids love.
- For another tangy side dish option, make a batch of my Asian Cucumber Salad. It is spicy, sweet and tangy with some sesame flavor.
- In the mood for Chinese take-out? My Mongolian Beef Recipe, Easy Homemade Fried Rice and Chicken Chop Suey Recipe have you covered.
- For a budget Asian dinner, make my Asian Chicken Drumsticks and Peanut Butter Lo Mein Noodles. Kids love this meal too!
Pickled Daikon Radish
- 1 ⅓ pounds daikon radish
- 1 cup vinegar unseasoned rice wine vinegar, apple cider or distilled white vinegar are all fine
- 1 cup water
- ⅓ cup granulated white sugar
- 2 teaspoon coarse salt Kosher salt or sea salt
- ½ ounce fresh ginger peeled and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large bird’s eye chili or other long spicy chili pepper*
- 1 teaspoon whole mustard seed
- Set aside two clean pint jars and lids.
- Peel and slice the daikon into ¼ inch thick by 3 inch long sticks.
- Peel the ginger and slice thinly into 6 or so even slices.
- Chop the stem off the pepper and slice in half.
- Layer the daikon tightly in the jars.
- In each jar, place ½ a pepper and 3 slices of ginger and a sprinkle of mustard seeds.
- In a medium sauce pan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt.
- Heat over medium, stirring occasionally until just simmering and the sugar is dissolved.
- Pour the hot pickling liquid over the daikon.
- Tap the jars gently to release any bubbles. Pour in more liquid until the daikon is covered by ¼”/6mm of liquid.
- Put the lids on tightly and put in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 day.
You can also cut the daikon shorter and use smaller jars, just increase the number of peppers and redistribute the ginger slices. Nutrition Note: calculation based on about ⅓ of the sugar and salt remaining on daikon pickles. This is just a rough estimate.