Spicy Pickled Swiss Chard Stems

By Amanda Paa – Last updated: June 9, 2021
4.59 from 41 votes
These swiss chard quick pickles are an easy and delicious way to use them! Just like any refrigerator pickle, you'll make a quick brine and pour into over the the top of the swiss chard stems, then refrigerate. The pickled stems get some kick from sriracha that's stirred into the brine, and spices! I especially love to make these with rainbow chard because the vibrant colors are so pretty.
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pouring brine into a ball jar that has swiss chard stems in it.
pickled chard stems in two glass jars with lids, stacked on top of each other

One thing I’m constantly striving to incorporate into my kitchen is less waste, and more use of all parts of vegetables.

Beet greens can be used in salads, carrot tops can be made into pesto, and the stems of broccoli can be roasted. Delicious vegetables saved from the trash.

And you can pickle your colorful swiss chard stems! Of course we love use to chard for the big leafy greens, chock full of vitamins and minerals, but what about those beautifully vivid rainbow stems?

rainbow swiss chard, close up photo
swiss chard stems in a clear jar, with peppercorns and spices in the backround
swiss chard stems in a mason jar, top down view.

What to Make with Swiss Chard Stems:

Last week I bought I braising the beautiful leave of Swiss Chard in coconut milk as part of a curry dish, I was determined to save the stems from the garbage and turn them into something tasty. The end result?

These tart and snappy pickled chard stems!
A combination of garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds and sriracha are added to a simple brine, spicing things up to create this zesty quick pickle.

pickled swiss chard stems in a clear mason jar
Spicy Pickled Chard Stems in a glass jar, with steel lid

How to Make Pickled Swiss Chard Stems

This recipe is easy and requires only a few ingredients. You’re preserving the chard stems, but no water bath canning is involved.

After you’ve removed the chard leaves, cut the stems into short sticks, or you can dice them into small chunks. Then add them to a glass jar, and pour hot seasoned brine over the stems.
Then let them sit a few days in the refrigerator for the flavors to develop.

They’re a perfect snack on their own, diced on top of pulled pork tacos, or chopped into an omelet!

pickled swiss chard stems in a clear mason jar

Spicy Pickled Swiss Chard Stems

Pickled swiss chard stems are a great way to use all of this nutritious vegetable! These have a crunchy, spicy kick.
4.59 from 41 votes
Prep Time :10 minutes
Cook Time :5 minutes
Total Time :15 minutes
Yield: 2 (8 ounces) jars
Author: Amanda Paa



  • One large bunch of rainbow chard stems cleaned and cut to fit into mason jar, about 3/4 inch from the lip
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar or 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds divided
  • 2 cloves garlic divided


  • Add each half of the celery seed, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and garlic to each jar. (If just making one jar, this can all go together.)
  • Pack chard stems tightly into jars.
  • Bring vinegars, sugar (or maple syrup), salt, and sriracha to a boil, in a small saucepan until sugar and salt is dissolved. Then pour over chard stems.
  • Let sit until cool, then put lids on and refrigerate. Wait two days before eating for flavors fully develop. Will last 6 weeks in refrigerator. To eat, chop or dice them (important) and add to tacos, salads, as a relish for a sandwich, in omelets.

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September 25, 2013


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  1. 1 star
    I used fresh garden rainbow Swiss chard stems from young plants. Made the recipe exactly and looked forward to serving them. Tried a few and they were so fibrous and waaay too spicy+ strong pickle flavor – enough to make me spit it out and drink water to get rid of the taste! Not for me! Waste of time and ingredients- might be a good brine (less sriracha tho) for something else, but chard stems need to be cooked, IMO. Hard to believe a 4 yr old could eat anything in this brine!! (Comment below)

  2. 5 stars
    I made pickled red onions with this brine and they were fabulous, my 4 year old daughter and I couldn’t get enough of them, haha. I did try with chard stems when I had some in the garden, but I ended up not caring for them. The brine is delicious, and spot on.

  3. So I replaced the napa cabage in a kimchi recipe with swiss chard stems. It was an experiment, but I love kimchi and I had an abundance of stems (i like to dehydrate the leaves but the stems take sooo long). Anyways it tastes very similar, the texture is crunchy and chewier than the napa. I dont know if i would do it again, still have to try frying it. It does take on the sour aspect of kimchi rather well.

  4. 5 stars
    These were super awesome. Going to use this lots in the future for quick and tasty pickling! I used chili flakes instead of sriracha. Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    Love the bright colors and flavors in this recipe. Totes recommend and use this as a base for a bunch of different pickle flavors

          • Yep, that’s normal! The stems of vegetables like kale, swiss chard, and collard greens are very fibrous, so they will retain some of their crunch even with heat. I like to chop up the pickled chard stems for topping things, making the smaller size easier to eat, but the sticks easier to can.

  6. I am trying to use items I have already; can I use mustard power, apple cider vinegar, and garlic powder instead of the forms listed above? Also, what, if anything, can substitute for sriracha and peppercorns? I am already fermenting beetroot & using the tops for salads, and I would like to do something with the stems, but I don’t want to buy something I won’t use again. Thanks for you help.

    • Hi Gloria! Apple cider vinegar will work, using dry spices will make it cloudy though. But if you’re not worried about that, the taste will still be good :) You could use 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for the sriracha and leave out the peppercorns.

  7. This was SUCH a hit at our buddy’s 30th birthday cookout this past weekend. We were all doing “pickle backs” with the leftover juice once the chard was gone — MMM! A must try. Making another batch tonight to give to my food-lovin’ stepfather. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  8. I am at a loss as to why they would EVER go into the trash- [or compost]; they are delicious! They are the best part! If you want to try a great fast vegetable, wash and pat dry one good sized (8-10 leaves) Swiss Chard ( I like rainbow)
    separated stems from greens- chop greens coarsely and set aside. Chop stems into small sliced across the veins, ( little crescent shapes) . Chop 1/2 an onion.
    Add 2 Tbl favorite oil to large saute pan. Add onion and Swiss Chard stems. Saute till onion starts to get translucent (few minutes) add chopped greens, stirring till they start to wilt and get soft. Splash with 2 Tbls red wine vinegar or spiced vinegar. stir, remove from heat and serve. Salt as desired.
    You will never even think about throwing away the stems. They really are the best part. Yummy.

    • I’m glad you said that as i was going to! They are also fab in a cheese sauce and I make pasties using the entire leaf, with the stems being cooked before the leaf. Total madness to throw the stems away!