Pickled Fennel

I am generally a pretty big fan of pickles and pickling things like my Quick Pickled Vegetables and Feta and Pickled Vegetable Salad so it’s no surprise that this pickled fennel recipe is close to my heart and one that I make a lot. Here’s the thing…I actually don’t like fresh fennel all that much, but I love it pickled!


Pickled fennel straight up BELONGS with smoked fish, and with other seafood like salmon fillets, sea bass, and scallops. It also pairs beautifully with citrus, for example in a salad with orange – a classic combination – but add some pomegranate too for some sweetness and a pop of colour. I reckon pickled fennel could even go really well with other salty meats such as ham. I’ve haven’t tried it yet, but I am just imagining it served alongside a gorgeous citrus and honey glazed gammon joint and I’m salivating!


This recipe is really simple using thin ribbons of fresh fennel sliced with my new mandolin. I like to add star anise to accentuate the liquorice notes of the fennel, and a pinch of orange zest to really round out the flavour.


Try this pickled fennel on some rye toast thinly spread with soured cream and topped with smoked mackerel, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some fresh dill. Delicious!! Pop the components into a bento-style lunch box so you can take them to work and assemble them when you’re ready to eat.




  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • A generous pinch of salt
  • 1 piece star anise
  • 1 tsp orange zest strips (cut with a julienne peeler)


  1. Thinly slice the fennel bulb using a knife or a mandolin if you have one. Place into a jar with the star anise and orange zest.
  2. Place the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt into a saucepan over a medium heat until it starts to bubble slightly.
  3. Pour the pickling liquid over the fennel and allow to cool.

3 thoughts on “Pickled Fennel

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