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Is Pickle a Vegetable or Fruit? Short Answer: Fruit!

Pickles are cucumbers soaked in a vinegar brine with pickling spices to achieve a tart or sweet flavor, depending on the type of pickle.

Key Takeaway

Cooks consider cucumbers a vegetable for culinary purposes, but in botanical terms, cucumbers are fruits.

Cucumbers are part of the gourd family, so botanically they’re also berries along with bananas and avocados.

Is pickle a vegetable or fruit? Since cucumbers are fruits, and pickles are cucumbers, pickles are also fruits!

Things About Pickle You May Like

What is Pickle

A pickle is a cucumber placed into a mixture of water, vinegar, sugar, and salt with other spices in a process known as pickling.

Pickled cucumbers commonly get the name “pickles,” but you can pickle almost any vegetable and a few other foods such as boiled eggs and herring in a similar pickling solution.

cucumbers pickle

You can buy or make several types of pickles, including:

  • Dill pickles
  • Bread and Butter pickles
  • Sweet pickles
  • Gherkins
  • Sour or Half-Sour pickles

Each type of pickle uses different spices and cucumbers, but the general process is similar for making each one.

How Pickle is Made

You can make pickles through a process of water-bath canning [1], which requires the ingredients to be sealed in jars and boiled in a large pot of water. All commercially available brands you can buy in a grocery store have been canned this way for safety.

Refrigerator pickles are easy pickles you can make without boiling the jars. Cucumbers and other ingredients are placed into jars and stored in the refrigerator without the need for canning.

How Long Does Pickle Last

Water-bath canned pickles will last for at least a couple of years unopened on a pantry shelf and several months in a refrigerator after opening.

Refrigerator pickles will stay good for about six weeks in the fridge.

Is pickle a vegetable or fruit if you make it differently? A pickle will always technically be a fruit no matter which ingredients you use, but most people still consider it a vegetable for dietary purposes.

Is a Pickle a Vegetable or Fruit?

salted cucumbers pickle

Pickles come from cucumbers, botanical name Cucumis sativus, a member of the gourd family.

The cucumber plant is a creeping vine that produces small five-petaled flowers. The pepo, or fruit of a gourd plant, in this case, the cucumber, grows from that flower.

Cucumbers are also a berry. Pepos are berries [2] that contain many seeds inside a rind, so technically, cucumbers, melons, squash, and pumpkins are berries, but raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries aren’t.

Is pickle a vegetable or fruit?

Since cucumbers are fruits and pickles are pickled cucumbers, pickles are fruits, too. However, cucumbers and pickles are almost always called vegetables in recipes, meal plans, and dietary advice.

Fruits vs. Vegetables: How to Tell the Difference

Some fruits and vegetables are easy to classify. You might look at an apple, orange, lemon, or grape and immediately recognize them as fruits because they taste sweet.

But cucumbers and tomatoes are also fruits that don’t taste sweet and aren’t something you’d probably think of as a fruit.

Most fruits taste sweet, and most vegetables don’t, but you can’t go by taste to tell the difference, except for culinary purposes.

Characteristics of Fruits

Fruits contain seeds and grow from the blooms of flowering plants and trees.

Some fruits contain small seeds like cucumbers, pumpkins, and apples. Green peppers are also culinary vegetables that are technically fruits with many seeds inside.

Other fruits contain only a few or one large seed known as a pit, like peaches, avocados, and plums.

Characteristics of Vegetables

Vegetables don’t grow from flowers like fruits but have roots, leaves, or stems.

Some root vegetables include carrots, turnips, and beets. These vegetables grow as roots, but the leaves that grow above the ground are also edible as greens.

Stem vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, celery, and asparagus. Leafy vegetables include cabbages, greens like collard and mustard greens, kale, lettuces, and spinach.

Vegetable, Fruit, and Berry All in One

So, is a pickle a vegetable or a fruit?

By the most specific scientific definition, pickles are fruits because they belong to the gourd family and grow from a flowering bloom as a pepo or berry.

In culinary and dietary terms, pickles and the cucumbers they come from are vegetables because they’re not sweet and lend themselves best to savory or neutral dishes like salads.

Most recipes with cucumbers use them raw in salads or with dips and sauces. Pickles are usually condiments, like pickles on hamburgers or chopped pickles in dishes like tuna or egg salad.

A Basic Refrigerator Dill Pickle Recipe

A Basic Refrigerator Dill Pickle Recipe

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Refrigerator Dill Pickles


  • 9 or 10 pickling cucumbers (or 12 or 13 Persian)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • ½ tablespoon of mustard seeds
  • ½ tablespoon of peppercorns
  • 6 sprigs of fresh dill
  • 2 cups of vinegar
  • 2 ½ cups of water
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of sea salt


1. Divide the cut cucumbers among two 16-ounce jars or four 8-ounce jars. (Any combination for up to 32 ounces will work.)

Divide the cut garlic cloves, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and dill evenly among the jars.

2. Combine the water, vinegar, sea salt, and sugar in a saucepan and heat until the granulated sugar dissolves.

Remove from heat. After about two minutes of cooling, divide the liquid between the jars.

3. Allow the jars to cool close to room temperature, then store them in the refrigerator.

Wait for 5 to 7 days before eating for the best flavor.


This refrigerator pickle recipe uses either small pickling or Persian cucumbers cut into spears or round slices, whichever you prefer.

If you use garden or English cucumbers, the main type found in grocery stores, they won't be as crisp as pickles you buy in a jar.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 36Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1275mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 0g


Be sure to leave a comment and rating below. I appreciate your feedback!

FAQs About Pickles

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about cucumbers and pickles.

Are cucumbers a fruit or veggie?

Cucumbers are a fruit because they grow from blooms and contain seeds instead of roots, stems, or leaves.

Though fruit is the cucumber’s botanical classification, cucumbers are a vegetable for culinary purposes.

Are pickles healthy for you?

Cucumbers are healthy, but one pickled cucumber contains up to 800 mg of sodium from the pickling process.

People who need to restrict their sodium intake [3] should limit their consumption or choose lower-sodium pickle brands and homemade pickle recipes.

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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