Easy & Delicious Eggplant Shoyuzuke (Soy Pickles)


Whether or not you normally love eggplants, if you like soy sauce and Japanese pickles, I am confident you’re going to LOVE these. I have a cucumber shoyuzuke recipe here at the blog that I also can’t get enough of, and I’ve never had someone make or try it yet who didn’t love it.

If you’ve been growing or have access to some nice slender Ichiban or other Japanese eggplants, I encourage you to give this a whirl! They’re done in about ten minutes and delicious by the next day. You won’t believe how much favor you’ll get out of such an easy process either.

They will stay good for months or more but begin to soften within a week or so. Although they’re only crunchy (if you start with very fresh, firm eggplant) for a little while, they stay nice and firm for a long time; but let’s face it, we’re talking about eggplants, not cucumbers or other veggies that are super crunchy to start with. If you really insist on a solid crunch that won’t go away, I recommend the cucumber shoyuzuke recipe linked above, or sub with other veggies like snap peas, carrots, onion, etc.

This recipe yields 2 lbs. of eggplant pickles, in a half gallon jar. To make a smaller quantity, just halve the ingredients of everything.

You will need:

  • Half gallon Mason jar
  • Knife & cutting board
  • Medium saucepan & wooden stirring spoon
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Suggested: canning funnel


  • 2 lbs. Ichiban / Japanese eggplant, cut into 1/3″ to 1/2″ slices
  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1.25 cups sugar
  • 1 finger ginger (~15g)
  • 1 TBSP black or Szechuan peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 Thai chilies or Chiles de Arbol (to taste)

Garnish (optional): At serving, you may top with a splash of sesame oil and/or toasted sesame seeds

1.) Combine all the ingredients except the eggplant in saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Once all the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is simmering, add the eggplant and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes, gently stirring about once per minute, then promptly remove from heat.

2.) Transfer the eggplants to the Mason jar followed by all the pickling brine and other ingredients. Seal tightly and allow to cool for an hour, then place in refrigerator. They are ready to eat by the next day but will have absorbed more flavor after waiting a few days. Optionally garnish with sesame oil and/or toasted sesame seeds when serving.


  1. I read this recipe and practically ran to the kitchen to make it! I had eggplant just waiting for something special 😉 We loved it! Super simple to make too. I have 2 questions:
    1. Can the amount of sugar be reduced?
    2. Can the delicious brine be re-heated and used a second time?
    thanks – this is a great addition to weeknight easy meal prep.

    • You could arguably use the brine for a second run but I wouldn’t go beyond that. When a brine is used with vegetables, the moisture content of the veggies will mix with the brine, increasing the pH. Eventually it may be at an unsafe level for long-term storage. As you said, reheating it exactly like you did the first time is recommended as well.

  2. I made this and it was delicious. I was curious if you could make it with less sugar? and also, can you re-use the brine for a second batch?

    • I recommend some sugar to balance the saltiness of the soy and sourness of the vinegar but yes, certainly you can use less, it won’t affect the shelf life or anything like that.


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