A Spicy Perspective

Quick Pickled Watermelon Rind

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Our easy and quick Pickled Watermelon Rind recipe takes less than 30 minutes to prep and makes the sweetest, tangy, and crunchy watermelon rind pickles in the refrigerator – no complicated canning methods needed!

pickled watermelon rind recipe

I am an absolutely pickle FANATIC. Not even exaggerating. There is just something about the taste of tangy, slightly sweet, incredibly flavorful pickles that keeps me wanting more and more. And more and more and more. If there is a pickle on a menu or at a party, I’m eating it. Possibly them all.

Because of my deep love, we have lots of wonderful pickle recipes on the blog. If you haven’t yet, you’ve got to try classic recipes like Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles (also known as sweet pickles), tart Homemade Refrigerator Pickles, and Giardiniera Pickled Vegetables. Plus we have some deliciously intriguing and fun pickling recipes, such as Spicy Beet Pickled Eggs and Quick Pickled Red Onions.

But have you ever heard of Watermelon Pickles? Prepare to have your mind blown.

forkful of watermelon rinds

The Best Watermelon – Pickled

Crunchy, sweet, tender, and spicy Pickled Watermelon Rind is a wonderfully unique snack that can be enjoyed by itself, as a side, or added to some of your favorite dishes.

They are easy to prepare in just 30 minutes with a simple stovetop pickling solution. Then the watermelon just sits in the refrigerator until pickled perfection is achieved, with no traditional canning necessary.

Once they are ready, these watermelon pickles are firm, tart, briny, a bit spicy, and highly addictive!

Not only are the pickles super tasty, but this pickled watermelon rind recipe is also a great way to repurpose the rinds you usually throw in the trash or compost bin.

watermelon pickles on a bed of lettuce

Ingredients You Need

These crunchy watermelon pickles check all of the flavor boxes: sweet, salty, tangy, and spicy. To make this mouth party happen you need just a handful of wholesome ingredients:

  • Peeled watermelon rind – check out our guide here for how to choose and cut a watermelon!
  • White vinegar – an essential component of any good pickle (you could also use rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
  • Water – to make the pickling solution
  • Granulated sugar – to balance out the salty flavors
  • Salt – a preservative that adds great taste
  • Jalapeños – sliced and seeded, or leave the seeds in for more spicy heat
  • Black peppercorns – adds more spice, depth, and smoky flavor
  • Vanilla extract – gives the pickled watermelon a smooth, slightly sweet finish
rind from a freshly cut watermelon

How to Make Pickled Watermelon Rinds


After enjoying a fresh watermelon that has been quartered, take a large section of rind and cut it into 1-2 inch wide segments. Then use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer green skin peel.

You can leave some of the pink flesh from the watermelon on the other side, but just a little bit. It tends to get mushy when pickled.

Now that you’ve got your slices of rind ready to go, cut each section into thin ¼-inch strips. So the pieces should be ¼ in by 1-2 in.

Note: I prefer these nice little slices for how easy it makes it to include them on sandwiches, etc. However, you can cube the rinds if you like.

Here’s a photo of the sliced watermelon for reference:

sliced strips

Now set out 4-pint jars. Place 5-7 jalapeño slices in each jar, followed by a ½ teaspoon of peppercorns per jar.

jalapeno slices and peppercorns in jars

Stuff the watermelon rind pieces into each jar. Really cram them in there, without breaking the pieces, so they are very full to the rim.

filling the jars with melon slices

Next, set a medium sauce pot over high heat. Add the white vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil as you stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.

Once boiling, promptly remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, making the pickling liquid hot mixture.

While the pickling brine is very hot, carefully pour (or ladle) the liquid into the jars. Make sure to completely cover the watermelon rinds with the solution.

pouring the pickling brine into the jars

Tightly screw the lids on the jars, and allow them to soak and rest at room temperature and cool down a bit. This will take quite some time, but be patient.

Once the jars are cool enough to handle, shake them vigorously to move the peppers around.

four jars filled with pickled watermelon rinds

Then chill the watermelon pickles for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight, if you can wait that long. Honestly, it’s difficult.

Keep pickled watermelon rind refrigerated until ready to use.

open jar of watermelon pickles with peppercorns

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you eat pickled watermelon rind?

I love to snack on pieces by themselves right out of the jar! But they are also great to add to sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Try them on these Pineapple Chorizo Burgers and Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwiches! Homemade watermelon pickles are also fantastic to include on barbecue platters and summer charcuterie boards for a centerpiece-worthy plate. They also can be used as a fantastically unique and tasty cocktail garnish.

Can I make this pickled watermelon rind recipe more or less spicy?

Feel free to customize this recipe to suit your tastes! As is, these pickled watermelon rinds have a nice bit of heat that is balanced by the sweet and sour flavors. Take the spiciness up a notch by leaving in the jalapeño seeds after slicing. Or you can leave out the peppers altogether for a milder pickle.

How long will homemade refrigerator watermelon pickles keep well?

They last in the fridge for about 4 to 6 weeks. After a month, the rinds slowly start to lose that wonderful crunch, but they are still safe to eat for several more weeks.

slices of pickled watermelon rind on a plate with lettuce

Looking for More Easy and Delicious Sides, Snacks, and Condiments?

Check the printable recipe card below for the nutrition information including calories, protein, sodium, and fiber percentages.

pickled watermelon rind
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Quick Pickled Watermelon Rind

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
The BEST easy and quick Pickled Watermelon Rind recipe makes the most sweet, tangy, and crunchy watermelon pickles with only 30 minutes of prep. Enjoy as a snack, on sandwiches, and more!
Servings: 64 servings



  • After enjoying a watermelon, take large sections of rind and cut the watermelon rind into 1-2 inch wide segments. Then use a vegetable peeler to remove the green peel. You can leave some of the pink watermelon on the other side, but just a little bit. It tends to get mushy when pickled.
  • Now cut each section of rind into thin ¼ inch strips. (So the pieces for the jars should be ¼ in X 1-2 in)
  • Set out 4 pint jars. Place 5-7 jalapeno slices in each jar, followed by ½ teaspoon peppercorns.
  • Stuff the watermelon rind pieces in each jar. Make sure they are very full.
  • Set a medium saucepot over high heat. Add the white vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt.
  • Once boiling, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  • While the pickling brine is very hot, pour (or ladle) the liquid into the jars, making sure to completely cover the watermelon rinds.
  • Screw the lids on the jars and allow them to rest at room temperature. Once the jars are cool enough to handle, shake them vigorously to move the jalapenos around. Then chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  • Keep refrigerated until ready to use.



Homemade watermelon pickles last in the fridge for about 4 to 6 weeks. After a month, the rinds start to lose that wonderful crunch.


Serving: 1oz, Calories: 13kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 443mg, Potassium: 22mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 100IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 3mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Condiment, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Author: Sommer Collier

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6 comments on “Quick Pickled Watermelon Rind”

  1. I had never had or made pickled watermelon rind before, but I knew it was possible and have had it in my mind for a while. I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m hooked! I agree with another comment that I will reduce the salt a bit next time, but definitely a keeper. 

  2. I have never had watermelon rind pickles so I thought this would be a good, quick way to see if I like them. These are good but way too salty in my opinion. Otherwise very easy to fix. If I fix again, I will cut back on the salt and cut the rind off rather than use a vegetable peeler since it seems some are very tough on the edge like I didn’t trim deep enough.

  3. I tried this recipe for the novelty of it, but I will making it all summer because these are delicious! Such a fun and unique snack and a great way to use up all the parts of our favorite summer snack!

  4. Now this is a one-of-a-kind recipe that really makes for a great way to use up ALL food and eliminate waste!

  5. what a great idea, had no idea you could or would pickle watermelon rinds, and love that there’s no super-complicated chemistry process, plus the jalapeno paring, thank you!

  6. I had a taco the other day with some pickled watermelon rind and I am so glad that I found this recipe so I can make my own crispy pork belly tacos with watermelon rind!