Pickled Watermelon Rind
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!
Watermelon Rind Pickles
I am an absolute 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.
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.
I call this a quick pickled watermelon rinds recipe because you can eat these just a few hours after you pickle them, or you can wait and let them sit in the juice for even longer, it is totally up to you!
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
No other spices are needed for great flavor! However, if you want to clean out our spice rack, consider adding in allspice berries, whole cloves, or red pepper flakes.
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:
- Now set out 4-pint jars. Place 5-7 jalapeño slices in each jar, followed by a ½ teaspoon of peppercorns per jar.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Tips & Tricks
- Make sure to include a small layer of the red flesh of the watermelon! This will add a hint of sweetness to the pickled rinds.
- Slice into evenly sized pieces to ensure that each piece will take the same amount of time to become pickled.
- You can substitute the white vinegar for rice vinegar for a slightly less strong flavor!
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.
Looking for More Easy and Delicious Sides, Snacks, and Condiments?
- Hella Jalapeno Jelly Recipe (Hot Pepper Jelly!)
- How to Roast Red Peppers (Roasted Red Peppers)
- How to Make Simple Syrup
- Crunchy Beet Carrot Slaw
- Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Recipe (No Pectin!)
Check the printable recipe card below for the nutrition information including calories, protein, sodium, and fiber percentages.
Pickled Watermelon Rind Recipe
- 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.