Pickled Watermelon Rinds

Quick-pickled watermelon rinds are perfect for snacking when the weather gets hot. Tangy, sour, and sweet, this is a great starter recipe if you're new to pickling.

Pickled Watermelon Rinds in a Jar

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Nothing says summer like a big wedge of cool, refreshing watermelon. But wait—before you toss that rind in the compost bin, think again! Pickled watermelon rinds are an easy way to turn what was once garbage into a salty and sweet no-waste summer snack. These refreshing pickled watermelon rinds have the slight crunch that you'd expect from typical pickle spears.

This version of the old-fashioned Southern treat is made with simple ingredients and uses the refrigerator to do the pickling. The next time you're enjoying a slice of the summery fruit, save the rinds and give this pickle a try. 

Easy Pickled Watermelon Rinds

Pickling these watermelon rinds is a breeze; all it takes is a melon and a handful of ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Unlike typical pickled recipes, these watermelon rinds use a simple stovetop method instead of traditional canning and are stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours to reach pickled perfection. 

Pickled Watermelon Rinds on a Plate

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Choose a Melon With a Thick Rind  

When shopping for a watermelon, rarely do we think about the rind—the crunchy, white flesh in between the thin, green peel and the red flesh. These days many watermelons are cultivated with thinner rinds, but for pickling purposes, you want to choose a watermelon that has a thicker rind. 

There are over 50 varieties of watermelon grown worldwide, which vary in size, shape, color, and sweetness and are typically divided into four categories: icebox, picnic, seedless, and yellow-orange fleshed. 

According to the Department of Horticulture Science at N.C. State University, here are some varieties with thicker rinds that are perfect for pickling:

  • Carolina Cross #183
  • Cobbs Gem
  • Florida Favorite
  • Garrisonian
  • Moon & Stars
  • Navajo Sweet
  • Stone Mountain
  • Tendersweet Orange Flesh
  • Weeks North Carolina Giant
Pickled Watermelon Rinds in Jars Next to a Bowl with More Pickles

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Prepping the Rind for Pickling

Use a sturdy vegetable peeler to carefully remove the skin from the rind, then cut it into smaller slices and use a chef's knife to carefully cut any remaining fruit away from the rind, leaving a small amount of pink flesh for color. 

The watermelon rinds are sliced into spears for this recipe, but they will taste delicious when cut into any shape you prefer. Coins, crinkle cut coins, long sandwich slices, or spears—the choice is yours!

Pickled Watermelon Rinds in a Jar

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Customize Your Brine

This recipe uses a simple pickling blend of allspice, cinnamon and apple cider vinegar for a classic sweet and sour pickled taste. You can make your own pickling spice blend or use a store-bought mix. 

Or adjust the seasonings for your own take. Here are some options for additions and substitutions.

  • White vinegar—perfect for all pickling recipes
  • Rice vinegar—adds a sweet and tart flavor
  • Crystallized ginger—offers a sweet and spicy kick
  • Cherries—provides an added level of sweetness
  • Soy sauce—if you prefer an unami flavor
  • Jalapeños—for a spicy version
  • Whole cumin seeds gives a smokey essence
  • Garlic is perfect for a more savory topping
  • Red pepper flakes provides a bit of heat 

Ways to Enjoy Pickled Watermelon Rinds

Pickled watermelon rinds make a great appetizer, side for a light lunch, or snack right out of the jar. You can also chop the rinds and add them to salads, sandwiches, or barbecue dishes to provide a sweet and salty contrast.

Pickled Watermelon Rinds on a Plate

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Want to Pickle Some More?

Pickled Watermelon Rinds

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Pickling Time 24 hrs
Total Time 24 hrs 15 mins
Servings 8 servings
Yield 2 (8 ounce) jars pickled watermelon rinds


  • 1 medium watermelon (about 5 pounds)

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons sea salt

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice, homemade or store-bought

  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries

  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns

Special Equipment

  • 2 to 4 pint jars


  1. Wash and dry the jars:

    Wash 2 wide-mouth pint jars and their lids in hot, soapy water. Set them aside to dry.

    Pickling Jars in Soapy Water

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  2. Cut the watermelon and prepare the rind:

    Place the watermelon on a flat surface and cut in half lengthwise, then cut in half crosswise. Then slice each quarter into 1/2-inch-wide strips and cut the pink watermelon flesh from the rind, leaving a thin 1/4-inch layer of pink watermelon flesh for color. 

    Save the watermelon flesh for eating or other recipes; you won’t be using it for this recipe.

    Watermelon Rinds Cut into Strips for Pickled Watermelon Rinds Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  3. Peel the watermelon rind:

    Using any vegetable peeler you have on hand, remove the exterior green portion of the watermelon rind so the remaining rind is mostly white, with a little bit of pink flesh on one side.

    Green Rind Peeled from Watermelon Strips for Pickling Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  4. Pack rind in the jars:

    Firmly pack the watermelon rinds into the jars, leaving about 1/2-inch of space at the top.

    Watermelon Rinds Added to Jars

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  5. Make the brine:

    In a large saucepan over medium-high heat add the apple cider vinegar, water, vanilla, salt, sugar, pickling spice, allspice, and peppercorns. 

    Bring to a boil, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes.

    Brine in a Pot for Watermelon Rind Pickles

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  6. Pour the brine over the rinds:

    If you have a canning funnel, use it here to make it easier to fill the jars. Carefully pour or ladle the hot brine into each jar, filling the jars until the watermelon rinds are covered.

    Brine Poured into Jars with Watermelon Rinds

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  7. Cool and refrigerate for 24 hours:

    Screw on the lids, then let the jars cool to room temperature (about 1 hour). Place them in the refrigerator. Wait at least 24 hours before eating the watermelon rinds in order to let the flavors develop.

    Pickled Watermelon Rinds in Jars in the Refrigerator

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  8. Enjoy:

    Since these pickled watermelon rinds aren't traditionally canned, they can be made and stored in any glass container with a tight-fitting lid.

  9. Storage:

    Refrigerate these pickled watermelon rinds for 1 month unopened, or 2 to 3 weeks after you’ve opened them.

    Did you love the recipe? Give us some stars below!

    Pickled Watermelon Rinds in Jars

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

    Pickled Watermelon Rinds on a Plate

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
133 Calories
0g Fat
33g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 133
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1591mg 69%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 30g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 7mg 35%
Calcium 16mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 135mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.