Spicy, Savory & Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickles

By • April 23, 2013 16 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a sustainable recipe that I have been making with cut-away, throw-a-way watermelon rinds. These are simple and easy to make and a beautiful addition of a condiment that will delight the eater! I give these as gifts as well. Nancy Manlove

Food52 Review: WHO: Nancy Manlove is a home cook, photographer, and food stylist that recently turned professional!
WHAT: The way to preserve the watermelon scraps you aren't eating anyway -- and keep them all year long.
HOW: Cut away the white, fleshy part of the watermelon, simmer the cubes in spices, and keep them in the fridge for months.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We love that Nancy takes what we would usually throw away and creates something exciting -- and something we can eat when the watermelon-sticky summer days are long over. We could see this pairing wonderfully with cheese, or as a condiment in a meaty sandwich.
The Editors

Makes 4 quarts

  • 12 cups watermelon rinds prepared as in step 1 below
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons mixed pickling spice
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 8 thin slices of fresh ginger cut into strips about 2-inches long by 1-inch wide
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons whole allspice
  1. Wash and cut away all green parts of the rinds, Cut away any red as well. Cut into cubes 1-inch by 1-inch pieces or with a cute flower mini cutter (that is what I use when I gift these).
  2. Place cut rind pieces in a large stock pot filled with enough water to cover rinds and cook over high heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook until rinds are fork tender or for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  3. While the rinds cook, in a medium large sauce pan, add in all the other ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to pickling broth to slightly cool.
  4. Place the cooked rinds in a large container that comes with tight filling lid. Pour the pickling broth over to completely cover and allow to completely cool. Place in the refrigerator and use as wanted. This will keep well for 3-4 months.

More Great Recipes: Pickles|Watermelon|Snacks|Fruit|Appetizers

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Comments (16) Questions (0)


4 days ago Frank Chatham

What you do is to make these up at the end of summer, and then for each Sunday NFL game, you wrap bacon around each pickle and put them in a 350 oven for 10 minutes--never any left over!


about 1 month ago Patti Frazier-Laundree

So how many pint/ quart jars would you say this makes??


about 1 year ago Christine

Is it correct that there is no salt in this recipe?


about 1 year ago Jen Cearbaugh

I would say skip the vinegars! These will lacto-ferment beautifully. Just use extra salt and make sure the rinds stay below the brine.


about 1 year ago Sue Kaiser

This is a terrific recipe. The pickles turned out very well. Flavor and texture are great. Thank you! (I tried to follow the recipe exactly, making sure to trim off all the pink melon, etc.)


about 1 year ago Kiai Kim

Horses like watermelon rinds.


almost 2 years ago Nancy Manlove

I have made these repeatedly, never brined them and they are boiled until tender to start with. I have a large unsealed whole pickle jar of them in my refrigerator right now, still good and they are about 6 months old. Had some over the weekend!


almost 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Did anyone else find that these got very soft and slimy even, after about two weeks? I'm wondering if it's because the rind wasn't brined before cooking, which is how I've usually done it in the past (or actually, I prefer using lime, with three or four hour long soaks and rinses, which I understand is the preferred method in the South). Thank you. ;o)


about 2 years ago Donna Tillman Bardocz

My grandma made watermelon rind pickles and I always loved them. She also believed in NOT throwing away anything you could use to make something with! Nice recipe and congrats to you Nancy!


about 2 years ago marion

i need to try this one my grandchildren will love it


about 2 years ago Ann

My favorite pickle of all time. Mom would always use black diamond watermelon because they have thick rind. Hers would be a 4 day process.


about 2 years ago Linda

Sounds like my Vermont GM's brown pickles! Yummy!


about 2 years ago ATG117

Do you know how much rind you usually get from 1 watermelon? Also, does the rind, once pickled, have any flavor other than the pickling flavor? I guess what I'm getting at is whether the rind is just a vehicle for the pickle.


over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Still trying to find a watermelon in recent memory that actually has enough rind to make a pickle. Love this classic. Just love it! ;o)


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

My mom used to make these and I LOVED them and she lost the recipe ... I am so happy to see this!!!


over 2 years ago Daniela Cirillo

Nancy, your recipe look awesome!!