Crisp pickled watermelon rind recipe

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There’s nothing I love more than turning kitchen waste into a new delicious recipe. And this crisp pickled watermelon rind recipe does the job!

Watermelon pickles in bowl.
Watermelon pickles in bowl. Photo credit: Recipes from Leftovers.

Sweet summer days are busy, hot, and full of fresh fruit and produce. Many families enjoy the refreshing taste of watermelon flesh – but wonder what to do with the leftover watermelon rinds.

Our household has tossed many rinds into our hot compost pit, but we tried something new this summer.

My younger daughter was reading a book about life on the Canadian prairies in the early 1900s as part of her homeschool assignment. She came across a description of how to make crisp pickles from the green outer rind of ripe watermelons. She was eager to try it, and I thought it would be a great way to use up the rinds.

After a few failed attempts, we developed this easy recipe for a quick pickles version. Making this type of pickles gave us an easy way to enjoy the pickles right away.  It’s also easy to make when we’re traveling as these watermelon rind pickles don’t require any special equipment or mason jars.

(And by the way, sign up to our newsletter to grab the more traditional version coming in August.)

How to make this pickled watermelon rind recipe

Forked watermelon pickles.

Recent studies show that watermelon rinds contain vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. And it’s easy to turn these humble watermelon rinds into delicious pickles to delight your taste buds and impress your guests.

These pickles take about five minutes to prepare, and the results will not disappoint.

The recipe is based on one serving, but it’s very easy to make a larger batch.

Want a printable version of this recipe? Scroll down to the bottom! ⬇️

Watermelon rind pickles recipe ingredients

Ingredients for crisp watermelon rind pickles
Ingredients for watermelon rind pickles. Photo credit: Recipes from Leftovers.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this pickled watermelon rind recipe.

  • Three watermelon rinds (equivalent to 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2-3 clove buds
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 5-6 peas of pepper or black peppercorns

Directions

Here’s how to make this dish.

  1. Remove the toughest part of the watermelon rind, the outer green skin. Use a sharp knife or a very sharp vegetable peeler. (And then toss the green peel into your compost.)
  2. Next, use a cutting board and sharp knife to dice the green, pink and white rind flesh into small pieces.
  3. Place the bite-sized pieces in a microwavable large bowl for the next step. Add all remaining ingredients. Cook on full power in the microwave for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Cool pickles. For best results, chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  5. Finally, transfer the watermelon pickles to a serving plate, add chopped parsley and a little olive oil and serve as a light lunch, side dish, or refreshing summer snack.

This crisp watermelon rind pickle recipe is easy to double. Just double the ingredients, and use two cups of watermelon rind pieces.

Substitutions

Plated watermelon rind pickles
Plated watermelon rind pickles. Photo credit: Recipes from Leftovers.

Change the flavor of these pickles by changing the spices or vinegar. Experiment to find the best flavor to tickle your taste buds.

Tip: The best way to get a unique pickle flavor is to include whole spices and extend your chill time. This type of pickle often tastes better the next day.

Some suggestions include

  • cinnamon sticks
  • star anise
  • mustard seeds
  • red pepper flakes
  • fresh ginger
  • whole cloves
  • whole allspice
  • coriander seeds
  • white vinegar
  • rice vinegar
  • balsamic vinegar

Pickled watermelon rind serving suggestions

Watermelon rind pickles are a versatile and delightful addition to various dishes. Here are some popular and creative ways to use watermelon rind pickles.

Charcuterie or Cheese Boards: Arrange the watermelon rind pickles alongside an assortment of cheeses, cured meats, and crackers for a visually appealing and tasty appetizer.

Sandwiches and Burgers: Add a tangy twist to your sandwiches or burgers by layering in watermelon rind pickles. They bring a unique texture and flavor that pairs wonderfully with various fillings.

Salads: Chop the watermelon rind pickles into smaller pieces and toss them into green salads or grain bowls for an unexpected burst of flavor and crunch.

Tacos and Wraps: Incorporate the pickles as a zesty topping in your tacos, wraps, or burritos, complementing the other ingredients with their tanginess. Or serve them alongside these leftover turkey wraps for a colorful and light lunch.

Watermelon rind pickles on plate.
Watermelon rind pickles on plate. Photo credit: Recipes from Leftovers.

Relish or Chutney: Blend the pickles into a relish or chutney that can be served alongside grilled meats, fish, or vegetarian dishes.

Rice and Grain Dishes: Mix diced watermelon rind pickles into rice, quinoa, or couscous dishes to add a delightful contrast of taste and texture.

Sushi: Use the pickles as a filling in homemade sushi rolls for a unique and refreshing twist on traditional sushi.

Hors d’oeuvres: Create unique appetizers by pairing watermelon rind pickles with cream cheese, smoked salmon, or other tasty toppings on crackers or crostini.

Garnish for Cocktails: Place a small piece of watermelon rind pickle as a garnish in cocktails like martinis or Bloody Marys for a touch of color and tanginess.

Picnic Snacks: Pack the pickles in small containers for a delightful and portable zero-waste snack during picnics or outdoor adventures.

Condiment for Grilled Meats: Serve the watermelon rind pickles as a tangy condiment alongside grilled chicken, pork, or beef.

The possibilities are virtually endless for using watermelon rind pickles in your cooking. Their unique flavor and texture turn plain dishes into unique meals. Enjoy experimenting and discovering new ways to savor these zero-waste pickles.

Yield: 1 serving

Easy Watermelon Rind Pickles Recipe

Forked watermelon pickles.

Experience a unique treat with our Crisp Watermelon Rind Pickles Recipe. A sweet, tangy delight that turns waste into a tasty treat

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Three watermelon rinds (equivalent to 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2-3 clove buds
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 5-6 peas of pepper or black peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Remove the most hard outer green skinof the watermelon rind. It is convenient to do this with a sharp knife.
  2. Dice the flesh into 1/3-inch cubes.
  3. Place the watermelon rind cubes in a microwavable bowl. Add all remaining ingredients. Cook on full power in the microwave for 4-5 minutes. Cool pickles and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  4. Transfer the watermelon pickles to a serving plate, add chopped parsley and a little olive oil and serve.

Notes

See the blog for substitutions, additions, and serving suggestions.

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Old-fashioned watermelon rind pickle recipe.

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5 Comments

  1. I tried this recipe as a side dish for my grilled chicken and it totally leveled up my dinner!

    The tanginess of this pickled watermelon really complemented the juiciness and flavor of the grilled chicken. I’ll share this recipe with my mom because she loves watermelon so much!

  2. This pickled watermelon rind recipe is a winner for a hot summer day! The crispness is addictive, and the tangy kick makes them a refreshing snack. It’s such a creative way to reduce kitchen waste.

  3. Thanks for sharing the steps on how to make the pickled watermelon. I tried this using chutney and it was so good. Also made it for the family for a gathering and they loved it.

  4. It was my first time trying this out! I usually just throw away the rind but thanks to this recipe, they won’t go to waste now! We had some grilled chicken last night and served this as a side dish, my parents loved it!

  5. I tried this at a restaurant once and wanted to recreate it. Your recipe turned out delicious! Just like I remember.

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