Watermelon Rind Pickles

Reviews (28)
Have Made It

Created by Chef Dave Woolley, we love these watermelon rind pickles that leave the slightest bit of red flesh for a beautiful color and taste experience!

Watch the recipe video below.

  • Yields

    About 2 cups



  1. In large pot, bring water and salt to boil over medium high heat. Add rind pieces and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Strain, reserving liquid, and transfer rinds to a large glass or plastic bowl.
  2. In saucepan, combine reserved liquid with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 15 minutes, until slightly reduced. Pour over watermelon rinds in bowl. Place plate over top to keep rinds submerged in liquid. Cover and refrigerate for one day. Transfer to a glass jar and keep sealed in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  3. Serving suggestion: enjoy with your favorite deli meats and cheeses, perhaps with other pickled veggies for a tasting party.

Recipe Video

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Do these need to be placed in major jars with he hot liquid to create the seal? Or is there no need for this?

Watermelon Board

If you are traditionally canning your pickles to preserve for later, mason jars and a hot seal are employed. This recipe we suggest just keeping in any sealed container in your refrigerator for up to two weeks to guarantee freshness, taste and texture. We have not tested our recipe for longer term preserving, but if you do try, please let us know your results!


These were quite good, even though I substituted ground spices for the whole (basically a pinch of each). I ate the whole jar in two days.

Barbara A. Brown

Looks like a great recipe … can’t wait to try it. Thanks


Does the boiling water need to be added to the “remaining ingredients” reducing in a saucepan? The recipe doesn’t make this clear but it seems like the 4 cups of water is needed for the pickling.

Watermelon Board

Thank you for catching that. We’ve updated the recipe to reflect that yes, the strained water does need to be included with the remaining ingredients.

Lorraine Kimball

Why the metal bowl when you are going to add a hot vinegar solution to it? Seems like a recipe for metallic tasting pickles.

Watermelon Board

We have updated the recipe to suggest a non-reactive bowl. Some metal bowls are fine, but if you want to play it safe, please use a glass or plastic bowl.


Back to the canning question. Is there a reason to soak overnight or can I just pour the hot mixture right over the softened rinds so the lid can seal?

Watermelon Board

We found this great answer from Our Everyday Life: You help ensure the crispness and flavor of your finished pickles by soaking them before pickling to improve their texture and taste. Whether you soak them in ice water, salted water or a lime-water solution, an overnight soak is an important step in many recipes to create quality pickles that you will love.


Hi! I am also developing a recipe for watermelon rind pickles for a state agriculture agency, and I would really like to know if anyone at the Watermelon Board believes it is a food safety issue to skip the soaking step. I find the texture to be just fine without soaking when making a refrigerator pickle such as this one, but maybe if they are stored for a long time they would become limp instead of staying crsip. If someone at your organization knows anything about the science behind the soaking beyond textural concerns, please let me know! I hope a canning recipe on your end is on the way as well!

Watermelon Board

We do not believe it is a food safety issue, to skip the soaking step. It’s simply a quality/texture issue.

Fiona Martin

It seems that you have not peeled the green skin off the watermelon in the video, yet suggest that you do this in the recipe. Which is best?

Watermelon Board

Peeling the skin is a personal preference. However, when we tout that 100% of the watermelon is edible, the skin (or peel) definitely must be cooked. With the skin on, the texture on the outside has more of a “chew” to it, but it is pleasant and unique.

Stacy Kilb

I love this recipe because it has less sugar than many of the others. I have canned these using a water bath, and they seem to hold up fine during long term storage.


Great recipe I used the ground allspice, celery salt and half the sugar regular white vinegar, added some lemons and cinnamon sticks and wow….

Greg McGill

I made these last year and am now about to make another batch. This is one of the very few recipes I have found that use a long portion of rind. I like this presentation much better than the usual 3/4 to 1″ cubes, which remind me more of a pickle relish than an actual pickle.
Use whole spices where possible and let those pickles mature for a few months for what I feel are the best results.

Greg McGill

I just noted someone that was concerned about the unused outer skin so I thought I would offer a recipe from my collection that ONLY uses the outer rind!

Sweet Watermelon Rind Pickle from “The Easy Kitchen -Preserves & Pickles,” page 126. The ISBN number is 978-1-84075-449-1.

This is different in that it uses the outer green rind so you can get yet another product from that melon! This recipe does not give clear instructions for how thick the rind pieces should be but the photo shows very little white beneath the peel. And for some reason this recipe makes 13 ounces. It cannot be canned but does require aging for a month.
I do not wish to violate copyright so I am pointing you to the recipe . If there is interest I can perhaps modify it enough to share without copyright infringement.

Betty Salazar

I love this recipe. It brought back memories of my mom. She use to make pickled watermelon rind every summer. She has been gone for 24 years now, so thanks for the memories.


This recipe is fantastic. I had doubts, but following the recipe exactly yielded crunchy pickles that were both tangy and sweet. Making this for my next charcuterie board!

Beth Berg

Grandmother made these for me years ago. Now my husband is our pickle maker! He is going to make some of these for me.


The recipe says PEELED rind., and the photo shows peeled rind. But your video shows rind on the watermelon. S o which one is it?

Watermelon Board

There is an inconsistency between the recipe photo and the video. In fact, you can leave the rind on. It is fully edible. Generally people prefer to peel off the green skin, but as the video shows it can be elected to be left in tact. Once cooked it makes the pickles have a bit chewier of a texture.


Delicious sweet pickles with a tiny bit of ginger flavor, and definitely tastes like a pickle! I liked it best without the rind. I might like the rind best cut into bite sized pieces. Next time I will cut into slices with a wavy slicer blade. This time I cut into 4″ long spears so they fit into pint jars. I had added in extra watermelon slices and was able to stuff them all into 2 pint jars. I pushed the spices and slices of ginger down in the jar toward the sides of the glass jar so you could see it. This recipe made 2 pint jars of pickles with extra liquid left over that I will stick cut cucumbers into.


Why do we boil it in the start with salt water?

Watermelon Board

The chef who made the recipe included that step. We believe it to be part of the tenderizing process.


Why does the instructions say “In saucepan, combine reserved liquid with remaining ingredients.” and in the video they only use a small amount of liquid?


This is so refreshing. I love the texture and color. Perfect balance of sweet and tart. I adjusted the spice to my taste. Would use more ginger next time.