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5 from 4 votes

Pickled Watermelon Rinds

This pickled watermelon rind recipe is a crisp Southern classic made with sugar, vinegar, and spices. After eating the juicy red watermelon pulp, use the peeled rind to make this sweet, cinnamon-flavored pickle.


  • 1/2 small red watermelon about 5 pounds
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar 5% acidity
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons pickling spice
  • 1/2 lemon  thinly sliced


  • Trim the dark green and pink parts from watermelon rind. You could leave little bit of the pink on the rind.
  • Cut rind into 1-inch cubes and measure out 7 cups.
  • In a large bowl add 3 cups water and the salt. Stir it together until salt dissolves.
  • Place the rinds in the salted water. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • The next day, drain the rinds and rinse well.
  • Add 4 cups of water to a stainless steel saucepan (or Dutch oven). Add the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, pickling spices, and lemon slices. Bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the rind and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the rind is tender and translucent.
  • Remove from heat. Cool completely (about 1 hour), stirring occasionally.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer rind to jars; cover with pickling liquid. Apply lids. Gently pack the hot rind into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space below the lip. Pour enough liquid into the jars to cover the rind.
  • Wipe rims with a clean, damp towel and screw lids on securely but not too tightly.
  • Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully remove jars using tongs. Use potholders to tighten the lids. Place jars on a rack and let them cool. When they’ve cooled down, store them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Chill 24 hours before serving.