Pickled Green Tomatoes

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Pickled Green Tomatoes is a southern recipe using white vinegar, sugar and spices to create green tomato pickles. It turns unripe tomatoes into sweet and spicy pickles that are crunchy and delicious!

3 mason jars with green tomato pickles.
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • make quick pickled green tomatoes in just minutes
  • great way to use up green tomatoes from the garden
  • most ingredients can already be found in your fridge and pantry
  • refrigerator pickles keep up to 1 month in the fridge
  • no need to use a water bath canner or special canning equipment
a bowl of green tomatoes before slicing.

What are Green Tomatoes?

If you pick a tomato from the vine before it’s ready to ripen, it will be green in color. It’s generally hard to the touch and holds up well to hot liquid during the pickling process.

Unripened green tomatoes are not good to eat unless they’re pickled or fried which softens the flesh. Some folks also like to use green tomatoes in chutney and salsa recipes.

Pickled green tomatoes and onions taste a lot like bread and butter pickles with a slightly different flavor. You’ll love the tart and tangy taste with just a touch of sweetness.

They’re perfect as a garnish for hot dogs, burgers, and Bloody Mary cocktails!

mason jar filled with pickled green tomatoes.

Ingredients

Simple ingredients make the best recipes! See recipe card for quantities.

  • unripe green tomatoes – the best type are meant to turn red
  • sweet onions – vidalia onions work great, but red onions can also be used
  • distilled white vinegar – it’s best to use vinegar that has 5 percent acidity
  • water – distilled water is a great choice but not necessary
  • granulated sugar – white sugar won’t discolor the vegetables
  • minced garlic cloves – minced garlic packed in water works great
  • mustard seed – tiny yellow mustard seeds make a big difference in taste
  • celery seed – gives the veggies plenty of flavor
  • seasoned pepper – can substitute regular black pepper if desired
  • kosher salt – is best to use kosher, canning or pickling salt to prevent cloudy brine
  • red pepper flakes – adds just a touch of spice to counteract the sweetness
ingredients needed to make recipe.

How to Make Pickled Green Tomatoes

Prepare Mason Jars

It’s very important to wash pint size mason jars, bands and lids in hot soapy water. Rinse and dry with a cloth before starting the pickling process. This recipe will yield 4 pint size jars.

Dice and Pack Tomatoes

Always wash and dry vegetables thoroughly before using.

Dice green tomatoes and onions into bite size wedges for a relish type pickle, or slices for sandwiches. You can also cut them in larger wedges if desired. I prefer the smaller wedges because they can be used in several recipes.

green tomatoes cut in half and wedges.

Pack each mason jar with green tomatoes and onions until veggies reach the top of the jar. Be sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace at the top.

green tomatoes packed into a pint size mason jar.

Make Pickle Brine

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, mustard seed, celery seed, seasoned pepper, kosher salt and red pepper flakes. Stir until it comes to a boil and sugar melts. Boil mixture for 3 minutes.

Using a funnel and a ladle, spoon the hot brine into the mason jars until it reaches the top.

It’s best to use a ratio of at least 2/3 vinegar to 1/3 water when pickling vegetables. Anything less may not contain the proper amount of acidity for a safe pickling process.

Process Hot Jars

Wipe rim of hot jars with a paper towel or cloth. Center lid on each jar and tighten the band. Turn the jars upside down and rest on the kitchen counter until they reach room temperature.

Once the jars have cooled and can be safely handled, rinse them under cool water to get rid of any residue left on the jars. Wipe dry with a cloth and place in the refrigerator (upright) for up to 1 month (if they last that long)!

mason jars side by side with green cloth in the back.

Tips and Tricks

You’ll love how this green tomatoes recipe uses unripened vegetables from your garden. It’s a small batch recipe, so it can be made whenever you like.

As soon as tomato season rolls around, start gathering the ingredients so you’ll have everything you need to start pickling! In our neck of the woods, harvesting begins in late summer (around July) and lasts through August.

If you don’t have a garden, visit your local farmer’s market for everything from cucumbers to heirloom tomatoes. If you’re into home food preservation, pickled tomatoes are a favorite way to make the most of summer’s fresh produce.

Iodized salt contains anti-caking agents that can make pickle brine cloudy. For best results, use only kosher salt, canning or pickling salt.

See more guidelines at the National Center for Home Food Preservation before beginning any pickling process.

Variations

  • Add red bell pepper or fresh herbs like dill and rosemary to the mix.
  • Substitute red onions for sweet.
  • Use apple cider vinegar instead of white.
  • Add brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.
  • Use pickling spice or black peppercorns instead of spices.
  • Mix in curry, ginger or turmeric for a stronger taste.
  • Make green tomato salsa or green tomato relish with any leftovers.
mason jar packed with green tomatoes.

What to Serve with Pickled Green Tomatoes

  • potato salad – add chopped pickles to redskin potato salad
  • hamburgers – top burgers with this tart and tangy relish
  • hot dogs – slather your hot dog with diced pickles
  • barbecue – add a little pickle relish to your BBQ sandwich
  • egg salad – these pickles taste great in your favorite egg salad recipe
  • chicken salad – relish kicks up the flavor of chicken salad
  • southern coleslaw – add chopped pickles to slaw for tons of flavor
  • Bloody Marys – create a green pickle skewer to serve with your favorite cocktail

Storage

Refrigerator pickled green tomatoes must be stored in the fridge since they have NOT undergone the water bath canning process. They’re not shelf stable and shouldn’t be left unrefrigerated or botulism can occur.

To store pickles properly, keep upright in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Make sure you process green tomato pickles in glass mason jars instead of metal or plastic.

Recipe FAQS

What do pickled green tomatoes taste like?

Green tomato pickles are surprisingly tart, crunchy and tangy. They have a sweet and spicy flavor from the combination of sugar, vinegar and spices.

Can you freeze green tomatoes for later use?

Yes, you can freeze green tomatoes after dicing. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and use to make pickles as directed in the recipe.

Do the pickles stay green after brine is added?

It depends on what type of vinegar and sugar is used. If you use distilled white vinegar, pickling salt and white sugar, the final product will retain its green color. If you use brown sugar, turmeric and apple cider vinegar, the pickles will turn a cloudy brown shade. It’s best to stick with the original recipe.

What if the tomatoes turn pink before they are pickled?

It won’t hurt anything for them to turn pink, but if they sit too long, they’ll ripen and won’t be as crispy. Keeping tomatoes away from sunlight in a dark, cool place is the best way to make sure they ripen slowly.

More Tomato Recipes

Nothing tastes as good as a fresh tomato in the summer time. Try these other recipes that are sure to please…

Recipe Card

3 mason jars with green tomato pickles.

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Pickled Green Tomatoes is a southern recipe using white vinegar, sugar and spices to create green tomato pickles. It turns unripe tomatoes into sweet and spicy pickles that are crunchy and delicious!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizers, Sides
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 69kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Equipment

  • 1 funnel
  • 4 pint size mason jars
  • 1 ladle
  • 1 saucepan

Ingredients

  • 4 large green tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 large sweet onion (diced)
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned pepper (or black pepper)
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

Prepare Mason Jars

  • Wash 4 pint size mason jars, bands and lids in hot soapy water. Rinse and dry with a cloth before starting the pickling process.

Dice and Pack Tomatoes

  • Wash and dry vegetables thoroughly before using.
  • Dice green tomatoes and onions into bite size wedges for a relish type pickle, or slices for sandwiches. You can also cut them in larger wedges if desired.
  • Pack each mason jar with green tomatoes and onions until veggies reach the top of the jar. Be sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace at the top.

Make Pickle Brine

  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, mustard seed, celery seed, seasoned pepper, kosher salt and red pepper flakes. Stir until it comes to a boil and sugar melts. Boil mixture for 3 minutes.
  • Using a funnel and a ladle, spoon the hot brine into the mason jars until it reaches the top.

Process Jars

  • Wipe rim of hot jars with a paper towel or cloth. Center lid on each jar and tighten the band. Turn the jars upside down and rest on the kitchen counter until they reach room temperature.
  • Once the jars have cooled and can be safely handled, rinse them under cool water to get rid of any residue left on the jars. Wipe dry with a cloth and place in the refrigerator (upright) for up to 1 month.
  • This recipe makes 4 pints which can serve 16 people.

Notes

  • See guidelines at the National Center for Home Food Preservation before beginning any pickling process.
  • Iodized salt contains anti-caking agents that can make pickle brine cloudy. For best results, use only kosher salt, canning or pickling salt.
  • Only use vinegar that has 5% acidity
  • Refrigerator pickled green tomatoes must be stored in the fridge since they have NOT undergone the water bath canning process. They’re not shelf stable and shouldn’t be left unrefrigerated or botulism can occur.
  • To store pickles properly, keep upright in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Make sure you process green tomato pickles in glass mason jars instead of metal or plastic.
  • Salt helps to safely ferment pickles. It’s best not to alter the amount of salt in this recipe. 
  • View the Google Web Story for Pickled Green Tomatoes!

Nutrition

Calories: 69kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 444mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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3 Comments

  1. I love this recipe but was wondering if I can water bath this recipe? Thank You

    1. Hi Helen. Yes, this recipe has the proper amount of acid to be able to process it in a water bath.

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