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These quick refrigerator pickled green tomatoes are salty, tangy, crunchy, and combine simple herbs and spices with a foolproof method to turn unripe tomatoes into a moreish condiment!

completed Quick Pickled Green Tomatoes plated alongside a jar of pickled tomatoes and raw green tomatoes
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Foolproof Quick Pickled Green Tomatoes Recipe

Anyone who’s ever tried their hand at growing tomatoes has likely come across unripened green tomatoes at the end of the tomato season that need saving before winter. That’s where this pickled green tomatoes recipe comes in!

While, for many, green tomatoes instantly bring to mind fried green tomatoes or chutneys and relishes, pickling green tomatoes is the quickest and easiest (and super delicious) way of preserving green tomatoes for a little longer.

What Are Quick Pickles?

Quick pickles, also called ‘refrigerator pickles,’ is a canner-free method of pickling ingredients to store in the fridge for up to a month rather than canning them for long-term shelf-stable storage. Perfect for the leftover green tomatoes in your garden.

This recipe for pickled green tomatoes takes just a few minutes to prep, is made with simple pantry ingredients, and requires no specialized canning equipment. You can even play around the brine flavoring with different herbs/spices.

Once prepared, these easy green tomato pickles make for a delicious condiment to enjoy straight from the jar or in vegan sandwiches, burgers, and salads. You can even use them to make relish further down the line!

The Ingredients

ingredients for Quick Pickled Green Tomatoes measured out against a white surface
  • Vinegar: White vinegar is all you need, though you can make different flavor profiles in this green tomato pickles recipe using other types. I.e., apple cider vinegar/rice vinegar are sweeter. White balsamic vinegar could also work.
  • Water: We prefer to use filtered water when pickling green tomatoes.
  • Salt: We used Kosher salt, though it’s best to use pickling salt if you have any. Regular salt can turn cloudy in the brine, looking like spoilage.
  • Green tomatoes: Use green tomatoes that are unripe red tomatoes with a firm texture and tart, zingy flavor, rather than any variety bred to remain green (like Zebra tomatoes) even when ripe. We prefer medium to large green tomatoes, though green cherry tomatoes will work too.
  • Flavorings: For these garlicky dill pickled green tomatoes, we used
    • Cumin seeds
    • Whole peppercorns (black, mixed, or pink)
    • Fresh dill
    • Fresh chives
    • Garlic cloves

How to Flavor Green Tomato Pickles?

You can easily adapt this recipe for pickled green tomatoes with any of the below ingredients for different flavor profiles.

  • Sugar: To balance the harsh acidity in the vinegar/make sweet pickled green tomatoes. Use regular white sugar, maple syrup, or a sugar alternative ‘to taste.’ We recommend starting with 1 tablespoon (while heating the vinegar so it melts).
  • Spicy pickled green tomatoes: Add some finely diced/sliced chili (like jalapeño or Serrano), de-ribbed and de-seeded, though you can add some seeds back for more heat. Otherwise, dried red pepper flakes would work, too.
  • Seeds: Mustard seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, celery seeds, etc.
  • Spices: Curry powder, turmeric, whole allspice, pickling spice, etc.
  • Other herbs: Bay leaves, oregano, cilantro, etc.
  • Aromatics: Coins of ginger, lemon or lime zest, onions (red onion or sweet onion like Vidalia onions).

How to Pickle Green Tomatoes?

  • 1) The first step is sterilizing the jars and tools you plan to use for the green tomato pickle recipe. Wash them in hot soapy water, rinse well, and leave to air dry on a clean surface (or use your dishwasher’s ‘sterilize’ function, if it has one).
  • 2) Then, bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then set it aside.
  • 3) Meanwhile, rinse and chop the green tomatoes into 1/3-inch slices (top to bottom). Also, mince the garlic and fresh herbs and then divide them and the spices between one large or two smaller mason jars, packing everything tightly.

Alternatively, you could cut the green tomatoes into wedges/ cut the slices in half. Also, ensure you use jar sizes where you can pack in the ingredients tightly with only about ½-inch of headspace.

  • 4) Pour the vinegar mixture into the jar/s, ensuring the green tomatoes are submerged while leaving ½-inch of headspace. Then tap the jar on the counter to release any air bubbles.
  • 5) Screw on the lid and allow it to cool for 30 minutes before transferring it to the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours, though 24 hours will be even better. Enjoy!

FAQs

What do green tomatoes taste like?

Green tomatoes are simply unripe red tomatoes and have a firm texture with a tart, fairly acidic flavor. Once pickled, their flesh softens slightly, and they are a tangy, crunchy treat.

Can I pickle green cherry tomatoes?

Yes, just make sure to cut them in half for the best flavor. When kept whole, they can sometimes be overly sour.

Can I water bath can this recipe?

While it is possible, it isn’t something we’ve tried. However, from a little research, 15 minutes seems to be the required processing time (up to 1000ft – increasing it if you live in high altitudes). Refer to the USDA/NCHFP guides for more information.

Top Recipe Tips and Notes

  • Sterilize everything: This will ensure the longest shelf life. Wash everything in hot, soapy water, then leave it to dry completely.
  • The best jar to use: Use a jar that only just fits the tomatoes and add-ins with about ½-inch of headspace once the pickling liquid is added. If it’s too big, the ingredients can float above the liquid and become unsafe to consume.
  • Pack the jars well: By making sure it’s packed in tightly, the ingredients are less likely to float up out of the liquid.
  • Experiment with flavors: There are plenty of herbs and seasonings (plus sugar) you can play around with for sweet pickled green tomatoes, spicy pickled green tomatoes, and aromatic in-betweens, so have fun experimenting. Make a note of what you use in each new batch to re-create your favorite combinations.
  • Reuse the pickling liquid: It’s perfectly safe to reuse the liquid from pickling green tomatoes. Just strain it, re-boil the liquid and use it once more.
completed Quick Pickled Green Tomatoes plated on a white plate

Storage Instructions

Quick pickled green tomatoes are meant to be stored in the refrigerator rather than as shelf-stable pickles. For that reason, it’s best to store them towards the back of the refrigerator (where it’s coolest) for up to a month.

Use clean/sterilized tools when removing tomatoes from the jar to avoid them spoiling too soon.

How to Use Pickled Green Tomatoes?

Aside from eating them straight out of the jar, you can enjoy green tomato pickles with:

  • Bread: Over avocado toast, bruschetta, in sandwiches, wraps, etc.
  • BBQ: Add the green tomato pickles to vegan burgers and hotdogs.
  • Salads: Finely dice them into a potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, taco salad, etc.
  • Salad dressings: Puree the quick pickled green tomatoes into dressings/sauces for tart, tangy flavor.
  • Dips: Fold into or garnish hummus or white bean dip.
  • Noodles: Enjoy with noodle bowls and salads (cold or warm).
  • Mexican/TexMex: Add them to vegan tacos, burritos, over nachos, etc.
  • Boards/platters: Enjoy them as part of your favorite grazing platters/boards.

More Easy Pickle Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

Quick Pickled Green Tomatoes

5 from 35 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 3 hours
Servings: 1 24 ounce mason jar
These quick refrigerator pickled green tomatoes are salty, tangy, crunchy, and combine simple herbs and spices with a foolproof method to turn unripe tomatoes into a moreish condiment!

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ cups white vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 pounds of green tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh chives
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Instructions 

  • Over medium high heat, in a saucepan, bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Then turn off the heat and set aside.
  • Add the green tomatoes, cumin seeds, peppercorns, fresh dill, chives, and garlic into one or two mason jars.
  • Add the vinegar mixture to the mason jar. Do not fill with liquid to the rim. Put the lid on and allow it to cool for 30 minutes.
  • Put the jar in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before enjoying it.
  • Store in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Pack the jars well: By making sure it’s packed in tightly, the ingredients are less likely to float up out of the liquid.
  • Experiment with flavors: There are plenty of herbs and seasonings (plus sugar) you can play around with for sweet pickled green tomatoes, spicy pickled green tomatoes, and aromatic in-betweens, so have fun experimenting. Make a note of what you use in each new batch to re-create your favorite combinations.
  • Reuse the pickling liquid: It’s perfectly safe to reuse the liquid from pickling green tomatoes. Just strain it, re-boil the liquid and use it once more.

Nutrition

Calories: 307kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 12gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 7126mgPotassium: 2002mgFiber: 12gSugar: 37gVitamin A: 6197IUVitamin C: 218mgCalcium: 212mgIron: 7mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Toni Okamoto
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Method: No cook
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Toni Okamoto

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
‘Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways…
we got to start taking better care of ourselves ” – Dead Prez

More about Toni Okamoto

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love to eat a condiment as an addition to my evening dinner and these quick pickled green tomatoes, look so delicious. I’m going to try them soon!