Love and Olive Oil

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes and pickles probably aren’t two things that are often thought of together. Green tomatoes = fried. Pretty much. I mean, what else do you do with them (of course, green tomatoes not to be confused with tomatillos which make for some excellent salsa verde, green tomatoes are literally unripe tomatoes). And pickles, well, you can honestly pickle just about anything, including green tomatoes.

So there you have it, pickled green tomatoes.

Green Tomato Pickles

Finding ways to use green tomatoes definitely developed out of necessity. Once the weather starts to cool, you may still have a few green tomatoes left in your garden. My advice? Pick them before the first frost because otherwise they are totally useless. And then turn them into some fabulous pickles.

With bourbon, mind you. Why? Why not.

Granted, the pickles do lose some of their vibrant green color after a few days in the brine, but the benefit to refrigerator pickles is they retain all their crispness. No soggy pickles, here.

Pickled Green Tomatoes

What I want to try next is fried pickled green tomatoes. Because pickled green tomatoes are awesome, and fried green tomatoes are awesome, so pickled AND fried must be mind blowing.

I had other plans for these pickles, however, along with Monday’s Peach Mustard. No peeking. You’ll just have to wait until Friday to see.

Pickled Green Tomatoes


  • 2 pounds green tomatoes (about 6 medium)
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh dill
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon


  1. Slice tomatoes, either into 1/4-inch thick slices, or halved and cut into 8-10 wedges. Divide tomatoes among 3 pint jars, packing the tomatoes tightly in each jar. Place a few slices of garlic and a few fronds of dill in each jar.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, salt, sugar, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add bourbon.
  3. Pour brine over pickles, filling jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Make sure all of the tomatoes are fully submerged. If they start to ‘float’, wedge a few more tomato pieces in there to keep them firmly packed.
  4. Screw on jar lids and refrigerate for at least 3 days to allow pickles to fully pickle, and after that pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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  1. can you process these in a water bath so that they will keep longer?

    • This is a refrigerator pickle recipe and has NOT been tested for water bath canning methods. Please use a tested recipe from Ball or another trusted source if you plan to can it.

  2. Rating: 5

    How long will the green tomato pickles last for, can you store them in the cupboard .

  3. Made em, like em a lot! Next time maybe I will try a little less vinegar. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. I am going to try this idea. Sounds real good. I’ll let you know how I get on.

  5. Anyone experimented with adding peppers to this? Thinking a few tiny habaneros?

  6. Always been a staple around these parts but I’ve never ventured to try em… Until now. Hah, Grandma’s going to have competition this year!

  7. When the pickles are “finished” in 3 days… can they be processed in a water bath to keep them for longer than just 2 weeks? Or should they be processed immediately?

    I have a lot of cherry tomatoes (Julliet and Red Torch) and as easily as it is to just eat them, I want to put some up for later in the winter. Most recipes for processing, say to pack the jars, pour in the brine, and process immediately. Do the pickles become pickles regardless of processing or not?

    • This recipe has not been tested for canning or long term storage; it was intended for small batches stored in the fridge only. I might recommend seeking out a trusted recipe designed for canning, from USDA or Ball for example, if you plan to can them!

  8. I have been making canned green tomatoes for over 15 years (water, vinegar, bay leaf, salt, garlic, dill) and refrigerate & they stay good for up to a year. We just finished our last jar from the previous year & in 15 years have never had them go bad. So what is in yours that causes them to go bad after only 3 weeks?

    • I am not a food safety expert and tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to preserving foods, hence my recommendation to consume within 3 weeks (the recipe only makes 2 jars which are easily consumed within that time period). Keep in mind that botulism, one of the biggest concerns with regards to home canning, is completely tasteless, colorless and odorless (unlike mold for example which is easy to see). There is no way to know if a canned good is contaminated just by looking at it.

  9. So if you pickle this it will only keep two weeks?? What’s the point?

  10. I would like to know what kind of salt you used, sea salt, table salt or pickling salt?

  11. Oh my! This is a keeper recipe for fried green tomatoes! Our modifications had to use apple cider vinegar due to allergy constraints, and in one batch we substituted rum for the bourbon (again, allergy constraints). Our breading for making the fried green tomatoes used part almond flour and part tapioca flour (Gluten Free!). These are a BIG hit.

  12. What do you think about adding onions?

  13. Can this be made without the bourbon? I have friends that are alcohol free.

  14. Do you think this would work with green cherry tomatoes, too? I have a TON of those left in the garden as well.

    • Definitely, as long as they are nice and firm (soft, ripe tomatoes are a no go). I’d probably slice them in half or quarters depending on how big they are.

  15. I made these last fall when I had a lot of end-of-season tomatoes that weren’t going to have time to ripen on the vine. It was a big hit with everyone who tasted them, but particularly with my brother-in-law, who asks for more every time he visits! I just gave him a quart jar last week and yesterday he told me had finished them already! They’re super easy to make and very tasty.

  16. What happens after the 2 week refrigerator period?

    • They’re ready to eat after 3 days and can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. They’re so good though I doubt they’ll last that long. :)

  17. Try the brine recipe with thin sliced cucumbers salted for 24 hours. Leave out the bourbon.

  18. I love pickled tomatoes! These look great and so easy to make! Loving the pictures as well, you did a great job of picking aesthetically pleasing photographs to go along with the recipe. Really does a great job of aiding in the process of following the recipe when I have pictures to go with it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  19. Has anyone ever made these without the bourbon? Do you think it will still have the good flavors?

  20. These are excellent. I left out the bourbon because I hate hard liquor and subbed a 1/2 jalapeno per jar for the red pepper flakes in a few jars because my garden has excess those too, and liked that just as much if not better. I also tried this on some ripe cherry tomatoes and half ripe (orange ish) tomato. The cherry ones were way off because the texture wasn’t right, but the orange half ripe tomato are just fine, not as crisp as strait green but not at all bad and it added color to the pallet. It has been 5 full weeks and I just finished the last of the first batch I made (I made a lot), and they lasted great and were still crisp. Making a second batch this weekend can’t wait!

  21. We have always made green tomato pickles to eat with catfish. They were always soaked in line. Can’t find a recipe telling us how much lime to use. It has green bell peppers and onions. Can you give me a recipe using lime?

  22. We just use to add them to leftover pickle juice and it was awesome

  23. LOVE canning! These look incredible!!

  24. The amounts of brine and number of jars listed are totally wrong!

    • Ummmmmm…..please explain. 

    • If you are going to trash the recipe as being “wrong”…..please help all of us out by giving your “correct” proportions. 

      Thank you and we can’t wait for your response!!!!!

    • How did you cut your tomatoes? The total volume and brine needed will depend largely on how the tomatoes fit in the jars and how much ‘space’ is left around them. So slices vs quarters, etc.

    • I agree with the poster and with the responder. I believe the recipe should call for 3 pint jars, not 1/2 pint jars. Perhaps it was a typo for 1/2 QT. I was able to get 4 full pints canned with the recipe, but I did pack the tomatoes quite tightly.

      And I agree with all others, it is a GREAT way to use up excess green tomatoes.

  25. I didn’t really like this recipe. I LOVED IT! I have to admit I made some changes. I didn’t have fresh dill so I used about a teaspoon of dried and didn’t have bourbon so I used some peach pucker schnapps. And since I didn’t have any small jars, I put the cut up tomatoes into a heavy duty plastic gallon re-closable bag inside of a small stainless steel Dutch oven just in case the hot liquid, which I let cool slightly, melted the bag when I poured it over the tomatoes and other ingredients. I also used Kosher salt and some homemade brown sugar . Oh yeah, one other thing, I like spicy, so I also added a teaspoon of wasabi powder. I let the whole thing sit in the fridge for 4 days and WOW. Now, I can just see me pickling everything under the sun. Better than the deli and those pre-packaged pickling spices my wife bought. Tried a sample at a big party the other night and everyone wanted to know who made the pickled tomatoes.

    • Thanks for sharing, so glad you enjoyed these pickles! I’m intrigued by the idea of wasabi powder. Hello, spicy pickles!

  26. I am thinking you can process this in a hot water bath to be able to give this a longer shelf life?

    • In theory, yes, but I have not tested this recipe in a canning situation. I might suggest grabbing a pickle recipe intended for canning from a trusted source like Ball’s canning cookbook and using that. Then you can be sure the acidity/ph/etc are safe for canning. :)

  27. Made 2 quarts, lasted 2 hours…
    Best pickled green tomato recipe I’ve tried, definitely has a nice little kick to it.

  28. I did the fridge process with green tomatoes and cukes in the same jar w/Water, vinegar, salt, seranno pepper,  peppercorns, dill seeds, garlic ..they are to be in for a week..can’t wait to taste em

  29. I have made and eaten fried pickled green tomatoes(refridgerator pickles). They are wonderful, just keep in mind they are salty like fried pickles of any kind. So, don’t salt your breading or meal and flour at all. A very good side for anything savory to balance the meal out. They also are firmer than non-pickled green tomatoes when fried.

    • Oh, you can also not use these spices but instead use sugar and a couple of cinnamon sticks. You can use this type of green tomatoes as a substitute for green apples in most recipes. Yes that does include pies or fried pies. Keep in mind there is more moisture in the tomatoes than in apples and adjust accordingly(more flour and less other liquids). Makes those eating it wonder is it a kiwi apple pie or what? Tastes like a very good apple pie(the seeds make them wonder if there is another fruit involved). Just don’t tell them and they will never know it is green tomatoe.

  30. I assembled these pickled tomatoes this past Sunday so they will be ready for Thanksgiving.  I couldn’t wait to sneak a taste just now and I had to restrain myself from devouring the entire jar.  They are already wonderful.  Thank you so much for a fantastic recipe and Happy Holidays! 

  31. I made pickled green tomatoes 2 weeks ago and I make them every year, they are my favorite! I love how juicy it gets, I can eat it all day everyday and I LOVE how you shared this. I never tried fried green tomatoes but I should try that too!

  32. I should try this. I have 7 tomato plants in my garden this year. I know I will need to use up  green tomatoes. 

  33. We have something very common in my part of the world, except we call it chow. :) In that recipe, we salt the tomatoes and let them sit overnight, and then make the pickling liquid and simmer it all together for awhile. Great stuff! :)

  34. I was in New Orleans this past weekend, eating breakfast at a cafe that had a menu I wanted to try everything off of, and I ended up getting the breakfast sliders with a side of pickled green tomatoes! They were perfection, and so incredibly vinegary, I coughed a little. That’s my style of pickled anything. Mmmm!

  35. Aww man- I just found a green tomato in my garden today that had fallen off the plant somehow and thought “Huh…now what?”  Despite being someone who has never fried anything in her home I considered possibly looking into making some fried green tomatoes but now that I see this recipe (you had me at “bourbon”) I think this might be the winner! (but I’ll have to get a few more green tomatoes…)

  36. Do you think this recipe could convert into shelf (canned) pickles?  Any suggestions?

  37. Is this what I should do with my green tomatoes, Lindsay? Fabulousness! :)

  38. What an amazing combination, definitely need to try this sometime, I mean, I love pickles and I love green tomatoes, why would’t I love them combined? Beautiful photographs too!

  39. You and your boozy recipes. These sound so interesting. Want!!

  40. Hello Lindsay! We had sent you an inquiry on August 25 but did not receive any reply from you. So we have sent it again since it might have gone to your spam box. We would greatly appreciate if you get back to us and tell us what you think about our offer. Thanks!

  41. Delicious! Will have to try this! 

  42. great idea, you guys! I love seeing pickle recipes–thanks for sharing.

    have you heard of pickled watermelon rinds? I tried to make them once, but I followed more of a Southern canning-type recipe (lots of sugar and sweet spices) and didn’t like how they turned out. I think a spicier/more classic brine would suit the rinds well. 

    oh, and fried pickled green tomatoes: /swoon.

    • What you ended up with was like my grandmother’s watermelen preserves–more like jam.  They are good on homemade biscuits or pancakes.

  43. Oh, yay!  I have plenty of green tomatoes left on my plants that will never live to see even the slightest shade of red.  What a great idea.  And bourbon?  Yes, please!

  44. Love this!! I want some and can’t wait to see on Friday…!!

  45. Green tomato pickles…you complete my sandwich : D 

  46. Perfect for keeping the allotment glut into the winter!

  47. Ah that is such a great idea! We have no idea what to do with all of our green tomatoes from the farm at our house, but pickling–that’s a fabulous idea!

  48. Delicious!!

    • Hi
      I would like to know to pickle cherry green tomatoes (tiny( to you cut them in half or leave them whole. Can u use red wine vinegar

      • I’d recommend cutting the tomatoes, it’ll help the brine permeate better. I’ve never tried this with red wine vinegar but as long as it is listed at 5% acidity it should work.

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