These pickled green tomatoes are sweet, tangy, slightly salty, crunchy, and delicious! A great condiment to enjoy as they are, chopped in salads, sliced on sandwiches, or even fried. A quick pickle recipe – ready in 24 hours!
I’m finding that you can pickle just about anything, even green tomatoes.
Depending on how you want to use them, the green tomatoes are either sliced or quartered, then put into a brine of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt with shallots, sprigs of fresh basil, and jalapeno slices. This quick pickle recipe is a small batch recipe ready to enjoy in only 24 hours!
The sweet and tangy yet slight salty pickled green tomatoes are crunchy and delicious. They are the perfect condiment to enjoy as they are, but you can chop them and put them into salads, slice them to put on sandwiches, and you can even fry them!
At the end of last summer, my mama gave me a recipe she found in a Southern Living Magazine for pickled green tomatoes. She knows I love fried green tomatoes, so she figured I’d like to try the recipe.
She figured right. I love everything about this recipe.
Let’s pickle some!
What is a Quick Pickle Recipe?
A quick pickle recipe is a pickling recipe that involves a brine mixture usually consisting of salt, vinegar, and sugar but does not involve canning. Quick pickles recipes usually only take about 24-hours and are very simple to make.
Ingredients To Make Pickled Green Tomatoes (With Substitutions)
A detailed list of ingredients is included within the recipe card at the end of this post.
For the Brine:
Rice Vinegar: Rice vinegar is one of the most delicate sweet vinegar you can use. Try not to use seasoned rice vinegar, which generally includes salt, sugar, and sometimes MSG.
Substitutes for Rice Vinegar:
- Apple Cider Vinegar – sweet, mild taste of apples. Apple cider vinegar is closest in comparison to rice though it is slightly more robust than rice vinegar.
- Red or White Wine Vinegar – fruity, tangy, a somewhat more potent than rice vinegar.
- White Vinegar – although white vinegar is clear like rice vinegar, it tastes the opposite. White vinegar is sour and very harsh. If this is all you have, cut the vinegar back to ½ cup and add 1 ½ cups of water instead of 1 cup.
Sugar: white granulated table sugar.
Salt: Pickling salt has finer granules than regular table salt, and it does not contain additives, which can cause the brine solution to become cloudy. Use kosher salt if you don’t have pickling salt on hand.
For the Pickled Tomatoes:
Green Tomatoes: Green tomatoes have a tart and tangy taste with a very crisp robust texture. Use any green unripened tomato that has not yet turned red and the size of a baseball or smaller.
Fresh Basil: Fresh basil lends a delicate floral and mild licorice flavor to the tomatoes. Basil and tomatoes go hand in hand, even when pickled. Only use fresh basil.
Shallots: Shallots have a delicately sweet fresh flavor when eaten raw. If you can’t get your hands on shallots, use sweet onions instead. Red onions are fine also, but both will have more onion flavor than the shallot will.
Heat: Jalapenos add a nice spicy heat to balance the sweet and tangy flavor of the brine. Jalapenos can be substituted with ¼ teaspoon red crushed pepper flakes.
I tested this recipe using both jalapeno slices and red pepper flakes. Although both were very good, David and I agree that the pickled tomatoes with jalapeno slices vs. the red pepper flakes. Not only do the jalapenos provide a mild spice, but they also bring a nice bright flavor to the pickled green tomatoes.
If you don’t like spice, remove the veins and seeds from the jalapenos so that you can enjoy the taste without the heat. OR omit the jalapenos or red pepper flakes altogether.
Salting Green Tomatoes
For best results, salt the green tomatoes before pickling them. Salting the green tomato slices and letting them sit will draw out excess liquid from the tomatoes, which tends to have a bitter taste. Not only will salting the tomatoes give the green tomatoes a better flavor, but it will also make them crisper and allow them to draw in more of the flavors from the brine solution.
How To Salt Green Tomatoes:
- Place some tomato slices into the bottom of a bowl in a single layer. Sprinkle the tomatoes lightly with salt. Add another layer of tomatoes on top and sprinkle those lightly with salt. Repeat until all of the tomato slices are salted in the bowl
- Cover the salted green tomato slices and allow them to sit at room temperature overnight.
- Drain the liquid from the tomatoes before pickling.
Note: Go easy on the salt. If you watch your sodium, you may want to cut back a little on the amount of salt used in the brine solution since the tomato slices do not get rinsed.
How to Make Pickled Green Tomatoes
Salting is optional but recommended!
- Step #1 Clean the Jar: Wash a 32-ounce wide-mouth canning jar with hot soapy water. Rinse well and allow it to air dry.
- Step #2 Make the Brine: Combine the ingredients and heat until the sugar and salt dissolve completely.
- Step #3 Core and Slice the Tomatoes: While the brine is cooling, slice the ends of the tomatoes, removing the core. Cut the tomatoes either into slices, halves, or quarters.
- Slices are better for topping burgers and sandwiches or even frying.
- Halves or Quarters are better for chopping to add into dishes or eating by themselves.
- Step #4 Pour and Brine: Place the tomato slices, basil, shallots, and jalapenos slices inside the clean canning jar. Pour the cooled brine solution into the jar. Seal tightly and chill for 24-hours. Gently shake the jar every once in a while to ensure the flavors meld well.
After 24-hours, serve as desired. Enjoy pickled green tomatoes stored in the fridge for up to 2 months.
Tips for Making this Recipe
- Size: choose more small tomatoes no larger than the size of a baseball. Larger tomatoes tend to be more bitter and will not absorb the brine very well. If making slices, choose tomatoes that are slightly smaller than the mouth of your canning jar.
- Tomato Variety: Use any type of green unripened tomato that has not yet turned red.
- Canning Jar: Wide-mouth canning jars work the best, especially for slices.
How to Serve Pickled Green Tomatoes
Pickled green tomatoes are also a great way to preserve an over-abundant tomato harvest because they can be used in various ways. Use them just as you would use ordinary cucumber pickles. Here are a few suggestions:
How will you eat pickled green tomatoes? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below and let us know!
Pickled Green Tomatoes – Quick Pickle Recipe
- 32-ounce large-mouth canning jar with lid
For the Brine:
- 1 cup Rice Vinegar
- 1 cup Water
- ½ cup Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Pickling Salt or kosher
- 1 pound Green Tomatoes about 3 to 4 green tomatoes
- 3 springs fresh basil
- ¼ cup shallots thinly sliced
- 1 large jalapeno (optional) see notes
Salt the Green Tomatoes: This step is optional, but recommended (see notes)
- Place some tomato slices into the bottom of a bowl in a single layer. Sprinkle the tomatoes lightly with salt. Add another layer of tomatoes on top and sprinkle those lightly with salt. Repeat until all of the tomato slices are salted in the bowl. Cover the salted green tomato slices and allow them to sit at room temperature overnight. Drain the liquid from the tomatoes before pickling.
Make the Brine
- Wash a 32-ounce wide-mouth canning jar with hot soapy water. Rinse well and allow it to air dry.
- In a small saucepan over medium-high, whisk all of the brine ingredients until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Remove from the heat. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.
Fill the Jar
- If you DID NOT salt the tomatoes overnight, slice the ends of the tomatoes, removing the core. Cut the tomatoes either into slices, halves, or quarters.
- Place the tomato slices, basil, shallots, and jalapeno slices inside the clean canning jar. Pour the cooled brine solution into the jar. Seal tightly and chill for 24-hours, gently shaking the jar every once in a while to ensure the flavors meld well.
- After 24-hours, serve as desired. Enjoy pickled green tomatoes stored in the fridge for up to 2 months.