Recipe: Spicy Green Tomato Pickles

This recipe for spicy green tomato pickles is easy, delicious and makes good use of all those unripe tomatoes at threat from the coming first frost.

by Stephanie Thurow
PHOTO: Iryna Melnyk/Adobe Stock

Whether we want to accept it or not, the growing season is coming to an end for many of us. I’ll be pulling out half of my gardens this weekend and putting them to bed. The possibility of frost is highly likely within the next few weeks. In our household, this means we harvest all of our green tomatoes.

I love fermented green tomato salsa, as well as the water bath canned version (both of which are in my cookbook Can It & Ferment It). We are also huge fans of fried green tomatoes and make several batches throughout the month of October.  But one recipe that my grandpa made long before I was even a thought, is spicy green tomato pickles. This is a refrigerator pickle, so it doesn’t require any boiling water bath canning or fermenting.  

We snack on these spicy tomatoes straight from the jar but as all my pickle recipes, they also make a great Bloody Mary garnish or unique pickle for an appetizer platter.  

Yield: 1 quart jar 


  • 3.5 cups green tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks 
  • 4 cloves garlic, halved 
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, halved (or spicier peppers if you prefer) 
  • 1.5 cups water 
  • 1.5 cups 5% white distilled vinegar 
  • 2 tsp. canning salt 


Wash tomatoes, remove any flawed or bruised areas and stems.  

Prepare tomatoes, garlic and hot peppers, and transfer them to a quart jar, until there is 1 inch of headspace (room from the tomatoes to the rim of the jar). 

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Heat the brine ingredients to a simmer and stir until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat. 

Carefully ladle the warm brine over the tomatoes until they are submerged completely. 

Wipe the rim of the jar clean with a dampened cloth to remove any spillage. Place the canning jar lid on the jar and tightly screw on the ring. Allow the jar to cool to room temperature and transfer to the refrigerator.  

Allow the tomatoes to pickle for at least one week before tasting. The longer the tomatoes pickle, the more flavor they will have. 


Be sure to thoroughly clean your space and supplies before pickling (as when doing any food preservation). Wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water.  

My grandpa traditionally made these tomatoes really spicy and that’s how I tend to enjoy them to this day. Add any type and as many spicy peppers as you’d like. 

If using cherry tomatoes, I recommend slicing them in half before pickling. 

Add in whole peppercorns, dill, mustard seeds or other spices to change the flavor of your green tomato pickles. 

 This recipe has been shared from Stephanie Thurow’s, WECK Small-Batch Preserving cookbook, with permission from Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.  

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