Pickled Jalapenos (escabeche)

I love spicy food, but jalapenos just aren’t something I use tons of at any one time. Since I feel a little odd just buying one pepper, the rest of the bag usually ends up going bad. After realizing how easy it is to make pickled jalapenos, I don’t think I’ll ever be running into a bag of half decomposed jalapenos at the bottom of my vegetable drawer again.

Tart and piquant, these pickles make an awesome snack with a frosty beer and can be used as a condiment for your favorite Mexican dish. I even like adding these to sandwiches like banh mi and tortas.

Jalapeno pickles (escabeche)

I made a smallish portion for those of us with tiny refrigerators, but if you have the room, this is a great way to preserve that giant pack of jalapenos you picked up at Costco last week.

Pickled Jalapenos (escabeche)

makes about 3 cups of pickles
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons honey (optional)
6 jalapeno peppers, sliced into 1/4″ wheels (remove the seeds and white pith if you want them less spicy)
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4″ wheels
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 16 wedges
6 cloves of garlic, peeled

Put all the ingredients in a non-reactive (stainless steel) saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Continue boiling until the jalapenos have gone from a vivid green to an earthy olive green. Turn the heat off and allow the jalapeno pickles to cool.

These jalapeno pickles can be stored for a very long time in a sealed container in the fridge. Serve with tacos, nachos, or just about any of your favorite Mexican foods.

  • http://www.dreamofcakes.net Eftychia

    Interesting post! In Cyprus we use the same technique to make pikles…

  • Maris Callahan

    This is interesting to me as i have never had jalapenos picked before. I bet they are very tasty

  • Tikipundit

    Thanks for this!  These pop up all the time where I live but I’ve never seen a recipe.  I wonder if sliced radish could go in as well as carrots.

  • Anonymous

    Despite it being only 9:30 am, I’m strangely craving a beer now :) 
    Refrigerator pickles are the main reason I grow jalapenos in my garden. I swap out the bay for Mexican Oregano, and add a little fennel seed too. Love how those up-front flavors play with the black pepper and the heat in the middle of the chile.

  • http://theindolentcook.blogspot.com/ the indolent cook

    That looks so packed with flavour! Great stuff.

  • Michael Richardson

    I love this I too waste so much jalapenos when I buy them.. So simple 

  • http://twitter.com/punkdomestics Punk Domestics

    Gorgeous! Would you be a dear and post it to Punk Domestics? I want everyone to see it. 

  • http://twitter.com/rvank R van Kraayenburg

    I love jalapeños! My brother though loves them even more than I do and I have a feeling he would adore getting a jar of pickled jalapeños. Thanks for sharing!

  • Swanjame

    Thanks for the recipe!  Looks super!


  • Luther

    I have used variations on this recipe though it is not tested and approved by the Extension Service.  We like it…
    Pickled Jalapeños (Escabeche)This recipe is adapted from “The Essential Cuisines of Mexico,” by Diana Kennedy. Escabechecan be served as a condiment with Mexican food or the vegetables can be chopped and used inother dishes.Ingredients1 pound jalapeños
    1/3 cup olive oil
    2-3 medium onions, thickly sliced
    2-3 medium carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
    Florets from half a small cauliflower (optional)
    1 head garlic with cloves separated
    4 cups apple cider vinegar
    2 tablespoons kosher salt or sea salt
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    4 sprigs fresh marjoram (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
    4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
    1 tablespoon sugarDirectionsWash the chiles and leave the stems intact. Cut a cross at the tip of each chile so the vinegar canpenetrate.Heat oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the chiles, onions, carrots, garlic and (optional) cauliflower.Fry over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.Add the vinegar, salt, herbs and sugar and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10minutes. Make sure chiles are cooked through before canning.Pack four sterilized pint jars with the vegetables. Top with the vinegar and seal. Process in a hotwater bath for 10 minutes.Once opened, keep refrigerated; jar will keep for 1-2 months.

  • Cassandra

    So excited to make these! Fresh Spicy Pickle Carrots are one of my absolutely favorite condiments I miss from California. I’m Mexican raised in California where there are so many authentic Mexican mercados that it’s cheaper to buy then spend the time and money to make your own, also with the sudden unexpected death of my abuela, unfortunately that means most of my favorite Mexican foods I have no clue how to make because the recipe wasn’t passed down to me. Which wasn’t a problem until we had to move to the East Coast for my husband’s Navy service, and not to be rude but the Mexican food here is a JOKE! All in all I just wanted to say thank you so much for site and your crazy delicious recipes!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Thanks! I’m with you on east coast Mexican restaurants! One of the
      biggest things I miss about Cali.

  • http://www.hopefulkitchen.blogspot.com/ EronS

    Yum — this is a great idea that looks simple and delicious!  I hate finding wrinkled, bad jalapenos in the bottom of the vegetable crisper.  

  • Juliane3

    Excellent idea! My garden is overflowing with jalapenos and other hot peppers I won’t be able to use immediately. WIll definitely make pickled hot peppers! Love your site! xoxo
    ~ Juliane of http://www.StyleNectar.com

  • Caitlyn!

    These look seriously excellent.  But my pickling education tells me they usually need to sit and pickle for a while before you can eat them–like a couple months.  Is that right? 

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      With these pickles you can actually eat them the day you make them,
      although they’re better after as few days. The veggies are sliced
      which speeds up the process, but they’re also par boiled in the brine
      which further accelerates the process.

    • Erin C.

           The pickling process you are referring to uses only sea salt and water (and sometimes whey from yogurt) to brine the veggies. Then you set them out on your counter for 3 or 4 days, before you transfer them to the fridge.  You do not want to use vinegar to make that type of pickle.  Vinegar will halt the bacterial fermentation, which is what you want when making that type of pickle.  This type of fermented pickle veggies are much healthier as they contain lots of healthy bacteria that your gut needs.

  • Harold

    Your food looks so attractive to eat! This is little off topic but do you edit your pictures as well?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Thanks! I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “edit” but I do process the
      RAW files through Adobe Lightroom if that’s what you mean.

  • Infinitejest

    I followed your recipe to a tee, and the resulting “pickles” were WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY too salty. Two tablespoons is entirely too much, and my finished product was inedible because of it.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you. Did you use kosher salt? If you
      used regular salt you need to halve the quantity of salt.

      • Infinitejest

        Yes, I used kosher- are you sure it’s Tablespoons and not Teaspoons of salt?

        • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

          What brand of kosher salt did you use? I know this sounds ridiculous, but
          the salinity varies widely by brand. I did a bit of research and came across
          this: http://smittenkitchen.com/tips/not-all-salts-are-created-equally/

          Very annoying, and I’m really sorry your batch didn’t turn out. If you
          haven’t thrown them out, you may be able to rescue them by soaking them in a
          50/50 mix of vinegar and water (with no salt). That should draw some of the
          salt out after a few days.

          • Infinitejest

            I have since thrown the box away, but I’m pretty sure it was Morton’s Kosher Salt. Thanks for the advice re: soaking in vinegar and water, as well as the link re: salinity.

            I picked about a dozen more peppers over the past couple of days, so I’ll be attempting this again soon!

          • Littlesound

            I had same problem with the first batch I made. The second jar, I used approximately one and a half teaspoons of salt. It was perfect. 

          • JohnK

            I made this as the recipe is written and had no problems. I am sensitive to salt and this was in no way too salty. If anything, the vinegar dominated. Very tasty!

  • http://FoodieTwoShoes.net Stacie Capone

    I always get excited when I can use the entire container of jalapenos from Trader Joes!  Now my extra jalapenos will never go to waste –  Can’t wait to try this out!

  • Cledda7818

    i made this pickled jalapenos, but i added some string beans and cabbage. DELICIOUS!!! it’s similar to the haitian style peeklees. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/YISRAELITE Travis Williams

    I’m planning on trying this today.

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  • http://weareneverfull.com Seppysills

    We’re reaching the point where we have too many peppers from our garden to keep up, pickling is our only hope of not wasting the entire crop. I’m getting on this as soon as I have time. Thanks Marc!

  • Clr457

    I just like this recipe!!! Yummy and so very easy. I’m going to make some and give it away as little treats. I double the onions and use sweet ones. I also use more carrots. I have’nt put the honey in. Guess I’m just a sour puss. :)

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  • http://www.meximoxie.com Jacki C.

    I made this recipe last weekend and I absolutely loved it–will be making it again soon. I noticed the comments about saltiness–My pickles were a little salty the first day, but after a day or two in the refrigerator, the salt mellowed and it was all spice after that. When I put them in the jar, the veggies weren’t completely covered so I topped off with a little apple cider vinegar. For a simple and very tasty hors d’oeuvre, serve with little slices of good quality Pecorino Romano–the creamy tang of the cheese cuts the spice. It’s a perfect international pairing. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Pingback: The Gringa’s Guide To The Mexican Kitchen: Mexican Pickled Vegetables « Meximoxie()

  • Brandon

    Would this work if I put other types of peppers in with the jalapenos? I have some Thai Red Dragons that are super hot and I want a hotter batch of pickled peppers.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto


  • Mccloughan4050

    Can I can this recipe in pint jars and water bath the same as I would with raw pac?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      I’ve never done it before but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to.

      • Mccloughan4050

        Thank you, I did can  them, now I will see how they turned out.  Winter stock!!  Yeah.  Will let you know so you may add it to your recipe if like.

  • Faith

    Hey Marc!  Love the site!  So awesome!!!  Can’t wait to try it all!  Came across your jalapenos tonight.  I LOVE pick. jalapenos!  Growing up in So. Cal we had a lot of Mexican food around.  They always had pick. jalap’s that were crunchy and not mushy.  I tried and tried to find a rec. that made them like this but never could.  Well, I live in SW MO. now and I met this Amish girl here!  Ha!  The Amish know a lot about canning! 😉  Anyway, she told me just to cut up the jalap’s with the carrots and onions, mix the K. salt with the vinegar and pour it on top, put it in the frig. IT WORKED!!  No mushy jalap’s!!  Perfectly crunchy and super awesome!  No cooking nessesary!  Just thought I’d share it with you, but I know you are WAY PRO and know so much more than me!! :)  Love your stuff!!! :)


    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Thanks for your note and sharing your recipe! I love the crunchy kind too, but I’m too impatient to wait for them to pickle all the way:-) By cooking them a little they still retain a little crispness (certainly not as crunchy as totally raw), while pickling almost instantly (you can eat them right away).

  • As

    Hi im doing a Project and I just wanted to know how long do Jalapeno peppers stay fresh on the Counter


    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      If you mean fresh jalapeños that haven’t been pickled, they’ll
      start shriveling up after about a day. Pickled, they should last for weeks. If use a sterile jaring/canning technique, they should last for months.

  • Earlgrey25

    Hi, my mom actually makes this quite often, if you want you can add zucchini, cauliflower and nopales, in similar sizes.

  • Kaye Adams

    Just made my second batch!  They both turned out beautifully and my husband loves them! I went ahead and sterilized my jars and lids and poured it in hot.  I think they’ll keep in our extra fridge for quite some time now.  I’m so excited to finally have a recipe we like for all those extra jalapenos from our little square foot garden.  Thanks!

  • Chris

    I tried this recipe and I have to say that it is very good. I added a small amount of cumin to mine and I used cider vinegar and the additional flavor is tremendous. These jalapeno pickles are both sweet, hot and savory all at the same time. I want to try this same recipe except to substitue green tomatoes for the jalapenos and axe the cumin.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Great idea with the green tomatoes, though you might not want to add tomatoes to the hot water as even a little heat will make them lose their crunch. Maybe make the brine and pour it over the tomatoes? Let us know how it goes!

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  • David

    Thanks for the Pickled Jalapeno Recipe! Just awesome. I’ve tried making this before because after leaving San Diego I could not find good Mexican food where I lived.

  • http://twitter.com/nrmaza FancyNancy

    they’re perfect with tortas and tacos, but in my family, if we have a meat dish like pork or beef, they’re automatically on the table :)

  • Linda m

    I used red and yellow bell peppers instead of carrots and added about 1/4 cup of sugar because I like hot and sweet. The only thing I would add would be to use a small pan because there isn’t much liquid in comparison to the veggies. Thanks so much for the recipe. I will try lots of variations :)

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  • jatipete

    I think it is superb. will make a batch

  • Scott Oberg

    Not that this sort of pickling is all that hard, but I usually just save the delicious pickle juice from store-bought dills or other treats and use that to make pickled jalepenos. They usually even go back into the same jar. Recycle!


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