Pickled Jalapeños: Basic Recipe

Pickled Jalapeños are a very popular garnish, topping or side for plenty of Mexican foods like tortas, tacos, quesadillas, grilled meats, rice, beans, tostadas… just to name some. So much so, that in many Restaurants, they are placed in the center of the table along the side of salt, pepper and a breadbasket. Many people nibble on them right out of the bowl… They are popular in Mexican Pizzerias too!

You can make your own or buy them already bottled or canned at the stores. They are so intensely used, that there are plenty of brands that carry them as a regular product. Taste does vary considerably from one brand to another, so try a couple, and see which ones you like more.

There are many variations to homemade Pickled Jalapeños. Many cooks macerate them first in coarse or kosher salt, which I also do. This pumps down the heat from the chiles and liberates some of their liquid to start the pickling process.

The ones I tend to make at home the most are the more traditional type, in which the chiles, carrots, onion and garlic are first fried in oil. Minutes later they are accompanied by a combination of spices, and a mild home-style vinegar (or a combination of rice vinegar with the stronger white distilled vinegar), salt and sugar.

Other versions add more vegetables to the mix, such as precooked small potatoes, cactus paddles, green beans and cauliflower. You should feel free to add any other ingredient that sounds interesting to you. There are some versions that even add pieces of corn (absolutely scrumptious!)

One of the wonderful things about pickling, is that aside from not being complicated, it brings out certain characteristics of the ingredients you are working with in an unusual way and it also prolongs their life in that stage.

This recipe makes a big batch, because they are likely to go fast, and also because it takes a bit of time to make them, so I like to make a larger amount. They will last ages in the refrigerator if they don’t go as fast as I predict.

NOTE: I don’t typically recommend the use of gloves for cooking, but since this recipe involves cleaning quite a few chiles, you may want to use gloves. If you don’t and your hands burn a little, wash them with warm water and soap, or rub them with a spoonful of oil, or soak them in a bit of milk, sour or heavy cream or ice cream. Any of those methods should take care of it, as they help dilute capsaicin the somewhat oily substance which contains the heat in chiles.

Pickled Jalapeños (with Carrots and Onions Too!)

Recipe Yield

15 cups

Cooking time

1 day 30 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.67 from 6 votes


  • 3 pounds jalapeño chiles rinsed, sliced and seeded
  • 3 pounds carrots peeled and diagonally sliced
  • 1 pound white pearl onions or large scallions white and light green parts only
  • 4 tablespoons kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 15 to 20 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup safflower or corn oil
  • 2 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 cups unseasoned rice vinegar

To Prepare

  • Rinse the Jalapeños, remove the stems, slice in half and scoop out the seeds. (Since there are quite a few chiles to clean you may want to use gloves). Place them in a large mixing bowl. Rinse the carrots, remove their tops, peel and diagonally slice into about 1/4″ thick pieces. Place in the large mixing bowl along with the Jalapeños. Peel the pearl onions of the outer dry skin and add into same bowl. Sprinkle all these vegetables with the salt, toss around and let them sit for about an hour.
  • Place the white distilled vinegar in the blender along with the water, peppercorns, cumin seed, whole cloves, bay leaves, thyme, oregano and brown sugar. Puree until smooth.
  • In a large, deep and thick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking, for about 2 minutes. Carefully add the salted vegetables, reserving their juices, and fry for about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring here and there, until they begin to soften. Add the garlic cloves, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Carefully add the vegetable reserved juices, along with the white distilled vinegar mix and the rice vinegar. Let it all cook for about 5 more minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
  • Place in a container with a lid and store in the refrigerator. I like to use glass jars. For some reason they seem to taste even better. Let the vegetables pickle for at least a day before eating. They will keep for months, if you don’t finish them before…


29comments inPickled Jalapeños: Basic Recipe

  1. bill freese

    Aug 19

    thanks again pati. I’m learning to improvise with this recipe.
    p.s. your show with vivian howard was great and very moving. It was obvious how much mutual respect and just plain fun that you shared.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 23

      Thank you Bill, I love working with Vivian, she is amazing!

  2. bill freese

    Jul 19

    thanks pati these are great. when the pickle is stored in jars should I top off the jars with vinegar to cover the vegetables?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 19

      Is not really necessary Bill 😉 Glad you liked this recipe, enjoy!

  3. Irma Gallo

    Jun 10

    I’ve used this recipe many times over the years. In fact I make jar-fulls as gifts. A staple at our house and for picnics.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 21

      Yay! Thanks so much Irma 😉

  4. Anonymous

    May 30

    This was super easy and delicious. Could we add other vegetables, and would they keep well, like cauliflower? Thank you.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 01

      Absolutely! Cauliflower is a great addition to this recipe, small red potatoes also go great, enjoy 😉

  5. Ken

    May 24

    I modified this recipe slightly in that I used a variety of peppers from my garden e.g. Anaheim, sweet banana, serrano, and pimiento instead of Jalapenos. Other than that, we are goooood!

    1. Pati Jinich

      May 28

      Hey Ken, pickling peppers works for most of the chiles, and I see you have a good selection, so well done!

  6. Joseph

    Sep 11

    oh forgot must be gettin older ,also used poblanos and hot cherry peppers and cubanella ,and some red okra. dats what I grow and some red sweet Italian peppers.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 13

      Oh that sounds great!

  7. Joseph

    Sep 11

    Hi I finally did it today but I placed jars in and around pan open face in they steamed up dats good used fresh time and had no rice vinegar so just watered down white had to leave cloves out ,,,,will let ya know in a few days.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 13

      Awesome! Enjoy them, Joseph.

  8. Joseph

    Sep 11

    Hi I do not have rice vinegar. can I use all white and add a little sugar ?????

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 03

      You can use regular white vinegar without any additional sugar, Joseph.

  9. A L

    Jul 27

    Do you ‘need’ to take out the seeds? Is it still hot without them?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 07

      If you want them to be spicy, you can leave the seeds in, AL.

  10. Meg McAlister

    Jan 05

    Hi, Pati! I’m a huge fan of all your recipes. I pickle my homegrown jalapenos with carrots, onion and garlic every summer using a hot water bath for 10 minutes. We eat them almost daily throughout winter. Do you have any suggestions how to adapt this recipe to the canning process without overcooking the veggies? I like them crunchy.

    1. Pati

      Jan 05

      Oh awesome that you grow your own jalapeños! You don’t need to adapt the recipe, just make them as normal and then follow your canner instructions or your normal process for canning.

      1. Meg McAlister

        Jan 06

        Thank you! Jalapenos are a universal condiment in our house and so easy to grow in large containers (pots) in our back yard and patio area. I also grow Poblanos that way. Peppers are beautiful plants and nutritious, too!

  11. Satya R.

    Nov 16

    Hi, I love to pickle my own jalapenos, but I prefer them crunchy so I usually do them raw, Is it necessary to cook them?

    1. Pati

      Nov 20

      ​You know? They also end up crunchy this way… give them a try!

  12. Mary Ann

    Jul 29

    Cannot find Black Marinated Olives you demonstrated on tv show of July 28, 2014. Mary Ann Please help me.
    Your show is so special to me.

    1. Pati

      Jul 29

      Then you can use any olives that you like! Find some with flavor, like Kalamata or Manzanilla.

  13. Stevo

    Oct 15

    Pati, on pickling jalapenos, what is the process using packed in oil. I prefer these when I buy them at retail, like LaCostenos. Thanks, love your show. I have many of my own recipes, however you have so many that opens a new chapter for me, as well as your prep techniques. Thanks

    1. Pati Jinich

      Nov 05

      Try this one, Stevo: http://patijinich.com/pati_2020/2009/06/pickled-jalapeno-kind-of-gal.html. I think these are similar to the ones you like that you buy.

  14. Ivett

    Oct 27

    I just seen your show for the first time today. I think it so awesome to share your recipes,especially since the tradition has been fading away. I am from San Luis Postosi and a lot of the recipes are very similar. I can tell you that you just found another loyal view. Thank you

  15. Anylu Moreno

    May 07

    I again This is as same my grandmother recipe.

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