Jalapeño Bread and Butter Pickles

My friend Peg recently gave me some sweet pickled jalapeño chili peppers that she made using my bread and butter pickle recipe and oh my gosh, I couldn’t stop eating them. So of course I had to make my own batch the very next day. Ay caramba they are good, and oddly not as spicy as you would expect. Certainly not as hot as my regular jalapeño pickles. Just a little bit hot. Perky hot. And sweet and crunchy the way a bread and butter pickle should be.

That said, the road to these pickled beauties was rather bumpy. Silly me, I thought given that I have been handling jalapeños my whole life I was immune to them and didn’t need to wear gloves when I stripped them of their flaming hot seeds and ribs.

Hah! No I didn’t touch my eyes (thank God) but my hands were burning hot for several hours. Only soaking them in yogurt with ice cubes helped. My mistake? Washing my hands in hot soapy water before and during the processing of the peppers. This washed away the natural oils in the skin that protect the pores.

The lesson learned? Wear gloves, or plastic baggies, when scraping the seeds out of the peppers. If you absolutely must use your bare hands, rub your hands with a little vegetable oil to protect your pores while working with the peppers. Then when you’re done, wash thoroughly in hot soapy water.

Jalapeño Bread and Butter Pickles

Back to the sweet jalapeño pickles. They’re delightful. Please don’t let my tale of woe scare you away from making them. As long as you take precautions, you will be fine (don’t touch your eyes!) They’re delicious in a taco, on a burger, or as I love them, straight up out of the jar.

They’ll easily last a year (or two) in the fridge. I find the heat of the chiles tends to mellow over time, so if they’re too hot when you first make them, just hide them in a corner of your refrigerator for a year and try them again.

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Jalapeño Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe

  • Prep time: 4 hours, 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 quarts.

I highly recommend that you wear protective gloves while cutting and de-seeding the jalapeños. If you don't have gloves, you can protect your hands with plastic baggies. If you must handle the cut peppers with your bare hands, rub a little vegetable oil over your hands first. The oil will provide your pores with some protection. Wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water after handling the peppers. Do not touch your eyes for several hours.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs jalapeño chile peppers
  • 1 pound white or yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt (can use Kosher salt or sea salt as a substitute, regular table salt has additives in it that will darken your pickles and make the color of the pickle juice muddy)
  • 1 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 clean 1-quart canning jars, or 4 pint jars

Method

1 Cut the stem end off of the jalapeños. Then cut them in half lengthwise. Remove and discard the seeds and the ribs. Place the peppers in a large bowl. Add the onions and stir in the pickling salt so that it is well distributed. Cover the peppers with a clean, thin towel. Put ice over the towel and place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for at 4 hours. After 4 hours, rinse the salt off of the peppers and onions. Drain, and rinse and drain again.

2 In a 4 or 6 quart pot, put the vinegar, sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Add the peppers and onions. Bring to a boil again. Watch the peppers. As soon as they are all cooked through (you can tell because their color changes from a vibrant to a more dull green), start packing your canning jars with the peppers and onions, using a slotted spoon to remove them from the pan. Pack the jars evenly with the peppers and onions, up to about an inch from the top of the jars. Then pour the sugary vinegar mixture over the peppers, until it covers them.

3 Cover the jars and let cool to room temperature before chilling in the refrigerator.

If you are planning to store outside of the refrigerator or for an extended period of time, use canning jars. Sterilize your jars and lids first. Wipe the rims of the jars after you pack them with pickles. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. For specific canning instructions, see more detailed instructions on our bread and butter pickle recipe post.

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54 Comments

  1. foodies at home

    These look so scrumptious! I have been following your blog and look the great recipes and beautiful pictures! Keep them coming!

  2. jeanette

    Oh wow! Just looking at the pictures my mouth is watering! I am going to make this asap. I love Jalapenos so much I’ve named my dog that, so this recipe is a must for me!

  3. Shaheen

    I love all your posts on pickles and preserves.I like the fact that you’ve added a good amount of sugar to offset the spicyness. I’m going to try this the next time I get my hands on some jalapenos.

  4. Meagan

    MMMmmm!! Looks spicy and delicious!! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. CJ McD

    I keep a box of medical grade gloves in the kitchen just for things like hot peppers which we use frequently. You can pick them up for about $5-6 for a box of them.

    I love the idea of bread and butter jalapenos! I’ve been making single or small batch jars of qucik pickles (sugar snap peas, green beans, cucumbers, etc.) this summer and jalapenos would be perfect! I am mad about jalapenos and these will be a wonderful, tangy treat.

  6. newlywed

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I LOVE jalapenos and I LOVE bread and butter pickles. But really, thank you most of all for the recommendation to wear plastic bags on your hands when handling them. I always forget to pick up gloves, and I cannot tell you how many times I have burned my hands. (Aloe helps too, to an extent.)

  7. jonathan

    These might be equally delicious on Beef Tacos de Lengua.

    But I’ll never know ;)

  8. Julie

    I love hot peppers and bread & butter pickles. The combination of sweet and spicy sounds exquisite. I may even try a small batch of Habaneros but wonder if that would be too much heat.

  9. Much to my Delight

    These sound awesome! Being a Texan, I throw jalapenos in everything, including margaritas (try it, it’s fantastic). Also, boiling a jalapeno for a minute before cutting helps eliminate the finger-burning as well.

  10. Kelly

    The burning hand happened to me two weeks ago handling jalapenos. My hands were on fire for about an hour or so even when I tried yogurt and etc. Then my cousin suggested mustard and I thought it was odd but I was willing to try anything but it worked immediately. Maybe for your future reference.

    Mustard? Hmmm. I’ve seen references to vinegar as a solution, though when I tried that, it didn’t help. So glad it worked for you! ~Elise

  11. JG

    Did you use yellow mustard? The turmeric in the mustard is what actually helps with burns. Should let it dry before you take it off the area thats infected.

    Gonna have to give these pickles a try though. Sounds like they would be great for the summer!

    Thanks for the tip on turmeric! ~Elise

  12. BreAnne

    2 days late for me:( I just picked all my jalapenos and canned them with a rice vinegar, sugar, mustard seed liquid. Now I wish I waited! Maybe my plant will produce some more so I can try this, love bread and butter pickles so jalapenos would be delish! Thanks for another great recipe!

  13. Karen

    YUMMY!!!

  14. LaWanda

    I absolutely love your website (and Vanilla Garlic). With that being said, how do you use Jalapeño Bread and Butter Pickle; just as you would a Bread and Butter Pickles (I love ‘em)? I am not much of a Jalapeño fan, but if they are not too hot, I could be.

    Yes, they are just a spicier version of a regular bread and butter pickle. (The amount of heat depends on how hot your peppers are to begin with.) Use the same way, but note they may have a kick. ~Elise

  15. Jan Daugherty

    My dad is a jalapeno addict, but also a diabetic. Do you think I could substitute the sugar with splenda?

    Great question. I have no idea. I don’t cook with that product. You might try searching for a recipe on Google. ~Elise

  16. Michelle G

    I LOVE jalapenos, and these pickles look amazing. They remind me of my favorite store-bought pickles, the Famous Daves Hellfire pickles, which are delicious. I’m sure these are 10x as good as those. I’ve found (through trial & error) that a good way to de-seed jalapenos is to use a small spoon to scoop out the ribs and seeds, works like a charm, & you don’t get much on your hands!

  17. Charlene

    I must make these, my fiance will think he died and gone to heaven when he tries these. Thanks for the recipe and have a happy week!

  18. Ron Samuels

    You’d better adjust your processing time for altitude or you may be canning these unsafely.

  19. John Kerchoff

    How long can these be kept in the refrigerator if I don’t want to go thru the canning process?

    Great question. Several weeks at least. ~Elise

  20. Linda

    How exciting to see this post. I have been making Jalapeno Bread and Butters for several years and they are about the only pickle I make any more…..besides Dill. I use a little different recipe…makes 14 pint. I slice my jalapenos crosswise and often mix in other peppers with them…anaheims, usually. When I make the regular bread and butters I soak them in the salt as it says, but with these I cut the salt in half, bring the other ingredients to boil then add the peppers and onions and just brings to a boil. I hot water bath mine so finish up with that process according to the recipe directions. I will have to try your method. Linda

  21. Monica

    Hey Elise, I’m a science student and have been following your blog to the max, just thought I’d give you science behind jalapenos :)

    The “hot” element found in jalapenos is called capsaicin, designed to try and put pesky mammals such as us from consuming the said plant (clearly we’re too sadistic to be deterred). It is a fat soluble compound, which makes capsaicin persistent; it is able to mingle with the phospho-lipid membrane that all human cells are surrounded by.

    Using other fat soluble compounds eg veg oil will help wash the capsaicin out rather than water based stuff.

    Also, though it may not feel like it, capsaicin doesn’t actually burn your tongue/eyes out, but just makes it feel hot. So using ice/yoghurt also helps because of this. Hope my babble comes in handy :D

    Hi Monica, in researching capsaicin what I found interesting that it was specifically milk casein that helps remove the capsaicin. I’m not so sure about capsaicin not actually burning. I think it may be considered a chemical burn. My hands were bright red and on fire for hours. In either case, it was just as uncomfortable as the time I was recovering from picking up a pan by the handle that had just been in a 350°F oven. That kind of pain. The yogurt helps because it contains casein. Sour cream works too. ~Elise

  22. Lani

    I had the same experience with jalapenos when I made salsa years ago–ouch! These sound awesome and your mention of tacos made my mouth water. I just might have to try this recipe out. Thanks!

  23. Chris

    Wow, I’ve never tried pickling anything before, but this may just be the one to start with.

  24. Karen

    I can’t wait to try these. LOVE your blog. It just keeps getting better! I’ve been following for quite some time and I’ve tried several of your recipes. They’re keepers!!
    Thanks!

  25. Sinead

    I love the sound of these pickles. We were raised on joyous jalepenos and I’m sure this recipe would make for perfect presents too. Will be trying the recipe this weekend. You have a lovely site, a joy to read.

  26. Pam Firebaugh

    I used this recipe last week. It is wonderful! I just finished a sandwich made with whole wheat bread,cream cheese and bread and butter peppers. I put lots of the onion on it as well. Oh my it was good! I will be making another batch as soon as more peppers are ready to pick. Thanks for the great recipe!

  27. Connie

    Thanks so much for posting. I can’t wait to try these. The recipe sounds delish.

    I didn’t wear gloves my 1st time making jalapeno pepper rings. My hands were on fire for hours!

  28. Joelsephus

    The title of your post alone was enough to start my mouth watering! I am currently growing Jalapenos, Habaneros and Thai chilis and I can’t wait to give your recipe a try with them. I was also wondering what would happen if I were to throw in some of my cucumbers with the peppers. What do you think?

    I think you could throw a few cucumbers into the mix. You may end up with rather spicy cukes though! ~Elise

  29. craig

    in a pinch, toss in one or two tablespoons of red pepper flakes. let the pickles rest overnight.

    chopped jalapenos added to sweet relish at about a 3 to 1 ratio (12oz. relish/4oz. jalapenos)make for some interesting salads and sandwiches.

    we’ll try these pickles from scratch, thanks for the recipe

  30. jess

    tonight im making these for the first time, with around … 300 peppers or so! our plants are just producing a ton of peppers this year. this is the fourth time canning this summer so far, and the fourth recipe as well!!! wish me luck!! i cant wait to try them!

  31. Paula

    Is the recipe correct that no cucumbers are used?Seems odd that they are called pickles if it’s just peppers and onions. Thanks!

    Hello Paula, you can pickle anything! Radishes, carrots, cauliflower, watermelon rind, onions, you name it. Pickles are not limited to cucumbers. And yes, it is correct that there are no cucumbers in the recipe. ~Elise

  32. Robin

    These are awesome in tuna salad for a different twist and a bit of spice. I’ll bet they’d be good in any type salad like chicken, turkey, ham or even egg salad.

    What a great idea, thanks! ~Elise

  33. Grimmwall

    I am in the process of making these as I type this. I used an 8 quart pan and barely fit the peppers and onions into it. If I had gone with a 4 or 6 quart I’d have had to transfer everything to a bigger pot.

    Hmm. This recipe only makes 2 quarts of pickled jalapenos. I only used a 4 quart pot for my batch. ~Elise

  34. Tom

    FYI: Washing jalapeno oil off your hands may be more effective using cold, not hot, water.
    Hot water opens pores, cold water closes them. The soap will remove the oils, so hot water is not necessary .
    Thanks for the great sounding recipe.

    Good point, thanks! ~Elise

  35. Robin

    I made these and put them on the top shelf in the fridge. Now every time I go into the fridge for anything, I open the jar, dig one out and eat it.
    They are so good and addictive.
    Great recipe.

  36. Robbin

    These were INCREDIBLE!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

  37. Luisa

    I can not express how much I love this recipe! I cook a lot and get all my recipes off the net – but this is the first comment I have ever left and probably my last! I just needed to tell you how many people rave about the recipe and I tell them all i can take no credit besides using the computer :).

    Thanks so much!!!

    Thanks Luisa. This is one of our favorites too. We’ve made countless batches, and they all get eaten up so quickly. ~Elise

  38. Joyce Pearce

    Elise, my husband and I just made 2 quarts of these and can hardly wait til we can open and eat them. We both got a finger taste of the brine and they are going to be awesome. We did a water bath but our recipe didn’t give us a date when they will be ready to eat. Would you know the time length and share with us please?
    Thank you,
    Joyce

    You can eat them anytime after making them, but if you let them sit in the refrigerator for at least a day, they’ll be better than right after pickling. ~Elise

  39. Brigitte in Canada

    OMG – Cannot get enough!!! Will have to plant tens times as many Jalapeno plants next season. My girlies are all asking for the recipe! Now we are planning meals around these beauties! Bravo Peg – truly delightful!

  40. Christine Johnbrier

    These pickles are amazing! I’ve been making them for the last 2 years after harvesting my peppers. I have also passed this recipe along to at least a dozen people who tried them and loved them also. I’m thinking about adding some habanaro peppers to the mix in the next batch. We’ve eaten them straight out of the jar, put them on hamburgers and hotdogs and minced them for deviled eggs!

  41. Dane

    Thanks for the recipe. I would like to cut the peppers in rings and keep the seeds and such to keep them extra hot. Do you see any problems with this variation of your recipe? Thanks.

    That should work fine. ~Elise

  42. davesmall

    Great recipe! I mixed in some other peppers from our garden including a few red jalapeños, orange, and Hungarian yellow hot peppers. I did process mine for storage outside the refrigerator. The green jalapeños lose their bright vibrant green color and turn more of a dull green when cooked and canned. Not so with the red and yellow colors. They retain their vibrant hue.

    The one problem I have is that the jalapeño peppers drive my nose and eyes crazy when cutting and removing the seeds. I may have a serious allergy to them because I had to stop for a while to get my breath back. I did use the medical gloves so no problem with my hands.

    About halfway through the process, I hit upon the idea of preparing the peppers underwater. Bingo! This greatly reduces the problem. Just fill a sink with water. Then hold the peppers beneath the surface to cut them and clean the seeds. When finished, pull the plug and start the garbage disposal.

    That’s a great idea. I’m going to try that the next time I make these pickles. The cut jalapenos irritate my lungs when I prepare so many of them. Thanks! ~Elise

  43. Jesse

    This is a fandamntastic recipe and I’d like to thank you for posting it. I tried this one today and ended up mixing this recipe with the pickle recipe and adding 20 cloves of garlic and 1/2 a pound of ginger. The end product was completely delicious and I will definitely try this again. Thanks again for making this available.

  44. Linda Valencia

    I had never canned/pickled ANYthing before trying THIS recipe abt 3 yrs ago – and loved it – as did all those lucky friends with whom I ‘so generously’ shared my impressive pickled jalapeno stash. Yummo! Oh, and one last thing – as I read the many complimentary comments – with which I wholeheartedly agree – I can almost hear the common MISpronunciation (like nails on a blackboard to my Latina ears)…so PLEASE stop calling them “hal luh pee nose”! Oy… (ok, PART Mexican, part German, part Jew, part Irish!). Now – repeat after me: Hah-lah-PEN-yo (singular) Hah-lah-PEN-yoz (plural) Que bueno! Das ist gut! Gracias! Blessings, Linda

  45. Judy Graham

    Could I make this recipe using my frozen jalapenos?

    • Elise

      Hi Judy, probably. I haven’t tried using frozen jalapenos. If you do, please let us know how it turns out for you!

  46. Jackie

    These are very tasty and not too hot as promised. I had to go out to buy medical grade disposable gloves, but I was glad you encouraged me. I can usually clean a couple jalapenos without a problem. But a quantity like this is sure to be trouble! Thanks for the great recipe.

  47. Aaron Chernov

    Hey Elise , I was wondering if I could substitute stevia extract for the sugar ? Thanks in advance for any/all help .Aaron

    • Elise

      Hi Aaron, good question! Normally I would say no, because stevia doesn’t contain sugar and sugar is useful in preserving, but in this case it’s the vinegar that acts as the preservative. I don’t know how the stevia would taste in this recipe. If I were you I would start with a very small batch as an experiment. Let us know how it turns out for you!

  48. Aaron

    I will do it ! Thank You Very Much for your insight !

  49. Aaron Chernov

    Dear Elise, Thank you so much for all your help !!! So far I have only gotten rave reviews on the stevia, bread & butter pickles !!! I have yet to taste them myself as they have been gobbled up by family, neighbors & friends !!! LOL Hopefully, I’ll get to try some, in the next couple of weeks !!! LOL I do believe that we’ve hit on a fabulous recipe !!! Once again, THANK YOU !!! Aaron

    • Elise

      Great Aaron, I’m so glad the stevia worked for you! Sounds like a terrific way to enjoy bread and butter pickles without all the sugar.

  50. Pierre Dance

    Capsicum juice, the stuff that makes chilies hot is an acid. To neutralize an acid use a base. I never got the hang of doing kitchen chores while wearing gloves. When I’m done handling chilies I make a paste of baking soda and water. I use this on a plastic scouring pad to scrub my hands. I’m careful to pay particular attention to work it up under the finger nails. A dollar store tooth brush is great for this. I keep a box of bi-carb on the end of a shelf where I can find it if I can’t see. No matter how careful I am I still occasionally rub an itchy eye. A bit of bi-carb in a glass of water poured into the eye and blink the eyes rapidly to scrub the eyeball, repeat flushing and blinking until the wash works its wonders.

  51. mIKES

    Quote “They’ll easily last a year (or two) in the fridge….” Glad to see someone out there that is not so squeamish about long term storage. Most recipes suggest you use them immediately. The one thing I recommend if you do keep them for a long time (in mason jars), is that you invest in some plastic lids vs the lids and rings. They can rust over time, and that makes me leery. As far as the latent oils, I just deal with it. I also use heavy nitrile gloves for the de-seeding and and cleaning phase. You just have to remember not to put your hands where they don’t belong for a little while :))

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