Pickled Jalapenos (Escabeche)

Classic jalapeno pickles or jalapenos escabeche, made with fresh jalapeno chili peppers, white onions, garlic, carrots, cider vinegar and herbs.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

This year I decided to grow jalapeño and serrano chiles—those wonderfully hot and flavorful Mexican chiles that are used salsa, guacamole, and so many Mexican dishes. But I certainly wasn’t expecting each plant to yield over a pound of chiles. What to do with so many?

Make jalapeños escabeche, or pickled jalapeños!

Pickled Jalapenos

Pickled jalapeños are served as a condiment with many meals in Mexico. My mother used to buy jars of escabeche when I was a child. The chiles can be cut up and used for many dishes.

Pickled Jalapenos (Escabeche) Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 4 to 5 pint jars

Ingredients

  • 1 lb jalapeño (and/or serrano if you wish) chile peppers
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2-3 medium white or yellow onions, thickly sliced
  • 2-3 medium carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • Florets from half a small cauliflower (optional)
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Kosher salt or sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 sprigs of fresh marjoram (can sub fresh oregano) or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

Special Equipment

Method

1 Prep the chiles: Wash the chiles, leaving the stems intact. Cut a cross in the tip end of each chile so that the vinegar will be able to penetrate the chiles.

2 Fry chiles, onions, carrots, cauliflower in olive oil: Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the chiles, onions, carrots, cauliflower if using, and garlic. Fry over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning them over occasionally.

3 Add vinegar, salt, bay, oregano, marjoram, thyme, sugar, bring to boil: Add the vinegar, salt, bay leaves, dried oregano, marjoram, thyme, and sugar and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Make sure the chiles are entirely cooked through before canning. You will know they are cooked when they are no longer vibrant green, but a dull, olive green.

4 Pack jars with vegetables, top with cooking liquid: Pack 4 to 5 pint-sized sterilized jars with the chiles and vegetables. Top with the vinegar cooking liquid and seal.

5 Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Once opened, can keep for one to two months in the refrigerator.

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Recipe adapted from Diana Kennedy's The Essential Cuisines of Mexico.

Links:

Jalapeño Bread and Butter Pickles here on Simply Recipes

Michael Simon's Pickled Chillis from Ruhlman's blog

Water bath canning instructions from Food in Jars

Pickled Jalapenos

Showing 4 of 61 Comments

  • Jacque cloud

    Please need a recipe for quarts of this amazing stuff ! I do can and adjusting my time for water baths.

  • Sharon Bechtold

    The vinegar was overpowering and my whole house smelled for days. I will try it again but tone down on the vinegar. Does anyone know if white vinegar is less acidic than apple-cider vinegar? I still plan to dilute it with water but I’m wondering if there’s a way to soften flavor a bit. The vinegar was so strong I couldn’t even taste the jalapenos or vegetables.

  • dezryder

    I don’t get not peeling garlic? I pickle jalopeno and raw garic all the time. I’ll try it though.

  • Billy

    This looks great! I have been wanting to try pickling jalapenos for a long while now. I’ve tried them once before and was in awe with the flavor. I definitely want to do my best to try and recreate that flavor at home! I am excited to try this recipe, thank you for sharing!

  • Stella LV

    Hi, I’d like to try this recipe with adding sliced jicama, would that work? slicing the jicama either a bit thick or thin? have you ever tried it?

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Pickled JalapenosPickled Jalapenos (Escabeche)