Pickled Jalapenos (Escabeche)

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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

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.

pickled-jalapenos-method-1 pickled-jalapenos-method-2

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 49 Comments

  • Monica Musgrave

    Thank you for the simple recipe, I can’t wait to try them!
    What is the recommended time they should sit before enjoying? This is my first year pickling jalapenos and read that some let them sit longer to ease up the potency of the vinegar. Also, my batches have veggie volume for 6 pint jars, but not enough liquid. I had to add more vinegar to make up the veggie volume and 6th jar.

  • Ella

    Elise you say to process for pint jars 10 minutes if I was to do quart jars how long do I need to process

  • Sarah

    Could I use raw veggies if I use a pressure canner? My husband prefers them crisp.

  • Annalisa

    This is a lot like what my neighbor makes. I couldn’t remember it exactly and didn’t want to call her; so I looked online for something similar. But I’m curious about one thing. If my peppers are red, how do I know when they are cooked?

    Also, for a slightly less spicy version, remove some/all of the seeds.

  • Ella

    Hi Elise l have one more thing to ask your recipe is for 4 5 pints. I plan on doing 15 pints should I do this in small patches are triple the recipe. Also can I use canning salt instead of kosher salt. Thank you so much helping me out. Ella

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