Escabeche (Pickled Jalapeños)

These classic pickled jalapeños, or jalapeños escabeche, are made with fresh jalapeño chili peppers, white onions, garlic, carrots, cider vinegar and herbs. Serve them alongside Mexican dishes, or slice them up for burgers, tacos, or salsas.

Pickled jalapenos (escabeche) with carrots and cauliflower in a pint jar
Elise Bauer

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

Make jalapeños escabeche, or pickled jalapeños!

What Is Escabeche?

Pickled jalapeños, or escabeche, are served as a condiment with many meals in Mexico. Chilies, onions, carrots, cauliflower are pickled with the jalapeños. My mother used to buy jars of escabeche when I was a child. The chilies can be cut up and used for many dishes.

Escabeche (Pickled Jalapenos) in pint jars, canned with carrots and cauliflower
Elise Bauer
1:16

Watch this Escabeche Recipe

How to Make Pickled Jalapeños

Unlike a lot of other pickle recipes, this one starts by frying the jalapeños and other vegetables in oil before pickling. This gives them a more complex, concentrated flavor.

After frying, simmer the vegetables in a simple pickling liquid of cider vinegar, salt, bay leaves, dried oregano, marjoram, thyme, and sugar until completely cooked. Pack the hot vegetables and pickling liquid into canning jars and seal.

Process the jars following the hot water bath canning method (Elise likes the method used here). If you prefer not to process your pickles, you can store them in the fridge and use within a month or so.

Ways to Use Escabeche

Crunchy pickled escabeche can be eaten as a snack or appetizer, or served on the plate alongside Mexican recipes. You can also slice or mince the pickled vegetables to make a quick relish for burgers, tacos, or burritos.

More Easy Pickle Recipes

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Escabeche (Pickled Jalapeños)

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 32 to 40 servings
Yield 4 to 5 pint jars

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

Ingredients

  • 1 pound jalapeño (and/or serrano if you wish) chili peppers

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 to 3 medium white or yellow onions, thickly sliced

  • 2 to 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 tablespoons kosher salt or sea salt

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 4 sprigs fresh marjoram (can sub fresh oregano) or 1/4 teaspoon dried

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Method

  1. Prep the chilies:

    Wash the chilies, leaving the stems intact. Cut a cross in the tip end of each chili so that the vinegar will be able to penetrate the chilies.

  2. Fry the vegetables in olive oil:

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

  3. Boil with vinegar and seasonings:

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

    escabeche or pickled jalepenos
    Elise Bauer
    canning jalapenos or escabeche
    Elise Bauer
  4. Pack the jars:

    Pack 4 to 5 pint-sized sterilized jars with the chilies 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.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
31 Calories
2g Fat
3g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32 to 40
Amount per serving
Calories 31
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 193mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 14mg 72%
Calcium 8mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 72mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.