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.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

This year I decided to grow jalapeño and serrano chiles—those wonderfully hot and flavorful Mexican chiles 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 chiles. What to do with so many?

Make jalapeños escabeche, or pickled jalapeños!

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What is Escabeche?

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

Escabeche (Pickled Jalapenos) in pint jars, canned with carrots and cauliflower

From the editors of Simply Recipes

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

Updated August 9, 2020 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the original recipe.

Escabeche (Pickled Jalapeños) Recipe

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

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


  • 1 pound jalapeño (and/or serrano if you wish) chile peppers
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin 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 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

Special equipment:


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 the vegetables 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 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 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  the jars: 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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89 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Yolanda

    Oh geeze, somewere (maybe another recipe) I read you don’t need to do the hot water bath process (I just sanitized my jars and lids) – but the content needs to be consumed within a month. Is this correct? Yikes! My relatives and friends won’t get sick, will they? Now I’m worried!


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  2. Yolanda

    I made some for the holidays, and yes, I changed a couple of things. One, I cut the peppers in half and cut in strips. I added thick sliced mushrooms (delicious!) and left out the carrots. I also added red bell pepper and poblanos. Was real happy with the results. I did not do the canning process, but I read that they will keep for about 30 days without. Thank you for the recipe! I hadn’t made this in about 30 plus years!


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  3. Lynn

    Very easy recipe, smelled authentic. Thanks for sharing.


  4. ab

    All of you changing the recipe are scaring me. Safety in canning means you can’t change recipes unless you really know what you’re doing! Please be careful.

    Show Replies (1)
  5. alma Jaime

    My grandma she put also bay leafs and black pepper clovers


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Escabeche (Pickled Jalapenos) in pint jars, canned with carrots and cauliflowerEscabeche (Pickled Jalapeños)