Escabeche (Pickled Jalapeños)

These classic pickled jalapeños, or jalapeños escabeche, are packed with white onions, garlic, carrots, cider vinegar, and herbs. Serve them with 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 chiles—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 chiles. 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
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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.

Process the jars following the hot water bath canning method. You can skip this if you like, but you'll need to refrigerate the unsealed jars and use them within a few months.

Ways to Use Pickled Jalapeños

Besides serving them as an accompaniment to Mexican dishes, you can slice up your spicy pickled vegetables and use them as an ingredients to kick flavor up a notch. Scramble them into eggs, or add them to a juicy nacho burger.

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) 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 1/2 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 or fresh oregano, or 1/4 teaspoon dried

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Method

  1. Heat the jars:

    To heat the jars for canning, place 4 to 5 empty jars on a metal rack in a large, 16-quart canning pot. (Jars must rest on a rack in the pot, not on the bottom of the pot). Fill with warm water at least 1 inch above the jars and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to warm to keep the jars hot and ready for canning. 

    Wash the lids in hot, soapy water.

    Simple Tip!

    Because the jars will later be processed in the water bath for 10 minutes, it is not necessary to first sterilize the jars for canning this recipe. You only need to heat them. Do make sure your jars are clean.

    If you are planning to eat the escabeche right away and store the jars the whole time in the refrigerator, you can skip the water bath step.

  2. Prep the peppers:

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

  3. Fry the vegetables in olive oil:

    Heat the 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.

  4. Boil the vegetables 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 jalapeños 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
  5. Pack the jars:

    Remove the jars from the water bath and set them on a clean towel on the counter. Pack the hot pint jars with the jalapeños and vegetables. Top with the vinegar cooking liquid and seal.

  6. Process the jars in a hot water bath:

    Lower the jars into the water bath. Once the water returns to a boil, process for 10 minutes.

    Once opened, the escabeche will keep for 1 to 2 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.