Pickled Jalapenos (Escabeche)

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

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


  • 1 lb 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 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:

  • 4 - 5 pint-size canning jars


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.

escabeche or pickled jalepenos canning jalapenos or escabeche

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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  • Kimberly

    Can you double the recipe?

  • Joseph

    On top of burrito bowl the escabeche brings the savory hot chutney goodness. Once you know it, you will come to see it as essential. The vinegar aids in digestion.


  • Courtney

    I’ve been making your recipe for years! Thought I should finally review it, too. :) This is a must for me every summer. We use them all year on tacos and tostadas and pretty much anything with beans and cheese. YUM! Thanks for the great recipe!


  • Brian C.

    If I were cut the jalapenos in half to remove the membrane and seeds to cut down the heat should
    I cut down on the cook time too?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Brian! Emma here, managing editor. No, I don’t believe cutting the jalapenos in half or removing the membranes and seeds would change the cooking time. Enjoy!

  • 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.

    • Becky D Ganzhorn

      I am no expert, but I know the amount of acidity in the canned product has a direct impact on its safety. I do not reduce vinegar in canning. Generally white and apple cider vinegar have 5% acetic acid. If you dilute the vinegar with more water, you will affect the over all acidity & that is not recommended. I have heard of adding sugar if one finds the acidity too strong.

  • dezryder

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

    • Elise Bauer

      More flavor when you pickle them with the skins on. And when you eat them, the garlic just slides right out of the skin.

  • 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?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Stella, I haven’t tried pickling jicama this way so I don’t know what to tell you about how well it would work. If you try it, please let us know how it goes!

    • Adam

      Yes you can add jicama. Trader Joe”s makes a version of this (found in refrigerated section) that has jicama included. Of course homemade versions are better, not just because TJ’s charges $4 per 20oz container, but you can add other veggies if you want and slice your veggies to your own liking (I prefer to make jalapenos en ecabeche with my jalapeno’s pre-sliced lengthwise).

  • Sandra

    Will it be okay if I use half white vinegar and half apple cider?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sandra, I assume you mean apple cider vinegar, not apple cider, right? If so, then yes, you can sub half of the apple cider vinegar with white vinegar.

  • 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.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Monica, you can start using them as early as the next day, though I find the pickles improve with time, and mellow with time too.

  • 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.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sarah, I don’t really know. You might want to consult a resource on pressure canning vegetables.

  • 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.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Annalisa, you’ll be able to tell if the red peppers are cooked. Their color will be a slightly different shade.

  • 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

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Ella, I think I’ve made a double recipe once before. Don’t see why it wouldn’t work with a triple recipe. With jams and jellies it’s better to do single batches, but you don’t have a setting issue with these pickles. Just make sure that the peppers are completely cooked through before canning. No idea on the canning salt, I haven’t used it.

      • Robin

        You just always have to use salt that has NO iodine, it will make the liquid cloudy and the vegetables will be soft.

  • Ella

    Elise you say if you are using serranos cook for five mins jalapeño ten mins do I nead to cook the jalapeño first then add the serranos l would also like to add some chillie peppers and sweet peppers this is my first time to every try to can peppers any advise would help me so much. Thanks ELla

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Ella, the serranos will cook faster than the jalapenos because they are smaller. Just add them all together and make sure that they are all cooked, no matter how long it takes. I think I will change the recipe so it says 10 minutes for both, just to avoid the confusion.

  • Ella

    Hi again can I mix other types of peppers in this mix sweet peppers Pablo

  • Ella

    Can I use pickle crisp in this recipe

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Ella, I had not heard of pickle crisp until you mentioned it here. Interesting product. Haven’t tried using it yet, so if you do use it with this recipe, please let us know how it turns out for you!

      • Robin

        I think this may be alum.

        • Philip

          Pickle crisp is calcium chloride, not alum, and I’m not sure this would have any relevance to cooked veggies like it does for canning raw, like cucumbers.

  • Vickie

    how much water do i use for the bath

    • Elise Bauer

      Enough water to cover the jars that are sitting in a rack (so they don’t touch the bottom of the pan) in a large pot, by one inch.

  • Terry Rosenbaum

    If you are trying to achieve the flavor profile found in commercially canned jalapeños you’ll need to cut the acidity (e.g. 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water). If you don’t cut the acidity the flavor will be mostly vinegar. Unfortunately, it it not always easy for home canners to safely can foods with such low acidity (commercial canners achieve this with special techniques and equipment including an on-site lab for microbiological analysis). If you make low acid pickled vegetables, make them in small batches, refrigerate them, and use them within a few weeks. Botulism doesn’t grow at refrigerator temperatures.

    An interesting article about canning and botulism: http://www.nwedible.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/botulism3.pdf

  • KimH

    Wow!! You’ve made my day Elise!! :) I made this today with a few changes.. I didnt use the cauliflower and I used all of the ingredients & your ratios with the exception of the marjoram. I was fresh out. I also put a little bit of cumin in mine and I also put a piece of bay & garlic in each jar instead of in the simmering pot. I had some leftover syrup from making pickled jalapenos last night (vinegar, water, sugar, tumeric mainly) so I added that to the pot too.. I wound up with 35 half pints of pickled peppers.. I water bath canned them for 10 minutes to make them shelf stable.
    I added 2 cups of water too, to tone down the vinegar a little bit.. I tested the liquid before I canned them & they were still very acidic at 2-2.5ph..

    They taste amazing.. thanks so much for sharing this fantastic recipe!

  • Anne

    I first made this recipe about 5 years ago and have never tried another after finding this one. By far, the best jalapeno escabeche this side of Mexico. Someone ahead of me commented that they let them sit until at least Christmas. I find this to be the best thing too. The longer they sit, the more mellow the vinegar becomes and the hotter the peppers become. Since I’m not a chemist, I have no reasonable explanation for this, but since I love HOT, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m getting ready to pickle another batch and this time I’m using a combo of serranos and green and red jalapenos. I have no doubt, they will be wonderful.

    For everyone just wondering if its worth the trouble, let me assure you that, following these simple instructions to the T, and having the patience to wait for a great pepper, and you won’t be sorry with this recipe.


  • Lon Truelove

    Coming from a Mexican family, I have always enjoyed Marinated Jalapenos. Of course no one except my Great-Grandmother had a recipe for this and through the years this recipe was lost. Ugh! I have tried many recipes found online and have had mixed reviews with most of them. However, after trying this recipe at Simple Recipes website. I have found it to be my favorite. I make at least two batches of this per year and friends and and family keep coming back for more. :) Thank you Simple Recipes!

  • Sheila Patterson

    This was absolutely the best recipe ever! I just had some on chicken…Yum! I was skeptical about not pealing the garlic but, I refrained from peeling them. After the pickling process I pealed one and the texture was like butter. I guess the skin holds it together and keeps it from crumbling at the bottom of the jar. Great recipe! I am out to pick more jalapenos.


  • Autumn

    I love your recipe! I made 4 jars last night and one of them didn’t seal, so I just opened it up, and Yum! My mom’s family is from Mexico, and she always had a jar of this in the fridge. She would just put the veggies in a homemade tortilla, or eat them straight out of the jar. I never knew it actually had a name until I started searching for a recipe. I was wondering if I could do half white vinegar and half apple cider vinegar. I can find white vinegar at much cheaper prices.

  • Jai

    I followed your recipe this morning and I think that things went well. I put the chiles and vegetables into a clean spaghetti sauce jar since I don’t have mason jars. If I place this jar in the fridge, how long can I expect the Escabeche to be good since it is not in an airtight container?

    So the jar doesn’t have a lid? You might put some plastic wrap over it and secure it with a rubber band. It should last for several weeks, if not months, in the refrigerator, even after opening. The only thing that might foul it is mold. Just treat it like a refrigerator pickle. ~Elise

  • Katy Carter

    This is the best recipe for pickled jalapenos in the world!!!… I have made it many times and my family and friends just love it… I use the brine to put on my green salads instead of oil and vinegar… Thank you for sharing…

    • Barb

      Great idea using for salads. I will do that. Thanks for the hint

  • Curtis Reykdal

    His is a great recipe. The only thing I would do different next time I make them is use half apple cider vinegar and half water. Using all vinegar is a bit too intense.

    • Ana

      I´m I agree, accidentally I forgot to buy vinegar I just used 2 cups of vinegar I have to complete with 2 cups of water and still a bit intense, but it´s ok.

  • Diane Soto

    Last September I found your recipe for Jalapenos and stored them over the winter. I opened a jar around March and boy were they good and hot. Nothing was wasted. Well I am ready to can another batch and I am using my favorite recipe. It is easy and stored very well. Thanks again

  • Diana

    Do you have to fry the vegetables? I want peppers to stay a bit firm. I don’t mind cooking in water bath for 10 min. but can I skip frying and still be able to have 1-2 month shelf life. If I add 1/2 cup of water do you know if that also decrease shelf-life?
    Thanks for the recipe.

    The important things are to 1) not change the ratio of vinegar to any other liquid (so do not add water), and 2) to make sure the peppers are completely cooked through before you can them. These are safety precautions as peppers are low acid foods (do a Google search for canning low acid foods and you’ll see why you have to take precautions). ~Elise

    • KimH

      An fyi… In the South, raw peppers are often put in vinegar and left on the table to shake on your food.. I’ve got a bottle in my cabinet that has been there for 2 years.. Its nothing more than peppers & vinegar.. I didnt cook them.. just popped raw peppers in the jar of vinegar. With that much vinegar.. nothing is going to grow in it, no matter if its raw or cooked veggies.

  • Kelly

    This is the best canning recipe I have. I get requests for this from everyone in my family and my Mexican brother-in-law will eat a can in one sitting. I add green cayanne and other peppers like banana and ancho. The vinegar flavor mellows quite a bit after a few weeks and it’s even better after a few months. We pop it out for Christmas. I peel the garlic, because I use fresh garlic and it’s easier to get the paper off if you just take it all off and it works fine.

  • Angie

    Do I have to cook the veggies? I would like to leave them raw if possible but find any information on how necessary the cooking process is.

    Yes, if you want to preserve the peppers, they need to be cooked. If you just want to make a refrigerator pickle that you eat up within days, then no, they don’t need to be cooked. But they must be refrigerated and eaten quickly. ~Elise

  • Alinna

    Can I make this only with peppers? the hubs isn’t too into the other stuff.

    Yes. ~Elise

  • Jeff

    I never post replies on web pages but had to this time. This is an excellent recipe! I’ve tried others but couldn’t get the right flavor I was looking for. This is simple and tastes insane. I just took old jars, steralized them and used those. I didn’t do the hot bath method for long storage. I’ve already started to eat the escabeche the very next day.

  • Colleen

    Thanks so much for your recipe. I am used to eating sliced pickled jalapenos, so I prefer to go ahead and pickle them as slices, if possible. How would you recommend modifying the recipe if I decided to slice them first (i.e. anything else to change besides cooking time)?

    Just make sure that everything is cooked through before canning. The slices will cook faster, but the other ingredients will still take time, unless you slice the carrots ultra thin. ~Elise

  • Mike Bouchard

    I made these a couple of weeks ago after researching this classic jalapeno pickle. I found yours to be the most balanced looking recipe. They came out amazing!


  • Anthea

    Thank you so much for this recipe. In the US, Jalapenos preserved this way are very cheap and available, but outside the US, they are mega-pricey. So now I can preserve my Jalapeno crop using this recipe, and it works amazingly well. Top recipe.

  • carol

    I just have to let you know that I made this a week ago. I didn’t have cauliflower so I used some fresh green beans. I gave a jar to my son and daughter-in-law. My son just loved it. I’m going to open a jar tonight. Now he wants me to show him how to make them, can’t wait to get started. It was so fast and easy! Thank you so much for the recipe.

    Green beans would work great in this, thanks for the suggestion. So glad it worked out well for you. ~Elise


  • April

    You can also try different vinegers to change it up. In the Michoacan region, I have had escabeche made with pineapple vinegar and another with apricot. The vinegar is just home-made using a white vinegar plus the fruit of your choice and letting it ‘stew’ awhile. My preference is escabeche made with pineapple, it gives it a fruity undertone that livens up any dish!

  • Susan

    About the Jalepenos tasting too much like vinegar, you might want to try adding 1/4 cup of water per 1 cup of vinegar to tone down the vinegar taste.

    If you are planning to can the jalapeno pickles, for unrefrigerated storage, I do not recommend diluting the vinegar at all. Canned vegetables need to have a certain level of acidity to keep dangerous bacteria from growing, unless you do low-acid canning in a pressure canner. Pickled jalapenos are pickled in vinegar. They are supposed to be be vinegary, though if the jalapenos have sufficient heat, the spiciness is what you taste the most.~Elise

  • Richard

    I must have over-cooked the jalapenos because they are a bit mushy. I could not wait and tried some after processing. Although I used jalapenos, I agree with Charles, the flavor is great. I will do this again just as soon as my peppers produce enough to do so.

  • Alex

    How long are we supposed to age Jalapenos for. I have tried several recipes, but try to eat them the same day. They tast too much like vinegar — does anyone know if the vinegar flavor goes away with aging?

    I think they do improve with age, though since they are basically packed in vinegar, I rather doubt you are going to lose that flavor if you use this method to pickle them. ~Elise

  • Scott P. Richert

    I’ve had escabeche in Mexican restaurants that included cauliflower in the mix. Any idea how to do that? Would you suggest cooking the cauliflower separately? Boiling, maybe? Or perhaps the cauliflower could simply be cut into pieces, scalded, and then packed with everything else, and the processing would cook it enough? I wouldn’t want it to get too soft.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    I would just put the cauliflower in with everything else. But try it and see! If I try it, I’ll report back. ~Elise

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Brendon,

    I love the pickled jalapeno marinade idea, thanks!

    To your question about the garlic. My Mexican friends cook often with garlic that has not been peeled. Apparently there is a lot of flavor in the peel. In this recipe, cook with the peel on. When you pull the garlic out of the jar to eat, it will just slip out of its peel. But the peel is providing flavor to the mix.

  • Brendan

    After surfing the net for a few hours I finally came across your recipe. THANKS! Exactly what I was looking for but have one question:

    You say not to peel the cloves of garlic so do you fry them in their skin? And do you can them with their skin on?
    Or does the skin just fall off after frying?

    If you all want some good straight up beef tacos use the pickled jalapeños as a marinade and marinade over night then grill to perfection next day with salt. I used cheap chuck steak (1/4 cut. )

  • Charles


    This is fantastic! Like you, I planted serranos this year, but never expected them to be so prolific! I’ve given away several bags of them to family and neighbors, and still am over-run with serranos.

    I made this over the holiday weekend, and it’s absolutely delicious. I haven’t had it since we left San Diego. In addition to the wonderful flavor, the aroma was delightful. (Well, to me it was, my wife asked me what was smelling up the house) I dunno, I thought it was good.

    Anyways, I love it, and will make it again before the season’s out, I’m sure. One of the workers at my wife’s school is from El Salvador, — he’s going to love this.

    Thanks again.

  • FoodFreak

    These look a lot like the pickled jalapenos I sort of winged based on a recipe in Jim Fobel’s Big Flavors. He adds more spices like peppercorns, cumin, cloves, bay leaves, though. Fobel recommends chilling the jalapenos, too. I tweaked, hot-packing them in jam jars, and they kept fabulously on my shelves for three years, through two hot summers and a move. I’ll have to try this one… very decorative with the carrot slices.