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A mere 5 minutes of prep work and 7 ingredients are all that stand between you and a jar of the best spicy, tangy, crunchy Pickled Jalapeño Peppers you’ve ever tried! As if that weren’t enough to love, this recipe for quick pickled jalapenos is about to bring some major flavor to everything from your tacos and burgers to nachos and sandwiches — and so much more.

Overhead photo of pickled jalapenos in a quick vinegar brine.

About this pickled jalapenos recipe

Quick pickled jalapeños, sweet and spicy darlings of the jar, how you’ve stolen my heart and set my tastebuds ablaze! From the moment we first met, it was a match made in culinary heaven.

But my love for you extends beyond the kitchen, my spicy darlings. You represent courage, a spirit unafraid to stand out in a world of blandness. Your fiery nature inspires me to embrace my own uniqueness, to add a touch of spice to my life. Just like you, I want to be bold, adventurous, and unapologetically flavorful. –XOXO, Cheyanne

If you, like me, love to pickle fresh veggies, try these delicious homemade pickle recipes next: How to Make Dill Pickles and Quick Pickled Onions.

Why you’ll love these pickled peppers!

Dear readers, if you, like me, find yourself daydreaming about the mischievous presence of these homemade jalapeno pepper pickles, imagining the moments you’ll share together, you’re in luck. Aside from being tantalizingly piquant, this pickled jalapeño recipe is also:

  • Quick & Easy – It takes just 5 minutes of prep to whip up a batch of my best pickled jalapenos recipe. The refrigerator does all the rest!
  • Made With Fewer Than 10 Ingredients – While these little peppered rockstars add a kick to every dish with their zesty personality, the secret is you only need a handful of ingredients to make them!
  • Versatile – Tacos, burgers, sandwiches, and salads—no culinary creation can resist the spicy charm of these quick pickled jalapenos. Add them to creamy dips, salsas, and relishes to transform them into extraordinary creations. They’re the secret ingredient that elevates every recipe, turning ordinary meals into unforgettable culinary experiences. These vinegar jalapenos have the ability to make even the simplest dishes burst with flavor and excitement!

Overhead photo of all the ingredients in the recipe for pickled jalapenos.

What are pickled jalapenos? 

​​Ah, pickled jalapeños, those zesty little troublemakers! They’re like regular jalapeños who decided to take a dip in a tangy hot tub and come out with an extra kick of flavor. 

Picture this: plump, green jalapeño slices, happily bathing in a jar filled with vinegar, spices, and a pinch of magic. Over time, they soak up all that tangy goodness, transforming into bold, fiery flavor bombs. They’re like the rebellious cousins of dill pickles, ready to turn up the heat and add some sizzle to your taste buds. 

So, if you’re looking to spice up your life, these pickled jalapeños are the feisty companions you’ve been waiting for. Get ready to pucker up and embrace the tangy, tongue-tingling adventure!

Ingredients for pickled jalapeno peppers

As promised, the best quick pickled jalapenos recipe comes with a super short ingredient list. Here’s everything you’ll need for making pickled jalapeños that’ll knock your socks off:

  • Jalapeño Peppers – If possible, pick big ones!
  • Garlic – You’re definitely going to want to use fresh cloves here for the best flavor.
  • Cilantro – Using fresh cilantro gives this jalapeno recipe a quasi-Mexican escabeche vibe.
  • Black Peppercorns – You’ll want the whole peppercorns to add to the pickling liquid.
  • Filtered Water – Using a filter helps ensure none of those pesky PFAS make their way into your jar of jalapenos with vinegar.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – For adding that puckery tang that makes these pickled jalapeno peppers so dang crave-worthy!
    • You can also use either sherry vinegar or white vinegar if needed.
  • Sugar – Adding a bit of sweetness helps to balance the tangy, fiery flavors that abound.
    • Feel free to swap in honey or agave if you prefer.
  • Kosher Salt – Using plenty of salt helps keep these refrigerator quick pickle jalapenos a bit crunchy.
    • If you have it, pickling salt is another great option. Just avoid using table salt with iodine, which can impart a bitter flavor.

Recipe variations

The beauty of pickling jalapeños at home is you can zhuzh them up however you like. Here are a few variations to consider:

  • Optional Add-Ins: Feel free to dress up your pickled jalapeno pepper recipe with any of the following add-ins.
    • Mexican Oregano – Contrary to what you might think, Mexican oregano is actually part of the verbena family, whereas “true” oregano is part of the mint family. To give your pickled jalapeños more of an escabeche (i.e. the Mexican version of giardinera) vibe, this is a great addition.
    • Bay Leaves – Dried bay leaves have a savory flavor with notes of mint, black pepper, and pine. They also add a subtle bitterness that helps to balance out all the other flavors!
    • Lemon or Lime Peel – The rind of citrus fruit is loaded with essential oils. Adding a few strips of lemon or lime peel infuses the whole jar of jalapeno pepper pickles with brightness.
    • Cumin Seeds – For a touch of hearty, earthy warmth, feel free to throw in some cumin seeds.
    • Mustard Seeds – If you love the slightly spicy, distinctively bitter flavor of mustard seeds, feel free to use them in the brine. Yellow mustard seeds lend a milder peppery flavor than black mustard seeds.
    • Go Big! Making pickled jalapenos whole means there’s extra peppery goodness in every bite. Just make sure to choose a vessel that’s large enough to fit all the peppers in.

Action photo of a person pickling jalapeno peppers in a jar.

How to make pickled jalapeños quick

Pickling jalapeno peppers is a snap. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Slice the Jalapeño Peppers: Working with one jalapeno at a time, use a sharp chef’s knife to slice the pepper into ¼-inch-thick rings or coins, discarding the stems.
  2. Add Ingredients to Storage Jars: Stuff the sliced jalapeños into a quart-sized storage jar (or divide them among two pint-sized jars). Then, add the cloves of garlic, cilantro, and black peppercorns, along with the lime or lemon peel and oregano if using, to the jar. Set the jar aside.
  3. Make the Brine: In a medium saucepan, add the water, cider vinegar, sugar, and kosher salt. Place the pan over high heat and bring the brine to a boil, stirring occasionally to help the salt dissolve. Once the sugar dissolves, immediately remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Add Brine: Pour the warm brine over the jalapenos in the jar, making sure you completely submerge the chili peppers in the brine, but also leaving ¼-inch of headspace between the brine and the rim of the jar. Let the jalapenos sit in the pickle brine for 10-15 minutes at room temperature.
  5. Pickle Jalapenos in Fridge: Seal the jar and place the vinegar jalapeños in the refrigerator and let rest (pickle) for at least 2 hours (very light pickle flavor) or 2 days (for authentic pickled jalapenos).
  6.  Use or Store: After 2 hours or more has passed, remove the pickled jalapenos from the fridge and eat straight from the jar, add them to dips, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and more! Enjoy!

Expert tips for the best success!

Listen up, fellow jalapeño pickle enthusiasts! While this recipe for pickling jalapenos is pretty straightforward, I’ve got some expert tips to help you nail that perfect batch of pickled jalapeños like a pro:

  • Pick the Right Peppers: Look for firm, vibrant green jalapeños. Avoid sad, wrinkly ones—no one wants a flaccid pickle! 😂
  • Handle with Care: When prepping the peppers, be sure to wear gloves. Trust me, you don’t want to accidentally rub your eyes or sensitive areas after handling these spicy gems. It’s a pain you won’t forget!
  • Slice and Dice: Cut the jalapeños into uniform slices or leave them whole if you’re feeling bold. 
  • Spice It Up: Don’t hold back on the spices! Add garlic, peppercorns, and any other flavor boosters you fancy. After all, life’s too short for bland pickles!
  • Give It a Brine-y Bath: Prepare a brine with vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Heat it up and let the flavors meld together. Then, pour it over your jalapeños, ensuring they’re fully submerged like daredevils diving into a pool of deliciousness.
  • The Waiting Game: Remember, my spicy comrades, pickled jalapeños are like fine wine—they get better with time. Seal your jar tightly and let the jalapeños marinate in the fridge for at least a few days for the pickle-iest flavor. It’s torture, I know, but that’s how they absorb all the tangy goodness and reach pickle perfection. 
  • Waste Not, Want Not: When you’re done eating your quick pickle jalapenos, don’t toss the pickled jalapeno brine! That right there is a flavor booster if there ever was one. Use it to marinate your chicken, add a bit of spicy tang to your salad dressing, or give your potato salad or pasta salad a little extra zing.

Overhead photo of pickled jalapeno peppers floating in a garlic brine.

FAQs: frequently asked questions

When are jalapenos in season?

Wondering when to pick jalapeno peppers? Jalapeños like to make their grand entrance when the weather gets all warm and sunny. That’s when they’re at their prime, ready to add some sizzle to your culinary escapades. But hey, if you’re lucky and live in a place with a longer growing season, you might just snag some jalapeños even outside the traditional summer period. 

Are pickled jalapeno peppers good for you?

I must confess that I’m not a registered nutrition professional, but I do have some thoughts about these delightful little jalapeño pickles.

First, they do have a few things going for them. They’re low in calories and fat, plus, they contain vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C and potassium. And let’s not forget the capsaicin—the compound responsible for that fiery kick—known to have some potential health benefits, like boosting metabolism and reducing inflammation. Quick spicy pickle magic, I tell ya!

But here’s the pickle (pun intended): pickled jalapeños often come with some added ingredients, like vinegar, sugar, and salt, to achieve that mouthwatering flavor. So, if you’re watching your sodium or sugar intake, remember that moderation is key. Don’t go diving into a jar of quick pickled jalapenos like there’s no tomorrow. Too much of a good thing can still lead to some spicy consequences.

Do pickled jalapenos need to be refrigerated?

While I’m not a time-traveling wizard, I can certainly offer some guidance when it comes to their longevity. Let’s dive into the proverbial pickle jar, shall we?

Refrigerator pickled jalapeños do require some chilly accommodations. To keep them fresh and flavorful, make sure to store them in the refrigerator. 

How long does a pickled jalapeno last? 

Now, onto the burning question of their shelf life. When properly stored in the refrigerator, pickled jalapeños can last for several months. However, keep in mind that their texture and taste might change over time. The longer they sit, the softer they may become, and their fiery flavor might mellow out a bit. But fear not! They’ll still bring that signature tangy kick to your dishes.

To ensure the best quality and flavor, it’s a good idea to consume them within a few months of pickling. But let’s be real—who can resist the temptation of those zesty little gems for that long anyway?

How many pickled peppers are in a peck?

Say THAT 5 times fast! Let’s get one thing straight—I’m no produce expert or mathematical genius, but I’ll play a game of speculation with you:

A peck is an old-fashioned unit of dry volume that’s equal to 8 quarts, which is equal to 2 gallons. (I don’t know why but the term makes me think of a cheeky squirrel stashing away its acorns. 🐿️) 

As for the exact number of pickled peppers in a peck, well, that can vary depending on the size of the peppers and how tightly they’re packed. It’s like trying to count the number of stars in the night sky—nearly impossible!

What do pickled jalapenos taste like? 

Oh, the tantalizing taste of quick pickled jalapeños! Picture this: a burst of tangy delight followed by a fiery kick that dances on your tongue. That’s what you can expect from these little flavor bombs.

Does pickling make jalapenos less spicy? 

Now, let’s talk spice, shall we? The pickling process doesn’t necessarily make jalapeños less spicy, but it might affect how much you taste the heat. You see, the capsaicin—the compound responsible for the jalapeños’ spiciness—remains present even after pickling. 

Are pickled jalapeños less spicy than regular jalapenos?

During the pickling process, however, some of that burn mellows out due to the interaction with the other ingredients, like vinegar and spices. So, while pickled jalapeños still pack a punch, they have a slightly more rounded or less pointed heat compared to their fresh counterparts.

It’s also important to note that the spiciness of fresh (and therefore, also pickled) jalapeños can vary. Factors like the pepper’s maturity, growing conditions, and individual tolerance to spice can all influence the heat level, which is why they are given a Scoville range of 2500-5000 SHUs. So, even though pickled jalapeños may be perceived as slightly less spicy due to the pickling process, they can still bring some heat to the table.

Why are my pickled jalapenos mushy? 

Oh no, mushy pickled jalapeños? That’s a pickle predicament! Here are a few possibilities as to why your jalapeños may have taken on an undesirable texture:

  • Choosing jalapeños that were past their prime might’ve contributed to a mushy pickle situation. 
  • The proportion of vinegar, water, and salt in your brine can also affect the texture of your preserved jalapeños. If the brine was too weak or lacked the right balance of ingredients, it might have caused them to turn mushy. 
  • Finally, improper storage can also lead to mushy pickles. If the jalapeños were stored at too warm a temperature, they might have softened over time. Always keep your quick pickled jalapeno peppers refrigerated to maintain their desired texture and quality.

Photo of tropical mango salsa topped with jalapeno pepper pickles.

Serving suggestions 

Let’s spice up your serving game with some fun and playful suggestions for using quick pickled jalapeños:

Storing leftovers 

  • This isn’t a canning recipe, meaning these pickle jalapenos are not shelf-stable! 
  • You must store your jar of jalapenos in the refrigerator. 
  • Pickled jalapeños will keep for up to 3 months.

Close-up photo showing the soft texture of a pickled jalapeno pepper.

Remember, life is too short for blandness. So, go forth, pickle with a playful spirit, and let the tangy, tongue-tingling magic of pickled jalapeños brighten your every bite. Spice up your world, and may your tastebuds forever dance with joy! Stay spicy, my friends!

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More recipes with jalapeno peppers!

Recipe to quickly pickle jalapeno peppers at home👇

Overhead photo of pickled jalapenos in a garlic brine.

Easy Homemade Pickled Jalapeños Recipe

Total Time: 15 minutes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Pickle Time:: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
A mere 5 minutes of prep work and 7 ingredients are all that stand between you and a jar of the best spicy, tangy Pickled Jalapeños you’ve ever tried. As if that weren’t enough to love, this recipe for pickled jalapenos is about to bring some major flavor to everything from your tacos and burgers to nachos and sandwiches — and so much more!
Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.

Equipment

  • 1 Chef's Knife (for slicing jalapeno peppers)
  • 1 Medium Saucepan (to make pickle brine)
  • 1 Storage Jars (for storing pickled jalapenos)

Ingredients 

  • 6 Large Jalapeno Peppers
  • 2 cloves Garlic – smashed & peeled
  • 1-2 sprigs Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 tsp whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1 ¼ Cup Filtered Water
  • 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar (substitute: sherry vinegar or white vinegar)
  • 1 TBS Granulated Sugar (substitute: Honey or Agave)
  • ¾ - 1 TBS Kosher Salt (substitute: pickling salt)
  • Optional: 1 whole Lime Peel or Lemon Peel
  • Optional: ¾ tsp Mexican Oregano
  • Optional: 1 whole Bay Leaf

Instructions

  • Prep Jalapenos: Working with one jalapeno at a time, use a sharp chef’s knife to slice all the jalapenos into ¼-inch to ½-inch thick rings or coins, discarding the stems.
  • Add Jalapenos and Flavoring Ingredients to Storage Jar: Stuff the sliced jalapenos into a quart-sized jar (or divide them among two pint jars). Add the cloves of garlic, cilantro, and black peppercorns, along with the lime or lemon peel and oregano if using, to the jar. Then, set aside
  • Make the Brine: In a medium saucepan, add the water, cider vinegar, sugar, and kosher salt. Place the pan over high heat and bring the contents to a boil, stirring occasionally, to help the salt dissolve. Immediately remove the pan from the heat.
  • Add Brine: Pour the warm brine into the jar, making sure you completely submerge the jalapenos in the brine, but also leaving ¼-inch of headspace between the brine and the rim of the jar. (Discard any excess brine.) Let sit for 10-15 minutes at room temperature before sealing with an airtight lid.
  • Pickle Jalapenos in Fridge: Place the jar of vinegar jalapenos in the refrigerator and let rest (pickle) for at least 2 hours (very light pickle flavor) or 2 days (for authentic pickled jalapenos). (SEE NOTES)
  • Use or Store: After 2 hours or more has passed, remove the pickled jalapenos from the fridge and eat straight from the jar, add them to dips, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and more! Enjoy!
    Overhead photo of pickled jalapenos in a garlic brine.

Notes

  • Pickling Time: You can pickle the jalapenos for as little as 20 minutes if you prefer a very light pickle flavor. However, I recommend letting them sit for 48 hours for the best flavor.
  • This isn’t a canning recipe, meaning these pickle jalapenos are not shelf-stable! You must store your jar of jalapenos in the refrigerator. Pickled jalapenos will keep for up to 3 months.
Nutritional information is an estimate based upon 6 servings. Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.

Nutrition

Calories: 25kcal    Carbohydrates: 4g    Protein: 0.4g    Fat: 0.1g    Saturated Fat: 0.02g    Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g    Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g    Sodium: 878mg    Potassium: 90mg    Fiber: 0.4g    Sugar: 3g    Vitamin A: 162IU    Vitamin C: 21mg    Calcium: 12mg    Iron: 0.3mg

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Photo of sliced jalapenos soaking in a vinegar pickle brine in a glass jar.