It only takes a few minutes to preserve your jalapeño pepper harvest with this easy, sugar-free recipe for refrigerator pickles.
At the beginning of last fall, the jalapeño plants in my garden went into overdrive, and I found myself with a whole bunch of peppers all at one time. Now, I love jalapeños. I put slices of them, seeds and all, on sandwiches, tacos, burritos, and burgers all summer long. I love the heat and the crunch that the fresh green peppers provide. But there was no way my family and I could eat this many peppers before they went bad, so I started looking into ways to preserve them.
I’ve never much cared for the pickled jalapeños you can buy in stores; they taste like they look: drab and limp. So I didn’t have much hope that I’d really enjoy jalapeños that I’d pickled myself, but I was willing to give it a try rather than let my harvest go to waste. I’m so glad I did! They turned out crisp, spicy, and delicious, and my family enjoyed them until about mid-winter when they ran out.
I didn’t post the recipe then, reasoning that most people weren’t coming into a crop of jalapeños in October. I decided to wait until my next jalapeño harvest, and in anticipation of that, I planted about three times as many jalapeño plants than usual, knowing that I could pickle any surplus. The first harvest came in this week, and after setting aside a few to use fresh, I quick-pickled the others. (A little red Cajun Belle pepper ripened at the same time, so I threw it in for color.)
The most time-consuming part of this recipe is the slicing of the peppers. I’ve learned my lesson and now use disposable gloves that I bought in a Korean grocery store to handle the jalapeños.
I’ve also learned to take them off right after handling the peppers because eyes don’t care whether you touch them with jalapeño-covered fingers or gloves. Either way, it’s going to burn! So chop the peppers, use your gloved hands to fill the jars, and then throw the gloves away. [/public service announcement]
My recipe differs only slightly from others you can find on the internet. Mainly, I add some dried red pepper flakes to keep the peppers spicy because pickling can sap some of the spiciness out of jalapeños.
Also, I don’t use sugar because I don’t think it’s needed, but if you want your peppers to be a little less vinegary, feel free to add a couple of teaspoons. Finally, I like the flavor that garlic adds to jalapeños, so I use a little more than most people and I slice them to allow more of the flavor to come out. I also like to eat the pieces of garlic, so this way there’s more of them.
Ridiculously Easy Jalapeño Pickles
- 8 ounces jalapeño peppers approximate (number will depend on size of peppers)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar or more cider vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic sliced in half lengthwise
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- Prepare jars and lids by cleaning them well in hot water. One recipe will fill 2 8-ounce jars or 1 16-20 ounce jar, approximately.
- Wearing protective gloves, slice the peppers about 1/4-inch thick; discard the stem ends. Pack the pepper rings into jars.
- Place remaining ingredients into a non-reactive saucepan and heat until it comes to a full boil.
- Pour the vinegar mixture over the peppers until it covers them, and arrange the garlic slices on top. Seal the jars and allow them to come down to room temperature before refrigerating. You can use them immediately, but the flavor will mellow a little if you let them rest for a couple of days.
- Jalapeno pickles should keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. Discard if any signs of mold appear.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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LauraOctober 10, 2018 at 11:35 pm
I made this & it is so delightful. Thank you so much!
DebbieDecember 27, 2018 at 7:51 pm
Hi just came across this recipe. Curious what is a “non reactive pot”? I don’t can or anything, so I’m new to that term. Also, can the white stuff and seeds be removed for a little less heat? Thank you.
AmandaJuly 3, 2019 at 3:48 pm
I have a question about why they have to be kept in the refrigerator? My daughter is trying this recipe for her 4h project.
Susan VoisinJuly 3, 2019 at 4:14 pm
I’m not a canning expert, so I only make refrigerator pickles. There’s a precise formula that goes into canning, and I didn’t want to be responsible for someone getting sick.
HuguetteOctober 6, 2019 at 12:49 pm
I’m trying canning for the first time because my garden was on testosterone this year !
What do you mean when you san “Be sure to let them dry before putting them into jars.” What exactly am I suppose to do?
Thanks you for all the great recipes !
Susan VoisinOctober 6, 2019 at 2:59 pm
If you want to make the jalapeños milder, you can slice them, cover them with water, and stir them around to meme them seeds come out. Then take the sliced peppers out and let them dry a little on a paper towel, leaving the seeds in the water. All of this is really optional, though.
Kelly BAugust 18, 2020 at 4:47 pm
It says at the top they will last for two months in the fridge (yours lasted through mid winter) and below in the recipe it says they will keep for several weeks. I’m confused, how long will these last in the fridge?
Susan VoisinAugust 18, 2020 at 4:57 pm
I would play it safe and not count on them to be safe after 2 months. But my observation is that I’ve kept them longer than that and never had them go bad.
JeromeFebruary 9, 2020 at 3:15 pm
This is the second time I’ve used this recipe! This time I put in about 7 cloves of garlic, because that’s my favorite part (much to my surprise!). Thanks for all the great recipes!
Susan VoisinFebruary 9, 2020 at 3:21 pm
I love the garlic, too! I’m considering doing a jar of just garlic some day.
Jalapeno PlantApril 20, 2020 at 10:55 am
Omg this looks amazing, will definitely be trying this as my jalapeno pepper plants are currently growing!
Janet MorrisJune 20, 2020 at 2:32 pm
This recipe looks really good! How was your family able to eat them until mid-winter if they only keep for several weeks in the refrigerator?
Susan VoisinJune 20, 2020 at 2:42 pm
I make them a couple of times in the summer, the last batch being in October or November before the first freeze. I also keep them a lot longer than just a few weeks, but I don’t feel comfortable recommending that to other people.
HeatherAugust 5, 2020 at 7:17 pm
Could these pickles be processed by water or steam? What is the purpose of the water in the recipe?
Cassandra CohenSeptember 2, 2020 at 7:55 am
Would it change the flavor too much if i used just white vinegar? Its the only one i have on hand.
Susan VoisinSeptember 2, 2020 at 11:14 am
It’ll be fine, maybe a little less sweet.
Christie SSeptember 24, 2020 at 5:53 pm
I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to comment on these. I’ve made them since your recipe first came out. Not only are they ridiculously easy, but they are ridiculously fabulous. I’m embarrassed to admit I can eat a jar in front of the tv while watching a show or a football game. I have regular phone calls asking if I have extra since I made the mistake of sticking a half-pint into Christmas stockings (they look so pretty!) and now just put in the recipe. I make them in quantity, and have never had anything go bad, even after weeks or even a few months, but they don’t often stick around that long., Love this delicious and easy special addition to eggs, sandwiches, casseroles, just about anything. My brother even says they are great instead of an olive in a martini, but I haven’t tried it yet. Thanks for what is now in my permanent family recipe file!
Karen ParisseNovember 1, 2020 at 6:11 am
Love this recipe! I did alter one thing, because I love them with jalepenos…I added thinly sliced onions into the brine with the garlic and peppers…so delicious! My favorite is on breakfast burritos, tacos, soups (especially deep, rich and fatty soup, as the vinegar helps balance it out)..most anything. I read some uses them as a martini olive substitute, I’ll be trying that soon! Thank you so much for sharing!
RondaNovember 29, 2020 at 4:47 pm
Sounds great! What is sodium content? Can I make them without salt?
Susan VoisinNovember 30, 2020 at 11:24 am
The salt helps in preserving them, but you can make them without if you’re keeping them refrigerated.
LSAugust 7, 2021 at 8:51 am
These were made for my Husband and he couldn’t stop eating them straight from the jar. I don’t think they ever made it to any specific dish because he continued to just grab a few here and there as a quick snack. I will be making these again. One question, do you think these can be used with Banana Pepper Rings?
Susan VoisinAugust 7, 2021 at 2:17 pm
Absolutely! I’m so glad he enjoyed them.
SherrenSeptember 23, 2021 at 1:02 pm
So glad to have found your recipe again! I made some last year and have only just run out. Will be making more at the weekend with a greenhouse full of fat ripe chillis
CGFebruary 13, 2023 at 11:17 pm
Are you boiling the garlic with the water and vinegar? In the instructions after slicing the jalapenos, it says to put the rest of the ingredients in the pot and bring it to a boil. The garlic is part of the “rest of the ingredients”. Also, if you use water to rinse the seeds out of the jalapenos, why do you have to dry them when you are about to pour hot water and vinegar over them?