Making Homemade Quick Pickled Jalapeños is so fast, easy, and delicious, you’ll never want to buy store-bought again! These are sweet and spicy, flavor-packed from garlic and oregano, and you only need 10 minutes of hands-on time.
Whether you have a bunch of jalapeños growing in your (or your neighbor’s) garden, or you find a bulk package at Trader Joe’s, one of the best things you can do with them is pickle them.
This recipe doesn’t require any canning or preserving– it’s an easy way to pickle jalapeño peppers quickly, and they’ll last for months in your fridge!
You can use them on tacos, on sandwiches or burgers, on nachos, or in any number of recipes. But honestly, they’re so delicious, you may just want to eat them straight from the jar!
In this post I’ll explain how to make quick pickled jalapeños, tips for making them less spicy, and give recipe suggestions for how to use them.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Jalapeño peppers – you can use this pickling method for other pepper varieties, like Serranos or other chiles.
- White vinegar- I prefer using distilled white vinegar for these. I tried it with apple cider vinegar and it was too vinegary- I recommend sticking to the basics here.
- White sugar- I don’t recommend any other sweetener. I was disappointed when I tried this with honey. White sugar works the best here.
- Garlic cloves- you can use garlic powder if you don’t have fresh garlic, or omit it.
- Dried oregano- you can use fresh if you prefer (double the amount), or use another herb like thyme or rosemary. Or, you can just omit it for a more simple flavor.
- Kosher salt– you can use sea salt or table salt if you prefer (decrease the amount by about a teaspoon if it’s fine, rather than coarse, salt).
How to make quick pickled jalapeños
- First, make the brine. Mix vinegar, water, sugar, kosher salt, smashed garlic cloves, and dried oregano in a medium pot and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, slice the jalapeños (wear gloves if you want for extra protection- for example, to prevent touching the seeds and then accidentally touching your eyes… ouch!).
- Once the brine is boiling, stir in the sliced jalapeños and let them sit for 10 minutes in the brine.
- Remove the jalapeños to a jar using tongs or a slotted spoon- you can really smush a lot of them into one jar.
- Finally, pour in enough brine from the pot to fill the jar to the top. Allow to cool in your fridge, and you’re all done!
How to make jalapeños less spicy
Jalapeño peppers vary in levels of spice, depending on a variety of factors. While it’s hard to control EXACTLY how spicy these homemade pickled jalapeño peppers are, there are ways you can help mellow out the spiciness to make them more mild. Here are some tips:
- Use peppers that are a few days to a week old. If you refrigerate them whole, they’ll last for a good while in a cold part of your fridge. The longer they sit, the more mellow they will be.
- If you grow your own jalapeños, you can plant a mild variety. The peppers also get spicier the longer they sit on the plant, so if you pick them young, they won’t be as spicy.
- Remove the seeds. This is a little tedious to do when you slice the peppers into rings. But the more seeds you are able to remove, the more mild they will be. You can also slice the peppers lengthwise, then scrape the seeds out, and dice them or slice them into half-rings.
- Rinse the sliced peppers. Once you slice them, put them in a colander and give them a little rinse. That will help remove some of the spicy oils, and it will also help loosen up some of the seeds so they get left behind in the colander.
- Let the pickled jalapeños sit for a while in the fridge. After you pickle them, if you find them too spicy, let them sit in your fridge for a couple weeks and try them again. They will mellow out over time.
Recipes to use the pickled jalapeños
- Nachos with refried beans and cheese
- Jalapeño Deviled Eggs
- Hawaiian Pizza
- Jalapeño Cornbread Waffles (from Pink Owl Kitchen)
- Jalapeño Cornbread with Honey
Other Pickle Recipes
- Quick Pickled Red Onions
- Refrigerator Sweet Dill Pickles
- Spicy Cajun Pickled Green Beans and Carrots
- Quick Pickled Cabbage (from Jessica in the Kitchen)
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Quick Pickled Jalapenos
- Mason Jar
- medium pot
- Bring all ingredients except jalapeños to a boil in a medium sized pot (4-5 cloves smashed garlic, 2 cups white vinegar, 2 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 2 teaspoons dried oregano).
- Add jalapeño slices to the pot, stir together, and remove from heat. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the jalapeños to a jar. Once all the peppers are in there (you can smush them in quite a bit to make them fit), pour enough brine from the pot in the jar to fill it up. Discard any remaining brine.
- Allow the pickled jalapeños to cool in your refrigerator for about an hour before consuming. Store in your fridge for up to 2 months for optimal freshness.
- To make these less spicy, you can use older jalapeños that aren’t as fresh, and try to remove as many seeds as possible by rinsing them with water and using tongs to transfer them to and from the pot. They will mellow out a bit the longer they sit in the fridge as well, and you can give them a rinse in a colander after slicing before adding to the brine to help take it down a notch. I personally used a mild variety of jalapeños I grew in my garden. Homegrown jalapeños become spicier the longer they sit on the plant, so pick them young for a more mild taste.
- Ingredient substitutions: I don’t recommend substituting the white sugar or white vinegar with another sweetener or vinegar. But you can use garlic powder or omit the garlic if you prefer, and use another herb like thyme or omit the oregano entirely.
- For safety, I recommend wearing gloves when slicing the jalapeños.
- The provided nutrition information does not account for all the brine, as only a small amount of the brine is absorbed into the jalapeños. It is my best estimate.
This post originally appeared on Bowl of Delicious in February, 2014. It has been republished with new photos, improved recipe instructions, and more pertinent information.