Pickled Jalapeños

Pickled Jalapenos. Molly Watson
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 2 pints (16 servings)

These jalapeños are a simple version of escabeche, the Mexican mix of pickled jalapeños, carrots, and onions. They are perfect on tacos (like these Turkey Tacos), tucked into burritos, served alongside grilled meats, or for giving burgers a little extra kick—plenty of people at our backyard parties use these in place of regular pickles!

Don't get me wrong, these quick pickles are plenty spicy, but the pickling process does tame the heat of jalapeños quite a bit. Even people who think any "chile" is too spicy for them may find that when these pickled versions are combined with other foods, they go down fairly easy.

These are quick refrigerator pickles, meaning they aren't hot-water processed. This makes them much easier and less fussy to make than hot-water processed canned goods, but it also means you can't store them in the cupboard. Once in the jars and cooled off, keep these pickles in the fridge and use them within a couple of months. They may be food safe for longer, but the texture will start to be more mushy than snappy, and that's no good!


  • 1 pound jalapeño chile peppers
  • 1 white onion
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar or white distilled vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fine sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 pint jars with lids

Steps to Make It

  1. Remove and discard the stems from the jalapeños. Cut the chiles into thick rings. If you want to keep the mixture from getting too spicy, poke out and discard the white seeds. You can take it to the next level and cut out and discard any white membrane from the center of the chiles, too.

  2. Peel the onion, cut it in half lengthwise, and coarsely chop it. Peel the garlic cloves.

  3. Put the vinegar, salt, bay leaves, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the mixture is boiling, add the jalapeños, onions, and garlic. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle but steady simmer and cook until the jalapeños are tender, about 5 minutes.

  4. Pack the jalapeños and onions evenly into the jars. Top with enough of the vinegar mixture to cover the vegetables, but leave at least a half-inch of space between the top fo the liquid and the top of the jar. Add the lids and seal shut. Let the jars cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge. If you can stand it, let them sit for a few days before using the pickles. Keep the pickled jalapeños for up to two months in the refrigerator.