Ready in just 30 minutes, these tangy and vinegary pickled jalapeños is a great way to add some delicious heat to any dish. If you love some heat in your food, make sure you keep a jar of these jalapeños on hand to spice up any meal and make everything hotter and better. Naturally gluten-free and vegan.
- Bring on the Heat!
- What is Vinegar Pickling (or Quick Pickling)?
- Why This Recipe Works:
- Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Ingredient Notes/Substitutions:
- How to Make Pickled Jalapeños (Step by Step):
- Dish by Dish Tips/Tricks:
- Recipe FAQs:
- What to Eat with Pickled Jalapeños:
- If you enjoy this, you’ll also love these other recipes:
- Other Appetizer Recipes to Enjoy:
- Easy Pickled Jalapeños (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
Bring on the Heat!
Those of you who know me know that I love spices and heat in my foods. In fact, I can’t live without my homemade sriracha sauce, and love to add a bit of heat even in sweet foods, such as this gluten-free jalapeño cornbread.
Back home in Singapore where I grew up and spent the first 25 years of my life, it’s very common for restaurants to serve a few different options of hot sauces as well as pickled chilies to go along with our food. Naturally, pickling chilies or peppers has been an idea I’ve thought about for a while, and when I found fresh jalapeños at the grocery store recently, I decided it was time to pickle some peppers!
What is Vinegar Pickling (or Quick Pickling)?
Given that it was my first time making pickled anything, I researched a little on what it meant.
According to Food and Wine, vinegar pickling (a.k.a. quick pickling) is a simple and straightforward process which involves combining and heating a mixture of vinegar, water, salt, and sugar, and then submerging the vegetables you wish to pickle in this mixture once it’s boiled, let it cool, and then store it in the refrigerator.
The amount and type of ingredients used can vary, but the process is basically that – simple, easy, and quick.
Vinegar pickling doesn’t include any fermentation, unlike the process of fermentation pickling, which is a way longer and more tedious process.
The good thing though is that vinegar pickling helps to preserve some fresh produce which might otherwise go bad easily. In this case, we’re going with jalapeños, because a little bit of heat (or plenty of it) always makes anything taste better.
Why This Recipe Works:
- Simple Ingredients: The ingredients required to make your own homemade pickled jalapeños are simple and easy to get. With the exception of the jalapeños, you probably already have the rest of the ingredients your kitchen.
- Ready in 30 Minutes: This great recipe for jalapeño pickles is ready in a flash! All you need is half an hour and it’s done!
- Versatile: The best part is how flexible this simple recipe is. If you don’t have jalapeño peppers on hand, you can also use bell peppers, chilies, cucumbers or even red onions.
- Naturally Gluten-Free and Vegan: These quick pickles are free of preservatives or additives, and are naturally gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. This means that those with Celiac disease or gluten or lactose intolerances can enjoy them as well!
Ingredients You’ll Need:
Here’s a visual overview of the ingredients required to make these homemade pickled jalapeños. For exact quantities and measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
You’ll need just 6 ingredients for these pickled peppers – fresh jalapeño peppers, fresh garlic, distilled white vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. so make sure you get the best and freshest ingredients you can get your hands on.
- Garlic: I love garlic and the taste that it imparts in this easy pickled jalapeños recipe. However, if you don’t have garlic on hand, or simply aren’t a fan of garlic and would prefer to leave it out, feel free to do so.
- Distilled White Vinegar: I used distilled white vinegar, but you may also use white wine vinegar, rice vinegar or even apple cider vinegar if you prefer.
- Sugar: Note that the sugar is to regulate the heat level and make it less hot. I used granulated white sugar, but you can also use light brown sugar if you prefer. Just bear in mind that brown sugar will make the liquid a darker brown. If you are diabetic or insulin resistant, I highly recommend using Lakanto monkfruit sweetener (a 1:1 sugar substitute that has zero glycemic index).
- Salt: The type of salt is up to you. I used regular table salt, but you can also use sea salt or kosher salt if you prefer.
How to Make Pickled Jalapeños (Step by Step):
1. Slice and Cut
Slice the fresh jalapeño peppers into thin rings and cut garlic cloves into halves.
2. Combine Garlic, Vinegar, Water, Sugar and Salt and Bring to a Boil
3. Add Jalapeño Rings to Mixture
Once the vinegar mixture starts to boil, add the jalapeño slices and press them down to submerge the peppers under the pickling liquid.
4. Let Jalapeños Sit in Liquid
Switch off the heat and let the sliced jalapeños sit in the vinegar brine for the next 10 to 15 minutes until until they turn from their original bright green color to the familiar olive green color that most pickles have.
5. Transfer to Mason Jars
Use a pair of canning tongs, chopsticks or a slotted spoon to transfer the pickled jalapeños to sterilized mason jars, before pouring the pickling juices over (make sure there is enough brine to cover the pickles). Let cool at room temperature before covering with the lid.
6. Use or Store
Use the pickled jalapeños immediately or store them in a mason jar in the refrigerator for up to two months.
Dish by Dish Tips/Tricks:
- Be Careful When Handling the Jalapeño Peppers: It’s best to use disposable gloves while slicing the jalapeño peppers because the seeds can sting (plenty of heat packed into them)! But if you don’t have gloves on hand, which was my case, simple use a fork to hold down one end of the jalapeño and then slice the peppers thinly. If you aren’t using gloves, make sure not to touch the seeds of the peppers, and wash hands after cutting the peppers. Definitely do NOT rub your eyes with your fingers as that might cause your eyes to sting. Other than that, slicing jalapeños are pretty much a breeze.
- Vary the Spice Level According to Your Taste Preferences: In this homemade pickles recipe, I use 2 tablespoons of sugar, which you can vary depending on how much heat you like. Generally speaking, the more sugar you use, the less heat and vice versa. For less heat, you can use up to 4 tablespoons of sugar, and if you like your food extra hot, use 1 tablespoon of sugar.
- Extra Flavor: If you would like to add extra flavor to the brine, you could also add in bay leaves, coriander seeds or mustard seeds while boiling the vinegar mixture for more taste.
I’d say to treat homemade pickled jalapeños the same way you would treat an opened jar of store-bought pickles – so it should keep for approximately 2 months in glass jars in the refrigerator. Also, try not to double dip. Use clean spoons or utensils when scooping out the pickles to ensure it stays fresh and is preserved for as long as possible.
What to Eat with Pickled Jalapeños:
I know some people like to eat pickled jalapeños directly from the jar, but I personally find that it could be too hot without any other food to buffer the heat. I like it together with other foods, and it has become a favorite way to spice up any dish!
Here are some other ways you could eat these jalapeños:
- On top of pizza (check out our gluten-free pizza crust!)
- Added to a burger to add some spice
- Added to a sandwich to bring on some extra flavor
- Heap them on a taco or a hotdog to oomph up the heat
- Roll the jalapeños in a burrito
- Eat with fried rice or lo mein or stir-fries
If you enjoy this, you’ll also love these other recipes:
- 5-Minute Homemade Sriracha Sauce (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
- Pico de Gallo (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
- Gluten-Free Jalapeño Cornbread (Dairy-Free)
- Easy Garlic Aioli Recipe (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
Other Appetizer Recipes to Enjoy:
P.S. If you try this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating below, and/or a review in the comment section further down the page. I always appreciate your feedback. Be sure to check out my entire Recipe Index for all the recipes on the blog. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram! Sign up for my Email List to get fresh recipes in your inbox each week!Print
Ready in just 30 minutes, these tangy and vinegary pickled jalapeños is a great way to add some delicious heat to any dish! If you love some heat in your food, make sure you keep a jar of these jalapeños on hand to spice up any meal and make everything hotter and better. Naturally gluten-free and vegan.
- Slice and Cut: Slice jalapeños into thin rings and cut garlic cloves into halves.
- Combine Garlic, Vinegar, Water, Sugar and Salt and Bring to Boil: Combine the halved garlic cloves, vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a large skillet or medium pot and bring to a boil, stirring to make sure the water dissolves.
- Add Jalapeño Rings to Mixture: Once the mixture starts to boil, add the sliced jalapeños and press them under the pickling liquid.
- Let Jalapeños Sit in Liquid: Switch off the heat and let the sliced jalapeños sit in the liquid for the next 10 to 15 minutes until they are no longer bright green but have turned olive green.
- Transfer to Mason Jars: Use tongs or chopsticks to transfer the jalapeños to sterilized mason jars, before pouring the pickling juices over. Let cool at room temperature before covering with the lid.
- Store: Store in the refrigerator for up to two months.
Garlic: I love garlic and the taste that it imparts in this easy pickled jalapeños recipe. However, if you don’t have garlic on hand, or simply aren’t a fan of garlic and would prefer to leave it out, feel free to do so.
Sugar: Note that the sugar is to regulate the heat level and make it less hot. I used granulated white sugar, but you can also use light brown sugar if you prefer. Just bear in mind that brown sugar will make the liquid a darker brown. If you are diabetic or insulin resistant, I highly recommend using Lakanto monkfruit sweetener (a 1:1 sugar substitute that has zero glycemic index).
Salt: I used regular table salt, but you can use sea salt or kosher salt too if you prefer.
Don’t Touch the Seeds with Bare Hands: Make sure you don’t touch the jalapeño seeds with your bare hands of they can get really hot. It’s best to use gloves of a fork to hold the jalapeño peppers down while you slice down. If not using gloves, make sure NOT to rub your eyes with your fingers after cutting them or they might sting.
Heat Level: You can adjust the heat level depending on how much heat you like and can tolerate. If you don’t want that much heat, use 4 tablespoons of sugar instead of 2, and if you like it really hot, you can even go down to 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Barely adapted from: Simply Scratch
This recipe was originally published in August 2020, but has since been updated to include ingredient photos, step-by-step images, ingredient notes and substitutions, as well as clearer instructions.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Category: Sauces
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: pickled jalapeños