How To Pickle Jalapenos – Easy and Delicious!

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Do you have an abundance of fresh jalapenos growing in your garden this year? Me too! With canning season right around the corner, I wanted to share one of my favorite canning recipes and show you how to pickle jalapenos. I promise it’s easy and requires only a few simple ingredients.

The very first year we moved into this house, I built my garden. I was eager, so  I started a few hot peppers indoors in January.   I had no idea what I was doing.

I was bummed when several people told me my hot peppers didn’t have much chance in our short growing season.

It’s a good thing I never listen to anyone because I planted those peppers anyway, and they produced like mad that first year.

Looking at my “little” garden now, I have 48 pepper plants.

Before you go thinking I’m crazy, I have to tell you that in this house, we eat a lot of peppers. Forty of these pepper plants are different varieties of red bell peppers; the rest are jalapenos.

We learned how to pickle jalapenos a few years back, and now we can’t get enough. I pickle enough of the little firecrackers to last my family all winter! We put them on almost everything.

small jars filled with sliced fresh jalapeno peppers

Growing My Own Jalapenos

I didn’t know then what I know now about growing peppers- I just lucked out. I started the pepper plants indoors in January, lopped their heads off in March, and stuck them in the ground in mid-June. The sun and the heat did the rest.

But starting the hot peppers that early is vital. They need time to grow, and they need a long season to ripen.

My eight jalapeno plants from this year produced so much that I had to give much of it away. The rest I pickled to eat all winter long.

Once you know how to pickle jalapenos, you will always make room in your garden for a plant or two.

cleaning whole jalapeno peppers

Where To Get Fresh Jalapenos If You Can’t Plant Them

Before I started growing jalapeno plants myself, I used to buy them at my local grocery store or farmer’s market. I was a bit gobsmacked over the price of a few jalapenos at the grocery store. Where I live, four peppers cost about $5.00.

Say what? Not in this lifetime!

Now granted, I am in Northern Canada, and jalapenos are not just growing on the side of the road. They do take some care to grow here, but still, a buck a pepper seems a tad excessive.

For my home garden, I raised my jalapeno peppers from seed, so my cost was pennies. Even if I bought plants at the greenhouse, they are way cheaper than peppers at the grocery store.

Where I live, it is not at all price-savvy to buy and pickle your jalapenos. I highly recommend growing them if possible- it’s the best way.

How to pick jalapenos from the plant: Jalapenos are ripe and ready to be harvested when they are bright green, firm, and glossy.

canning jars filled with sliced jalapenos

How To Pickle Jalapenos This Canning Season

This pickled jalapeño recipe is incredibly easy. It’s not at all complicated and does not require a lot of time or special ingredients. It is a great recipe for anyone who is starting out with canning.

I do not add anything to my pickled jalapenos. No garlic, no oregano, nada. I want a nice, simple-tasting pickled pepper that tastes like jalapenos.

But if you like garlic and want some oregano, you should make them how you want.

I don’t like peppers with many flavor additions and want my jalapenos to taste like jalapenos, but that’s just me. I use plain brine, and they taste fantastic after a few months in storage.

I’ve detailed my process and a few tips and tricks in step-by-step instructions below. I’ve even included a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post!

Tools Required:

  • Large canning pot
  • Canning Jars ( we use half pints )
  • Lids
  • canning bands
  • Jar lifter
  • Canning funnel
  • Clean dish towel
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board

Ingredients Required

  • Hot peppers ( Jalapeño peppers, Hungarian wax peppers, banana peppers, etc.)
  • Vinegar ( regular 5% acid)
  • Canning Salt

You can pickle any hot pepper with this recipe!

Step 1: Prep and Sterilize Your Jars

It’s very important to clean and sterilize your jars before using them, especially if you plan to store these peppers for the winter season.

I prefer to store my pickle rings in 1/2-pint jars. They are perfect for us to use for a meal or two or to add a few to a sandwich. I do not have to worry about a larger container going to waste if we do not get through it on time.

Of course, if you want to store them up in larger jars, go ahead. The processing time will be longer for quarts vs. pints vs. half pints, but it does not affect the outcome.


the process of how to make pickled jalapenos

Step 2: Clean And Cut Fresh Jalapeños

Clean them with fresh, cool water before working with the jalapenos. Dry and allow them to sit on the counter to reach room temperature.

Do NOT try to process cold peppers from the refrigerator. Your peppers should be at room temperature when you add your brine.


Note: Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands, and be careful not to touch your face or eyes with those gloves.   Although Jalapenos are low on the Scoville scale, they can still burn your skin and eyes.

Slice the jalapenos into small rings and fill your jars, leaving a 1/2-inch space at the top. My jalapenos were quite large this year, and I only needed a single pepper per 1/2 pint jar.

Freshly sliced jalapeno rings in open mason jars

Step 3: Make The Vinegar Brine

Add 5 cups of water, 5 cups of vinegar, and 1/2 cup of coarse pickling salt (not iodized salt; it must be pickling salt) to a large pot and bring to a rolling boil.

Fill your jars to a 1/4 inch from the top with the hot brine.

Use a knife to poke around your jars to remove any bubbles.

Next, wipe your rims with a clean cloth or paper towel, add your lids and rings, and twist just finger tight.

Tip: Do not over-tighten your caps.

Add your jars to your canner and process for 10 minutes for 1/2 pints and pints and 15 minutes for quarts.

Readers Questions:

We sometimes get specific cooking questions from readers, and we’ve included them here with answers:

Can I use Apple Cider Vinegar In My Homemade Pickled jalapeños?

You can use apple cider vinegar for canned jalapeños. We’ve found that apple cider vinegar overpowers the peppers, but if you like apple cider vinegar, you can use it in this recipe with no safety issues. I recommend trying a blend first, 50/50 regular vinegar and apple cider vinegar, and going from there.

Can I Refrigerate Sliced Jalapeno Slices and Pickle them Later?

I would hold off on slicing them and storing them, and even then, I would only store them for a few days at the most. You want the peppers to hang on to some fresh crispness, and the longer they store the less likely they are to be crisp.


varying jars of pickled jalapenos in different sizes stack on top of each other.

Step 4: Store Your Homemade Pickled Jalapeño Peppers

Remove your jars from your canner and leave them undisturbed for 24 hours.

Check your seals. If any did not seal properly, store them in the refrigerator to eat within a month. For the jars that did seal, your jalapenos are suitable for an entire year stored in a cool location.

It’s a waiting game, much like homemade pickles. You’ll have to wait two months before your pickled hot peppers are ready to eat.

And that’s how to pickle jalapeno peppers – I told you it would be easy!

Frequently Asked Questions About Pickled Jalapenos

After I had shared this picking recipe with others, I did get some really good questions I wanted to share with you all. Just in case you were also wondering the same…

Are Pickled Jalapenos Spicy?

They can be.

If you want to make these pickled peppers spicy, leave a couple of the seeds. You can remove the seeds if you wish to have milder pickled jalapenos.  Removing the seeds requires more processing time, but it cools down the peppers.

Can I Pickle These Jalapenos Whole?

Yes, you can, but it requires a bit of additional prep work. To can whole peppers, you will need to slice them down the side or puncture them with a fork. The inside of the pepper needs to fill with brine, so we need to create a way for that brine to get in.

If you use the fork method, you want to ensure you pierce through the flesh and into the pepper.

My husband had a permanently raised eyebrow as he watched me stabby-stabby my peppers.

It was quite therapeutic!

What Can I Eat With Pickled Jalapeños?

Pickled jalapenos are spicy, lip-puckering additions to any of your Mexican meals.

We love them in tacos, on top of nachos and enchiladas! But we also use them around the kitchen to punch up sandwiches, add to burgers, spice up eggs, and mix with cream cheese to have with crackers.

My husband likes to add them to grilled cheese sandwiches; I must admit, they make a boring cheese pop with flavor.

If you can think of it, we probably tried adding pickled jalapenos to it.

I made 12 pints last year, thinking that was MORE than enough, but they were gone before summer hit. This year, I made even more and branched out and started pickling jalapeños whole.

But honestly, a pantry filled with a few bottles of pickled jalapenos, homemade pickles, jams, and fresh tomato sauce (and the list goes on) is probably the best thing for anyone who likes to cook.

These fun pantry staple items add a uniqueness to your cooking that you simply can’t buy at the store.

Note: You can buy pickled jalapenos at Walmart or any other big-box grocery store, but they are never as good as the ones you make yourself.

Fill your pantry!

I love to preserve food from my garden and have it on hand in the winter. There is nothing quite like a nice fresh jar of rhubarb jam, or a pumpkin pie made with homegrown pumpkins in the middle of a winter storm.

Canning preserves that fresh taste of summer and adds such a wow factor to homemade meals and desserts.

Seriously, this whole gardening thing started because someone said my homemade tomato sauce wasn’t from scratch because I didn’t grow my tomatoes. Now that I do, I wouldn’t return to a commercially canned sauce. 

Learning to pickle jalapenos is probably the easiest canning recipe ever; I highly recommend making a few jars for your pantry even if you’ve never tried canning before.


More Canning & Preserving Resources:


Pickled Jalapenos

Pickled Jalapenos

Yield: 12 pints
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

These pickled jalapenos are easy to make and last for a year in storage! They add a spicy pickle punch to sandwiches, nachos, tacos, dips, and any savory dish that needs a bit of spice.  

Ingredients

Brine

  • 1.25 quart (5 cups ) white vinegar
  • 1.25 quart (5 cups) freshwater
  • 1/2 cup Pickling salt
  • 36 Fresh Jalapenos, Mid-large size jalapenos

Instructions

  1. Prepare your canner, jars, lids, and rings for processing. 12-pint jars, or 24 half-pint jars. The number of jars will depend on the size of your jalapenos.
  2. Clean jalapenos under fresh cold water. Dry, and allow to sit out on the counter to reach room temperature. 
  3. Slice jalapenos into small rings and fill jars to within 1/2 inch from the top. 
  4. Add your vinegar, freshwater, and pickling salt to a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Carefully pour your brine into your filled jars using a ladle and a canning funnel. Fill to 1/4 inch from the top. 
  5. Add lids and rings and twist until finger tight. Do not over tighten your rings.
  6. Process half-pints and full pints for 10 minutes, for quarts process for 15 minutes. 
  7. Remove jars from canner and place on a level surface. Leave undisturbed for 24 hours. 
  8. Check seal. If no seal, keep in the refrigerator for up to a month. The sealed jars are good in cool storage for up to a year. 

Notes

    • Do NOT try to process cold peppers from the refrigerator, your peppers should be room temperature. 
    • If you are making whole pickled jalapenos, puncture or slice your peppers to allow your brine to seep inside. 
    • For those folks at higher altitudes, it is always a good practice to verify your processing time with your local extension office. If you are in the US you can find your local extension office here: https://pickyourown.org/countyextensionagentoffices.htm

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 192 Tablespoons Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

24 Comments

  1. Why can you not use jalapenos straight from the refrigerator? My husband sliced the jalapenos and then refrigerated them until I have time to can them.

    1. When they are fresh, they tend to be crispier in the final product just like cucumber pickles. The longer they stay in the fridge, the more likely they are to be softer, especially if they are sliced prior. After years and years of canning we’ve found that the best pickles always come from freshly picked (and we mean picked today). But that’s also not always possible and in years when our crops do not co-operate and I have to buy my produce in bushels- I make do- and the pickles are fine but they do tend to suffer a bit with their texture. If you’re fine with the texture of your pickles, well you have no problems at all.

  2. I have been pickling jalapeño’s for 3 years now and I use vinegar only unboiled (no water) and no salt (my husband and I are on sodium reduced diets). It was actually why I started pickling because the store bought ones are so salty and we like “just” jalapeños like Laura you mentioned. I also boil my jars/lids for 30 minutes before filling and another 30minutes after filling and I find after they sit for 24 hours they are immediately ready to eat without a 2 month wait. It works well for me as I try to ensure I have given any extra jars away well before pickling time so I am eating the next fresh batch right away. However, do you Laura or anyone else see any issues with my process?

    1. Hey Lisa, the only thing I can say about the 30 minute boil time is it could cause the peppers to be very soft after a few months on the shelf. You’re using adequate acid, and the processing time is more than necessary. You don’t have to boil your jars prior for 30 minutes, but there isn’t anything wrong with it, however, when it comes to the lids you may be applying too much heat to them for too long which could lead to early deterioration of the lids. Most lid manufacturers tend to state to not over boil the lids (the center circles, not the rimmed twist tops). I would verify with your lid manufacturer that you’re not creating an issue boiling them for such a long period of time. Some of the newer lids do not even require boiling- they seal during the boiling process in the canner.

  3. Sounds so yummy! I grew my own Jalapeños for the first time this year and they’re finally ready, I’ve been waiting to pickle them, cant wait. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    1. If you like jalapenos Ashely you will love them when they are ready. My Jalapeno loving husband puts them on nearly everything from grilled cheese (highly recommended) to mashed potatoes ( I’m not joking!). Cheers!

  4. I just would like to know specifically how to cut the top head of the plant off? How much how far down and if you live in a apt do you have necessarily have a grow light & should their be air cirulation very insulated apt had a plant growing one time mold on me in apt. Any input can share much Appreciated

    1. Hi Jason! Pepper plants require a significant amount of light to thrive. You will need a significant light source if you plan on growing indoors. A bright south-facing window will be ok, especially if you live in a southerly climate. Air circulation is very important to keep the plants healthy. I lop the tops off all my pepper plants when they have 5 leaves and cut down to the top of the second & third leaf. Jalapeno pepper plants can be grown indoors, I have pulled some of my favorite plants from the garden to keep overwinter in my kitchen. They do ok for me, they don’t produce a lot of peppers, but I also live in a very (very) cold northern location.

    1. Hi Nancy, yes, Kosher salt can be used at a 1:1 replacement in this recipe. But for anyone reading, only kosher salt, other salts like flakey salt, or pink salt, will need to be replaced by weight and not by cup.

    1. Hi Karla, yup! Every year I have a few red jalapenos peppers by the time I am ready to start pickling. Red jalapenos tend to be very hot peppers so keep that in mind. They also tend to be sweeter vs young green jalapenos. I either add a few red rings to each pickling jar to amp up the spicy, or pickle the red ones all on their own in special jars.

  5. Do you use your jars, lids and rings at room temp? I always had my jars, lids and rings in boiling water before I filled with peppers.

  6. I made this recipe as my first canning experience. I had a harvest of jalapeños in my garden. Also my first vegetable garden! I opened one of the jars a couple days later because I couldn’t wait and they a so salty I do t think they are edible. I went back a reviewed your blog again. In one place it says 3/4 cup canning salt, in another it said 1/2. I used 3/4. Could that be it? Then I read you suggest they would be ready in 2 months. Any comments or suggestions?? PS- I love canning and will continue! My neighbors have a fig tree so I am going to try jam next!

    1. Hi Sue, the recipe is 1/2 cup salt, but it doesn’t matter. Even if you used 3/4 they should still be fine. I’ve made batches with higher salt concentrations and they still turn out perfectly fine. The challenge here is that you tested them a few days later. That’s why they were incredibly salty. You need to give the salt and brine time to work their way through the peppers. If you wanted to make fridge pickles you could use the same brine, reduce the salt significantly (like 1 TBS per quart) and set them in the fridge. Those peppers you can eat in a few days, they will still be very crisp and not as pickled as the canned version, but they are pickled peppers you can eat in a few days. I would set the jars you made away for a few months and test them again. Any canned pickle (be it peppers or anything) really evolve in flavor and taste over a few months. We usually don’t crack open our homemade pickles until around Thanksgiving but the pickles we open around the holidays are always even better. So yes, time is the factor here, that brine isn’t the right brine to use for quick pickling.

  7. Can’t wait to try this! Sounds super easy! A question though…do you process in a hot water bath or in a pressure canner?

    1. Hi Shelly, in a water bath. If you used a pressure cooker it would pretty much turn your pickles to mush. Since the brine is heavy on the acid, it’s a recipe that is ok to use a water bath.

  8. When you work with jalapeños, wear rubber gloves. I didn’t realize how sensitive my hands were until it was too late. The capsaicin in hot peppers can burn your hands. Mine were as red as a beet. My husband had to finish canning my peppers because I was in extreme pain. But, wow, were they good to wear!!

    1. Hi Virgie, yes, they will burn, I have a note in the post about wearing gloves and protecting the skin. I made it more visible for those folks who just scan and jump to the recipe. I’ve burned my eyes a few times accidentally touching the glove to my eye (not my best moments). You know I also burned my hands chopping up a not quite ripe butternut squash once. I didn’t even know that possible but my hands were a mess for days afterward. The best practice is to always wear gloves! Thanks for the comment.

    1. Hey Marlee, my jalapenos stay relatively crispy, not snappy, but not soft and mushy either. I don’t add anything to the brine, but I do start with super fresh peppers. I pick them, and I Immediately pickle them. Last year I grew a pepper called jalafuego, they grow quite large, and are very fleshy, and that could be part of it as well. The smaller the wall of the pepper I find the quicker they cook when you do the boil, and the thicker fleshed peppers tend to hold together better. So maybe look for a good fleshy jalapeno for pickling.

      The other recommendation you could try is a bit of Pickle Crisp, it’s normally used in pickles to keep them crispy but you can use it for peppers. The old-timey way to get crispy peppers was to do a lime soak, which is quite time-consuming. Pickle Crisp replaces that lime soaking step. You can find Pickle Crisp on Amazon, and Walmart and pretty much most places that sell canning supplies.

      If you do grow your own peppers, I cannot recommend the jalafuego pepper enough. I absolutely love them. They grow thick and long and the plants are quite prolific. Even in my super short growing season, they produce like crazy. I’d wager they are one of the best peppers for pickling. (in my humble opinion).

      Hope that was helpful, good luck with your pickling!

      (oh and just a quick edit I use Pickle Crisp in my pickles every year with great success!)

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