Farm To Table

Pickled Peppers, hot or sweet

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Let us guide you through the basics of pickling peppers, covering everything from selecting the right ingredients to the step-by-step process of creating jars of crunchy, tangy peppers.

5 quart jars of Pickled Peppers arranged on a barnwood board with antique, crocheted doilyPin

Whether you’re looking to spice up your sandwiches, add pizzazz to your pizzas, or simply savor the satisfaction of making something delicious from scratch, you’re in for a flavorful journey

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Peppers are among the easiest vegetables for canning. They are so great with so many different foods.

At the end of the season, you end up with so many peppers. Even mid-season, you can make a jar or two at a time and enjoy them all winter.

This technique is called quick pickling, and there is no need to process them in a canning pot. Read on for important storage information.

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Growing Peppers

Last year was a great year for growing peppers in upstate NY. It was hot and dry, which peppers are excessively fond of. The drier the year, the hotter the pepper. This year is turning out to be the same, so these peppers should be super hot, too!

Want to learn more about growing your own peppers? If you love growing your own produce, these posts are packed full of information about how to get that big harvest by the end of the season! Don’t miss our How to Start a Garden Series!

The first section is Planning Your Garden. Second is Preparing the Garden Site.

The third is Choosing Plants and Planting Your Garden. The fourth is Garden Maintenance.

The last is Harvesting a Garden and Preserving the Harvest, this article has over 100 FREE recipes for preserving your harvest!

What Types of Peppers to Use

  • Jalapeños
  • Hungarian wax
  • Banana peppers
  • Ghost peppers
  • Scotch Bonnet
  • Serrano
  • Hatch peppers
  • Bell peppers
  • most hot and mild peppers will work well
 Plastic container with mixed colored fresh peppersPin

How to use these peppers

These pickled peppers can be used in so many ways. They are great in sandwiches, stews, and soups. Add some to your chili for an added kick. I put a small ramekin of them on charcuterie boards.

We love them on pizzas, and they are great when added to salads for a spicy, briny kick.

You can add them to tacos, burritos, fajitas, and enchiladas. Mix them with tomatoes for a quick pico de gallo.

Bamboo basket with tomatoes and wooden box with peppersPin

The above photo is the first major picking from this year, which is why there are no red or orange peppers. Some peppers turn from green to yellow to orange to red with age. Generally, the hottest peppers are the oldest, red peppers.

These are all Hungarian Wax Peppers and a couple of green bell peppers.

The Hungarian Wax peppers have a similar heat level to jalapeños but can even be hotter.

What you need

  • apple cider vinegar or white vinegar (you can also substitute white wine vinegar)
  • Kosher salt: USe plain kosher or pickling salt.
  • fresh or dried oregano
  • garlic
  • optional: peppercorns, bay leaves
Ingredients; kosher salt, vinegar, oregano, garlic cloves, peppers.Pin

How to make pickled peppers

So, briefly, let’s go on to the technique. The first thing you want to do is wash the peppers. Also, wash and sterilize the jars and warm the lids (you must sterilize the jars since these are quick-pickled). Get the rest of your ingredients together.

Step One:

Remove one hot jar at a time and add whole or sliced peppers. Use a clean knife to arrange them so that you can squeeze as many in the jar as possible. (Save enough room to add the remaining ingredients while allowing for about ½-inch headspace.) Pro tip: Lay jars on their sides to make packing whole peppers a breeze.

Jars loaded with peppers.Pin
Load the peppers into the jars. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Two:

Add dried or fresh oregano; we have used both. Then add two tablespoons of fresh oregano and the Kosher or canning salt to the jar.

Salt and oregano added to the jar.Pin
Add salt and oregano. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Three:

Then, fill the jar halfway with cider vinegar (about a cup for pint jars or 2 cups for quart jars) and add a few crushed garlic cloves.

Jar filled half way with vinegar.Pin
Fill the jar halfway with vinegar. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Four:

Fill the remainder of the jar with boiling water, preserving the ½-inch headspace.

Jar completely filled, preserving headspace.Pin
Fill the jar with boiling water. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Five:

You can slice the peppers, too; instead of leaving them whole, slice them and then add them to the jars.

** Be sure to wear protective, food-safe gloves when slicing hot peppers. It is very difficult to wash the capsaicin (the hot stuff) off of your hands. It can badly burn your mucous membranes, like your eyes.

Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel. Remove the hot lid from the water. Center the lid on top of the jar. Add the band. Tighten fingertip tight.

Sliced peppers on a cutting board.Pin
You can slice the peppers, too. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Sliced peppers take up less shelf and refrigerator space. IMPORTANT NOTE: Wear Gloves!

Use pint jars for sliced peppers or small peppers. Use quart jars for whole peppers and large peppers.

colorful  jars on barnwood board Pin

How to store jars

I have been making these for decades and have never had any problem with the shelf life of these peppers. They last for at least three years. I usually keep them in the basement, which is cool and dry.

Peppers are a low-acid fruit, so if you want to make these peppers shelf-stable, they need to be pressure-canned.

We refrigerate them if they aren’t pressure-canned. We’ve done some AB testing with the quick-canned and found them crispier when refrigerated. Even when compared to jars kept in our cool root cellar.

Red and green jarred peppersPin

The ones stored in the refrigerator have retained more of their vibrant color than the ones in the basement or root cellar.

They last for quite a long time- even years.

sealed jars on barnwoodPin

Pro tips to ensure your success

-Important Note: Wear food-grade gloves when slicing hot peppers!!

-Depending on the heat of the peppers that you are canning, these peppers can be very hot! Remember that the peppers will be hotter in hot, dry years. Perhaps not for the faint of heart.

-Rinsing sliced peppers can reduce a little bit of their heat level, but this is risky because it sprays small particles of capsaicin around in the air and can literally asphyxiate you. It is probably not worth the small bit of capsaicin that you will remove. In a dry year, the peppers will be hot.

-A better way to reduce the heat level of your peppers is to pickle green jalapenos only. Orange and red jalapenos are older and will be hotter. Peppers that develop ribs (beige to brown stripes on the skin are said to be older and hotter.)

-Also, scoop out and remove the ribs and seeds; much of the heat resides there. You can do this with a small melon baller or paring knife.

-Using a Canning tool kit can save you from potential burns.

-Do not reuse single-use lids. They may not be safe.

This recipe is for Cold-Packed Peppers. They can also be processed in a canning pot, but they get soggy.

-We have done lots of testing on the storage of these peppers and found they are best stored in the refrigerator. 

-Peppers are crispiest when used within six months or so.

-Many varieties of peppers can be canned. Jalapenos, serranos, habaneros, banana, Hungarian wax, red hot cherry, and many others.

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today.

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Colorful pepper in jars.Pin

Pickled Peppers

Easily Pickle Hot Peppers for use all year long!
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
4.97 from 26 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 20 peppers
Calories: 7kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 20 about hot peppers
  • 2 c. cider vinegar
  • water
  • 2 tsp. oregano, dried
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2-3 small garlic cloves, crushed

Instructions

  • Place Peppers in a clean, sterilized 1 qt. canning jar. 
  • Fill jar 1/2 way with vinegar.
  • Add, spices and garlic. Quantities are NOT critical! Just eye it!
  • Fill remainder of the jar with boiling water. 
  • Wipe edges of jars.
  • Place sterilized lid on jar and screw on band, fingertip tight.
  • Store in the refrigerator. Can be stored for at least 1 year.
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Notes

Notes:
Important Note: Wear food grade gloves when slicing hot peppers!!
Depending of the heat of the peppers that you are canning, these peppers can be very hot! Keep in mind that in hot, dry years, the peppers will be hotter. Perhaps not for the faint of heart!
Rinsing sliced peppers can reduce a little bit of their heat level, but this is risky because it sprays small particles of capsaicin around in the air and can literally asphyxiate you! It is probably not worth the small bit of capsaicin that you will remove. In a dry year, the peppers will be hot!
A better way to reduce the heat level of your peppers is to only pickle green jalapenos. Orange and red jalapenos are older and will be hotter. Also, slice peppers in half and remove the ribs and seeds, much of the heat resides there.
This recipe is for Cold Packed Peppers. They can also be processed in a water bath canning pot, but I find they get soggy.
I have done lots of testing on the storage of these peppers and find they are best stored in refrigerator. 
Peppers are crispier when used within 6 months, or so.

Nutrition

Calories: 7kcal | Sodium: 350mg | Potassium: 26mg | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 1.6mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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Originally published March 10, 2017. Updated March 25, 2024

108 Comments

    1. We think apple cider vinegar has a better flavor than white. You can certainly use white vinegar for safety reasons. Make sure that you are 5% acid vinegar. I’ve heard some companies are selling 4% and that is not a high enough acid content.

  1. Thanks so much for the recipe and all the helpful information related to safe storage. After making these peppers and storing them in the fridge, once opening the jar to eat them and the seal is broken, how soon after should they be consumed before they could go bad or be “dangerous”?

    1. They last a very long time. If they really begin to lose their color or smell off, then throw them out. They will last at least six months though.

  2. Can’t wait to try your recipe! I’ve done similar refrigerator style pickled jalapenos without the water and just raw apple cider vinegar and seasonings, but I was told these are to be used within 2 months or so. I love that your recipe indicates a year! I’m wondering if I can use Himalayan (pink) salt instead?

      1. Have you ever soaked the peppers in ice water before putting in jars? An old boyfriend’s grandma did then boiled the brine & added dill, garlic & salt. Very crispy & sealed perfectly!

        1. I haven’t with the peppers. I just do them right after picking so they have a lot of natural moisture in them. It sounds like a viable idea though. Thanks for checking out the recipe Michelle.

    1. I usually just wait a couple of days. You can technically eat them right away but they are better if they sit for a bit. Thanks for trying the recipe Nadine!

      1. 5 stars
        Hi Beth,
        I just finished pickling jalapeños, hot yellow banana peppers, onions and I sliced into strips and it was SO easy to do!! I prepped veggies the night before and just had to wash, sterilize jars and lids. I learned awhile ago after washing jars to sterilize them in a 270 degree oven and take out one at a time. DID NOT do hot water bath as them are mushy. I also used dried oregano, dried fresh dill and pickling spices and alternated the herbs. I used rubber gloves to mix all the veggie strips in a large, clear glass bowl and stuffed the mixture into the sterilized. I wanted to add a phot but it didn’t show how I can do that.
        Many thanks again for another GREAT recipe!
        Susan

        1. Your welcome Susan. Yes I find they get soggy if they are water bathed. I refrigerate for long periods and they are still good.

  3. 5 stars
    I would love to make this, specifically to have on hand when I am making pizza. Making this ASAP, thank you so much for this recipe! 🙂

  4. I have always wanted to learn the process of pickling. I’m glad to have found this detailed recipe! Can’t wait for my next farmers market trip 🙂

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