For an extra dash of flavor on your tacos, nachos, and salads, add some pickled jalapeños! This Quick Pickled Jalapeños recipe requires just 5 minutes of hands-on prep time and is a great way to totally up-level your meals.
Have you ever been to a Mexican restaurant where they topped your tacos, enchiladas, or nachos with some “cooked” jalapeños? They were probably pickled! Taqueria style jalapeños bring about a whole new world of flavor, and they taste pretty damn delicious.
Following along with my current love for all things pickled, I decided to make some delicious taqueria-inspired peppers so that I can enjoy them at home on all of my favorite Mexican recipes!
On top of tasting delicious, this recipe is very simple to whip together and only requires 5 main ingredients consisting of water, sugar, salt, vinegar, and jalapeños. Add your favorite spices, and you’re good to go.
And, since we’re on the subject of jalapeños, I know what you’re wondering. Are pickled jalapeños spicy? Well…they are if you leave in all of the seeds! However, a great way to get the delicious jalapeño flavor without the heat is to simply remove some of the seeds. The more you remove, the less spicy your pickled peppers will end up.
Here’s what you’ll need
This pickled jalapeños recipe only requires five main ingredients. As for the seasonings, there are a handful of options that you can choose from to personalize the flavor of your peppers! Feel free to mix and match or make two separate batches for extra variety.
- Hot Water: Hot water will be used as the main component of the pickling base. Using hot water ensures the sugar and salt will dissolve quickly.
- Sugar: As with most pickled foods, we need a dash of sugar for flavoring.
- Non-Iodized Salt: Be sure to use non-iodized salt, as iodized salt can cause discoloring in pickle recipes.
- White Vinegar: We will be using white vinegar to pickle these peppers, though white wine vinegar would also work well.
- Jalapeños: To make a good amount of jalapeño slices, you’ll need about 10-15 peppers.
- Optional Flavorings: There are a number of optional flavorings that you can use to add tweak this recipe to your taste, including garlic, bay leaf, cumin, and oregano.
How to make homemade pickled jalapeños
Jalapeño peppers are one of the easiest dishes to pickle. Start by heating some water and combining a few of the ingredients, then slice your peppers. Add everything to a jar, and wait! It’s that simple.
- Heat the water: Heat water in either a kettle, the microwave, or on the stove until steaming hot. Stir in sugar and salt until dissolved. Stir in vinegar.
- Prepare the peppers: Thinly slice the jalapeños (¼ to ⅛ inch thick), optionally removing the seeds for a less spicy pickle.
- Combine the ingredients: Add your chosen optional flavors to a lidded non-reactive container (like a glass jar or ceramic vessel – I used a 16oz mason jar), and then top with the jalapeños. Pour the vinegar mixture over the jalapeños until they’re covered. You may not need all of the liquid. Let the liquid cool to room temperature, and then seal the jars shut and transfer them to the refrigerator. Let them pickle for at least 30 minutes before digging in!
Pro pickling tips
Here are some commonly asked questions regarding pickling. From adding extra veggies to knowing exactly how much time you’ll need to make this recipe, these tips have you covered.
Can I add more veggies to this recipe?
Of course! In fact, carrots, radishes, and onion are often included in pickled taqueria dishes! You’ll find them atop signature dishes or included with chips and salsa as a dip. Feel free to add these veggies to your pepper mix if you’d like.
How much time do I need to make homemade pickled jalapeños?
The great news? Pickling recipes are actually pretty quick and easy to prepare. This recipe only requires about 5 minutes of prep time. After that, the mixture will sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. When all is said and done, you’ll have one delicious cup of quick pickled jalapeños.
How long does it take these peppers to fully pickle?
For this recipe, it’s recommended that you refrigerate your peppers for at least 30 minutes before eating. However, the longer you let them sit, the more “pickled” they’ll taste! If you can let them sit for a few hours before eating, the flavor will be well worth the wait.
How to store
After you’ve made your pickling mixture and canned everything as described in the directions above, store your jalapeños in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Whenever you’re in the mood, remove them from the fridge and serve ’em up with salads, nachos, or tacos!
Note: This pickled jalapeño recipe has not been tested for long-term caning storage. Be sure to follow the best USDA canning practices if canning for long-term storage.
What to do with pickled jalapeños
Crunchy pickled jalapeños can do wonders for transforming a dish into something full of flavor. Add these little pepper slices to your favorite taco, salad, and nacho dishes! Here are some recipes that can easily include pickles!
- Crispy Avocado Tacos
- Vegan Nachos with BBQ “Pulled Pork” and Queso
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Roasted Cauliflower Street Tacos
- Corn and Pulled Mushroom Vegetarian Tacos
- 1 cup hot water 236 mL
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp non-iodized salt
- 1 cup white vinegar 236 mL
- 10 to 15 jalapeños* sliced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- Pinch cumin
- Pinch oregano
- Liquid: Heat water in either a kettle, the microwave, or on the stove until steaming hot. Stir in sugar and salt until dissolved. Stir in vinegar.
- Jalapeños: Thinly slice the jalapeños (¼ to ⅛ inch thick), optionally removing the seeds for a less spicy pickle.
- Combine: Add your chosen optional flavors to a lidded non-reactive container (like a glass jar or ceramic vessel – I used a 16-oz mason jar), then top with jalapeños. Pour vinegar mixture over jalapeños so that they are covered (you may not need all of the liquid). Let cool to room temperature, then seal shut and transfer to the refrigerator. (Let pickle for at least 30 minutes before digging in.)
Tips & Tricks
- *Make it less spicy by removing the seeds from the jalapeños before pickling.
- Store in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 weeks. Serve these pickled jalapeños on salads, nachos, and tacos!
- Not tested for long-term canning storage. Be sure to follow best USDA canning practices if canning for long-term storage.