Light My Fire: Pickled Jalapenos

Explosively hot, these pickled jalapenos will knock you out.   Bring a fire extinguisher to the dinner table when you serve these. Seriously, these pickled jalapenos are most certainly not for the faint of palate.   But they sure are addictive and tasty.

A raw, probiotic food that explodes with flavor, these little guys are unlike the conventional pickled jalapenos found on your grocery store shelves that are canned at high heat in a vinegar solution thus losing much of their natural vitamins and their heat-sensitive food enzymes.   Just as with sauerkraut, kimchi, preserved lemons,   or other lacto-fermented foods, pickled jalapenos are rich in beneficial bacteria – those little microflora that keep our immune systems running optimally. Moreover, when the peppers begin to come into full force at your local farmers market, you can purchase them in abundance, ferment them in just a few easy steps and keep probiotic pickled jalapenos on hand throughout the winter ultimately keeping your miles-to-the-plate low and your body well-nourished.

Jalapenos are a remarkable food.   Strongly anti-inflammatory, jalapenos represent a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate and manganese.   Their heat, understandably, may limit the amount you can tolerate.   Jalapenos also contain capsaicin, that component of chili peppers that causes you to experience a fiery, burning sensation when it touches your skin, lips or tongue.   Capsaicin has strongly analgesic properties when applied topically – and wisely, I might add. Some researchers believe it may play a role in the treatment of cancer as well.

A Mexican-inspired Supper

pickled jalapenos recipe

By Jenny Published: October 8, 2009

    This is a probiotic, fermented version of conventional pickled jalapenos that you’ll find on grocery store shelves. Best used with a moderate hand, these are a spicy and fiery condiment.


    • 1 quart Fresh Jalapeno Peppers
    • 1/2 onion (Sliced)
    • 3 - 4 cloves Garlic
    • 3 tbsp Unrefined Sea Salt
    • 1 quart Filtered Water


    1. Gently wash and clean the jalapenos, discarding any bruised, marred or mushy peppers.
    2. Add the peppers, garlic and onions to your vegetable fermenter.
    3. Combine unrefined sea salt and filtered water to create a brine and pour over the vegetables.
    4. Ensure that vegetables are below the water-line.
    5. Culture at room temperature until the jalapenos change color from deep green to an olive green as pictured above. This usually takes approximately 5 to 7 days depending on the temperature of your home.

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    What people are saying

    1. Larry says

      After the jalapenos culture for 5-7 days, do you store them in the fridge or on a pantry shelf? Also, how long can you keep an unopened jar of them? Thanks, sorry if these are dumb questions, but I’m new to this.

    2. says

      Oh, these look SO good! I’ve been wondering if I could prepare jalapeños this way. I love pickled peppers but I’m trying to avoid the bottled ones now. Thanks!

    3. Jenny says

      Chandelle –

      I find that while the fermented jalapenos do have that classic pickled pepper taste, they’re remarkably fresher which is kind of neat.  Very good, I think and I can see we’re going to make use of them a lot in our kitchen.

      Take Care –


    4. Jenny says

      Larry –

      I store mine in the fridge and I imagine they’ll last about 6 – 8 weeks, similarly to sour pickles.  If you have cold storage, that would be a good place for the fermented jalapenos too.


      Take Care –


    5. says

      Love this, Jenny –
      We’re a couple of complete chile-heads, so this is right up our alley. Pickled, spicy, AND fermented??? How can it get better than that?! Could you do this just as easily with sliced jalapenos? Any clue how that might impact the final product?

    6. Jenny says

      Jenn –

      I did these in a mason jar because my big crocks were busy fermenting sauerkraut.  I just made sure to wedge the peppers beneath the lip of the mason jar so that they stayed below the waterline and it worked just fine.  I hope you like these!

      – Jenny

    7. says

      Every time I open a jar of pickles or kimchee I salivate–literally. Funny enough, I actually got the same sensation just reading this post. Yummm!

    8. says

      I have been wanting to pickle peppers for a while but didn’t know how. I ran across your site and now I think I’m going to try out a few of your recipes.
      Do you know if you can mix different kinds of peppers (jalapeno, banana, sweet bell) and get the same result? Also, what about chopping the peppers instead of leaving them whole?
      Thanks – Katherine

    9. Rachel says

      I have two questions. Could I dice up my jalepenoes, instead of keeping them whole and then follow the same process? What would my
      proportions be?
      Also, I have green habeneroes, too. Could I do the same amounts and process, too? Grind them, salt them, etc?
      Okay that’s four questions…

      I’m basicly trying to make a pepper mash fermented safely with salt as opposed to vinegar.


      • anne says

        if you google ‘homemade sriracha’ you’ll find some great recipes for fermented hot sauce/pepper paste. Thanks for the recipe…I’m going to pickle peppers today!

    10. MELINDA says

      When we lived in So Cal. We used to get pickeled jalapenos and carrots at some of the small independent Mexican restaurants. Do you think that it could be done the same way??

    11. jeff says

      Im new at all this. if your using a mason jar do you put the lid on and seal it or leave it loose to allow gas to escape? Thanks, Im excited to try the pickled jalapenos.

    12. Mark says


      Last fall I tried your pickled jalapeno recipe. Instead of fermenting at room temperature, I immediately put them in the refrigerator (thinking they would still ferment, just at a slower rate because of the colder temp.). I had lots of jalapenos, so I made several pints. I still have a few jars in the refrigerator, but mold has developed on top of the jar. I can easily scoop the mold off the top (it is one big clump). Would these pickled jalapenos still be safe to eat, or should I be concerned about botulism?


    13. toby delgiudice says

      i’ve been making lacto fermented peppers for several years. mostly jalapeno, and pepperoncini. i have also tried other types but the green jalapenos give the best results .i store them in my wine cellar, which stays between 55-70 degrees. am eating peppers put up in 2009, they are crisp and hot, and taste very fresh.

    14. Socorro Rivas says

      Hi Jenny

      I absolutely love the idea of fermenting the peppers instead of just pickling them with vinegar. I’m so glad I checked here first before starting the process.

      One question: Can I add carrots to the pickled jar?

      We used to buy the canned pickled jalapenos with carrots and I ate the carrots while my husband ate the jalapenos. So I’d love to add carrots to this. Can I ?

    15. Ann says

      So if I understand this, I can’t see the picture. The jalapeno are whole with stem, onion in sliced and garlic is in cloves? This in brine will give fermented peppers?

    16. Felix Domestica says

      The key to fermented pickles is getting the salt balance just right. You want it high enough to kill off most things, but low enough that the lactobacillus are still happy.

      If that’s correct then, yes, all it takes is tossing the veg in and making sure they’re completely covered by the brine. so you don’t get something else growing on the exposed ends. (You may need to weight them down to keep them submerged, if they don’t wedge nicely into the jar.) The jar doesn’t even have to be sealed, though a loose cover may make you feel better.

      When they’re done, standard advice for extending their life is to drain off about a quarter of the liquid and refill with vinegar — which will kill off the lactobacillus and stop the process.

      I’ve had salt pickles keep for many months when refrigerated. But even without refrigeration… many of us still remember when supermarkets had open barrels of pickled cukes for customers to snarf their own cuke from. Remember, the whole point of pickling was to preserve things before refrigeration or hermetically sealed jars were available.

      That doesn’t mean you can be careless — if it looks wrong or tastes wrong, chuck it — and in my experience not every batch cooperates. But if you get the salt right, it’s easier than you may think.

    17. says

      It’s perfect time to make a few plans for the longer term and it is time to be happy. I have learn this submit and if I may just I want to suggest you few attention-grabbing things or suggestions. Maybe you could write subsequent articles referring to this article. I want to learn even more things about it!

    18. Gloria says

      Can the liquid from fermenting be reused to pickle a new batch and just add more water and salt proportionately? Or is the old liquid not able to ferment a 2nd time?

      Also did not see a reply to an earlier question about whether the jalapeños can be sliced.

      I’ve followed your recipe for a few years now and most of the time the jalapeños are great – crunchy and hot. Sometimes though they turn out all mushy and I have to discard them. Am I using too much salt? Or maybe it is just the quality of the peppers. Organic works best from my batches.

      Thanks and look forward to your reply.


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