Do you love pickled jalapeño peppers? This easy recipe for canning jalapeño peppers is perfect for first-time or experienced canners. With this jar-by-jar recipe, you can easily alter the recipe for as many pounds of peppers as you have. This jalapeño recipe gives directions for both water bath canning and refrigerating your canned pickled jalapeños; it’s up to you which direction you choose to go!
My garden harvest was a little so-so this summer, which is partially because we were gone for three straight weeks. My sweet dad did everything in his power to battle the tenacious raccoon and voracious hornworm caterpillars, but there was not a lot he could do for the extreme temperatures. Our sprinkler system is automatic, but had we been here, we might have increased the watering during July’s heatwave.
All that to say, while our late summer tomato and cucumber harvest hasn’t been much to crow about, our jalapeños, bell peppers, and eggplant have really tried to fill in the gap.
“Fantastic recipe! I harvested around 3 lbs of jalapenos before the first freeze 2 nights ago and pickled them as per your directions. I did the same thing in 2019 and those are now spectacular!!! I can’t thank you enough!“
Ingredients for Pickled Jalapeño Peppers
Fresh jalapeños: Always look for fresh, firm, and brightly colored jalapeños without any blemishes or soft spots. The thickness of the slices will affect the heat and crunchiness of the final product; 1/8″ is a good middle ground.
White distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or a combination of the two: The vinegar’s acidity (minimum of 5%) is crucial for the pickling process. You can use either distilled white vinegar for a more neutral flavor or apple cider vinegar for a slightly sweet, fruity undertone. You can also mix both for a balanced flavor.
Water: This dilutes the vinegar and makes the pickling liquid less harsh.
Sugar: This is optional. The sugar will help balance out the acidity of the vinegar. If you prefer a less sweet pickle, you can decrease the amount.
Pickling or Kosher salt: Salt helps pull moisture from the jalapeños and aids in the preservation process.
Whole black peppercorns: Adds a slightly spicy, aromatic note to the pickles.
Whole cumin seeds: Gives a warm, earthy flavor.
Mustard seeds (optional): Adds a tangy, slightly bitter depth of flavor. Leave it out if you’re not a fan of mustard flavor.
Bay leaf: This adds a subtle layer of flavor; some people find it slightly floral, others slightly bitter.
Whole garlic clove: The garlic infuses into the vinegar, providing a slight sharpness and depth of flavor.
go-to canning jars
- wide-mouth makes canning easier.
- use for water bath canning or just refrigerating.
- BPA-free lids
- freezer safe for 18 months
Canning Jalapeño Peppers, Jar-by-Jar
My most recent pepper haul was shy of 1 pound, so I augmented with a few from our local grocery store to make 1 pound of hot peppers. The beauty of this recipe for Pickled Jalapeño Peppers is that it easily lets me alter the recipe for as many pounds of fresh jalapeños as I have, similar to my Jar-By-Jar Dill Refrigerator Pickles.
If you choose the refrigerator route for your canned pickled jalapeños, you don’t need much more than fresh jalapeños, garlic cloves, vinegar, spices, and pint jars.
If you are water bath canning, you do need to be sure that your pint jars are mason jars, and you need the lids and rings to go with them. On top of that, you will need a pot deep enough to cover the jars by at least 2″. Some equipment will surely make your canning experience more enjoyable, and luckily, it’s inexpensive.
While water bath canning isn’t hard, it does require a few pieces of equipment to make the task much easier:
- A pot deep enough to cover your jars by at least 2 inches
- Weck Can Lifter or Ball Can Lifter
- Magnetic Lid Lifter
- Headspace Gauge
- I use both Weck Jars and Ball Jars, pint size
- Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
- A clean surface
- Clean Towels
- A bowl of white vinegar
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is my bible. Even if I think I could make the recipe in my sleep, I double-check myself against the Ball Book…that whole botulism thing. It should be your first purchase if you are new to canning. My cookbook library recently expanded with the addition of The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes! Another great canning and preserving resource is the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia website.
Questions About Canning Jalapeño Peppers
Yes, you can use different types of vinegar, such as white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or a mix of the two. Do make sure that your vinegar is at least 5% acid, which most of those kinds of vinegar are. If it is less than 5%, it may not control microbial growth. Please note that the flavor of the vinegar can influence the taste of the final product.
The jalapeños will start to pickle as soon as they are submerged in the pickling liquid, but it’s best to let them sit for at least 24 hours to fully absorb the flavors. They will continue to develop flavor as they sit.
If properly stored in a clean, airtight jar in the refrigerator, quick pickled jalapeños should last for 1-2 months. For long-term storage, a canning process with proper sterilization should be used. This recipe includes instructions for both quick pickled jalapeño peppers and canned jalapeños.
You can use this pickling liquid for vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, or onions. The pickling times may vary based on the type and size of the vegetables.
No, sugar is optional in the pickling liquid. It is used to balance out the acidity of the vinegar, but if you prefer a more tangy pickle, you can reduce or omit the sugar.
Absolutely. Feel free to experiment with other whole spices like coriander seeds, fennel seeds, or cloves to customize the flavor to your liking.
The jalapeños can become soft if they are overcooked or if they were not fresh, to begin with. To ensure a crisp texture, use fresh jalapeños and try to minimize the cooking time. You can also add a small amount of calcium chloride (pickle crisp) to help maintain a crisp texture.
Canned pickled jalapeños are typically less spicy than fresh ones because the pickling process tames some of the heat. However, they will still retain some heat, and the seeds and membranes of the jalapeños contribute significantly to the spiciness. For a spicier end product, include the seeds in with your slices.
Nope! You can make ‘quick pickles’ of these peppers if you plan to store the pickles in the refrigerator and consume them within a relatively short period, typically 1-2 months. Quick pickles are essentially a method of marinating vegetables in a vinegar-based solution to impart flavor and preserve them for a short duration. These should be stored in the refrigerator immediately after preparation and cooling.
This recipe produces pint jars of pickled jalapeño peppers, which are barely sweet, perfectly spicy, and delightfully HOT! Not that I consider myself a hot stuff weenie, but these pickled jalapeños are just a little too hot for me to eat right out of the jar. My son, however, is another story. Rob has no concept of the Scoville scale of pepper hotness and has no problem with popping one or two in his mouth. It comes as no surprise that his favorite stocking stuffers are different varieties of hot sauce. And his endorsement of these canned jalapenos carries A LOT of weight, so you know they’re good!
How Should You Use Your Pickled Jalapeño Peppers?
So, once you have your Little Slices of Hot as Hellfire, AKA canned pickled jalapeños, what will you do with them?
I like mine on my nachos, either traditional nachos or pulled pork. But they’re also good on tacos (I use them in my chile-braised short-rib tacos), Tex Mex rice bowls, white chili, and other sandwiches. I regularly toss them in my southwestern or Mexican salads. They are de rigueur for all of your Mexican dishes.
Looking for More Jalapeño Recipes?
Jalapeño Wine Jelly is not only great to include on your next charcuterie, but oh man…you need to try it on bacon! And then there is this Jalapeno Cheese Spread! It is a twist on pimento cheese and is made regularly in our home.
Nab some red jalapeños, Anaheim, or Sonoran peppers for this red pepper jelly.
Canning Pickled Jalapeno Peppers, Jar by Jar
For Each Pint
- 1/2 lbs. fresh jalapeños sliced into 1/8" slices
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar apple cider vinegar, or a combination of the two
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar optional
Add to each pint jar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds optional
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 whole garlic clove peeled
- Wearing rubber gloves, slice your jalapenos into 1/8" thick rounds. Discard the stem end.
- If you will be canning these pickled jalapenos, then prepare your water bath canner, mason jars, and lids. Wash your jars and lids. Sterilize your jars in a large pot filled with water. Bring the water to almost a simmer over medium heat. Keep the jars in the simmering water until you are ready to fill them. Use a jar lifter to remove them from the water when you are ready to fill them, dumping the hot water back into the pot when you remove each jar from the water. Right before you are ready to can, put your lids in a small pot or bowl with hot, but not boiling water. Put some additional white vinegar in a small bowl, alongside a clean washcloth or paper towel. Keep the water in your canning pot at a simmer while you fill your jars.
- See The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving for additional guidance
- Combine the vinegar, water, & sugar in a medium saucepan and heat until just before it starts to boil.
- Add the salt, pepper, cumin, mustard seed, bay leaf, & garlic to each jar.
- Divide the jalapeño slices between each jar, packing them in compactly until jars are filled.
- Pour the hot vinegar water mixture into each jar, leaving 1/2" headspace; a canning funnel is helpful for this.
- Insert a bubble remover tool (or clean chopstick) down the side of each jar and press in toward the center to release any bubbles.
- Clean jar rims with a wet paper towel, dampened with white vinegar.
- FOR REFRIGERATOR PICKLED PEPPERS: Allow jars to cool to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator for at least 3 days before eating. The pepper slices will keep for several months.
FOR CANNED PICKLED PEPPERS: Process using standard USDA water process canning procedures:
- Bring your large pot of water to a boil. The pot needs to be deep enough to hold enough water to cover the jars by 2".
- After filling the hot jars as directed above, wipe your rims with white vinegar, apply the lids and rims, tightening the rims until just 'fingertip tight'.
- Fingertip Tight means that you can tighten with your fingers only, that you won't use the palm of your hand or all of your fingers to tighten.
- Place your jars in the canner, making sure the jars are completely covered with water by 2". Add additional boiling water as needed to raise the water level.
- Cover canner and bring water to a gentle boil. Once water is boiling, process for 12 minutes, adjusting time as necessary for elevation. (see notes)
- At the end of processing time, turn off the heat, remove the pot lid, and let the jars sit in the canner for 5 minutes.
- Remove jars, keeping them upright as you transfer them to a rack. Allow the jars to cool completely, undisturbed, for 24 hours.
- Refrigerate any jars that do not seal.
- May be eaten within a few days, but best if allowed to marinate for several weeks.
- Good for at least 1 year.
To refer to this post on canned jalapeños, bookmark this page or pin the following image.
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