Pickled Jalapeno Peppers

Pickled Jalapeno Peppers Recipe

Among the best things to buy at a Korean supermarket are the pickled jalapeno peppers that they sell at the banchan bar. Banchan are small side dishes for a Korean meal. Several of these sides together can even make an entrée. At my favorite Korean BBQ restaurant in K-town that I frequent, my friends always fill up on the banchan and forget there is an actual meal coming. Of all the banchan sides, I think these little soy-pickled peppers are the biggest crowd-pleaser—not to mention highly addictive. These pickled jalapeno peppers also make a great condiment and are tasty toppers on burgers, sandwiches, and, my personal favorite, omelets.–Debbie Lee

LC Pick A Peck of Pickled Jalapeno Peppers Note

What we’d give to have a peck of these pickled jalapeno peppers on hand at all times. They’re beguilingly complex in terms of taste yet take just 20 minutes of easy effort to create (so you can make them in haste). As a happy result, we’ve been rather promiscuously strewing them over everything. Tacos. Grilled chicken. Home fries. Machaca. Eggs. We just can’t help ourselves. And thinking about these sassy Korean-style pickled jalapeno peppers sorta makes us want to dance Korean style. Make that Gangnam style.

Special Equipment: 1-quart glass jar or several smaller jars

Pickled Jalapeno Peppers Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Makes 1 cup


  • 8 jalapeños
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
  • 3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (unseasoned will work in a pinch)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup lemon-lime soda, such as Sprite


  • 1. Slice the jalapeños crosswise into thin rings about an 1/8-inch thick using a sharp knife or a handheld slicer. If you prefer a less-than-incredibly-spicy pickle, scrape out and discard the seeds. Place the jalapeños rings in a jar.
  • 2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the soy sauce, garlic, rice vinegar, and sugar to a gentle boil and let it bubble for a few minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the citrus juices and soda and let cool until no longer piping hot, about 5 minutes.
  • 3. Pour the warm soy mixture over the jalapeños. Tightly seal the jar with the lid. Immediately refrigerate the pickled jalapeño peppers for at least 1 day and up to 2 weeks before strewing or scattering them onto anything and everything.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Nancy A. Mosher

Oct 02, 2012

Oh, these pickled jalapeno peppers are addictive! Tangy, salty, little nuggets with a little heat, but not too much to keep you from eating more and more. I really enjoyed the flavor of the soy sauce and the mellower rice vinegar instead of regular white vinegar. They’re delicious on their own, but I found they’re also great with potatoes, eggs, vegetable spring rolls, and enchiladas. Will need to make another batch and try them with other foods. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of places these little morsels will fit right into. It seemed odd to buy a soda just to use such a small portion of it only and to toss the rest. Can’t imagine what else I’d use it in before it went flat, and I don’t drink the stuff. There is already lemon, lime, and lots of sugar in the recipe, so surely these ingredients could just be adjusted to cover what the soda adds, right?

Testers Choice
Sita Krishnaswamy

Oct 02, 2012

This pickled jalapeno peppers recipe is a versatile topper for any kind of food. We now use these with stir-fries, burgers, grilled chicken, and grilled cheese sandwiches. The soy and vinegar and sugar give the pickles a perfect tang. I might try the recipe another time with finger hot peppers. Yum yum.

Testers Choice
Mackenzie Campbell

Oct 02, 2012

The pickled jalapeno peppers recipe is easy to follow and comes together quickly. At first I was skeptical about the addition of the Sprite soda, but I think it added a nice sweetness to the mix with a different flavor than the sugar. I’m not sure how or if the carbonation affected the whole thing, but I’m curious about that. As a word of warning, if made with all the seeds in the peppers, the result is not just spicy, but incredibly spicy. I consider myself able to handle a lot of spice, but these were nearly at my limit, and way beyond the limit of others who tried them. I was so ready to love this recipe, but the spice level, as I mentioned earlier, is almost a bit too much for me to use them on everything I wanted. I would definitely remove some of the seeds from the jalapeños next time, and then this could become a regular condiment in my house. I could see putting these on nearly everything! I really enjoyed the pickling liquid. This recipe was easy to follow, and I think anyone with a beginner’s interest in pickling would find this to be an interesting and fun recipe to try.

Testers Choice
Robert Castagna

Oct 02, 2012

What a snappy addition to sandwiches, salads, eggs, you name it! We used these tasty peppers alongside grilled chicken sausage and in a mixture for lettuce wraps. Over the weekend, we had a variety of takeout items and these were wonderful on a pulled pork sandwich. They even ended up on fish tacos. This is the ultimate combination of hot, salty, sweet, sour, and citrus. I think that the lemon–-lime soda adds a little spark to these peppers and I will try using this same pickling liquid on other vegetables.

  1. Penny Wolf says:

    I’ve made a different recipe for pickled peppers, but never cared to repeat it. However, I like the sound of this recipe a lot. Flavor without aggression is what is coming to mind. I’ll put them on a bologna sandwich, making it “Gangnam style”. (I couldn’t resist.)

  2. RisaG says:

    These look really good. I am going to try making them. I want to put them on sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, maybe to garnish stir-fries? I can’t wait to try them.

  3. Virginia says:

    These look so good! I was wondering if anyone could give any input as to how they could possibly be preserved longer than just two weeks? I’m not familiar with pickling or the methodology involved, so any suggestions would be appreciated!

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Hi Virginia, I spoke with Melissa, one of our canning testers, and she suggested the following “Should be fine, if they are processed right away (skip the refrigeration step). So pack peppers in pint or smaller jars, pour in hot liquid, close and process right away. Then the pickles can sit at room temp during the ‘pickling time.'” I also checked on the Clemson University Extension Service site and they recommend processing in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. You can also consult the USDA site, as well as your local extension services, for more detailed instructions.

  4. Jim C says:

    These were super easy to make and had only marinated for 24 hours when I brought them out at a dinner party. The mixture of sweet, spicy, and citrus was simply amazing and these peppers were the hit of the party. The jar was soon empty…since these are so easy to make, this will be definitely be a gift giver at Christmas time!!!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      I wish we had a symbol for a virtual high five, because that’s what I wanted to do when I read your comment, Jim C. That’s been exactly our experience with the pickled peppers. So glad to hear it. And yes, the perfect gift! Stay tuned for more swell gift inspirations, coming just after Thanksgiving….

  5. Silke says:

    Snuck some lemongrass in with the marinade after scoring a bunch of it for $1 at the farmers market. It’s sitting in the fridge now, can’t wait for the 24 hours to be over!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Nice, Silke. We’ll be waiting to hear…can’t stand the suspense!

      • Silke says:

        Ok, 20 hours…they are sooooo good. I think it’ll be a Meatless Monday after all, as they’ll be perfect on top of a Thai omelette!

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          Success! Loving the sounds of that omelette. And yes, those pickled peppers will be perfect….thanks for letting us know!

  6. Thaichile says:

    I’ve been making refrigerator pickles and now have an incredible harvest of Biker Billy jalapenos. This recipe sounds great but I was wondering if anyone has held them for longer than the suggested 2 week period, and if so, what the differences are as time goes on. I hold my refrigerator pickles for at least a couple of months, with the only noticeable difference being slightly less crunch.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Thaichile, we haven’t, but perhaps someone else has? Anyone?

      • Terri D says:

        These pickled jalapenos get better over time. I couldn’t wait to try them so I opened the jar after a couple of days. I kept all the membranes and seeds, and the jalapenos were HOT for this Texas girl who likes heat. However, the heat has mellowed over time and the flavor is absolutely amazing. My husband is an amateur chef, and he said they made the best nachos he ever had. I have put them in several recipes and have not been disappointed. This has become one of my favorite recipes.

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          Terri D, I appreciate you divulging the details of how to use these pickles. Your timing couldn’t be better. My husband’s uncle is in town this weekend, and per his request, I’m making “this Momofuku chicken that I’ve heard so much about….” I’m intending to make these pickled peppers as a starter, but have been deliberating over how far in advance to make them. Sounds like there’s no time like the present….

      • Jane says:

        I made these for my brother but kept some for me and didn’t eat them for months they are
        awesome. Still crunchy not hot at all but now there all gone. I will make more soon!

  7. Terri D says:

    I love spicy hot, and I too found them a little too hot when first mixed. Over time, as the peppers sat in my refrigerator, the heat level went down and the complexity of flavors went up! After a couple of weeks marinating, I was eating these little tasty bites on everything I could think of. They really do get better over time.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Terri, we split our first batch—half seeded, half seeds left in place. We’ve been sampling them every day or so, beginning with Day 1. And yes, we, too, have experienced a lovely mellowing taking place that has us every iota as ecstatic as you.

  8. Terri D says:

    I can’t help myself; I have to comment again. I’ve had these in the refrigerator for probably 3 to 4 weeks and the quart I made is almost gone. I will double or triple the recipe next time because I love them that much and I will be in withdrawal now until the next batch is ready. We’ve had them on breakfast burritos and nachos. I’ve made salsa with them (better than any I could buy at the store). I’m not a big cocktail fan, but I told my husband that I was craving a bloody mary just so I could use some of the leftover marinade. We are also going to try making drunken noodles, udon noodle soup, and egg drop soup with the marinade. I only wish I had more of the pickled jalapenos! I can barely wait for the next week to be ready. This has become a family favorite. And I’m going to make enough to give some away when we go visit family at the holidays.

  9. Anna says:

    I’ve had a jar since October, and these have held up very well. A snap to make, and they make a spicy addition to fresh tacos, eggs, curries or any stir fry. I love to have them on hand, because I can’t make food for my family quite as spicy as I would like it. This lets me kick up the heat after I bring it to the table. Although my 2-year-old just insisted on trying my Sriracha, so maybe these will be next?

  10. marybeth says:

    I happen to have an abundance of jalepeno peppers in my freezer from last summer’s crop. Is it possible to do this after thawing them?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      marybeth, we didn’t try it with thawed frozen jalapeños, so we can’t assure you with certainty that it’ll work. but i do think it’s worth a try. the texture of the thawed jalapeños is my only concern, but the peppers lose their crunch anyways a few days after being thinly sliced and pickled, so i can’t imagine there being an appreciable difference. let us know how it goes…i think you’re going to really fall for these pickles.

  11. Martha Libretti says:

    Thank you for this recipe, my husband is crazy about them.

  12. Judy says:

    Just made a batch and put in the fridge. Now anxiously waiting to try them!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      And we’re anxiously waiting to hear what you try them with, Judy!

      • Silke says:

        While you wait for Judy’s accompaniment I’m happy to report that I found a ground beef recipe that they worked well with (no no no beef casserole): Cuban-ish Picadillo.

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          Hah! Silke, thanks for keeping my casserole aversion in mind! That sounds lovely. E and I have had these pickled peppers alongside Momofuku Fried Chicken and thought it a swell match. E also has topped nachos and chili with them, as well as his morning huevos. Anyone else care to share how they indulge?

  13. ruthie says:

    Haven’t tried this one yet (but it sounds fantastic and is on my list as soon as I get jalapenos), but I used to make another version of pickled jalapenos. I loved to chop them up to mix in tartar sauce and deviled eggs. Also great on a chili dog or a burger, in a chopped salad, in guacamole, man, they were everywhere, and I don’t see why these wouldn’t work just as well. I will find out soon. Thanks, once again. ;)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Ruthie, we think you’re really going to like these…and they go spectacularly on everything. Let us know what you think, please. Can’t wait to hear….

  14. Barbara Moss says:

    Do you think these could be made with Splenda and diet Sprite? I’m trying to cut down on sugar.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Hey Barbara, I want to first say way to go on cutting back on sugar! I know from personal experience that it’s not the easiest thing to do and I totally respect that. We test all our recipes before we put them on the site so that we can say with confidence “hey, this recipe works really, really well!”, so I’m always hesitant to suggest a variation that we haven’t tested. But I think this should work fine. There may be an ever so slight “off” taste from the chemicals, and I don’t know if that would increase or decrease with the time spent in the fridge, but my hunch is that this would be negligible compared to the lovely heat of the pickled peppers. In other words, you’ve got my blessing. Love to hear what you think of the skinnified version!

    • Louella says:

      It may be too late for you, but I’ve heard other folks say fake sugars really don’t work well in pickling recipes. (Based on their experiences, I didn’t use Diet Sprite, even though I was tempted.)

  15. Andrew Smith says:

    I’m ready to dig into these pickled peppers… now I just need patience!

    Pickled Jalapeno Peppers

  16. Louella says:

    These are truly aMAZing! I processed most of the batch because I had no idea they would be soooo delicious. Seriously, I’ve yet to try them on something and not have them add a nice kick of wonderful. Thanks a million for the recipe. And now I’m about to do another batch with blanched carrot sticks included. I love everything about this recipe! Oh! Any ideas on how to use the delicious brine when the jalepenos are gone? I’ve used mine to flavor fresh cabbage slaws, but that’s all so far.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      “A nice kick of wonderful.” Louella, I love that. You’re very welcome for the recipe and I so appreciate the carrot trick. As for the used brine, I’m wondering how it would be on cucumbers? Just stick a few slices—whether circles or long slender lengths—in the brine and refrigerate for a day or two? Or of course you could probably reuse it on more carrots. Or cauliflower? Okra? Green beans? I’m really curious to try this with veggies now…! Kindly let know what you try and I’ll do the same.

  17. Kandice says:

    This is the best pickled jalapeno recipe I’ve ever come across. The jars were polished off in 1 night.

  18. Antilope says:

    I made these pickled jalapenos the lazy way. I already had an 8-ounce unopened jar of sliced pickled jalapenos from the store (pickled in the standard vinegar and salt). I drained the jar and made 1 cup of that great soy sauce pickling juice (I cut the recipe in half), boiled it, and added it to the drained jar of sliced jalapenos. It’s now stored in the fridge. Wow. Really good and really easy the lazy way. ;-).

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Love that, Antilope! A former colleague of mine would save all pickling juice to use on other vegetables—carrots, vegetables, green beans, and so forth.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Love that, Antilope! A former colleague of mine would save all pickling juice from store-bought pickles and then stick other vegetables—carrots, vegetables, green beans, and so forth–in the jar and stash them in the refrigerator for at least a few days. Curious to hear if you end up trying your lazy version on anything aside from jalapeños…

  19. Jane Carroll says:

    I used ginger ale; it’s all I had in the way of soda. Wow! It smells really good. Ginger goes really well with all the other ingredients. Making them for my brother he likes it hot!

  20. Rashid Patch says:

    The idea of using something like Sprite or ginger ale makes me cringe—waaaaaaay too much sugar and a weird chemically aftertaste for me. Numbs my palate just thinking about it. However, I wonder, does the phosphoric acid or carbonic acid in the soft drink add something to the pickling process?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Rashid, personally, I am completely with you in terms of the sugar and chemicals in soda. Can’t remember the last time I had one. That said, folks love these pickled jalapeno peppers. As for what, if anything, the soda contributes, I’m going to do a little research and I’ll be back with you if I can find anything interesting. Love your inquisitiveness!

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