Pepper Sherry

This pepper sherry is a simple condiment made from hot peppers and sherry. Drizzle it over beans, rice, stew, and tacos. How easy is that?

Four bottles of pepper sherry.

Plop some hot peppers in a bottle of booze and set it aside for as long as you can resist. What could be easier? Or more versatile! We’re dribbling this over and into beans and rice, stews and soups, fish tacos. Just don’t take a swig of it. And, as author Virginia Burke recommends (because we know you’ll be tempted), “If you succumb to temptation and eat the pepper, you can always add another one to the sherry later.”–Renee Schettler

☞ Contents

Pepper Sherry

Four bottles of pepper sherry.
This pepper sherry is a popular Caribbean condiment made, with hardly any effort, from hot chile peppers and sherry or rum. Drizzle or splash it over eggs, rice, beans, stew, tacos, and more for unexpected intrigue.

Prep 5 mins
Cook 7 d
Total 7 d 5 mins
50 servings | 1 bottle
13 kcal
5 / 3 votes
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  • 3 whole hot peppers scrubbed, rinsed, and patted dry
  • One (26-ounce) bottle sherry or rum


  • Remove the stems from the peppers and halve them or prick them with a fork or skewer.
  • Pack your peppers into a clean mason jar and cover with sherry (or rum) and screw on the lid. If the peppers are slender enough, you can simply slide them into the bottle of booze (you may have to remove some of the liquor) and cap.
  • Let sit for up to a week before using. Keep in a sealed bottle in the fridge for up to six months.
Print RecipeBuy the Eat Caribbean cookbook

Want it? Click it.


*What kind of chile peppers can I preserve in sherry?

This recipe is a little vague, we know. But therein lies the beauty of it. Use what you like, or have on hand, or what tickles your fancy at the market. Search out something hot or mild or fruity, that’s all up to you.
You can use any pepper that will fit into your chosen vessel–a small bottle will take a whole handful of small peppers. A mason jar might take 3 or 4 big ole peppers. Mix and match to your heart’s content. A good way to decide is to look at the container you want to use and then pick your peppers from there, Peter Piper.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 13kcal (1%)Carbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1g (2%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 19mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 26IU (1%)Vitamin C: 4mg (5%)Calcium: 2mgIron: 1mg (6%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Think of all the wonderful things you can do with and to this. First of all, you can change the subtle taste of “hot” by choosing different peppers with which to experiment. I used yellow chile peppers for one batch and California serrano peppers for another batch. I elected to try the recipe using the rum instead of the sherry. And now I’m waiting to let each batch sit a while so that they really rock and roll. They’re both fairly tame right now, but good. I plan to use one or the other in black beans with rice.

It is an old tradition around here—meaning New Orleans—to have a bottle of hot peppers in vinegar or another spirit on the table next to the S&P and the Louisiana Gold Hot Sauce. Pepper Sherry how do we love thee—let us count the ways. Grillades and grits? Check. Bloody Mary? Check. Beans and rice? Check. Fried chicken? Check. Buffalo wings? Check. And best of all—slice a pepper and plaster it in between layers of a great muffaletta. OH YES!

This was delicious. I used Tio Pepe Palomino Fino (extra dry). I soaked them in the bottle itself in the fridge for 48 hours before I first tried it straight up. I did drink it straight because a winery in the Okanagan (British Columbia) makes a fruit wine with a hot pepper in it so it starts off sweet and then has a kick and this reminded me of it.

I make a sherry chicken dish in a cast-iron pan with vegetables and it calls for 1/2 cup of sherry. I usually make this in the Fall/Winter but I gave it a go now using this sherry and it was absolutely fabulous. It gave a nice sherry flavour but with a bit of a kick. Just enough of a kick to compliment the chicken and vegetables. I can’t imagine making this dish with just regular sherry. This is now a must-have come the fall season.

Originally published September 25, 2021


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


    1. It’s terrific to have on hand for doctoring up all manner of things, as the author suggests. I’m thinking roast pork or chicken, black beans and rice, broiled fish fillets, boring brown rice…

      1. Hello from the beach in S. DE.

        I’ve been using pepper sherry for yrs. Great in chili and cocktail sauce for shrimp. I keep mine in a really cool bottle. I use quartered red habanero peppers all but the stem. Seeds and rib inside are the hottest part so they stay. Wear gloves people! Your fingernails will burn for days and God forbid if you scratch an itch in an eye!! Question…do you typically use dry or sweet sherry? I can’t remember which one the original recipe called for.

        1. Wonderful, Lin! And a great reminder on those gloves! You can use either dry or sweet sherry for this.

    1. Hi Tia,

      They are wonderful! In Bermuda, we call them sherry peppers and use them in everything from traditional Bermuda fish chowder (along with a splash of black rum!) to split pea soup. They just add that yummy kick.

  1. I have a question. I threw a bunch of hot peppers into the freezer and would love to now throw them in a bottle of sherry. I figure that due to the freezing they would probably break down if I left them in too long but I wonder if I strain them out after a week would I be ok? Just long enough to infuse but not too long?

    1. My hunch is that the flavor would be slightly waterlogged, Joanne, just like the peppers. We keep a stash of aji amarillo peppers in our freezer–they’re from Peru and the only way you can buy them is frozen–and as you guessed they collapse into mush as soon as they’re thawed. So we puree them with vinegar and garlic and a mild olive oil into a hot sauce. You may want to consider doing that with your frozen peppers and saving the pepper sherry for fresh peppers, Joanne.

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