Pickled Jalapeno Peppers

These fast pickled jalapeno peppers, a Korean staple, are made with soy sauce, garlic, and rice vinegar. The perfect condiment for just about anything–tacos, grilled chicken, home fries, machaca, eggs. Takes only 20 minutes to toss together.

Pickling liquid being poured into a full jar of pickled jalapeno peppers.

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. 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. Originally published October 2, 2012.Debbie Lee

Pickled Jalapeno Peppers

  • Quick Glance
  • (9)
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Makes 16 (1-tbsp) servings | 1 cup
5/5 - 9 reviews
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Special Equipment: 1-quart glass jar or several smaller jars



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 jalapeño rings in a jar.

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.

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' Tips

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?

These pickled jalapeno peppers 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.

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 these, 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. I think anyone with a beginner’s interest in pickling would find this to be interesting and fun to try.

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.


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  1. This is one of the most delicious things ever made or tasted. Ive made it over the last few years regularly and is always worth it, so much so that my friends have got me making it for them too!

    An absolute must have all through the year.

    1. Thanks, Anahita! We’re so glad this has become a staple in your home and we so appreciate you taking the time to let us know.

  2. The first time I made this recipe I scraped out the seeds on about 1/4 of the peppers and it was mild. The second time I used the seeds the spice blew my face off! I think the second batch of peppers were much spicier than the first. Food for thought. Everybody loves these peppers.

  3. These are phenomenal – we’ve been adding them to everything from burrito bowls to tacos to stir-fry! On their own, they are a bit hot for me, but they add SO much flavour when used as a condiment. They were super fast and easy – I will certainly ensure I always have a jar of these in the fridge.

    1. I’m so pleased to hear this, Daniela! Thanks so much for letting us know.

    1. Atom, since these aren’t hot water processed but instead just slid in the fridge, 2 to 3 weeks would be our safe recommendation. Although good luck getting them to last that long…

        1. Molly, yes, absolutely. You can use standard water bath timing for pickles made from cucumbers for these jalapeño pickles. The vinegar, citrus, salt, and sugar in this recipe is sufficient for water bath canning.

  4. Leaving to shop in a few minutes, and put Jalapenos on my list. I will rush home to make these! Exactly as written, sans seeds. Then…on another batch, I am going to use my wonderful Chinkiang Vinegar! How do ya like me now?

  5. These pickled jalapeno’s were quite a hit. The first night we tried them, they were very spicy which my husband loves – me, not so much. I did not want to write a review until these guys had some time to “tone the heat down”. Trying them daily, the heat was less and the other flavors improved. One week later, they are very, very good and my husband is putting them on just about everything, from dogs, to sandwiches and more. Although I would not call jalapeno’s my favorite condiment, these little pickles are a nice addition to a variety of dishes and take really no time to make.

    1. Sometimes just a bit of sugar or sugar substitutes can cut the heat a little. This recipe was amazing! One jar gone and going to get jalapeños for more!! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!!

  6. Problem solved — It has been a long time since I have made pickled something. The jalapenos shrunk over night and they are now fully submerged in the brine. They smell wonderful!! Can’t wait to try them.

  7. Uh, oh — I’m making the pickled jalapenos tonight for my husband’s request for a gourmet hot dog on father’s day (why he decided to do hot dogs over a rib-eye or lamb chops with chimichurri, I do not know – that would have been my choice :)).

    I have a plan for these gourmet dogs he requested and I think these pickled jalapenos would be perfect. However, I have followed the recipe exactly and the jalapeno’s are not entirely submerged in the liquid in my 1 quart jar. Should I stir this concoction over the next few days, or should I make another batch of liquid, or half a batch of liquid? If I do that, do I add more garlic or just the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, lime/lemon juices, soda, sugar? I was very careful with my measurements. I have about a quarter of the 8 jalapenos not covered. Maybe the jalapenos were too large? By the way – I tasted the liquid before the lemon-lime soda and afterwards – the lemon-lime soda is a necessary element of the liquid. If you did not eat these without that addition, you would probably never know the difference, but I think the soda adds something to pickling liquid.

    1. cheriede, it sounds like the pepers may have been rather large. If it were me, and there’s only two days left before he eats them, I would just turn the jar on its head and then right side up every so often. Now, if you want to make more liquid, I would Make the recipe as is, and fill up the rest of the jar. You Can always refrigerate the liquid and make another batch!

  8. I have to admit that I too was a bit taken aback by the Sprite. However, this recipe is a keeper. I live in New Mexico where peppers are abundant. It’s nice to have well-preserved peppers in the pantry that can be added to casseroles, salads and the like. I did make one substitution, however. I prefer Mirin to regular soy sauce. Mirin, for those who haven’t used it, is a Japanese cooking wine with an ability to integrate with many other flavors. The pickle tasted great Try this, you’ll love it especially if you live in chili country!

  9. I LOVED these peppers. I have pickled a lot of peppers in my life, and these are just plain better than any I’ve made before. The salty heat is scrumptious. I am curious as to whether this recipe could be canned using a hot water bath? I would love to enjoy these year round, and I just don’t have enough fridge space.

    1. Cindy, soooo glad to hear that you like these as much as we do! We didn’t try canning them but I see no reason why that wouldn’t work. Completely understand on the lack of fridge space. Kindly let us know how it goes…

  10. I was wondering is there a reason why this recipe could not be canned in the water bath method. I see that it is just listed as a refrigerator recipe. Is there any way to can it to make it into a regular canned recipe?

    We would love to try it but we would like for it to be able to last longer. Thanks!

  11. 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?

    1. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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. ;-).

    1. 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…

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

  15. 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.

    1. “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.

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

    1. 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!

    2. 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.)

  17. 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. ;)

      1. 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.

        1. 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?

  18. 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?

    1. 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.

  19. 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?

    1. Hi Anna, have you ever tried popping them in a Bloody Mary? Bet that kick of heat would be wonderful.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

    1. 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.

  22. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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….

      2. 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!

  23. 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!

  24. 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!!!

    1. 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….

  25. 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!

    1. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.)

    1. I could see how these pickles could cause a little horsie dance, Penny. Would you send us a picture of you dancing with a bologna sandwich in hand?

      1. Great article Penny, thanks for sharing this with us.

        Love the idea of these pickles on a bologna sandwich. Gangnam style!

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