These Mexican-Style Pickled Jalapenos, infused with the flavors of cumin, oregano, cilantro, and lime, are just so delicious. They’re perfect to stash in the fridge and have on hand as toppings for tacos, huevos rancheros, chili, or a big batch of nachos on game day. And since they are a refrigerator pickle, they’re easy to make, too – no canning and no special equipment required.
In the middle of the summer, when all of the fresh vegetables start to roll in from the garden, and the tables at the Saturday farmer’s market are overflowing with heaps of locally-grown produce, I get that urge to preserve. I just want to break out the canning pot and get busy putting up jars of home-preserved food to have in the pantry for the lean fall and winter months. But then there are those summer days when it’s so sweltering hot, that the idea of standing over a steaming canning pot for a few hours is just about unthinkable. So I compromise and whip up a batch of quick and easy pickles that go straight into my fridge. I can make them in under an hour and there’s no canning required.
And when it comes to pickling, we often think only of cucumbers, but there are so many good pickles you can make that don’t involve cucumbers. In this recipe, I pickle some fresh jalapeno peppers and give them a little bit of a Mexican flair. I love having a jar of these flavorful pickled jalapenos in my refrigerator just waiting to top my morning eggs or my Fish Tacos. And talk about flavor – this combination of lime juice and vinegar, plus the garlic and herbs, really gives these peppers a lot of zip and zing. Try these spicy little gems for topping all of your favorite Mexican recipes. (And hey, you don’t need to wait for summer to make these pickled jalapenos – they’re good to make any time of year!)
So let’s talk ingredients:
Jalapeno peppers – use any type of homegrown or store-bought jalapenos. If you don’t want any heat at all you can remove the seeds before pickling, but I find that the vinegar really tones down the spiciness, so I prefer to leave the seeds in. If you want extra-hot peppers, substitute a hotter pepper, like habanero, for part of all of the jalapeno peppers. And no matter what chile pepper you use, be sure to wear gloves, especially if you are sensitive to hot peppers.
Vinegar – I prefer the flavor of a mix of white vinegar and apple cider vinegar, but you can definitely use all of one or the other. If you are going to experiment with other types of vinegar, make sure it is standardized to 5% acidity.
Lime juice – The lime juice in the recipe is for flavor (not for safety) so I like to use the juice of one fresh lime. If all you have is bottle lime juice, that’s fine, too. Use 1-2 tablespoons of bottled lime juice in this case.
Salt – I prefer to use canning salt in canning recipes because it is free of additives that may cause discoloration or off-flavors. You can use Kosher salt or sea salt, but avoid using salt that is iodized.
Sugar – Plain, granulated cane sugar is what I use. You may omit the sugar if you prefer.
Garlic – Garlic is a must in this recipe, but be aware that it will sometimes turn blue when added to vinegar. If this happens, don’t worry, the garlic is still safe and good to eat.
- This is not an official, approved canning recipe, so I don’t recommend canning these jalapenos. And in order to avoid accidentally sealing the jar, allow the filled jar to fully cool before placing a lid on it and storing it in the refrigerator.
- You can eat these pickled jalapeno peppers right away, but they are at their best flavor after storing in the refrigerator for a few weeks. I like to wait at least a week before digging in.
If you try this recipe, I hope you love it! Leave a review for this recipe or give it a rating in the comments below.
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- 1/2 cup white vinegar (5% acidity)
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon canning salt
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin (or 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin)
- 1 spring fresh oregano (1/4 teaspoon dried)
- Sliced fresh jalapeno peppers, enough to tightly fill pint jar (about 1 pound)
- Add all ingredients, excluding peppers, to a stainless steel or enameled pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Whisk to fully dissolve sugar and salt into the brine.
- Pack jalapenos into a sanitized, hot pint jar. Carefully pour hot brine into jar to fully cover the peppers.
- Cover jar with a towel or cheesecloth and allow to stand for 1 hour, or until cooled to room temperature.
- When cooled, place a lid on the jar, and store in the refrigerator. The peppers will become more flavorful the longer they stand. Store up to 3 months in the refrigerator.
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