Pickled Hot Chilli Peppers


Pickled Sweet Peppers I have been doing for years are one of my favourite preserves and definitely the ones I make in the biggest batches. I have already based my Pepper and Allspice Spread on this recipe and, logically, when I wanted to pickle hot peppers for the first time, I used almost exactly the same method, skipping only allspice and bay leaf, which seemed just too much. I processed my experimental jars several weeks ago and today’s first tasting proved very satisfactory. The balance between the vinegar, the sugar, the spices and the hotness of the peppers is perfect for me. Needless to say, I will buy more hot peppers and  make a bigger batch very soon.

I used  the Turkish “aci sivri” variety. They were long, bright green and moderately hot. Of course, any hot pepper variety will work here and if you are lucky enough to get hold of jalapeños, I am sure they will be perfect pickled this way.

WARNING: do not forget to put on the gloves before you start manipulating the peppers! If you forget it and touch your nose or eyes afterwards, you will suffer for several hours. Your hands might also get very itchy!

Preparation: 1 hour + processing


1,5 – 2 kg hot chili peppers

about 20 peeled garlic cloves

a couple of teaspoons mustard grains

a couple of teaspoons black pepper grains

1 litre cider/white wine/other alcohol vinegar (mine was 4,5%, if you use a stronger one, add proportionally more water)

1.1 litre water

400g caster sugar

3 T salt

olive oil (or other good quality oil)

Put on the gloves! Cut the peppers’ stems and cut them into 2-3 cm pieces. (You can take the seeds away, but I left them on purpose: I prefer my pickles hotter).

Fill in empty jars with pepper pieces (no more than 2/3 jars’ height), add 2 garlic cloves, 3 pepper grains and half a teaspoon mustard grains per every 500 ml jar.

Put the vinegar, the water, the sugar and the salt in a pan and let it boil a couple of minutes, stirring well until all the sugar is dissolved. Put aside.

Fill the jars with hot – not boiling – vinegar mixture, leaving 1,5 cm from the rim. Pour a generous tablespoon of oil in each jar. Close the jars and let them cool down.

Place the cool jars into a big pan, bottom lined with an old kitchen towel folded in two (this will prevent the jars from breaking), cover up with hot – but not boiling- water to the level just below the lid. Bring to boil and keep on a very low heat, in simmering water, for around 20 minutes.
Stick on self-adhesive labels, write the name of the pickle and don’t forget to mark the date.

Wait at least a couple of weeks before opening the jars. As do most pickles, this one improves with time.

NOTE: For the readers who live in the USA, the USDA-approved canning method is different. You can find it described here: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/uga/using_bw_canners.html.

Pickled Hot Chili Peppers on Punk Domestics

37 Replies to “Pickled Hot Chilli Peppers”

    1. Thank you so much, Ullrich! I am looking forward to read new chapters of your cheese university!

  1. Sissi, that looks so yummy, I LOVE spicy food, though from a bad experience in high school, I’ve learned pickled hot pepper is not my friend, so the only thing I can do is admire from afar…

    1. Thanks, Giulia! I also love pickled vegetables (although not all of them, for example all my experiments with my beloved courgette were a complete failure: pickled courgette is not my cup of tea), this is way after the sweet peppers I thought “why not try it with hot peppers too?”. I have already heard about pickled eggs, thank you for reminding me I have to try making them! (If I find a recipe).

  2. This one has to be my favourite….I would love to make these…will have to give making this a go while I am here…They would be brilliant in wraps or even sliced in paninis coupled with sun-blushed toms…maybe even with a few red grapes…well delish! printed the recipe and making it in a day or two…brilliant as always

    1. Shilpa, if I ever have doubts about the aim of my blogging, you are there to remind me I would miss such wonderful rewards as you making one of my recipes. Thank you for your compliments! I am sure your family’s palates wouldn’t be afraid of pickled hot peppers! I think they would be great in paninis, in any type of wraps, as a side dish… I am thrilled to see if you like my recipe!

  3. I really want to start doing more of my own pickling. This is one of my goals after I move this fall (doesn’t make sense to do it before, since I’ll just have to lug everything around).

    I can just imagine how amazing the flavor is with these peppers!

    1. Thank you, Clarkie. You are right, moving with dozens of preserved jars is not easy… I experienced it once and only with a tiny amount. Good luck with your moving and pickling then 🙂

  4. Pickled chillies are awesome and addictive. I have never tried pickled chilli made using your method, sounds delicious for sure. I travelled to India few years ago and brought back a jar of pickled chilli. It was oil based pickle, not vinegar, and really hot. There was a really tiny amount left and yesterday I threw it out, finally. It was few years past the due date but I didn’t see any mold, I think the chilli scared them away.

    1. Indian pickles are always loaded with oil, but really delicious… Since I haven’t got a special pressure preserving pan and process only in hot water, I’m scared of oil preserves. I sometimes only add a bit of oil (like here, a spoon per jar). I have read many times how oil-based home preserves can be dangerous. So whenever I crave some oily Indian pickles, I go and buy them. Preserves keep strangely for a long time in the fridge. Even some of my jams or savoury preserves sometimes keep forgotten for two or three months and taste really good!

  5. Hot peppers, garlic, mustard grains, black pepper grains, cider/wine, water, caster sugar, salt, and olive oil!?

    Sounds very exotic to me! Very different from Japanese tsukemono. I can’t even imagine what the pickle will taste like!

    I wonder how you eat the hot pickle.

    1. Hiroyuki, it is probably as exotic to you as tsukemono for me when I heard about it for the first time 🙂 It tastes a bit acid (vinegar), a bit sweet (sugar), the garlic taste is strong too and the tiny amount of oil per jar mellows the whole taste.
      We had it for example tonight with some grilled sausages. I think I eat it just the way you would serve tsumekono, e.i. with other dishes, as a small side dish. I think both sweet pickled peppers and hot pickled peppers would also be great in salads (rice salad for example), in sandwiches, but definitely the best as a side dish with grilled, fried or simmered dishes. I would maybe put it into noodles…

    1. Raymund, I should try pickling chilies Malaysian way next time 🙂 I love experiments, and especially with preserves!

  6. Well, as you know :), pickled veggies are a favourite *and* lucky me, I just happen to luuv heat – so this is a winning combo!! Love the photo too – the mustard grains are so pretty.

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly! I remember you love pickles! I took the photo just before closing the jar. The chilies change the bright green colour in no time at all and become all light khaki.

  7. This must taste really good with all the garlic that you put in there. Chilli peppers, garlic, and vinegar are just perfect ingredient for this type of food. I would definitely use Jalapeno or even Serrano peppers on this. Thank you Sissi for the recipe. I can’t wait to make it! 🙂

    ~ ray ~

    1. Thank you, Ray. If I could get hold of serrano or jalapeño, I would be thrilled. In the meantime I content myself with Turkish peppers. They are good, hot and aromatic and cheap on my market’s Turkish stall (which is an important factor, since most hot peppers are sold in Europe at the price of condiments, e.i. very expensive). I would love to hear about your experience with other pepper varieties.

  8. Shen will love this Sissi. He LOVES spicy food. One time I was cutting chili peppers with my bear hands (little I knew) and oh my god… I think I have allergic to them that my whole fingers got swallen and I thought I had to cut off! So much pain and totally burned! I had to soak in baking soda or something (remedy from online). I thought I would die… you wear gloves to cut? I can’t eat spicy food but I never knew cutting them would be that bad! I wish I can enjoy this tho… everyone can eat spicy food but me!!

    1. Nami, I don’t think you are allergic to chilies… When I cut very hot chilies and forget the gloves (I don’t know why, but I forget them all the time) I also have swollen red big spots on my hands and it hurts so much I want to cry!!!! These are not very hot after several weeks in a jar. I think even someone who doesn’t like very hot food, might taste them.
      Thank you for the baking soda tip! It seems baking soda is the best remedy in the world (I use it in several other cases too, for example when I have a small infection while making manicure…).

  9. “and touch your nose or eyes” … yeah or anywhere else 😀 No amount of soap seems to wash chilli off my hands. I’ve been in the shower in the evening following a day of making some harissa, a full 8 hours and multiple hand washes later… I’ll suddenly feel like my whole body is burning after I’ve rubbed in the soap… gah!

    Great looking pickles… I love sweet chilli, have never tried to make my own though, should give it a try!

    1. Thank you, Charles! These are really easy to make, so you should give them a try and I know in Paris you find cheap chilies without problem in certain districts, like XVIIIe.
      I know what you mean! I have also realised neither water, nor soap can help. Maybe Nami’s baking soda remedy is a good trick? I feel I will have to try it sooner or later… sometimes I remember the gloves only after I have cut several chilies into pieces.

  10. As Raymund said … there’s a Malaysian pickled green chillies that’s similar and it’s great with fried noodles! Yours sound more exciting tho with the added garlic, mustard seeds and black pepper.

    1. Thank you, Ping! Now that you both talk about the Malaysian pickles, I must see if I can find some recipes and try them!

      1. It’s simply cut green chillies, white vinegar, salt and sugar. Left for about a week or longer. You can adjust the flavors to your preference.

        1. Thanks, Ping! It sounds very simple. I thought there would be some “exotic” spices or other ingredients 😉

  11. Hi! Thanks for sharing this recipe – we tried this out last summer and are now opening the jars. We used different peppers and tried a few different kinds of dried spices (sichuan peppercorns, for example). These pickled peppers have just the right heat. The slight amount of oil really makes them work well with more dishes than I had thought they would. Definitely making this again next year!

    1. Hi, Nancy. Thank you for this kind comment. I am very happy you liked this recipe and am glad you have experimented modifying it (it’s true this is very very basic, I don’t know if you have seen the Sweet Pepper version: I make it with allspice). Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your impressions. I think you have given me appetite for some hot peppers tonight. I’ll open a jar I think 🙂

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