Curtido is a pickled cabbage delight that also happens to be a great investment. Spend a few minutes building a batch and you'll have the option of nibbling on it for the next few weeks.
In Central America it's common to serve curtido with pupusas and other corn cakes, but you can use it on just about anything, including tacos, sandwiches, and anywhere else you use a traditional coleslaw.
This recipe is enough to load up two pint-sized Mason jars with veggies and brine. Not pictured is the overnight resting period where the real magic happens.
Similar to our pickled jalapenos, you can still eat it shortly after making, but it will only be a preview of what's to come. Letting it pickle overnight will allow the full flavor to develop.
(Note: these instructions are not meant for long term canning.)
To start you'll need:
1/2 head green cabbage
You can use a food processor if it's convenient for you, but thinly slicing the cabbage and grating the carrot works just as well.
Note that we are only using half of a jalapeno but this still gives it some serious zip. If you want a milder version I would recommend starting with 1/4 of a jalapeno.
Next, gather the remaining ingredients in a bowl:
1 cup vinegar
1.5 cups water
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons salt (Kosher or sea salt)
Kosher or pure sea salt are most commonly used for pickling. The additives in iodized salt will sometimes affect the brine so it isn’t recommended.
Add this mixture to the veggies and combine well. Crushing the cabbage a bit while mixing will help it fit into the Mason jars.
Load up two pint-sized Mason jars with the veggies (tongs work good), and then fill them to the top with the brine.
Seal well and let them pickle overnight in the fridge.
The next day you'll have a zippy pickled delight that just might replace your traditional coleslaw. What?!! And you've just upgraded your fridge for the next few weeks. Well done.
Don't forget that using a half jalapeno still creates some real heat even though it doesn't sound like much. You can always dial back and use less (or none) if you want a milder version.
Want the latest recipe? Click your favorite from these options and follow me: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube.
Spicy Curtido (Pickled Cabbage Slaw)
- 1/2 head green cabbage
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 jalapeno
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt (Kosher or sea salt)
- Thinly slice the 1/2 head of cabbage, 1/2 onion and 1/2 jalapeno. Grate the carrot.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl: 1 cup vinegar, 1.5 cups water, 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, freshly cracked black pepper, 2 teaspoons salt (Kosher or sea salt).
- Add the liquid mixture to the veggies and combine well. Crush the cabbage a bit so that it will fit into the jars.
- Fill two pint-sized Mason jars with the veggies and top with the brine.
- Seal well and let pickle overnight in the fridge.
We use a cabbage-only version of this Curtido in our Baja Fish Tacos.
You can use a similar technique to make some pickled onions.
Want to receive Mexican Please recipes via email when they are posted? Sign up below to subscribe. All recipes are spam free.
I used cider vinegar and it turned out wonderful
Ahh good to know, thanks Scott!
What kind of vinegar do yo recommend?
Hi Linda! I use plain ol' white vinegar for this recipe.
Would you, please, estimate the number of cups of shredded cabbage needed for this recipe? I have a large head of green cabbage and a very small head of red cabbage, so it obviously would make a difference.
Hi Selma! You'll need around 4 cups of shredded cabbage for this recipe. Cheers.
This looks awesome! I am making this in the afternoon, do I let it sit overnight or put it in the fridge right away?
Hey Leslie! You can put it in the fridge right away. Cheers.
Just tried this recipe, it is delicious.
A couple side notes, I ended using almost twice as much brine as called for in the recipe, as the actual quantity of the slaw varied, depending on the size, quantity of cabbage/carrot/onion. I used a whole jalapeno (a nice large one) and while it came out very warm, it was not excessive (to my taste).
Also, if you use a red cabbage, everything turns a vivid purple.
I look forward to trying more of your recipes
Ahh good to know, thanks much for mentioning your adjustments Paul. Cheers.
How crucial is using the full 2 tsp of the kosher salt? I'm sure I would love this recipe but I'm on a very strict sodium restriction.
Hi Krista, it's not crucial at all to use the full amount of salt so feel free to adjust to your diet. You could cut way back on that if you want as the tang from the vinegar will give you most of the flavor and the salt just kind of enhances it. Cheers.
This has become one of my favorite side dishes! It adds so much flavor to a meal! It's easy to make and It is a good way to use up some cabbage.
I love this recipe, I use it all the time. Highly recommend. Thanks for shareing.
Hey thanks much Tania!
How long does this keep for? A few days?
Hi K it should keep for much longer than that because of the acidity in the vinegar, be sure to store it in the fridge. Cheers.
Thank you so much for your recipes, they are all fabulous. Do you have a recipe for making long term canning. Adding to the pantry stores, refrigerator is full as I love variety?
Thank Lori, glad you are finding some keeper recipes on my site! But I have to admit I don't really do any long term canning myself, so I don't have any instructions for that on my site yet. Cheers.