March 2020 — I just updated this recipe with a few minor tweaks. It’s easily one of my favorite recipes on the site, so I also added a video in hopes of proving how easy it is to make these Pickled Jalapenos. You’ll get a massive upgrade in flavor compared to store-bought versions, so if you’re new to this quick pickling technique please give it a whirl!
Admit it. For months (years!) you were guilty of bypassing the bowl of mundane looking pickled jalapenos and carrots served up at your local taqueria. What could those possibly do for me? Next.
And then you tried one. Now when you’re scoping out a new taco joint you give a terminator-like scan for your beloved pickled goodies.
Luckily it’s easy to whip up a batch of these at home, ensuring that your perfectly balanced taco bite is always within arm’s reach.
How To Make Pickled Jalapenos and Carrots
This recipe will make enough to fill a quart-sized Mason jar to the brim with pure zip — you can also use two pint-sized jars if you want.
Note: these instructions are not designed for long term canning.
Please consider the following ingredient pic a reference point only. The veggies and vinegar are doing most of the heavy lifting, so if you don’t have all the spices on hand go ahead and make them anyway; most likely you’ll be happy with the results.
Start by giving the jalapenos a good rinse and peeling the carrots, cutting both into 1/4 inch sized coins.
It’s always best to use caution when handling hot chili peppers, and that includes jalapenos! A final hand washing is usually enough for me, but some peeps with sensitive skin may prefer gloves. More info on working with hot chiles.
Saute a sliced onion and 4-6 roughly chopped garlic cloves in a glug of oil over medium heat.
As this the onion softens you’ll have time to gather the dry ingredients.
So in the above pic you’ve got:
8-10 cracked black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 bay leaf (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
I usually give the spices a quick crush in the molcajete and then briefly saute them before adding the jalapenos, but this is optional. And if like me you’re frequently out of bay leaves then just skip it, as I’ve made this recipe without a bay leaf dozens of times and it still turns out awesome.
Add the jalapenos and carrots to the saucepan.
Along with the spices if you haven’t added them yet.
Saute briefly and then add:
1.5 cups of white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon Kosher or sea salt
Note that 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.
Let this simmer for a few minutes or until the jalapenos turn army green.
Once the jalapenos are changing color you can load up the jars. Glass jars work best for this vinegar-based brine so I always default to Mason jars.
Each jar gets loaded with the jalapeno-carrot-onion mixture and filled to the brim with the brine.
You should have plenty of brine but if you spill some you can always top them off with a splash of water.
I usually let the jars cool on the counter a bit before capping and storing in the fridge.
You can take a taste now and you’ll get a good preview of their final flavor, but the jalapenos won’t be fully pickled until they rest in the brine overnight.
And the next day you’ll have some zippppp!
They’re so good and act as the perfect final garnish on your tacos, tostadas, sandwiches, etc.
These pickled jalapenos will keep in the fridge for a month or so, after which you can take the afternoon off of work to make a new batch. Priorities right?
And if you like these Pickled Jalapenos then you can use this quick pickling technique to make any of these:
P.S. If you have a sweet tooth we recently put up a recipe for Candied Jalapenos.
Taqueria Style Pickled Jalapenos and Carrots
- 8-10 jalapenos
- 2 carrots
- 1 small onion
- 4-6 cloves of garlic
- olive oil
- 1.5 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon salt (Kosher or sea salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 8-10 black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- Give the jalapenos a rinse and then cut into 1/4 inch slices. Peel the carrots and cut into 1/4 inch slices.
- Peel and quarter the onion, chopping into thin slices. Peel and roughly chop the garlic.
- Heat a glug of oil in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes.
- Add the spices: 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 8-10 black peppercorns. I usually give the spices a quick crush in the molcajete but this is optional. And feel free to use powdered spices if you don't have seeds or peppercorns on hand.
- Add the jalapenos and carrots. Briefly saute and then add 1.5 cups white vinegar, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt, and 1 bay leaf (optional). Simmer until the jalapenos are just turning army green in color.
- Fill two pint-sized Mason jars with the veggies and fill to the brim with the vinegar mixture. You can also use a single quart-sized Mason jar. You can give them a taste test now for a preview, but they won't have full flavor until they rest overnight in the brine.
- I usually let the jars cool on the counter for a bit, then cap and store in the fridge where they will keep for weeks at a time.
You can easily modify the above recipe to make a tiny jar of Pickled Serranos:
And here’s an easy way to make some Pickled Onions.
Or you can use a similar technique to make some Pickled Tomatillos.