Want to learn how to make pickled peppers in the refrigerator? This easy refrigerator pickled peppers recipe is ready in 24 hours and can be used for any type of pepper, whole or sliced.

two jars of pickled peppers, one with sliced peppers and one with whole peppers

Love pickled peppers? We love their crunchy texture in salads and top of soup, and we’re always looking for ways to extend the life of fresh peppers throughout the year. Thankfully there’s a super simple way to enjoy pickled peppers at home without the hassle of canning — using just your refrigerator!

Here’s why you should try out this super simple pickled pepper recipe:

  • No canning. No water baths, no long wait times. This refrigerator pickling recipe means your peppers are ready after a short 24 hour soak in the fridge.
  • All peppers are welcome. Jalapeños, bananas, sweet, and poblano — it doesn’t matter the type of pepper, this is a one-recipe-fits-all method.
  • Completely customizable. Use this recipe as a base and add your favorite fresh herbs, spices, and other ingredients to bring interesting flavor combinations to your peppers.

Ready to deep dive into how to quickly pickle peppers in the refrigerator? Let’s do it!

fresh peppers, cilantro, and bowls of water, vinegar, salt, and sugar on a white marble table
Ingredients: peppers, vinegar, water, sugar, salt, herbs, spices

🌶 How to make pickled peppers in the refrigerator (step-by-step)

1️⃣ Step One: Prep the peppers

The first step to making easy refrigerator pickled peppers is to give them a good wash and decide if you want to pickle the peppers whole or slice them into smaller pieces. Both ways are delicious, but slices will have a stronger flavor as the brine will soak into the smaller pieces more easily.

⭐️ If slicing: Cut the slices a bit thicker (¼ inch or ½ centimeters) for a crunchy snack or a bit thinner (⅛ inch or ¼ centimeters) if you’re using on tacos or in salads. Experiment with what works for you, but you can’t go wrong either way.

whole and sliced red, orange, and yellow peppers on a white table
Pickle whole or sliced peppers (or both!)

⭐️ If pickling whole: Simply cut 1-2 slices lengthwise along the body of your pepper to provide a way for the brining liquid to seep into the pepper. We want the brine to be able to coat the pepper on the outside and inside.

a knife cutting a slit into a red pepper
Cut slits into whole peppers

2️⃣ Step Two: Prepare the pickling jar

Next, add the whole or sliced peppers to a glass jar with fresh herbs like dill or cilantro, seeds like mustard or caraway, garlic, and red pepper flakes if you like a bit of spice. You can also add other vegetables to the jar if you’d like, we like adding sliced carrots or even lime slices to our peppers.

Make sure there is about ½ – 1 inch (2-3 cm) of space above the peppers and below the jar’s lid so that the pickling liquid will completely cover the peppers so they pickle evenly. Any pieces of vegetable that extend out of the top of the water will not be pickled and could grow mold or other bacteria while storing, so make sure there’s enough space.

sliced and whole peppers in glass jars with fresh herbs and spices before pickling
Add peppers to jar with herbs and spices

⭐️ Pepper tip! Choose a jar that you can pack the peppers into tightly so that the force of pressing against the other peppers keeps them submerged in the brine when pickling. Loose whole peppers will float and may not pickle evenly if they float to the top.


3️⃣ Step Three: Prepare and add the brine

Now it’s time to make the brine, or the salted and sugared vinegar water that will work the magic of pickling your peppers.

⭐️ Our favorite foundational refrigerator pickling brine recipe is:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar (distilled vinegar, white wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are our favorites)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
a small sauce pan with salt and sugar inside on a white table with a measuring glass of water and a bottle of apple cider vinegar
Add salt, sugar, vinegar, and water to pan

We increase or decrease the amount of brine depending on the amount of vegetables we’re pickling, but this is the general formula we use that always produces great tasting quick pickles.

To make the brine, simply add water, a vinegar of your choice, salt, and sugar to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

a small sauce pan filled with water and apple cider vinegar brine on a stovetop with a wooden spoon
Boil the brine, the pour over vegetables

Pour the hot brine into the jar and completely cover the peppers, then close the lid tightly and let cool completely on the counter until it reaches room temperature.

pickling brine pouring into a jar of sliced peppers
Pour pickling brine into pepper jars

⭐️ Which vinegar should you choose? For the mildest flavor choose distilled white vinegar (our choice for peppers). For more of a flavor punch try white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Malt and balsamic vinegar have the strongest flavor, but we have found the taste of these vinegars is too strong when quick pickling.

bottles of red wine, white wine, distilled, rice, apple cider, and balsamic vinegars on a wooden table
Test out different vinegars to find your favorite brine recipe

4️⃣ Step Four: Refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours

Once the jar of peppers is cool, store in the refrigerator with a lid tightened and let the peppers pickle in the salted vinegar brine.

two jars of sliced and whole pickled peppers on a refrigerator shelf
Refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours

If you want to serve quickly we recommend letting sliced peppers soak for at least 4 hours and whole peppers for at least 24 hours to let them soak up the brine, but for best results and flavor wait at least 24-48 hours (or more). Pickled peppers are good for up to 2-3 months in the refrigerator.

two jars of pickled peppers on a white table with fresh cilantro

❓ Recipe questions + quick tips

Can you pickled peppers whole?

You can pickle peppers whole or sliced, both are delicious. If pickling whole, choosing smaller peppers will allow them to pickle quicker as the brine can soak into smaller peppers faster. If your peppers are larger, just allow more time to quick pickle in the refrigerator before serving.

What jar should I use to pickle peppers?

Choose a jar small enough so that the peppers can be packed in tight, but tall enough to have about ½ – 1 inch of space between the top so that the brine liquid can completely submerge them.

How long before you can eat pickled peppers?

You can eat sliced pickled peppers as soon as 4 hours after pickling, however we suggest waiting a minimum of 24 hours for best results for whole peppers. If your peppers are thin, then less time is needed for good flavor. However, if your peppers are thick then they may need more time to soak before they are fully pickled.

How long do pickled peppers last?

Pickled peppers last up to 2-3 months in the refrigerator as long as they are completely covered with the liquid brine.

Are pickled peppers healthy?

Pickled peppers are healthy! Per the USDA Food Nutrient Database, one cup of peppers has 1 gram of plant-based protein, 1.8 grams of fiber and is a good source of vitamin C and vitamin A. However, the brine is high in sodium due to the salt needed to pickle the vegetable, so use as a compliment to meals or eat a few peppers spears as a snack with a well-balanced diet.

What are the best peppers for pickling?

It’s possible to pickle any type of peppers: bell peppers, banana peppers, jalapeños, poblano peppers — you name it, you can pickle it.

How do I know if my pickled peppers have gone bad?

Quick pickling vegetables doesn’t present the same food safety hazards as traditional pickling and canning. However, to make sure your peppers stay safe while stored in the refrigerator make sure to completely cover in the liquid brine and to feel the peppers before eating. If they’re slimy, throw them out.

a jar of sliced pickled peppers on a white table

💡 Ideas for serving pickled peppers

Quick pickled vegetables like peppers are great additions to salads, bowls, soups, tacos, or are even a great simple snack. Here are a few recipes and ideas to get you started:

  • As a taco or nacho topping. Sprinkled sliced pickled peppers on top of tacos or nachos for a spicy kick, like our Chili Lime Cauliflower Tacos.
  • Add to a salad or bowl. Top a salad or grain bowl with pickled peppers, like this Mexican-Style Three Bean Salad or Pozole Verde.
  • As a simple snack. Pickled whole peppers are a great easy snack — if you can handle the heat!
a jar of whole pickled peppers on a white table

♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips + tricks

While pickling seasonal vegetable is sustainable in itself, there are a few tips and tricks you can learn to make this peppers recipe even more environmentally friendly:

Take advantage of pepper season! The best time to pickle is during the height of pepper season. In California that’s May to December, but check out Seasonal Food Guide’s produce seasonality calendar to find when peppers are in season near you.

Save glass food jars to use for quick pickling vegetables. We’re always on the lookout for great jars to keep around the house for pantry and food storage, so keep an eye out for jars you can save to use for pickling peppers Learn how to easily clean labels from food jars for pickling here.

a jar of sliced pickled red, orange, and yellow peppers on a white table

👩‍🍳 More easy refrigerator pickled vegetable recipes

We love quick pickling vegetable, here are a few of our favorite recipes:

Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let us know how it turned out. Save it for later by pinning to your favorite Pinterest board and make sure to tag us on Fork in the Road’s Instagram to show off your sustainable food creations!

Yield: 12 servings

Refrigerator Pickled Peppers Recipe

two jars of pickled peppers on a white table with fresh cilantro

Want to learn how to make pickled peppers in the refrigerator? This easy refrigerator pickled peppers recipe is ready in 24 hours and can be used for any type of pepper, whole or sliced.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (450 g) peppers
  • ¼ cup cilantro, or other herbs
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 cups (475 ml) water
  • 1 cup (235 ml) vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Instructions

  1. Prep the peppers: Wash peppers and slice into ¼” thick slices, if desired.
  2. Prepare the pickling jar: Add cut peppers to a tall jar and add cilantro or other desired herbs, mustard seeds, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Prepare and add the brine: In a medium saucepan bring the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil. Once boiling, pour into the jar until the liquid completely submerges the peppers. Close the lid on the jar tightly.
  4. Pickling instructions: Let the jar cool on the counter until it reaches room temperature. Once cooled, put the jar into the refrigerator and let the peppers pickle for at least 4 hours before serving, but for best results serve after at least 24 hours. Quick pickled peppers are good up to 2-3 months in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Vinegar: White vinegar, white wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are the best vinegar choices for pickling peppers.
  • Recommended jar: Because peppers are a tall vegetable if pickling whole, choose a tall jar so they fit snug with about ½ - 1 inch space (2-3 cm) below the lid.
  • Other recommended tools: small saucepan, cutting board, knife set
  • Prep ahead and storage: Refrigerator pickled peppers should be made at least 4 hours before serving, but for best results make at least 24-48 hours ahead. Keep pickled peppers refrigerated and they can be enjoyed for up to 2-3 months. Do not freeze pickled peppers.
  • Nutrition notes: This recipe uses only plant-based ingredients and it is gluten-free. It does call for a high amount of salt for the brine, however the amount actually absorbed by the peppers themselves is small compared to the amount of salt used in the recipe.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 11Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 529mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g