Skip to Content

How To Preserve Hot Peppers In Vinegar- Easy Recipe

How To Preserve Hot Peppers In Vinegar- This is a Romanian recipe coming from the old times, and the only ingredients are hot peppers and plain cold vinegar. These hot peppers preserved this way last many years in the jars and they are used as a condiment for soups and stews.

What to do with hot peppers

So, you have a bunch of hot peppers you grew in your garden or found at the Farmers Market, and you don’t know what to do with them. The best way to deal with them is can them. How do you do this? Here you have the easiest recipe on the planet.


how to preserve hot peppers in vinegar

Hot Peppers In Vinegar- The easiest recipe out there

It is that time of year when I feel the urge to can fruits and vegetables. The crisp air of September is here, and vegetables can be found in abundance at the Farmers Market.

Here in Minnesota, we have to take advantage of the short summers. The Farmers Market opens in June and closes at the beginning of October, so if I want to can vegetables for the cold days, this is the time.

I can as much as I am able to, and every year is different, based on what vegetables we have locally available. I like to can all kinds of things.

Cucumbers, cauliflower, red peppers, carrots, green tomatoes are some of my favorites. I use vinegar for some of them, but I also brine as a healthy way to get probiotics due to the natural fermentation.

Hot peppers in jars

This recipe for preserving hot peppers in vinegar is one of the easiest recipes for canning I can think of. So simple that it doesn’t need any instructions, basically. 

The recipe is Romanian, and it is an old way of preserving these types of hot peppers for the winter. People use these peppers as a condiment to spice up their soups and stews.

What kinds of peppers are good for this recipes?

It is crazy how many types of hot peppers are out there, so it looks like a good opportunity to clarify a few things.

This recipe is for hot peppers that are used as a condiment for your soups and stews during the cold season. It is NOT for bell peppers, cauliflower, carrots, beans, or cucumbers.

If you are not going to use these peppers as a condiment, then you will need to look for other ways to preserve them, as this recipe might not be for you.

I made a list of some of the hot peppers that would work for this recipe. I am sure there are more out there, but you get the idea.

Jalapeno pepper

Fresno chili pepper(not to be confused with the Fresno Bell pepper)

Serrano pepper

Habanero pepper

Cayenne pepper

Thai(Bird’s eye chili peppers)

Aleppo peppers

Shishito peppers

Tabasco peppers

Ghost peppers

Hungarian Wax peppers

Dutch Red chili peppers

Peri-Peri peppers

Scotch Bonnet peppers

hot peppers on table

The jars do not need a water bath. Vinegar destroys botulism, and this recipe is pure vinegar. Just make sure the vinegar you use is at least 5% acetic acid.

I preserve hot peppers in vinegar every fall. My daughter loves them when the winter comes. She likes them with soups, like this traditional Saxon potato tarragon soup.

Bowl of potato soup served with hot peppers

For those who can handle the heat, these peppers are a wonderful addition to any soups or stews.

hot peppers in jars

With this method, the peppers also last years on the shelves if you do not eat them all in one season. The jars make a great gift for family or friends around holidays because they are gorgeous and colorful.

 hot peppers preserved in vinegar

A few notes before you start working on these peppers:

Many asked me about the canning process for this recipe.

  1. First of all, you have to start with the jars. Clean them with warm water and soap or put them in the dishwasher and give them a good bath. Then, sterilize them. Here is a link about how to do that properly.
  2. When you sterilize the lids, please do not put them together with the jars. I clean them in warm water with soap and dry them well, then I boil water and add them for the last 2 minutes to sit in that hot water.
  3. Try to replace any older lids that do not look good. If they are too old or have rust on them, replace them. The new guideline is not even to boil the lids, but for my peace of mind, I think you should place them in hot water at least for few minutes before you use them. (here is the link that talks about not sterilizing the lids anymore.)
  4. I would also recommend you cover the peppers and their stems with vinegar. They should be all submerged in vinegar. 
  5. Also, use at least 5% acidic vinegar. Do not dilute the vinegar unless the recipe requires that. Vinegar destroys botulism, so it is important to follow the recipe exactly. The original recipe is made with vinegar 9% acidity, but I tried with vinegar 5% and 7%, and it worked really well.
  6. The peppers are washed and cleaned but the stem is left as it is.

Questions that you, the readers, asked:

Once done, do you put them in a pressure canner or boiling water bath?

No, the jars do not need a pressure canner or boiling water bath, as in the jars, you have pure vinegar that doesn’t ferment. The peppers will last years with no problems. The only thing you need to do is sterilize the jars before you fill them.

Also, vinegar destroys botulism, and this recipe is pure vinegar. Just make sure the vinegar you use is at least 5% or higher acetic acid.

When you sterilize the jars, do you put the lids in with boiling water?

When I sterilize the lids, I do not put them together with the jars. I clean them in warm water with soap and dry them well, then I boil some water and add them for the last 2 minutes to sit in that hot water. 

The new guideline is not even to boil the lids, but for my peace of mind, I think you should place them in hot water at least for few minutes before you use them. (here is the link for that:

Can you use old canning lids, or should you purchase new ones for the canning?

I try to replace any lids that do not look good. If they are too old or have rust on them, I replace them.

How full should the can peppers be filled with the vinegar?

 I would recommend you cover the peppers and their stems with vinegar. They should be all submerged in vinegar. It is a straightforward recipe that would take 5 minutes to complete if you have the jars ready.

Does it matter if I slice the peppers into rings with this method?

No, it doesn’t matter. However, make sure the peppers are all submerged in vinegar. Use at least 5% acidity vinegar, and do not add anything else to the recipe.

Do you heat the vinegar before pouring it over the peppers?

No, I don’t. If I would, it would say in the recipe, right?

Should the jars be stored in the fridge?

No, there is no need to keep them in the fridge. It would be best if you kept them in a cool pantry, cellar, or basement that is not heated, as you would do with any other cans you prepare for winter.

Would it be possible to add peppers to the jar of vinegar as I pick them? I don’t have enough peppers to fill a jar, but more than I can eat before they go bad.

This is a canning method, not quick pickling. I do not recommend it. You would end up with different stages of the pickling process as you keep adding peppers to a jar with older peppers already marinating inside.

You also create a great environment for bacteria to develop because you keep opening the sterilized jar to add more peppers.

Solution: I would look for a smaller jar to preserve a small batch of peppers or find other ways to preserve just a few of them (you could dry or freeze them, for example).

Can I use distilled white vinegar instead of white wine or apple cider vinegar?

Any vinegar that has 5% acidity or more can be used.

I’m wondering if you can add cauliflower and carrots with the hot peppers before adding the vinegar.

You can, but I do not recommend it. Your cauliflower and carrots will be very spicy as they will take the taste of the peppers. I would keep the recipe as it is.

How do you keep the peppers from floating in the jar?

They will not float if you put them right next to each other and as many as they fit without breaking them.

I am going to try your recipe but would like to add some spices and garlic. Should I boil the vinegar and spice mixture before pouring over the peppers when adding spices?

If you boil the vinegar and add spices and garlic, it is not going to be my recipe anymore.

I would suggest you look for a recipe that would tell you how to do what you want and skip this one. (You are killing me, people! Why would you start messing around with the easiest, straightforward recipe that you will ever get in your life? Isn’t life complicated enough?)

Is there anything special I need to do with the peppers? I know to wash and clean them, but I was curious if they need to soak somehow first?

Follow the recipe, please. It will tell you exactly what you need to do.

Do you have a recipe for “Hot Giardiniera”?

If the recipe you are looking for is not on the site already, I do not have it. This is available for any other recipe requests you might have.

I understand that it’s not in your recipe, but would it be ok to add something like garlic or oregano to this?

Again, if my recipe says nothing about adding garlic, oregano, and other spices, please don’t do it. If these things were optional, I would add them to the recipe.

Also, when you add extra ingredients, you change the recipe and make it your own. While I don’t have anything against this possibility, I can take responsibility for a recipe I wrote. Still, I cannot be responsible for what you do in your personal kitchen.

Down the road, when you open a jar to get some of the pickled peppers, do you need to refrigerate the rest of the jar since it has been opened? And do you know how long the open jar will last?

Yes, I would refrigerate the opened jar. I keep mine in the fridge and the unopened ones in the pantry in a cool place. They last a long time. Vinegar is a great preservative.

I throw them away in the summer if they end up sitting in the fridge for a few months and make a new batch when the hot peppers are available at the Farmers Market.

Interested in more canning recipes?

 Pickled Vegetables in a Mustard Sauce

Lacto-Fermented Dill Pickled Cucumbers

Romanian vegetable spread or Zacusca

How To Salt Preserve Herbs For Winter

Pickled cucumbers in vinegar- easy recipe


Yield: 2 jars of 16 oz each

How To Preserve Hot Peppers In Vinegar- Easy Recipe

How To Preserve Hot Peppers In Vinegar2

How to preserve hot peppers in vinegar- A Romanian recipe that comes from the old times, these hot peppers preserved this way last many years in the jars. This is probably one of the easiest recipe out there.We consume the hot peppers in winter with soups and stews. Delicious and super easy to make.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 pound/ 500 g hot peppers
  • 14 oz or 400 ml white wine vinegar or cider apple vinegar at least 5% or more acidity
  • sterilized jars and lids


  1. Clean the jars.
  2. The jars need to be sterilized by boiling them for 10 minutes in a pot of water on the stove.
  3. Wash and clean the hot peppers. Remove leaves, dirt and any bad peppers.
  4. When the sterilizing time is up, remove and drain hot sterilized jars one at a time.
  5. Fill the jars with peppers, as many as they fit tight inside.
  6. Pour vinegar over them to fill up the jars. Add lids, and tighten screw bands.
  7. Great with soups or as a condiment in stews. They last in a cool place for years.
  8. The peppers need to sit in vinegar for at least one month before they are ready to be consumed.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 8Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Facebook

Note: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.”


Thursday 4th of November 2021

I just happened to search for and received the easiest way to preserve my reaper peppers. And I have been laughing out loud the entire time at the people who INSIST on deferring from the obvious!! Your responses KILLED me, thanks for the chuckle and the recipe!!

The Bossy Kitchen

Thursday 4th of November 2021

:-)) Thank you, Michael! I really appreciate your comment!


Tuesday 26th of October 2021

Can I use this recipe for a combination of hot and sweet peppers mixed together I noticed you keep saying this for hot peppers only is this due to the acidity of the hot peppers versus regular peppers

The Bossy Kitchen

Tuesday 26th of October 2021

No, but I am sure you can find online more recipes for pickling sweet peppers, this recipe is only for hot peppers.

Chester Bobo

Sunday 24th of October 2021

Hi, your recipe sounds easy enough. I pickled some pepers last summer and ended up having to throw them away after awhile. There was a fungus film on the top. What I didn't do as sterilize the jars or tops and didn't let them sit for a month before openning them. Would you know what and how this fungus film appeared? I'm looking forward to picking peppers this fall. Thanks and I await your response.

The Bossy Kitchen

Monday 25th of October 2021

Hi, I am not sure what that fungus film was. You need to sterilize the jars and the lids, as there is nothing worse than getting sick from spoiled food. Make sure the vinegar is at least 5% acidity when you use my recipe. If you follow the instructions, you should be fine.

Diane Patton Heras

Saturday 23rd of October 2021

When are they ready to eat?

The Bossy Kitchen

Saturday 23rd of October 2021

The recipe card at the bottom of the article tells you. They need at least a month before you can eat them.

Edward Halverson

Friday 22nd of October 2021

I mean I have been soaking jalapenos in pure 5PH vinegar. I have almost used them all. (peppers). Can I reuse the vinegar?

Deb Parady

Thursday 4th of November 2021

@The Bossy Kitchen, I have been thinking about using my my vinegar from canned peppers as a base for chicken marinade. Thoughts?

The Bossy Kitchen

Friday 22nd of October 2021

My advice to you is no, don't do it. During the pickling process, the peppers release water, diluting the vinegar and raising its pH. So it is not a good idea to reuse the vinegar as you may bring fermentation in the new batch. You could use the remaining vinegar to start a mayonnaise, brine a chicken, flavor a potato salad, make a salad dressing, etc.

Skip to Recipe