Love and Olive Oil
Spicy Refrigerator Pickled Peppers

Spicy Refrigerator Pickled Peppers

Spicy Refrigerator Pickled Peppers

Peter piper ain’t got nothin’ on me.

Spicy Refrigerator Pickled Peppers

I whipped up these homemade pickled peppers as part of the lamb and clams recipe I prepared for KitchenAid’s #HaveDinnerWithUs campaign. The peppers are tossed with red onion, fresh mint, and lemon juice for a bright and colorful topping. (Speaking of KitchenAid, don’t forget about the fab giveaway I’ve got going on right now. All you have to do is cook and share for your chance to win!)

Anyway, chef Chris’ original recipe called for a specific brand of spicy pickled peppers, a brand that isn’t available in our area. I scoured the grocery stores but, alas, despite living in the middle of pickle country, I couldn’t find a pickled pepper that wasn’t either a peppadew or a pepperoncini.

And honestly? I should have just made these from the beginning, because it was much quicker and easier (not to mention I didn’t have to change out of my yoga pants) than running around town to 3 different grocery stores searching for a commercial version.

Funny how that happens.


I used a red Fresno chili pepper (I think… my pepper identification skills need work) which has a good bit of kick along the lines of a jalapeño (which you could also use, red or green). You could also use a sweeter pepper, something like an Italian sweet pepper, and then chop up a bit of jalapeño to infuse the pickle with some heat (or leave it out altogether if you prefer). Leave out the seeds for an even milder flavor.

This recipe (adapted from Ashley’s lovely little cookbook) is a quick refrigerator pickle: meaning it’s not meant to be canned. The most obvious indicator of this is the addition of olive oil in the brine; a recipe made for home preserving will never include oil for safety reasons. But the result is so delicious they’ll be gone before it becomes a concern, that I can promise you. With a flavorful brine infused with generous amounts of crushed garlic, a little brown sugar and some fragrant oregano, these spicy pickled peppers will have you wishing a hot pepper plant would miraculously sprout (and thrive) in your sad little excuse for garden. Or maybe that’s just me?

Spicy Refrigerator Pickled Peppers

What to do with them? Well, they’d make stellar burger or hot dog toppings on their own, for one. Or you could take a cute from the lamb and clams recipe and toss them with some red onion, fresh herbs, and a bit of acid (lemon juice, vinegar, or even some of the reserved pickle juice) for a bright and colorful relish that’d be perfect spooned over meat or seafood.

What I really want to know though, is how Peter could just go and pick a peck of pickled peppers. Because it seems to me that’d he’d need to first pick the peppers and then pickle them… unless he’s got some secret pickled pepper plant he’s not sharing with the rest of us. (Also, fun fact: it’s thought that the Peter referenced in the rhyme is actually Pierre Poivre, an eighteenth?century French horticulturalist. So maybe he really DID have a secret pickled pepper plant that’s been lost in time. A crying shame, if you ask me.)

Spicy Refrigerator Pickled Peppers

Spicy Refrigerator Pickled Peppers

These quick pickled peppers are equal parts sweet, savory, and spicy, with brown sugar and garlic and plenty of spice.

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  • 1 cup white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb red jalapenos or Italian roasting peppers, thinly sliced into 1/4-inch rounds


  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine vinegar, salt, brown sugar, oregano, garlic cloves and olive oil and bring to a simmer. Add sliced peppers and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the peppers are tender.
  2. Transfer peppers into a pint mason jar and pour the liquid over top; secure with airtight lid and refrigerate overnight to let flavors infuse. Peppers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Adapted from Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. My olive oil coagulated in the fridge at the top of the jar.  Taste great, but I have to put them in the microwave for a few seconds to liquify the olive oil.  Did I do something wrong?

    • Sounds like your fridge may be on the cold side. Try moving the jar to a warmer location like the door, or adjusting your fridge temp up a few degrees. You can also let the jar sit out at room temp for 15-20 mins before using, that should be enough to bring the oil back to a liquid state (this happens to me with salad dressings sometimes).

  2. How much red chili? Did I miss something!

    • By ‘red chile’ I’m referring to the red jalapenos or other chile called for in the recipe. I’ve updated it so its clearer now! It’s plenty spicy on its own, no need for more heat :)

  3. I am excited to try this recipe. In the method it refers to red chile, which I do not see in the ingredients list. How much red chile?

  4. Made spicey refrigerator pickled peppers. AWESOME!! I use whatever peppers I have on hand plus a couple of ghost and scorpion peppers. Wife says I am nuts but I like the heat. I put them on everything.

  5. Also, the guy who created Mama Lil’s pours off the vinegar cooking solution and adds the oil. Check it out!

  6. Actually, Mama Lil’s uses olive and canola oil, so don’t understand your linking oil w/botulism. Going to try this recipe tonight! Thanks.

    • Commercial products are processed with methods that makes it safe for consumption (such as pressure canning). For home preservation, however, it is not advised.

  7. I made this pepper sauce several months ago. I found it to have a taste that wakes up all your taste buds. I found it searching google. Then just a few weeks ago I wanted to share recipe with someone but couldn’t find it until now. I’m so glad I found it because It is delicious. I was not aware until now that oils increase the risk of botulism poison. I appreciate you sharing this knowledge. This will be the only recipe I use for pepper sauce. Thanks You so much

  8. Turned out great ez n fast great flavor !

  9. You had me at spicy.
    So, when I worked as the exec chef before I had my son, we used these peppers called Mama Lil’s Peppers. They were/are the best thing that I have ever had in my life.
    I feel like these would taste very similar.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  10. I do wish a magic pepper plant would sprout up in my garden, but in the meantime I have a surplus of peppers a friend gave me from her overflowing haul. Need to try this out!

  11. I tried this one Oh so Good ! Ty

  12. Out of curiosity, why don’t they keep longer in the fridge? Is it because they aren’t in straight vinegar? Because there is oil in there too? Thanks.

    • Okay, duh. I see the other comments now. For some reason they weren’t showing up before. I have my answer. Thanks much.

  13. I don’t know why I don’t make more of my own pickles, it is so easy and they taste so much better than store bought. These look so divine I think I’ll make some this weekend :)

  14. Can’t wait to make these!  What happens after a month, just curious. Do they become really bad? Poisonous? Not quite as good but still ok?   Thanks. 

    • There is an increased risk of botulism when oil is involved, which is why this recipe must be refrigerated. I’d recommend only making enough that you can eat within a reasonable amount of time. If you have a glut of peppers you are trying to use up, I might recommend an oil-free canning recipe like Pepper Jelly!

  15. Pickled pepper plant…now there’s an idea that I’d like to figure out!

    Any recipe that doesn’t require changing out of yoga pants and driving to stores is a winner in my book. These look fabulous!

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