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I grew hot cherry peppers for the specific purpose of pickling them! Pickled hot cherry peppers add a great pop of flavor to salads and sandwiches. The great news is, it’s super easy to make pickled hot cherry peppers, and that’s exactly what I’ll show you in this article.

Pro tip: If you’re interested in pickling more than just cherry peppers, I highly recommend the book, The Complete Guide to Pickling: Pickle and Ferment Everything Your Garden or Market Has to Offer, available on Amazon.

Pickled Hot Cherry Peppers Recipe

I’ll give you the basic recipe for pickling hot cherry peppers, and then show you how to adapt it based on the amount of peppers you have.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs hot cherry peppers
  • 6 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves (or more to taste)
  • Ball Pickle Crisp (optional) – 1/8 teaspoon per pint

Pro tip: Ball Pickle Crisp (Amazon) is a great way to keep your cherry peppers crisp even if you decide to can your pickled cherry peppers. You can learn more about what Pickle Crisp is, and the alternatives, in my article, What is Pickle Crisp and How Can You Use It?

How to Make Pickled Hot Cherry Peppers

Now let’s get into the process of making pickled hot cherry peppers! (You won’t believe how easy it is!)

Wash and Sterilize Canning Jars

The recipe above makes approximately five pints of pickled cherry peppers. However, the number of pint jars you need depends on several factors such as whether or not you’re pickling whole cherry peppers or slicing them. You’ll need more jars if you plan to pickle whole cherry peppers. To be on the safe side, prepare six or more pint jars, just in case! It’s always better to have more jars and lids ready than you need.

Start off by washing your canning jars in hot, soapy water. 

Note that you only need to sterilize your canning jars if you plan to make quick pickled cherry peppers. If you’re going to can them, there is no need to sterilize them. You can learn more about sterilizing canning jars in this article, by the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Make the Brine

Making brine is super easy. All you must do is bring the water, vinegar, and salt to a boil, and simmer it until the salt dissolves, and then turn off the heat.

Note that you can add the garlic to the brine mixture, and then remove the garlic after you’ve boiled the brine. I prefer to put the raw garlic directly in each jar, for a more intense garlic flavor.

Preparing Cherry Peppers for Pickling

Now it’s time to prepare the peppers for pickling!

Start off by washing your cherry peppers

You can pickle hot cherry peppers whole or sliced or cut in half. You can also remove the seeds if you want the delicious pepper flavor, without as much heat. See the images below for the different ways to prepare the cherry peppers for pickling.

Halved and Sliced Cherry Peppers with Seeds Removed

Cherry peppers cut in half, with seeds removed. This is a nice middle ground if you want large pieces of cherry peppers and don’t want heat from the seeds.
You can slice cherry peppers into rings or even smaller pieces if desired. The smaller the pieces, the more peppers you can fit in a jar. Remove the seeds for less heat.

Whole Cherry Peppers, with Stems Removed

I removed the stems from the cherry peppers.
So the brine would penetrate the peppers better, I decided to cut a bit more off the top of each pepper. You can also pierce the cherry peppers with a toothpick to allow the brine to penetrate.

If using whole cherry peppers, remove the stems.

If you have a lot of cherry peppers you want to pickle, and don’t have a ton of jars or a ton of space to store the jars, if you slice the cherry peppers, you’ll be able to fit more peppers into each jar.

I personally like the way that whole cherry peppers look in the jar. Plus, I didn’t have a ton of cherry peppers, so keeping them whole worked well for me.

Add Hot Cherry Peppers to the Canning Jars

While the brine is heating, add one clove of garlic to each pint jar, along with the prepared cherry peppers. Pack them in tightly, without crushing them. If desired, add 1/8 teaspoon Pickle Crisp to each pint.

Pro tip: I especially recommend using Pickle Crisp (Amazon) if you plan on canning your cherry peppers. The canning process will soften the peppers quite a bit. If you like your peppers crisp rather than soggy, Pickle Crisp will help with that.

Pour the Brine over the Peppers

Now it’s time to pour the brine over your peppers. Be sure to cover the peppers completely with brine.

A canning funnel makes it easier to pour the brine into the jar without making a mess.
a mason jar filled to the brim with pickled hot cherry peppers
Since I was quick pickling the cherry peppers, I didn’t worry about headspace, and put as much brine into the jar as possible. I depended on the lid to push the cherry peppers into the brine. 🙂

If you want to make quick pickled cherry peppers, put a lid on, and allow the pickled peppers to come to room temperature before refrigerating. Since there is salt in the brine, when making quick pickles, I prefer to use plastic mason jar lids like these, that you can pick up on Amazon.

pickled hot cherry peppers float when you first put them into the jar.
It’s not unusual for cherry peppers to float when you first put them into the pickling solution.
Once the pickled hot cherry peppers have had time to fill up with the brine, they become more evenly distributed.
As the cherry peppers take on the brine, they sink down to the bottom.

Canning Cherry Peppers

When canning cherry peppers, be sure to leave 1/2″ of headspace. To learn more about headspace, read my article, What is Headspace in Canning?

Debubble the jars, using a plastic knife, plastic chopstick, or a debubbling tool like this one that you can get on Amazon.

Wipe the rims, and put on canning lids.

Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude.

Adapting this Recipe for Pickled Hot Cherry Peppers by the Amount of Peppers

Cherry peppers growing in an AeroGarden Bounty

I grew my hot cherry peppers in an AeroGarden Bounty (Amazon). As you can see in the photo above, there were quite a few ripe cherry peppers on the plant, but nothing close to the 3 pounds of cherry peppers that the recipe calls for. Because of that, I had to adapt the recipe for the amount of peppers I had.

Here’s how I went about it, and how you can adapt the recipe for the amount of cherry peppers you’d like to pickle.

How to Calculate the Amount of Brine Ingredients for Pickled Cherry Peppers

Weighing cherry peppers to know how much brine to make for pickling.
Weighing cherry peppers to know how much brine to make to pickle them.
I had about 6 ounces of cherry peppers.

If you purchase your peppers from the grocery store, weigh them and make note of the weight. (The weight may be listed on your receipt as well.) If you grow your own peppers, or if you don’t know the weight of the peppers you purchased at the store, weigh them using a kitchen scale, such as these, available on Amazon.

You can see from the photo above, I had about 6 ounces of peppers, or slightly over 1/3 of a pound.

Generally speaking, I’ve found that I often need more brine than recipes call for, so I decided to prepare enough brine for 1 pound of peppers.


Organize Your Canning Life without Breaking the Bank!

My Canning Planner Printables will help you accomplish and keep track of your canning goals and projects so you can stock your pantry with home-canned food your family loves!


Basic Calculations Based on the Weight of the Cherry Peppers You Want to Pickle

Remember that the brine ingredients for pickling 3 pounds of cherry peppers called for 6 cups white vinegar, 2 cups water, and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.

To calculate how much I needed for one pound of peppers, I multiplied each of the ingredients by 1/3 or .33. Therefore, 6 cups of vinegar x .33 = 1.98 (round up to 2 cups), 2 cups water x .33 = .66 cups (1/2 cup plus 2.5 tablespoons) water, 2 teaspoons kosher salt = .66 teaspoons (or a scant 3/4 teaspoon) salt.

Trust me, I’m not a math person, so it took me a bit of thinking to figure it out! To make it easier on you, I’ve done some calculations for you in the table below.

PeppersWhite Vinegar (5%)WaterKosher Salt
5 lbs of peppers10 cups white vinegar3 1/3 cups water3 1/3 teaspoons salt
3 lbs of peppers6 cups white vinegar2 cups water2 teaspoons salt
2 lbs of peppers4 cups white vinegar1 1/3 cups water1 1/3 teaspoons salt
1 lb of peppers2 cups white vinegar1/2 cup plus 2.5 tablespoonsScant 3/4 teaspoon salt

That’s all there is to it! Pickling cherry peppers is a great way to preserve them. If you put them into the fridge without canning, they should last a couple of months. If you opt to can them, they’ll last a year or longer.

If you enjoyed this article, you’re sure to enjoy these related articles.

Helpful Resources

Here are some helpful pickling resources all available on Amazon:


Organize Your Canning Life without Breaking the Bank!

My Canning Planner Printables will help you accomplish and keep track of your canning goals and projects so you can stock your pantry with home-canned food your family loves!


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