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Preserve Your Harvest

Quick & Easy Refrigerator Pickled Peppers Recipe

Got peppers? Come learn how to make our favorite quick-and-easy refrigerator pickled peppers recipe. That’s right, no canning required! Though, you could can them – if you desire. These pickled peppers are delectably tangy, just a tad sweet, and as spicy as you make them. It’s one of our favorite ways to preserve peppers from the garden. I’ve also included tips on how to prevent pickled peppers from getting mushy – just like our popular Easy Crunchy Dill Cucumber Pickles recipe.

What kind of peppers can you pickle?

Truth be told, we grow banana peppers pretty much just to make this recipe! They’re excellent prepared other ways of course, but are exceptional when pickled – much like a classic pepperoncini. However, banana peppers aren’t the only type of pepper that you can use for this refrigerator pickled pepper recipe.

Banana peppers and pepperoncinis are the most popular option, but jalapeños, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, Thai chilis, Hungarian wax peppers, and others can make excellent pickled peppers too. Hot, mild, sweet, savory… pickle whatever variety of pepper your taste buds or garden dictate! Personally, we like to save our hottest chili peppers to make homemade chili powder or fermented hot sauce instead.

Find our top tips to grow your own peppers here.

A close up flat lay of a large wooden bowl with gold handles full of red, green, yellow and orange peppers of various shapes and sizes - though mostly long, slender and pointed. The bowl is resting on a bed of green groundcover in a garden.


Per quart jar, stuffed with peppers of your choice:

  • Peppers of choice – the amount will vary, depending on pepper size
  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • About a dozen peppercorns
  • A few sprigs of fresh dill 
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sea salt and sugar each
  • A sprinkle of celery seed

We typically make several quart jars at once, or one large half-gallon jar, so we triple the recipe by combining 3 cups of vinegar, 3 cups of water, 4 tablespoons of salt and sugar each, and just under ½ teaspoon celery seed.

Optional: This pickling recipe can be used for a variety of other veggies too! Feel free to add a few slices of onion, carrots, green beans, or other garden goodies in there too. When we are making pepperoncinis, we like to use mostly all banana peppers, but add at least one hot pepper into each jar for an extra kick!

Vinegar ratio for canning

If you intend to hot-bath can this pickled pepper recipe, increase the vinegar-to-water ratio to a higher amount of vinegar than listed above. For food safety, adjust the recipe to be about 3 times the amount of vinegar to water. For example, 1.5 cups of vinegar and 1/2 cup of water, scaling both up as needed. Also ensure you’re using 5% acidity vinegar or stronger.

How do you make pickled peppers stay crisp?

To keep your refrigerator pickled peppers extra crunchy, you can add couple grape leaves, oak leaves, black tea leaves, blackberry leaves, or horseradish leaves to the jar. All of these leaves contain tannins that help the peppers stay more crisp naturally. I highly suggest adding them if you choose to hot-bath can pickled peppers. The heat will cause them to soften much more than when making refrigerator pickled peppers!

Whole pickled peppers will stay more crisp than cut slices. Also, the more fresh the pepper are, the more crunchy they will stay once pickled. That’s one reason homegrown, just-picked peppers make the best pickles. Peppers from the farmer’s market will also be more fresh and crips than those from the grocery store. Store peppers in the refrigerator immediately after harvesting to retain maximum firmness and freshness. Finally, some folks like to add “pickle crisp” to their homemade pickles peppers (especially when canning).

Many green/yellow banana peppers and a few red cayenne peppers litter a barn wood surface. There are also cloves of garlic, a few sprigs of dill, salt, sugar, peppercorns, and celery seed each in their own measuring spoon in the middle/front of the peppers. These are the ingredients for the recipe.


Step 1: Prepare Jars

In the bottom of each glass mason jar (or similar container), add a few sprigs of fresh, washed dill. Peel 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, crush them lightly with the wide side of a knife, and throw them in the jar as well. Finally, add a pinch of peppercorns. We add about a dozen per quart. If you are using grape or oak leaves, add one or two to the bottom of each jar now. We’ve done it both ways, and simply didn’t have any available to use this time!

A close up image showing the bottom of a quart size mason jar. It contains, three cloves of garlic, a few sprigs of dill neatly nest around the outer edge of the inside of the jar, and a number of peppercorns dot the bottom as well.

Step 2: Create A Pickling Brine

On the stovetop, combine equal parts white vinegar and water in a pot. Next, add equal parts sugar and sea salt, plus a sprinkle of celery seed – following the amounts list above. Stir, and lightly heat the mixture until the salt and sugar has dissolved.

We don’t want to add the brine to the peppers when it is piping hot though! “Cooking” the peppers in boiling brine will make them soften or get more mushy. Therefore, allow the brine to cool a bit while you are preparing and packing the peppers in jars. Lukewarm to room temp brine is good.

Step 3: Prepare & Poke Peppers

You have probably noticed that we leave our peppers whole for this refrigerator pickled pepper recipe. We have found that this helps maintain crispness. It also reduces the preparation effort upfront. Later, we can either snack on the pickled peppers whole, or slice them into rings as desired.

Wash your peppers. Keep the stems attached, but feel free to trim them down to a shorter length if they are extra lanky. Next, poke each pepper with a sharp knife in a couple of places. This allows the brine to adequately penetrate and engulf the peppers, seeping in through the small slits you’ve created. 

A close up image of a yellow banana pepper being held with one hand while the other inserts a slit into the pepper with a knife. Below the pepper that is being focused on lies a metal strainer full of more banana peppers.

Step 4: Pack Peppers

Now pack those jars! Rather than simply tossing them in there all willy-nilly, I try to carefully and methodically place, pack, and tuck the peppers into the jars in a manner to fit as many as possible, leaving little spare room. Packing them tight also reduces their ability to float, which helps them stay submerged in the brine.

A hand is holding a quart mason jar by the bottom, the jar is packed with yellow banana peppers and one  red cayenne. Along with the garlic, dill, and peppercorns lining the bottom of the jar.

Step 5: Add the Pickling Brine

Once your brine is no longer hot, pour it over each jar stuffed with peppers – until it is completely full and all of the peppers are submerged. You will see the peppers begin to bubble as the brine seeps into the slits you created. After adding a lid, tap and wiggle the jars side to side to encourage that seeping. This will also help knock loose any air bubbles. 

If you have any leftover brine, keep it! It will take a couple days for the brine to completely penetrate and fill the peppers. As it does, the brine level in the jar will decrease and need to be topped off. If you do not have any brine leftover, no big deal! Simply top off the jars with plain white vinegar as needed. 

Feel your jars. If they’re still rather warm, allow them to sit out at room temperature to cool down for a couple of hours before refrigerating.

A quart mason jar full of peppers sits in the center of the image with a metal canning funnel on top of it. There is a stream of vinegar pouring down from the top into the jar. Two jars of peppers that have already been filled with the vinegar brine sit behind the jar in center.
The top of a jar of peppers with brine is in focus, many air bubbles are forming and floating to the top illustrating the brine is seeping into the peppers and the air inside of them that is escaping out.

Step 6: Refrigerate

After the jars of peppers are fairly cool, add a lid to each jar. The acidic nature of pickles can make standard mason jar lids corrode with time, so we opt to use these BPA-free plastic wide mouth jar lids, or these stainless steel ones

Store your homemade pickled peppers in the refrigerator and let them sit to marinate. As mentioned above, keep an eye on them for the first couple of days to monitor the brine level! If it drops below the peppers, top them off with more reserved brine or vinegar as needed.

How long should pickled peppers sit before eating?

Now, allow pickled peppers to marinate in the fridge for at least a few days before consuming. There is no harm in tasting them early! Yet for the best flavor and results, let them sit for a week or so. The delicious pickle flavors will only get better with time.

How long do refrigerator pickled peppers last?

These easy refrigerator pickled peppers will stay good for up to 6 months (or longer) in the refrigerator.  Technically, they’ll be safe to eat for well over a year – or as long as mold or strong off odors/flavors don’t develop. Yet refrigerator pickled peppers will be the most crisp and enjoyable if consumed within a few months, as the texture will degrade over time.

Are pickled peppers in vinegar shelf stable?

Simple refrigerator pickled peppers in vinegar are NOT shelf stable and should be refrigerated. That is, unless you used the safe vinegar ratio recommended for canning pickled peppers (previously discussed) AND processed them in a hot bath or pressure canner. Then they can be stored at room temperature after canning, but must be refrigerated after opening.

Three quart mason jars of finish pickled peppers in brine sit atop a dark barn wood table. There are various large, dark green house plants in the background.

Step 7: Enjoy!

I have always been a pickle-lover, and find myself snacking on these straight from the jar! Pickled peppers make a great addition to any hors d’oeuvre plate, with cheese and crackers, on pizza, tacos, and on sandwiches of course. Because the peppers will be filled with brine, keep that in mind as you plate or bite into them! To easily drain the peppers, you can simply cut (or bite) off the tip. 

How do you like to use your pickled peppers? 

I hope you enjoy these easy refrigerator pickled peppers as much as we do! Please feel free to ask questions or provide a review in the comments below, and spread the love by pinning or sharing this article.

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Three jars of pickled peppers in a row, full of mostly yellow-green banana peppers and few hot red ember chilis
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4.39 from 112 votes

Easy Refrigerator Pickled Pepper Recipe

Enjoy this recipe for quick and easy refrigerator pickled peppers, using any type of pepper you want to pickle! No canning necessary! Though you could can this recipe if you desire. Reminiscent of classic pepperoncinis, these pickled peppers are delectably tangy, just a tad sweet, and as spicy as you'd like to make them.
Prep Time30 minutes
Pickling Time (in the refrigerator)14 days
Servings: 1 quart jar


  • Peppers of choice
  • 1 cup Filtered water
  • 1 cup White vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Sea salt, kosher or pickling
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • Fresh dill, a few sprigs (small handful)
  • 2-3 cloves Fresh garlic, light crushed
  • Peppercorns, to taste (about a dozen per jar)
  • 1 pinch celery seed
  • 1 grape, horseradish, oak or black tea leaf (optional, to preserve maximum pepper crunch)


  • Add the fresh dill, cloves of crushed garlic, celery seed and peppercorns to the bottom of a jar (and an optional grape, horseradish, black tea or oak leaves for extra crunch).
  • Prepare the brine by adding the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a saucepan on the stovetop. Heat until the sugar and salt dissolve, but then allow the brine to cool slightly before adding to peppers.
  • Wash the peppers. Poke each pepper with a sharp knife in a couple places to allow the brine to penetrate the peppers.
  • Carefully pack the peppers into the jar, trying to fit as many as possible inside.
  • Pour the brine over the top of the peppers until they are completely submerged. Top off with more brine or vinegar if settling occurs.
  • Add a lid to the jar and refrigerate for 2 to 3 weeks before enjoying. Use within 6 months for best quality and flavor.


CANNING: If you intend to hot-bath or pressure can this pickled pepper recipe, increase the vinegar-to-water ratio than what is listed above. For food safety, adjust the recipe to be about 3 times the amount of vinegar to water. For example, 1.5 cups of vinegar and 1/2 cup of water instead of 1:1.


DeannaCats signature - Keep on Growing


    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Emma, it’s mostly just for flavor, feel free to omit the sugar altogether but you don’t necessarily have to add more salt either. Good luck!

  • Tiffany Truitt

    Can you use freeze dried dill instead of fresh sprigs. None of our stores have it at the time and I have about 30peppers so far that need to be picked. And if you can use the freeze dried, how much would you add? Thank you for your time and I can’t wait to try these out.

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Tiffany, yes you can use freeze dried dill as a substitute for fresh dill. The typical conversion rate of fresh herbs to dry is you use 1/3rd the amount of called for fresh herb with dried (i.e. 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs would be 1 teaspoon of dried). For this recipe, I think you should be fine with 1 teaspoon or so of the freeze dried dill. Hope that helps and enjoy!

  • pam gilbert

    Hi there,
    I have hot cherry peppers from the garden, they are pretty small the kind you would pickle and stuff with proscuitto and provolne Italian style. It says not to add the brine to the peppers when hot, but these peppers have pretty thick skins and I want them to be a little soft not mushy. What to you recommnend?


    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Pam, we like to make slits in the peppers before they are pickled but the peppers will also get filled with the brine in doing so. Yet the good thing about “refrigerator pickles” is the veggies won’t typically get mushy like they might in a canning recipe although they will soften somewhat. Hope that helps and good luck!

  • Lu Anne

    5 stars
    These are great Pickled Peppers. This recipe is exactly what I was looking for.

    Can you describe how much softer they’d be if canned in a water bath?

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Lu Anne, glad to hear you enjoyed the pickled peppers. Peppers that are canned just lose their crunch somewhat, although they are still plenty flavorful. Hope that helps and good luck!

  • Mel

    Going to try this today. The printable recipe did not mention whether to add the celery seeds to the brine or to the jar with the peppercorns so I came back here to find out. I see it’s mentioned on the page, but you might want to add it to the actual recipe.

  • Lisa Glavish

    5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! I grew six Pepperoncini plants this year and have so far harvested twice- enough for one gallon total.
    I have used your recipe for both harvests and we’ve already munched our way through a quart of these lovely crunchy peppers.
    I’ve shared a link to your recipe on my Facebook group Canning 2.0
    Thanks for taking the time to share this recipe!!

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Thanks so much Lisa and glad to hear your pepper harvests are so abundant! Enjoy your peppers and thanks for the support!

  • Danielle j

    5 stars
    5/5 as always!! So easy to make and so delicious. Your recipes are my go to, thanks for all of your hard work!

    • Stuart Eloph

      5 stars
      Hello the recipe looks great I have some very very hot Hungarian wax peppers. Should I core and de-seed? Will that affect the crispness? I don’t have very many so I’m going to eat them pretty quick once they’re ready lol! Also I like them more tart, can I use less sugar? Thanks in advance!

      • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

        Hi Stuart, yes you can use less sugar and if you plan on using them quickly, cutting them in half and deseeding them should be just fine. We typically make slits in the sides of the peppers anyways so they typically get filled with the brine anyways. Enjoy your pickled peppers!

        • Kathy S Bartz

          5 stars
          Hi Deanna, everything about your recipe looks really yummy. My question is I would like them to be a little on the sweet side. Can I add more sugar without adding extra sodium. I was thinking maybe like 2:00 teaspoons or tablespoons per quart jar. I would be so happy to hear what you think .

          Thank you in advance, Kathy

          • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

            Hi Kathy, so great to hear you are excited about the recipe, yes you can use more sugar, maybe start with doubling the recipe amount to a heaping 2 tablespoons and see if that is sweet enough for you (just taste the brine before you add it to the jar of peppers so you can add more sugar if necessary). Hope that helps and good luck!

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