If you love spicy food then you need this pickled chillies recipe in your life. These are very easy to make and pair perfectly with any Asian or salty dish that needs a bit of heat and acidity.
If you have ever been to Asian restaurant, you may have noticed that they tend a whole bunch of sauces and condiments on the table. Why is this? Because people love to tailor dishes to their own tastes, especially noodle soups like chicken pho / beef pho / egg noodle soup.
One of the most popular condiments you will find at these restaurants are these pickled chillies. They are match made in heaven with many dishes and will help to enhance the flavours and overall experience. If you are not sold on that alone then here’s a few more reasons why you should make pickled chillies:
- A perfect condiment to anything salty or in need of a burst of spice and acidity.
- A great way to use up any excess chillies.
- Make great little gifts for your family and friends.
Best Types of Chillies for Pickling
I have used a wide variety of chillies and they seem to all work well. My personal favourites are:
- Thai chillies – great for when you want a lot of heat.
- Cayenne peppers/jalapenos – best if you want something meatier and milder.
What Part of the Chilli to Use
Always cut off the stem. As for the rest of the chilli, it depends on how hot you want the final product to be:
- Hotter – leave the seeds and membrane.
- Milder – remove the seeds and membrane. This is a lot easier to do with chillies that are large like cayenne peppers and jalapenos.
Note: chillies will gradually lose some of their heat during the pickling process and while they are in the jar.
Style of Pickled Chillies
Finely Chopped vs Sliced
How you cut your chillies depends on how you plan on eating them:
- Finely chopped – best for generally adding heat to a dish, rather than distinct pops of flavour. Best used in dishes that has some sort of liquid, e.g. sauces, dressings, noodle soups, as the heat from a finely chopped pickle can disperse evenly in liquids.
- Sliced – best for adding distinct pops of flavour. Best used in salty rice dishes, salads and as a garnish in noodle soups. Larger slices of chilli will absorb more of the pickling liquid, giving you heat, texture and a burst of acidity with every bite.
How to Cut Your Chillies
My recommendation for finely chopped chillies is to use a vegetable chopper or a food processor. This will make it a lot easier and quicker.
If you want sliced chilli then I simply use a knife and cutting board. You can also use a mandolin for better consistency but this is only suitable for larger chillies.
Here’s a few tips to avoid squashing / destroying your chilli slices while cutting with a knife:
- Use a sharp knife.
- Don’t cut the chilli slices too thin.
- Don’t push down with the knife on the chilli (like a chop motion). Use the blade of the knife in a push and pull motion.
To ensure the pickled chillies last as long as possible:
- Store in sterilised jars (see below)
- Store in the refrigerator.
- Make sure the chillies are entirely submerged in the pickling solution.
- Use fresh chillies. Anything that looks old will spoil faster.
- Use clean utensils when scooping out the chillies.
Sterilising the Jars
Always use sterilised glass jars to store your pickles. To sterilise:
- Wash the jars with detergent.
- In a large pot, add cold water and the jars. Start with cold water to avoid big change in temperature possibly shattering the glass jars.
- Set the heat to medium and bring to the boil.
- Boil for 10 minutes to sterilise.
- After 10 minutes, take them out and let to cool.
How Long do Pickled Chillies Keep For?
Officially – pickled chillies will last for two months unopened, and 1 -2 weeks once opened.
However, from personal experience, they can last up to 6 months. As long as their isn’t any mould in the jars, I will still eat them. Always exercise common sense, and if anything looks/smells/tastes off then don’t eat it!
How to Use Pickled Chillies
Serve the pickled chillies in the middle of the table along with any other condiments. Use a spoon to scoop out a small amount and either garnish/mix in with your meal. Pickled chillies are great with:
- Noodle soups, especially Banh Canh, Seafood and Pork Noodle Soup and Vietnamese Chicken Pho (Pho Ga).
- Rice dishes, including Vietnamese Air Fried Chicken with Rice, Simple Zucchini and Meatball Soup and Chicken and Mushroom Rice.
- Salads, like Rice Noodle Salad with Vietnamese Ham, Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Dressing and Beef Noodle Salad Bowls (Bun Bo Xao).
Other Similar Recipes
- Fermented Cabbage (Vietnamese Version)
- The Best Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham)
- Vietnamese Pickled Carrots and Daikon – Do Chua
- The Easiest Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
- Soothing Ginger and Cinnamon Tea
Thank you for visiting our blog and we hope you enjoyed this post.
Scruff & Steph
- Glass jars
- 2 L Pot
- 250 gm chilli (Note 1)
Pickling Solution (Should be more than enough)
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
Sterilising the Jars
- Wash the jars with detergent.
- Place them in a pot with cold water and set the heat to medium. Once the water starts boiling, let it sterilise for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove and allow to cool. Pat dry with clean kitchen paper towels.
Making the Pickles
- Wash the chillies under a tap and pat dry with a clean kitchen paper towel.
- Cut the chillies (Note 2) then put them into the glass jars. Pack the jars tightly.
- In a small pot on medium setting add the vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Allow it to come to the boil then take it off the heat.
- Pour the solution into the jar(s). Make sure the pickling solution is covering all the chillies (Note 3).
- Once cool enough to handle, put the lid on and place them in the fridge.
- Allow at least a day to pickle.
- This recipe will work with any type of chilli. We recommend Thai chillies if you want a lot of heat, and cayenne peppers/jalapenos if you want something milder.
- Finely chop the chillies if you want them to evenly disperse in a liquid (e.g. a sauce, broth, etc.). Slice the chillies if you want them to add pops of flavour (e.g. adding to a rice dish or salad)
- This recipe makes a generous amount of pickling liquid for 250 gm of chillies. If you do fall short though you MUST make sure the chillies are fully submerged – so either make more pickling liquid, or use fewer chillies.