Pickled Chipotle Chiles

I am a Chilehead and I make no apologies about it. You know you’re a Chilehead If:

  • You don’t have to worry about your roommates stealing your food
  • Your Chile recipe is in violation of more than one nuclear weapons proliferation treaty
  • Your used kleenex tissues glow in the dark
  • Your kitchen utensils were designed and built by NASA
  • You’re tired of people asking about those dried Thai chiles floating around in your breakfast cereal
  • Your pepper garden is visible from the Moon
  • You have to file an environmental impact statement every time you make a batch of salsa.
  • You throw a scrap of food to the dog and he looks at you as if to say “you must think I’m an idiot”
  • More than half of the souvenirs from that last tropical vacation were hot sauces and spices
  • You can correctly spell and pronounce chipotle and capsicum, and you know to which food group they belong.

This recipe for Pickled Chipotles is based upon Diana Kennedy’s recipe in “The Art of Mexican Cooking.”  By themselves as a stand alone condiment they are not for the faint of heart. In fact, the longer they sit, the spicier they become.  Nonetheless, they are wonderfully flavorful with a sweet, tangy, smoky flavor packed with a whole lot of heat. Combined with other foods the flavor combination is out of this world.  I have posted a recipe for Cornmeal Biscuits with Chipotle Chiles and Cheddar Cheese that the Pickled Chipotle Chiles make all of the difference in the world. Other recipes that use these have ping backs below. Take a couple of these beauties, mince them and pour over cream cheese for a smokey, sweet, creamy and spicy dip. They are excellent with pinto beans or black eye peas adding a smokiness with a little kick.  Use your imagination and enjoy.


  • 1/4 lb (40 large Chipotles)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 cups rough sliced white onion
  • 4 cloves Garlic, peeled and slivered
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • 4 fresh sprigs marjoram (1/4 tsp dried)
  • 4 fresh sprigs thyme (1/4 tsp dried)
  • 2-1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cup water
  • 1-1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 6 Tbsp brown sugar (piloncillo, if available)

Cooking Instructions

Rinse chiles well but do not soak.  Pat dry.  Pierce chiles twice with sharp fork, set aside.  Heat oil in thick skillet. Add onion and garlic.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Fry, turning over occasionally, until they become translucent – about 20 seconds.  Add chiles.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Continue frying and turning roughly 8 minutes.  Add herbs

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

vinegar, water,

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com


© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

and sugar/piloncillo.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat at a fast simmer for about 15 minutes, longer if they are leathery.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Transfer to Mason jars and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Allow to cool.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Store in a dark, cool place for 10 days turning them over (top to bottom).  Serve as a condiment with dried oregano and olive oil.

20 thoughts on “Pickled Chipotle Chiles”

  1. Aaahhh, Diana Kennedy. i should open her book back up – its been years. Very interesting to pickle a dry chile pepper!
    I love your list. All I brought home from st. Lucia last week was a local chile pepper sauce, and one bottle of banana ketchup!!! I’m still laughing out loud!!!

    1. Sounds like when we went to Puerto Rico last. We came back with 12 different chile pepper sauces.
      This recipe for pickled chipotle chiles and the recipe for jalapeños en escabeche (also on the blog) are my favorite Diane Kennedy recipes. I have been making those 2 recipes for well over 25 years and make at least 1 double batch of each once a year.

      1. I’ve made those !!! I remember them so well!!! Unfortunately, I’ve been the only pickle person in the family. But now I have a son in law who eats just about everything, so I’ll have to make them again. I remember how good the carrots were in that!!! Thanks for reminding me!!!

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