Pickled Chillies

A quick and easy recipe for pickled chillies. They also make great gifts!

pickled chillies in glass jars

Pickled Chillies

I first discovered pickled chillies at my local Chinese restaurant here in Zurich. Yes, Zurich. Despite having grown up in Australia where south-east Asian food abounds, and despite my countless trips to Asia since I was a wee tot, I only came across this delightful condiment during what would be the first of many stir-fries that I like to indulge in frequently at my local because I’m rather terrible at making stir-fries at home.

sliced pickled chillies in glass jars

My local Chinese restaurant serves their pickled chillies in little glass jars which you can help yourself to, alongside jars of spicy sambal oelek and bottles of Sriracha sauce – a level of chilli heat for everyone.

I’m not usually one to eat fresh chillies as I am a bit of a scaredy cat and find the heat too much in even a nibble.

But pickled chillies are really lovely because some of the heat is lost during the pickling process, and they actually become milder the longer you leave them in the pickling liquid. And when added to Asian soups and stir-fries upon serving, they transport a great little kick by way of a wonderful hot, sweet and sour note with every morsel.

You will quickly discover that pickled chillies are just simply addictive!

I frequently pickle carrots, radishes and cucumbers for my Vietnamese dishes at home, but the pickling liquid I use there requires gentle simmering and then cooling before it can be poured into jars of waiting vegetables.

red chillies in white basket

Pickled Chillies Recipe

The recipe for pickled chillies which I have used here comes from Rachel Khoo, and it is a quick and simple recipe because no cooking or cooling is required.

This is the perfect recipe if you need to make some pickled chillies quickly (you should give them at least an hour of pickling) and if you want to avoid over-powering your kitchen with the smell of cooking vinegar!

Pickling chillies is also a great way of using up chillies which are likely to pass their best-by date, i.e. pickle them when they are still fresh and firm, not when they have become wrinkly and are starting to discolour.

Where I live, chillies are sold in rather large packets and I often end up freezing most of the packet to prevent any wastage. But pickling them is a great alternative to freezing, plus they look so pretty in their glass jars πŸ™‚

pickled chillies in weck glass jars

Pickled Chillies

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 small jar
  • Category: Preserving
  • Cuisine: Asian

Always have chillies on hand by using the quick and easy recipe for pickled chillies. Great if you have a large chilli crop! No cooking required.



  1. Thinly slice the chillies. If you don’t want your pickled chillies to be too spicy, you can rinse them in a colander with warm water to remove some of the seeds.
  2. Place the chillies into a small sterilised jar.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small jug and pour into the jar over the chillies.
  4. Cover the jar and keep in the fridge.

Kitchen Notes

If you are using green chillies, they will lose their vivid green colour after 4-5 days. Red chillies will keep their bright red colour.

This recipe adapted from Rachel Khoo

The pickled chillies keep well in the fridge for a few weeks but will lose a bit of their heat over time. I imagine that they would keep for longer, but I tend to make these in small quantities which we use within a few weeks.

To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.


  • Calories: 289
  • Sugar: 36.6g
  • Sodium: 7090mg
  • Fat: 6.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 51.9g
  • Fiber: 2.7g
  • Protein: 3.9g
  • Cholesterol: 0.3mg

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  1. Rushi 18 February 2015

    Those jars of pickled chillies are so pretty and Rachel even uses green chilies which I have in my home so I’m off to make a batch of my own. A big hug to ya Thanh πŸ™‚

    • Eat, Little Bird 18 February 2015

      I was umming and aahing about using green chillies but decided not to in the end because I rarely use it in cooking. But once I took these photos, I thought some green chillies would have made the mixture prettier … next time! Hope you will enjoy this recipe πŸ™‚

  2. dani | theloveofvanilla 18 February 2015

    Oooo I saw her using these in a soup on youtube! Our neighbour has a chilli tree which is over flowing with chilli’s… think I might have to ask for a handful to make these πŸ™‚ I haven’t pickled anything yet but have a list of so many things I want to pickle hehe my cupboard will be full of jars after this summer!

    Also do you have Rachel’s new book which is out? Wanted to see what your opinion was since you are also a Rachel fan!

    • Eat, Little Bird 22 February 2015

      This is definitely a recipe to use if you have a glut of chillies! I also grow chillies during the summer and end up freezing most of them come winter, so it’s nice to know of an alternative way of keeping them.

      I only recently received a copy of Rachel’s new book and I can’t wait to cook from it! I’ve earmarked quite a few recipes and hope to post my reviews in the coming months.

  3. Paula 19 February 2015

    I don’t like pepper, but I love chillies. Not eating them, but the flavour they give… So I wouldn’t use it in a salad, but in a curry, that must be nice!!!!!!

    I love the photos, the jars, everything!! The second photo would look really nice in a kitchen wall, don’t you think???

    Have a nice end of week, Thanh!!!!!!

    • Eat, Little Bird 22 February 2015

      I’m a bit like you – I prefer the flavour of chillies rather than the chillies themselves. Although, pickled chillies seem to be quite nice for eating because they are not as hot as fresh chillies, plus I love the sour quality. I love pickles in general (especially cornichons!), which explains why I’m a fan of pickled chillies.

      I’m so glad you liked these photos πŸ™‚ I took them in a bit of a hurry – my son was just about to wake up and I didn’t want him anywhere near these chillies, ha ha! But I think they would have looked better with a bit of green chillies in the mix. Next time!

  4. Truc Vert 8 March 2015

    So beautiful. Sure to be incredibly useful in the kitchen too, for adding a little bit of heat, but not too much heat πŸ˜‰

    • Eat, Little Bird 25 March 2015

      They have been quite useful, and surprisingly convenient – I don’t have to chop up chillies everytime I want to serve them now πŸ™‚

  5. Megan Stevenson 31 March 2015

    Great pictures! I bet these are great to have in the fridge to throw in stir fries, salads, even quinoa!

    • Eat, Little Bird 2 April 2015

      They’ve been more useful than I first thought. They are actually not as vinegary as the ones at my local Chinese restaurant, which is perfect because it means I can use these chillies in all sorts of dishes without the strong “pickling” taste. I think this is how I will store all of my chillies from hereon!

  6. Theresa 2 April 2015

    These looks great! Such vibrant colours!! I should really give this a try.

  7. Elizabeth Baugh 1 September 2017

    Hi these look great! I’m growing chillies for the first tine and want to preserve some as christmas gifts. Do you have any idea how long they will last, in or outside the fridge?

    • Eat, Little Bird 1 September 2017

      Hi Elizabeth,
      I would definitely keep these in the fridge. I think they would last up to a few months in the fridge, but it might also depend on how large the jar is and how frequently it is being used. I typically make one or two batches of these pickled chillies at a time, and keep them in small jars like the Weck Tulip jar you see in these photos. I use the small jars only because they are nicer to use at the table than one big, giant jar! As I am the only person in our home who eats chillies, I would estimate that it takes me about 2-3 weeks to finish one small jar. The chillies lose a bit of their heat over time (but they still remain spicy), and the green chillies start to lose their vivid green colour after 4 or 5 days.

      If you plan to make these as gifts, I would suggest using just red chillies as they will keep their colour better, although the mix of red and green chillies is really nice, especially at Christmas! I would suggest making them on the day you plan to give them away, with a note to keep the pickled chillies in the fridge. I’m sure they will keep for a few hours or half a day out of the fridge, but they will remain fresher in the fridge.

      I hope this helps!

  8. Shez 8 March 2018

    Great easy recipe!

  9. Julia 13 April 2018

    Interesting idea! This looks really good!I really like! thank you.

  10. Rosita Smith 22 May 2018

    Can U use dried B/eye chillies in your pickled chilli receipe?
    I grow these chilies as a decorative pot plant.

  11. Aneesa Ali 18 June 2019

    Can I add some chopped garlic to this aswell!? I went to China recently and every restaurant had this condiment but there was also chopped garlic with it too. Would this recipe work well with this addition? Looking forward to your response. The recipe looks awesome, I can’t wait to try it!

    • Eat, Little Bird 19 July 2019

      Hi Aneesa,
      Yes, you could certainly add garlic as well. That’s a great idea!! I’m going to try that too soon πŸ™‚

  12. Sue Hamer-Nel 28 July 2021

    The chilli’s was excellent. Thanks for the recipe

  13. Bruce Fisherman 28 January 2022

    Looks like a nice little recipe, i’ll try it at the end of the season when i have finished harvesting my chilies. i have around 50 trees at home and have made just about everything you can imaging with chili, but funny enough never pickled them, so this year i am going to make a few variants of pickled chili and bank the best recipe.
    Just a side note, rinsing the seeds out does not really reduce the heat of a chili. its a bit of a myth, it may help a fraction but not much. Capsaicin, the chemical that triggers the pain receptors is primarily found in the pith of the fruit (the white fleshy stuff that the seeds are attached to), so the best way to reduce heat is to slice a chili length ways, use the back of your knife and slide it down the inside of the chili and remove the pith. but yes capsaicin is found all over chilies, some even on the outside. Take care, from South Africa

    • Eat, Little Bird 30 January 2022

      Hi Bruce,
      Thank you for your message! I hope you will enjoy this recipe for your large crop! I agree with you regarding the seeds and pith of the chillies. Thankfully, when pickling the chillies, they tend to lose a bit of their heat over time πŸ˜‰