Pickled Chipotles à la Richard

Ancho chile rub was not the only homemade goodness that Richard sent over, his wonderful package also included pickled chipotles. Chipotles are smoked jalapeño peppers and they are not only spicy but also wonderfully smoky. I had never tasted them prior to Richard’s surprise, and liked them instantly. I especially liked them in pork burgers. Just like the ancho chile rub, I ran out of the original batch pretty quickly, and so I had to make my own. I followed Richard’s recipe for them, and they turned out just like the batch that he had sent.


112 grams (1/4lb) chipotles

120 ml (1/2 cup) olive oil

3 onions, sliced (2 cups)

4 cloves garlic, chopped

4 bay leaves

1/4 tsp dried marjoram (or 4 fresh sprigs)

4 fresh sprigs thyme (1/4 tsp dried)

600 ml (2 1/2 cups) cider vinegar

360 ml (1 1/2 cups) water

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

60 grams (6 Tbsp) brown sugar (piloncillo, if available)


Rinse, but not soak, the chipotles.

Pat them dry with paper towels.

Pierce each of them twice with a fork.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté briefly until the onion becomes translucent.

Add the chipotles.

Sauté for about 8 minutes.

Add the bay leaves, thyme, and marjoram.

Add the vinegar.

Add the water.

Add the salt.

Add the sugar.

Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a mere simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, or longer if the chipotles are still leathery.

Meanwhile, sterilize some glass jars and their covers in boiling water for 5 minutes.

Allow the jars to dry.

Transfer the chipotle mixture to the jars and close them tightly.

Submerge the closed jars in boiling water for 15 minutes.

Store in a dark, cool place for at least 10 days before using, turning them over (top to bottom). This should keep in a dark, cool place for months. Once you open a jar, store it in the refrigerator. The chipotles will slowly become more spicy with time, so watch out 😉


16 thoughts on “Pickled Chipotles à la Richard

  1. Hahaha. I never would have imagined you would become a chile aficionado. We’re glad you like them. A single batch will typically last us a year. If you melt a soft cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese with a little milk and add a couple pickled chipotles it makes a wonderful party dip. It’s very cheesy, smokey and has a little kick to it. 🙂


    1. Aficionado is perhaps stretching things just a little, but I have certainly discovered chiles 🙂
      Could you perhaps shed some (more) light on the question of the turning (see Mimi’s question).


    1. I have two good reasons:
      1) Because Richard says we should and I trust his judgement 🙂 and it also made sense to me because:
      2) Because the chipotles are not completely covered in liquid turning over the jars will allow the flavors to develop more evenly.
      Perhaps Richard can shed some light on this matter himself 🙂


      1. The original recipe in Diana Kennedy’s The Art of Mexican Cooking, she says to put them in a glass bowl, refrigerate them and stir them from bottom to top. I assume the reason for stirring from bottom to top was there wasn’t enough pickling liquid in the bowl to cover the chiles. As such, you would get uneven pickling of the chiles with the top layer having less pickling flavor.
        Glass bowls take up way too much space in my fridge. So, I canned them first. I turned them because, as in the original recipe, there wasn’t enough liquid to cover. This way the chiles are immersed in the pickling liquid roughly equally. I haven’t done this scientifically so I can’t tell you it makes any real difference but it made sense to me.


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