Lacto-fermentation is an excellent way to preserve and create new dimensions of flavour to fresh vegetables.  Not only is the cultured food delicious,  lacto-fermented vegetables also give us the added bonus of living, beneficial microbes and nutrients.

My husband is a big fan of Mexican food, so we have always had a reserve of fresh and pickled jalapeno peppers in our fridge.  Since I started lacto-fermenting them this summer, we have stopped buying the store brands.   We enjoy these feisty peppers in fresh salsas, guacamole, and as a topping on nachos.  Don’t limit them to Mexican food!  These delicious, cultured peppers are a great addition whenever you need extra heat and flavour.

Lacto-fermented jalapenos are so easy and quick to make!  The jar of jalapenos featured in this article took all of 5 minutes to prepare.  For best results, be sure to use fresh, healthy peppers.


Fermentation Time: 1 month

Lacto-fermented jalapeno ingredients


  • 1 lb (455g) jalapeno peppers
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 litre (1 quart) filtered water
  • 2 tbsp salt (non-iodized)- kosher, Himalayan or sea salt
  • Sterilized jar (quart/litre size)
  • Airlock (if you don’t have an airlock, be sure to burp the jar every few days to release accumulated carbon dioxide


  1. Make brine: Add salt to the water and mix until dissolved.
  2. Gently pack the jalapeno peppers, garlic and bay leaves into the jar.

    Gently pack jalapenos, garlic cloves and bay leaves into the jar

 3. Add brine.  Fill jar to cover peppers, but leave 1″ space from the top of the jar.

Add brine and starter culture (I used liquid from lacto-fermented green tomatoes)
Add brine (I also used liquid from lacto-fermented green tomatoes)

4. Lid jar and install an airlock (if using). Place the jar out of direct sunlight at 18-22 degrees C (65-72 degrees F) for 2 weeks to one month. Store in the refrigerator to stop fermentation and reduce perishability.  Enjoy, and be prepared for some serious heat and flavour!

Lid jar and install airlock system

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6 Responses

  1. Just wondering if you have ever cut the tips off or knife slits in the body for more brine penatration?Works real well when pickling as it allows the brine to penatrate the whole pepper. Thanks

    1. Hi Doug! Thanks for your interest and question! in some cases, it helps to poke a hole in the vegetable to encourage the brine to penetrate. I have never bothered to do this with jalapenos, the brine always penetrates the skin nicely!

  2. Hi Jody! Thanks for sharing your information and experience with lacto fermenting! I?ve got a bunch of red jalape?os from my garden that I am going to ferment and I am wondering if I can use raw apple cider vinegar as a starter culture for this ferment? Any advice would be super appreciated! Thanks

    1. Hi Jason- you really don’t need any starter culture when you lacto-ferment vegetables. The beneficial bacteria and yeasts are everywhere, and sufficient to start up the fermentation process. Also, fermentation acts in stages- different bacterial strains thrive at different times in the fermentation container and create the ideal environment for the next strain of bacteria to enter- if you use a starter culture, you risk the chance of missing one of those stages which might result in an unsuccessful ferment.

    1. I generally don’t use weights with jalapenos since I pack them into the jar tightly so they don’t float. A weight would be necessary if there were buoyant peppers

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