Whey Fermented Jalapeno (and other Hot) Peppers Slices

I love easy preserving recipes like this; this recipe will take less than 5 minutes and provide you with a quart (liter) of hot peppers within days.  It will store well in the fridge (you don’t want to waterbath these) and will be a stunning alternative to the hot peppers you buy in a vinegar brine.

This recipe also has the most awesome trick to prevent the hot peppers from floating in the brine!

Whey Fermented Jalapeno (and other Hot) Peppers Slices Whey Pepper (Hot) Hot Pepper

There’s a few tricks to this recipe; make sure not to skip them:

  • If your tap water has any additives (especially chlorine), let it rest on the counter for at least an hour before using it.  This will allow the chlorine to evaporate which is essential as it will prevent evaporation.
  • If you use boiling water to dissolve your salt, use as little water as possible.  This will ensure all the intended salt is used and that the mixture cools before using – adding hot water to the jar too quickly will kill the natural bacteria in the whey and decrease the quality of the final product.
  • You can easily get whey from straining yogurt.  We used the whey from a burrata (a type of cheese that is shipped floating in whey).  Whey is optional though adding it will speed the process as well as change the flavor of the taste a lot (if you’re curious, do two jars – one with and one without it!)
  • This type of fermentation likes oxygen but you must take care not to let the peppers float and gain exposure to the oxygen.  We have a simple trick to prevent them from doing so: cut a flat piece of a sweet pepper larger than the mouth of the jar.  Cut a hole in it to allow oxygen bubbles and fermentation bubbles to escape.  This gets added to the jar as the final layer and locks everything into place (we skim the seeds as they float to the top).

Whey Fermented Jalapeno (and other Hot) Peppers Slices Whey Pepper (Hot) Hot Pepper

Ingredients (for 1 quart of hot pepper slices)

  • 18 Hot peppers (based on the size of a jalapeno).  We used jalapeno and added others for color.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of whey
  • Additional water.
  • 1 slice of sweet pepper slightly larger than the jar opening, with a hole cut into it (we explain why above and have a picture of it below):


  1. If you are using tap water, pour it and let it rest for 60-120 minutes (per above).
  2. Slice hot peppers into rings.  Ensuring they are of equal thickness will help ensure the pickling is equal; I prefer to use a mandoline for this reason (I finish any softer peppers with a knife).
  3. Place pepper slices in a clean jar.  Pack tightly, pushing down.
  4. Add garlic cloves – push them deeper into the jar (you may want to taste the peppers as they ferment so want to leave them near the top).
  5. Add the dissolved salt and fill with water.
  6. gently shake the jar to release air bubbles.  Add more water if needed.
  7. Add whey and dissolved salt.
  8. Jam the pepper slice into the top to hold everything in place.
  9. Skim any floating seeds from the top.
  10. Cover with a towel and sit out of direct sunlight.  Taste after two days (you will likely see bubbling forming before then).  Depending in the temperature of your house, the fermentation should be done in 2-7 days.  It’s complete when you are happy with the taste.
  11. Cover with a lid and store in fridge.  Eat everything (the peppers, sweet pepper, garlic clove and even add the brine to stir frys, soups, sauces and other dishes you’d add vinegar).

Do you add anything differently to your fermented hot peppers?  Will you try these?


  1. That pepper lid is genius! It kind of reminds me of watching Julia Child make a dough lid for one of her baked casseroles. :)

    • Thanks Eileen!

      I’m a giant fan of using food in the ferment to hold it down (we call it ‘seat belting’) – these turned out really awesome! :)

  2. Could you elaborate why you say this ferment likes oxygen? Isn’t this a lactic acid bacteria ferment, requiring an anaerobic environment?

  3. But do you ever add vinegar?

  4. Is all Burrata in whey? (I get mine at Trader Joe’s.) Do I need to do anything to the liquid? I’m amazed by this info – just yesterday I bought some yogurt to strain, not ever thinking of my cheese!

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