How to preserve jalapeños in olive oil 

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how to preserve jalapeños in olive oil.” We will also look at how to pick the best jalapeños and how to identify if jalapeños have gone bad.

How to preserve jalapeños in olive oil

Jalapeños can be preserved for the short-term by completely immersing in olive oil and then refrigerating or freezing.

Jalapeños are medium-sized, mildly hot peppers originating from Mexico. Jalapeños are used to flavor a variety of dishes such as salads, nachos and salsa. Jalapeños are now cultivated worldwide and used in Mexican as well as Asia and fusion cuisines. Jalapeños are also stuffed and then deep-fried to make delicious appetizers.

How does olive oil preserve jalapeños 

Jalapeños have been traditionally preserved in olive oil. Once the jalapeños are immersed in olive oil, the oil acts as an adhesive and reduces the exposure of the jalapeños to oxygen. This reduces the growth of aerobic microbes that cause spoilage. 

Jalapeños are low in acidity and adding olive oil creates a low acidic, oxygen-free environment.

Some harmful microbes thrive in this environment and they can cause spoilage.

Refrigerating or freezing the jalapeños will slow down the growth of harmful microbes, thereby increasing the shelf-life.

Commercially produced jalapeños in olive oil are shelf-stable because they have been acidified by the addition of preservatives or vinegar.

How to prepare jalapeños in olive oil

Storing in olive oil is a short term storage method to preserve jalapeños. 

Jalapeños preserved in olive oil will have a milder hotness compared to fresh or frozen jalapeños .

The following method describes how to store jalapeños in olive oil.

  • Wash the jalapeño peppers with cool, clean water and dry them with a paper towel. Make sure to discard the bruised and damaged peppers.
  • Roast jalapeño peppers. Roasting is done to soften the peppers and to help them absorb more olive oil.
  • Jalapeños can be roasted in an oven. Roast the jalapeños at 232°C until they become soft and the skins darken.
  • Skin the jalapeños. The jalapeños can be broiled to ease the removal of skin. Broil the jalapeños by placing them inside a covered bowl for a few minutes. After broiling, gently peel off the skin.
  • Slice the jalapeños into the desired thickness. At this point, the seeds can be removed from the jalapeños if you prefer reduced hotness.
  • Season the jalapeños with salt, pepper and a choice of spices.
  • Transfer the jalapeños into a clean glass jar and add enough olive oil to cover all the jalapeños.
  • Seal and label the jars and place them in the refrigerator or freezer.

Shelf life of jalapeños in olive oil

Jalapeños in olive oil must be refrigerated to obtain a shelf life of 2 to 3 weeks. 

Jalapeños in olive oil can also be frozen for up to 6 months. After 6 months, the flavor and texture of the jalapeños will reduce.

Frozen jalapeños in olive oil must be thawed before use. Thaw the jalapeños by placing them in the refrigerator. After thawing the jalapeños must be continuously refrigerated and used within 2 weeks. Thawing will make the jalapeños mushy and this could be unappetizing.

To get the maximum shelf-life from jalapeños in olive oil, sterilize the jars used to store the jalapeños. The jars can be sterilized by immersing them in boiling water for 10 minutes or by using an oven or a microwave.

Jalapeños can also be preserved for long term storage by pickling in vinegar solution and by making hot sauce

How to pick the best jalapenos 

  • Color: Jalapeños are dark green when plucked from the trees. They eventually turn into a bright red color as they mature. Red jalapeños are hotter than green jalapeños. So pick the jalapeños depending on the recipe. For example, green jalapeños are perfect for stuffed peppers or olive oil preservation while red peppers are great for spicy hot sauces.
  • Striations: Striations or stretch marks develop in jalapeños as they age. The more striations you see, the hotter the jalapeño. Once again pick the jalapeños as how hot you want the dish to be. 
  • Size: Smaller jalapeños are generally hotter than larger ones.
  • Texture: Pick firm jalapeños. Avoid jalapeños with mushy spots.
  • Discolouration: Avoid jalapeños with black spots and this may indicate bruising or spoilage.

How to know if jalapeños in olive oil have gone bad

  • Aroma: Jalapeños that have gone bad will smell rancid and have an unpleasant aroma.
  • Appearance: Spoiled jalapeños may have signs of mold and bacteria growth on them.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “how to preserve jalapeños in olive oil”. We also looked at how to pick the best jalapeños and how to identify if jalapeños have gone bad.

 If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.


Tip: How to Check for the Hotness of Jalapeños.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.