Italian Style Pepperonicini

I can never resist snatching up red peppers.  They are just so darn pretty.  Problem is, I always end up buying way more than I can eat before they go bad but not enough to make a decent sized pepper mash.  These are one of the simplest ferment you can do.  It’s really just as easy and throwing the pepper and herbs in a jar and topping with a salt brine.  Peppers are more prone to spoilage so I use a higher percentage brine. Peppers typically need between 5% and 15% brine.  There is very little microbial activity once you get to 15%.  That much salt ends up being more of a salt cure than a ferment.  Using an anaerobic vessel and keeping the peppers below the brine will help ensure no spoilage occurs.  5.4% brine is still pretty strong but since you’re not eating them like you would a pickle (well, I don’t), it’s not as noticeable.

How do I use these peppers?  I use these to adorn lots of different meals.  My husband loves them on sandwiches.  I garnish salads with them.  Sliced up on top of pizza (added after cooking) is delicious.  Any Mexican or Italian type dish I serve, I like to have a few of these peppers sliced on the side.

And the brine.  Oh the brine!  It has an amazing flavor.  A little brine with a splash of olive oil would make an awesome salad dressing.

Italian Style Pepperonicini Peppers

  • 1 quart worth of whole pepperonicini peppers (any mild chili works great)
  • fresh herbs, 1 small sprig each (thyme, oregano, rosemary)
  • 2 thick slices of onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 5.4% brine (51 gms of sea salt per quart of water)

Prick each pepper a few times.  This allows the brine to permeate the skin faster.

Trim the stem but don’t remove the cap (unless you really want to).

Layer pepper, herbs and garlic in your fermentation vessel filling to just below the shoulder.

Pour brine over everything, just past the shoulder.

Lay onions over the top to help keep the peppers under the brine.

Using a glass weight, push everything down so it’s all submerged under the brine.  The peppers will want to float and I’ve found that using a shot glass on top of the weight helps keep everything under.

Seal jar and don’t forget to fill the airlock with water.  Keep at room temp for 5-7 days, until bubble activity stops.  At this point, move to the warmest place in your fridge which is usually the door or top shelf toward the front.


Part of GAPS Friendly Friday.

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11 comments to Italian Style Pepperonicini

  • Kathy

    Hi, I’m wondering how you make the brine?

  • tom schmidt

    planning on doing pepperoncini, and was wondering if using balls pickle crisp will hinder the fermenting process, i’m looking for a more crisp pepper. or are the ones you do more on the crisp side? want them more like the store bought ones. thanks tom

  • Mike

    How do you know when fermenTation start?

  • Al

    How long will the peppers last in fridge?

  • Rebecca in Portland

    I put up my first ferment using this recipe about 36 hours ago. I couldn’t get fresh pepperoncini, so I used a combination of jalapenos, hot cherry peppers and serrano chilis. I’m not seeing any bubbles. How do I know if it’s working? Also, when can I start eating the peppers? One website says I should wait at least three months, but six is better.

  • angelo Corriea


    If you use the 5.4 % brine for cherry peppers, will they be crunchy ? Do you have any experience with these ?


  • Mary

    I know these are old comments, but I thought I’d give my two cents anyhow. I have made this recipe multiple times, using a pickl-it jar. I have used shishito peppers, which come out pretty similar to pepperoncinis. Usually I do sliced jalapenos; sometimes with garlic,sometimes plain. They always come out crisp and delicious,without any additional crisping ingredients. The fermentation also mellows the spiciness just a little. I eat them after a week. They are much better in texture than my vinegar pickled peppers, with a great taste all their own. I’m about to do a batch with anaheims. I can’t wait to taste them.

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