How to Can Habanero Hot Peppers

Pickled, canned habanero peppers age well in storage.
Pickled, canned habanero peppers age well in storage. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Habanero peppers can be canned either as jelly, salsa or pickled in vinegar. In order to properly sterilize the peppers, they must be processed in a hot water bath for the recommended time according to the altitude at which your home is situated. This information is available from your local cooperative extension office. Do not use generic times to avoid the danger of food poisoning.

Things You'll Need

  • Boiling water or steam pressure canner
  • Canning jars with lids and bands
  • Saucepan with water
  • Knife
  • Vinegar
  • Pickling spices
  • Pickling salt
  • Towel
  • Canning pliers

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Cut two slits into each of 4 quarts of habanero pepper with a knife. The slits do not need to be large, but they need to pierce the outer membrane of the pepper so that liquid can reach the inside.

Dissolve 4 cups of pickling salt in water. Pour the salt water over the peppers and allow them to steep in a cool place for between 15 and 20 hours. After steeping, drain off the water and rinse the peppers.

Fill the canner with water and place on the stove to begin heating. The water must boil in order to properly sterilize the pickling jars.

Add 10 cups of vinegar and one cup of pickling spice to the sauce pot, then bring to a boil.

Bring four cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. When boiling, place the canning lids into the hot liquid.

Remove the jars from the hot water bath and empty any remaining water from them. Pack the habanero peppers into the jars, leaving approximately 1/2 inch of space between the top pepper and the lid.

Pour the boiling vinegar and pickling spice liquid into the jar, covering all the peppers completely and leaving 1/4 inch of head space in the jar. Quickly place a lid onto each jar when it has been filled, then screw a canning lid ring onto the top to seal the lid in place securely.

Immerse the filled jars in the boiling water canner and process according to the times recommended by your local cooperative extension office. The times for this will vary depending upon the altitude at which you are canning.

Remove the pickled peppers from the boiling water canner after the processing time and place them to cool on a dry towel. You will know that the jars have sealed properly when you hear them "pop." Jars which do not seal must be used immediately and stored in the refrigerator until use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Label the jars when they have cooled with the date which they were processed as well as the ingredients.
  • Canned vegetables can cause botulism poisoning when improperly stored or packed. Botulism bacteria cannot be detected by sight or smell, particularly when processing pickled peppers. Use caution when canning to follow all procedures exactly.


  • "Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving"; Judy Kingry; 2006
  • "Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving"; US Department of Agriculture; 2010
  • "The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking"; Dave DeWitt; 2009
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