Fermenting Poblano Peppers [Why, How to, and What to Do with Them]

Have you ever tried fermented peppers? A perfectly fermented poblano pepper keeps a little bit of its crispness but gains a mellow complexity of flavor and a little bit of saltiness. Fermenting your peppers can be the first step in your homemade hot sauce, or it can just be a great snack or fun addition to a sandwich. So how do you ferment peppers?

To ferment poblano peppers, choose peppers that are ripe, crisp, and free of disease. Cut the peppers down to your desired size – slices or rings usually work best – and pack them into glass jars. Pour brine over the peppers, then cover. The lids should allow air to escape the jar without letting any in. Allow to ferment for at least a week.

Keep reading to learn more about fermenting poblanos!

How do you ferment poblano peppers?

Poblano peppers are practically perfect already – flavorful without being to spicy and ideal for just about every pepper-based recipe – but what would you say if I told you that you could make them even better with a little bit of salt and some time in a cool corner? If you’re anything like me, you’d probably say How?!

By fermenting them! Fermenting your poblanos allows you to extend their shelf-life so you don’t waste your sizeable harvest, changes up the texture and flavor in some really exciting ways, and can add some really cool depth and complexity to your homemade hot sauce.

To ferment poblano peppers, choose peppers that are fresh, ripe, and blemish-free. After that, you’ll want need to prep the peppers, which mostly means cutting them. After they’re ready to go, your first real step is getting the peppers into appropriate jars. Make the salt brine and pour it over the peppers. Screw the lids onto your jars and let them sit! Finally, you can store them in the fridge. 

While it’s pretty straightforward, there are some details that it’s important to get right. I’ll break down exactly how much salt goes into your brine, how long it takes for your poblanos to ferment, and more so keep reading!

How much salt is needed to ferment poblano peppers?

Salt is an important part of fermenting vegetables, poblano peppers included because it encourages the growth of healthy bacteria and impedes the bad stuff. After all, fermentation is basically the art of spoiling food so it tastes better.

To ferment poblano peppers, you’ll want to use a brine that’s made of 2 tablespoons of sea salt for every 4 quarts of water.

However, for best results, you’ll want to be a little more detailed. In this situation, it’s worth pulling out your kitchen scale. For every 100g of both water and pepper (but not jar!), you’ll want just 4g of salt – this means you’ll be creating a 4% solution for your brine.

How much vinegar do you put in fermented poblano peppers?

You don’t need to add vinegar to your fermentation, but it will improve the flavor. Vinegar brings flavor to the party (as my favorite tv chef Alton Brown would say), and it also slows down the fermentation process. Why’s that good? Not to be redundant, but the answer is still flavor. The slower fermentation allows the flavor to develop fully.

When adding vinegar to your poblano pepper fermentation, make sure you account for the exchange in your recipe by reducing the brine by the amount of vinegar added.

Good ol’ fashioned white vinegar is the obvious choice here, but you can experiment with just about any kind of vinegar. Just remember that the vinegar flavor will contribute to the flavor of the fermented peppers!

What are the steps of fermentation?

While fermentation isn’t actually difficult, it can be time-consuming.

Let’s break it down step-by-step.

The steps of fermenting peppers are:

  • Gather your ingredients
  • Pack your peppers into jars
  • Make the salt brine
  • Pour the brine
  • Cover with a lid
  • Let it sit

Time for some more detail!

Gather your ingredients

Get together several peppers, salt, water, and your desired spices. You can also get out some apple cider vinegar if you plan to use it.

Because of the fun science part of the fermentation process, you don’t actually need to wash your peppers. I’d recommend at least rinsing them off to remove any residue from your garden though!

Poblanos are pretty big, so it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and cut them up, either slices or rings will work. This will speed up the fermentation process and save space in your jars.

Pack into jars


To ferment peppers, pack your peppers tightly into jars.

Pack your peppers and seasonings of choice into your jars. Leave at least an inch of space above your peppers. 

Pack your peppers as tightly as possible!

Make the salt brine

Now it’s time to make the brine.

To ferment peppers, mix up a salt brine.

Mix 2 tablespoons per 4 cups of room-temperature water to make your salt brine. 

Stir until all of the salt is dissolved.

Pour the brine

The next logical step is to pour the brine!

To ferment peppers, pour your homemade brine into the jars of peppers.

Pour your brine into your jars until your peppers are completely covered. 

Leave at least a half inch of space above your brine.

If necessary, you can weigh your peppers down with a spring or a weight to prevent them from floating, which can cause mold.

Cover with a lid

Now cover that baby up.

Cover your jars with an airlock or valved lid to ferment peppers so gas can escape – but not enter!

Cover your jars with an airlock or valved lid. This is important because you want gas to be able to escape without letting any outside air in.

If you’re in a pinch, you can use a regular lid without screwing it on all the way. In this case, open your jar once per day to let gas escape.

Let it sit

The worst part is waiting!

To ferment peppers, let your jars sit. The length of time will depend on the size of your jars and your personal preference.

Let your jars sit for about a week, out of direct sun. Keep in mind that the amount of time it takes to ferment also depends on how large your jars are.

After half a week, taste your peppers to see if they’re as pickled as you want them to be. Keep tasting them every day after that until they’re as sour as you want.

Once your peppers are to your liking, store your jars in the fridge!

And don’t worry – it’s perfectly normal if your brine is a bit cloudy.

How long does it take to ferment poblano peppers?

But how long do you have to wait?

It takes about a week to ferment poblano peppers, but large jars can take about a month. It also depends on how you like your peppers to taste and if you added any vinegar to the brine.

Fermenting poblano peppers usually takes about a week, but this number can increase or decrease depending on how big your jars are.

Larger jars can require closer to a month to ferment.

But the most important part is to have poblanos that you like the taste of, so taste them frequently!

How do you tell when poblano peppers are done fermenting?

So how do you know when your peppers are ready?

Your poblano peppers are done fermenting when you like their taste! It’s that simple.

Fermentation takes place in “low or no oxygen conditions.” Veggies naturally have bacteria, mold, and yeast that lead them to spoil. Using brine encourages fermenting organisms to “overpower” the organisms that would usually spoil your peppers – and makes them delicious in the process! This means your fermented peppers aren’t going to go bad just because you left them going too long.