Taqueria Style Pickled Carrots & Jalapenos

My good wife made up this recipe from her samplings of other similar pickles and from researching several different recipes.  We started making them because she’s originally from Southern California; when we go vacationing there and in Vegas she always wants to visit two of her favorite restaurants that make similar pickles – Tio Leo’s in San Diego and Roberto’s which seems to be all over San Diego and Vegas.  I highly recommend the mexican food at both places by the way, having been gleefully taken to them by my darling.  Leaving the strip in Vegas and driving out to find a Roberto’s in suburbia is still one of the highlights of one of our Vegas trips.

Finished Jars

Finished Jars

From this point on, it’s all her.

(Can be adjusted proportionally for the amount you want to make – I like to make a big batch because they’ll keep for months in the refrigerator; they’re pickled, after all)

3 pound carrots (large ones, if you have them), sliced on the bias into ¼ inch pieces (I don’t peel the carrots, you can if you want)

½ to ¾ head of garlic, peeled and smashed (I used our frozen minced garlic this time because that’s what I had on hand – you’re just more likely to have a piece of garlic stuck to your carrot this way)

½ of a large sweet onion, diced into 1-inch pieces (more if you like pickled onions too)

10 – 12 whole bay leaves

1-2 tablespoons peppercorns (depends on how much you like pepper)

1 tablespoon Mexican oregano (can use regular Italian oregano if that’s what you have)

1 teaspoon salt

4 large jalapenos, sliced (no need to seed, unless you don’t really like any hotness to your food)

Olive oil – enough to cover bottom of saucepan

2-4 cups white vinegar

2-4 cups water

(The vinegar and water should be in a 50-50 proportion.  The amount needed will depend on how much you’re making and the dimensions of your saucepan.  Use enough to cover everything in your saucepan while simmering).


Add the oil, garlic, onions, and peppercorns to a saucepan, heat to medium heat, and sauté until onions are translucent but not browned.  Add the carrots and jalapenos and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.  Add the vinegar, water, salt, oregano, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the carrots are tender but still a little crisp on the inside.

Simmering Pickles

Simmering Pickles

Ladle everything into quart-sized mason jars.  If you need more liquid to completely cover the food in the mason jars, boil more water and vinegar (50-50 mixture) to top off.  Let the jars cool a bit on the counter before refrigerating.

Keep refrigerated and use a fork or slotted spoon to serve.  Do not eat the bay leaves (but you can leave them in the jars as flavor enhancers).


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9 Responses to “Taqueria Style Pickled Carrots & Jalapenos”

  1. Diana Says:

    Oh interesting never tasted this kind of pickle before.

  2. The Novice Gardener Says:

    I love pickled carrots & jalapenos! I’m on my last jar currently. Next time, I’ll make them Taqueria style.

  3. rozann Says:

    Can you can a batch,how long water bath

    • foodgardenkitchen Says:

      I’ve never tried canning them bit I don’t see why you couldn’t pressure can them. I do not know if these foods would be acidic enough to be able to safely can them using only the water bath method.

  4. V Padron Says:

    I live in South Texas and therefore feel I know how authentic Mexican flavors and food should taste. I love, love, love this recipe. It is simple and quick!!
    Thank you 🙂

  5. S. Tetzlaff Says:

    I just made a batch today. I am overjoyed to find this recipe. How long should they ‘sit’ in the fridge before I can eat them?

    • foodgardenkitchen Says:

      You can always eat a few right away but waiting 4 or 5 days to dig in helps the flavors develop and the pickling process. They keep in the ‘fridge for a long time too – months, not weeks.

  6. Kristen Says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I am originally from Temecula, CA and my family would make the 45 minute drive to Tio Leo’s frequently (we initially discovered the Tio Leo’s in Mira Mesa because my dad taught at Mira Mesa High School). I have tried so many spicy carrot recipes and nothing came close! I am gobbling up my first batch.

    • foodgardenkitchen Says:

      What a small world! I graduated from Mira Mesa High in the late ’80s and the Tio Leo’s in Mira Mesa was my “home Tio’s”. Please contact me at the e-mail in the About page – I’d love to know who your father is.

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