Mexican Pickled Carrots Recipe (Zanahorias en Escabeche)

Mexican pickled carrots, or zanahorias en escabeche, are a perfect topping for your favorite Mexican food. Put them on tacos, tortas, enchiladas and anything else you want. Your local taqueria has them, but now you can make them at home!

How to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots
How to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots

Mexican Pickled Carrots

In Mexico these pickled sliced carrots are called zanahorias en escabeche.

They’re perfectly crisp and have just the right amount of heat!

These spicy carrots are usually served as an accompaniment or condiment to Mexican dishes. Often times you’ll get them at Mexican restaurants, they are placed on your table soon after you arrive.

You can munch on them with corn chips, on their own, or wait for your food to arrive and use as a topping.

Certain brands of canned jalapeños include a few carrots and onions. My personal preference is to eat the carrots in the pickled jalapeno peppers first, then start eating the chiles.

How to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots or Zanahorias en escabeche
How to Make Zanahorias en Escabeche

What Are Zanahoria en Escabeche

Zanahorias en escabeche translates to pickled carrots. More specifically zanahorias means carrots and escabeche is pickling.

How to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots or Zanahorias en escabeche
Zanahoria Means Carrot in Spanish

Are Mexican Pickles Spicy

As I mentioned above, some cans of pickled jalapeños include carrots. I swear sometimes I think the carrots are much spicier than the actual jalapeños.

But not all Mexican pickled vegetables are spicy. For example, pickled red onions are much milder than these hot carrots.

Additionally if you make Mexican pickles at home you’ll be able to control the heat level. Use jalapeños for a milder heat and serranos for a hotter pickled carrot. For an extra heat use habanero peppers.

Mexican Pickled Carrots Ingredients
Ingredients to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots with Jalapeños

Mexican Pickled Carrot Ingredients

The ingredients for this very easy recipe are quite simple and easy to find anywhere. I’ll list them below but you can also print out the recipe card to have the full recipe and all the details on hand.

  • carrots (either carrot slices or carrot sticks)
  • white onions
  • green chile peppers for heat
  • garlic cloves
  • whole bay leaves
  • black peppercorns
  • Mexican oregano
  • salt
  • white vinegar 
  • water 
  • oil

Don’t let the 11 ingredients scare you off, making these spicy pickled carrots is very easy and perfect for beginner with pickling foods.

A note on the Mexican oregano, if you can’t find it then regular oregano is fine to use.

For the hot peppers I like to use large jalapenos, but you can use whatever is available to you — in a pinch you could even toss in a few chiles de arbol!

How to make Mexican Pickled Carrots
How to Make Zanahorias en Escabeche

Sterilize The Jars for Storage

The first step before you begin with the preparing of the pickled carrots, is to sterilize your glass jars to store the pickled carrots.

You can use mason jars, pint jars, or canning jars or repurpose some clean glass jars from your pantry. (I’ve linked to the ones I use at the bottom of this post.)

If you don’t have jars, you can use any very clean airtight container.

Much like my refrigerator pickles the recipe for these spicy carrots isn’t really a canning recipe because it makes smaller portions, however, you can of course double or triple the recipe and make a proper pickled carrot canning recipe yourself.

But the great thing is that you don’t have to wait a long time to enjoy these carrots.

How to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots
How to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots

How to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots

After you’ve sterilized your jars or airtight containers, then you can get started on the carrots.

Heat the oil in a very large pan then sauté the carrots for a few minutes. Add the chiles, onion, garlic and bay leaves and cook for about 8 minutes.

While the carrots and other vegetables are cooking you can prepare the brine by mixing the vinegar and water in a small saucepan. Allow it to come to a boil then turn off the heat and set aside.

Next add the salt, oregano, and peppercorns to the carrot mixture and cook for about 3 minutes, stir to combine the spices and vegetables well.

Now you can test a piece of carrot to see how crisp or tender it is. You can decide how much crispness you’d like your carrots to have, but preferably they should be close to al dente. Turn off heat.

Fill your glass jars with the carrot mixture to 3/4 full of the jar. Then very carefully pour in the mixture of vinegars and water.

Wipe clean the rim of the jars, seal with their lids and allow to spicy pickled carrots to come to room temperature. Then store in the refrigerator and they’ll be ready to enjoy the next day.

Authentic Mexican Pickled Carrots
Authentic Mexican Pickled Carrots

How to Serve Mexican Pickled Carrots or Zanahorias en Escabeche

I’ve always enjoyed putting them on my tacos, tostadas, tortas, and even enchiladas and enfrijoladas. They go well on just about any dish that you’d like to add a little touch of heat.

You can also just grab some and put on top of corn chips as a fun, spicy and slightly hot snack.

Check out all the Mexican foods you can serve these pickled carrots as a topping or side dish. Make sure to put the pickled carrots in small bowls when you’re serving them.

How to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots
Mexican Spicy Pickled Carrots

They Should be Crunchy not Mushy

Spicy Mexican pickled carrots should have a bit of a crunch to them and not be too soft or mushy.

Though I do understand we all have different tastes, and that is why I am leaving the “crunchiness” level up to you.

Another thing you can adjust is the amount of heat. So feel free to adjust it by the type of chile you use as well as the amount. See the recipe notes.

If you want a fiery option you could even use habaneros.

Mexican Pickled Carrots
Mexican Pickled Carrots

Mexican Pickled Carrots Recipe

Mexican zanahorias en escabeche are unlike other pickled carrot recipes. These are tangy, spicy, have a crispness to them and are addictive.

These pickled carrots are incredibly easy prepare. Just be sure to read through the entire recipe before you begin. Do also check out the tips in the notes section.

You’ll see how easy it is to make them. It really won’t take you much more than 40 minutes or so. If you like you can double the recipe to make a large batch.

Next time you’re at your favorite Mexican restaurant and they offer you some pickled carrots, you can be proud that you too know how to make them at home!

Buen provecho!!

How to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots

Mexican Pickled Carrots or Zanahorias En Escabeche

Nancy R. Lopez & MexicanMadeMeatless.com
Mexican pickled carrots can be served as a garnish or side with any Mexican meal. Put them on tacos, tortas, enchiladas and anything else you want. Your local taqueria has them, but now you can make them at home!
4.82 from 33 votes
Save Recipe
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course accompaniment, Appetizer, garnish, topping
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 10
Calories 611 kcal

Ingredients
  

Your Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. carrots peeled and cut into coins*
  • 1 medium large white onion sliced into slivers
  • 3 fresh jalapeños sliced into strips (or use serranos)
  • 4 whole garlic cloves if small use more
  • 3 whole bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon oregano preferably Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1.5 cups plain white vinegar (1 1/2 cups) see notes
  • 1.75 cups water (1 3/4 cups) see notes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil more if needed

Equipment Needed:

  • jars and lids sanitized ( I used one 32oz jar + one 8oz jar)
  • large frying pan
  • medium pot

Instructions
 

Sanitize Jars and Lids

  • You can do this quickly by placing the jars and lids inside a large and deep pot filled with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes and remove and drain off the water while you prepare the carrots.
    How to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots or Zanahorias en escabeche

Cook The Carrots

  • In a large frying pan heat the oil, then add the carrots and cook for about 3 minutes. Next add the chilies, onion, garlic, and bay leaves and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes. Next add the salt, oregano, and peppercorns and cook for about 3 minutes, stir to combine the spices and vegetables well.
    Mexican Pickled Carrots Ingredients
  • Test a piece of carrot to see how crisp or tender it is. You can decide how much crispness you’d like your carrots to have, cook until they reach your desired texture. Turn off heat and set aside.
    How to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots

Prep The Vinegar Brine

  • In a medium pot (while your carrots are cooking), mix the water and vinegar and bring to a soft boil under medium-low heat. Once boiling cover and turn heat to low and allow to simmer until it’s ready to be poured over the carrots in the jars.
    How to make Mexican Pickled Carrots

Assemble Jars with Carrots and Brine

  • Fill each jar 3/4 full with the carrot mixture. Then pour in vinegar mix but leave about 1/8th inch of space from the rim. This is to leave enough room so it doesn’t spill.
    How to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots
  • Seal tightly and set jars aside to allow to sit and cool down to room temperature. Once at room temperature you can put them in the refrigerator.
    Mexican Pickled Carrots
  • Allow to sit in overnight to allow flavors seep into the carrots and make them more flavorful. Tightly sealed they will keep up to a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, that’s if they last you that long! 
    How to Make Mexican Pickled Carrots

Video

Notes

* As you can see in the video, I sliced the onions into coins. But I also like to slice them into diagonal slices. It doesn’t really matter. But keep in mind that the larger sizes may require more jar space or a little bit more brine.
  • If you need more brine just double boil a bit more until you have enough to cover the carrots. 
  • On occasions I’ve needed up to 2 cups vinegar and 3 cups water.
** Sautéing Time
If you slice the carrots into diagonal pieces or larger slices they may require a bit more sautéing time. Simply pay attention to how tender or crispy they are and how you want them to be. Some people like them crispier and others a bit softer. It’s up to you! 

Nutrition

Serving: 10servingsCalories: 611kcalCarbohydrates: 69gProtein: 8gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 2680mgPotassium: 1930mgFiber: 19gSugar: 30gVitamin A: 76424IUVitamin C: 101mgCalcium: 311mgIron: 5mg
Keyword carrots, jalapenos
Tried this recipe?Mention @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicamademeatless!
How to Make Pickled Carrots with Jalapeños
How to Make Pickled Carrots with Jalapeños

Tell me what do you like to top with these pickled carrots?

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72 Comments

  1. Beautiful photos. They look nice and crunchy, spicy, and delicious. I need to get preserving one of these days. Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing.

  2. Thanks for this, I love pickled vegies! You often get similar ones as a garnish with certain dishes at my local Vietnamese restaurant and I have been known to eat my friends' unwanted ones 🙂

  3. Wow, looking at the pictures I just feel like trying this pickles…they sure look yummie and SO tasty…great pictures as well 🙂

  4. Hey Nancy, these are so nice! I was just thinking I might make some Vietnamese picked carrots and such, but now I might just use your recipe. I mean, I'm sure both kinds are wonderful.
    p.s Great photos too. That table the carrots are on is the kind of table I want for photos…

  5. I like the idea of adding pickled carrots to tacos. I may try to do my own pickling at home, from what I see, it does not seem to be difficult at all! 🙂
    That said, I'm pretty sure I'll be paranoid about not sanitizing the bottles properly. 😛

  6. Oh! These are some of my favorite things, too! When I make jalapeños in escabeche, I always add extra carrots…you're so right…they are perfect for grabbing and munching. Deeeelicious recipe =) p.s….congrats on making Food News Journals “best of the blogs” with this!

  7. Thank you all and now you see how easy it is to make yummy pickled carrots.

    @Stella, it's a cheap Ikea wood table that I stained with …. I think it was a Mahogany stain. You can do it to, ruff it up a bit to give it a weathered look.

    @GiliChef, Thank you for letting me know – that makes me happy:) Look ↑ I posted it too.

  8. OK, I know I already left a comment…but hey, this is an event 🙂 Congratulations I am so excited…These are just fantastic, and I am can so see them featured 🙂 Hugs, Alisha

  9. 5 stars
    I did this recipe for 8 jars using jalapenos out of our garden. All 8 jars didn’t last 1 month. I was eating it 1/2 jar at a time for lunches with a sandwich or something. So good!!

  10. 5 stars
    These are delicious, thank you for the recipe. I’m making a second batch because the first one didn’t last very long… I wanted to ask, can I reuse the pickling liquid from my first batch?

    I’m so used to getting these with my tacos and when I moved to Denver I was so disappointed because the restaurants/little taquerias don’t serve them but I’m good now that I can make my own (thanks to you).

    1. Hi Zodi,

      Thank you glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe and that you can now have them at home.

      I’ve never reused the pickling liquid, not sure about the safety of reusing it. Good luck!

  11. 5 stars
    Love this recipe, I love the pickled carrots. I added some cauliflower that was sitting in my fridge for a while and it was delicious, even my little kids loved it. Will be making them again soon, but this time I will double The recipe. Thanks for sharing your easy recipe now we can have them whenever we want and not wait until we go to the Mexican restaurant.

  12. 5 stars
    YUM! Can’t wait to put this Mexican pickled carrots on my tacos.:) Thank you for the step by step clear process how to make it.:) Love it!

  13. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I will always keep a jar of this escabeche in the fridge now. So simple and something tasty to add as a side to most of my meals. Thanks again.

  14. 5 stars
    I am the one that picks all the carrots out of the giardiniera. That’s me. I really like pickled carrots. I am going to try your recipe and I’ll let you know how it goes. I would eat a whole jar right now if I had one. Your pics are gorgeous.

  15. 5 stars
    Loved these pickled carrots on my tacos. The combination of the pickled carrot flavor with the taco meat was on point. Great recipe.

  16. 5 stars
    So good and surprisingly easy to make!! Loved the flavor and again….not a ton of effort! I love when I find an easy pickled recipe!!!

  17. 5 stars
    My husband’s going to love this dish! Come to think of it, me too. The thought of ‘pickle’ is making my tastebuds tingle. Great way to honor the carrot. Cheers!

  18. 5 stars
    I processed this into 8 ounce jars and found it perfectly paired with our fajitas for dinner. I am going to use the unopened jars to go into our Christmas baskets of homemade stuff for family.

  19. 5 stars
    So much amazing and delicious flavor is packed in these spicy pickled carrots! Perfect to add to a dish or eat straight from the jar!!

  20. 5 stars
    I love pickled carrots but I have never made them. This sound like the recipe I need to try. So many flavors with the onions , jalapenos and garlic. I can’t wait to try these.

  21. 5 stars
    I added these to our taco dinner and it added the perfect amount of flavor and heat! I’ll be making another batch soon!

  22. 5 stars
    I love this recipe because of how versatile it is and how well it can go with a variety of different recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  23. 5 stars
    These pickled carrots were so good on our tacos! Our kids loved them and it’s hard to get them to eat carrots, so thank you!

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