In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

How To Make Haitian Pikliz (Picklese).

The Caribbean is flooded with pepper sauces and condiments of all kinds as it’s simply part of our culinary culture. The textures, heat level, ingredients, ways of preserving and overall vibrancy of them all are unique to the maker and individual island. In Trinidad and Tobago you’ll find a lot of chutneys and amchars, while in Barbados you’ll hear the locals boast about their peppersauce. As someone who consider myself an aficionado of anything hot and spicy, it must be said that Haitian Pikliz is at the top of my list when it comes to spicy condiments.

The slight crunch of the vegetables, the heat from the thinly sliced scotch bonnet peppers and the flavors the vinegar (takes on) which is use to bring it all together is just outstanding (after marinating for about a week or so).

This recipe is dedicated to the beautiful people of Haiti.

You’ll Need…

2 cups shredded cabbage
1 large carrot
1 cup bell pepper (green, orange, red)
1 onion
2 scallions
6 scotch bonnet peppers
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
12-14 peppercorns
2 cups vinegar (see note)
1/2 lime juice

* 4 cloves (traditionally used)

Note: Add enough vinegar to cover the ingredients in the storage container. Allow to marinate for about 5 days before use. I was out of cloves, but it’s a traditional ingredient used in making this lovely pickle, so I would recommend using.


This is a very simple recipe to put together as it involves a couple steps and some patience (to marinate). Start off by slicing the cabbage very thinly, same for the all the other ingredients. You may be tempted to use a food processor, but I would suggest you don’t. The food processor may overwork the vegetables and you won’t get that unique size/shape pikliz is supposed to have. Grate the carrot and diced the garlic very fine.

Place all the sliced ingredient sin a large bowl .. large enough so you can easily mix everything easily without spilling all over the place. Also mix in the salt, pepper corns and cloves.

Get a fairly large glass bottle and pack in everything, then all you have to do is top with the vinegar, cover and set aside to marinate. You can certainly begin using right away, but if you give it about five days to marinate and really take on the flavors of everything you’ll be rewarded with the best pikliz you’ve ever had.

Since we used vinegar as the base, it will act as a preservative so you don’t have to worry about it going bad if you don’t store it in the fridge. However, if you do store it in the fridge it can last months. But be aware that some the heat will be lost the longer it stays in the fridge. Now if only I had some Griot to accompany this Pikliz!

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How To Make Haitian Pikliz (Picklese).
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  1. Mel
    February 23, 2024 / 7:42 am


    I was wondering if this could be water processed, like when you make pickles? To make it shelf-stable for longer?

    Thank you!

  2. Goodfella
    December 3, 2023 / 2:18 pm

    Came out really good! I’ll be making a 2nd batch today. The first batch lasted about a month. Love it!

  3. Goodfella
    November 5, 2023 / 8:30 am

    When allowing it to marinade for the five days is that in the refrigerator or the counter top? I’m not clear on that. Can’t wait to try it.

    • admin
      November 7, 2023 / 5:36 am

      you may put it in the fridge or leave it out of the fridge. since there’s vinegar in it, it will keep in any environment

      • Goodfella
        November 7, 2023 / 6:24 am

        Thanks! Will make it today!

  4. Sharon
    May 9, 2017 / 8:54 am

    I just want to say I went to a party and they had this there I couldn’t get enough I just love hot food everybody looking like I was crazy their nose running sweating and I was going for it I must say I will be making it DELICIOUS

  5. D. Singh
    February 2, 2017 / 12:46 am

    Thank you Chris, I’ll love to try this; when I’m making it I’ll add 2 pinches of sugar as I do when I’m making any kind of pickles. I love pickles!
    I still have a little bit of Eggplant pickles so I’ll make this very soon. Thank you Chris and God bless.

  6. Shantay
    October 11, 2016 / 8:38 am

    Did you keep the seeds in the scotch bonnets or discard them?

    Also, are scallions a traditional ingredient?


    • Teddy
      March 14, 2017 / 7:54 pm

      Hi Shantay,
      I lived in the Caribbean for about a dozen years, in Puerto Rico. I was friends with an exiled Haitian family there, and every year was invited to Easter dinner there. One year, the 90+ year-old grandmother Mimin was visiting from Haiti, and had brought a few jars of pikliz as gifts. It was my first time trying it, and I fell in love with the flavor instantly, and asked Mimin how to make it. I distinctly remember her pikliz as having a few carrot chunks and several scallion cloves which could be seen in the jars, so yes, I’d say it was traditional from my limited experience. I’m looking forward to making some soon to see if I can approximate the wonderful flavor of Mimin’s.

  7. EKB
    August 1, 2016 / 2:55 am

    You say typically there are cloves added to this recipe, but you didn’t have any at the time. What is the amount of cloves one would use for this recipe?

    • admin
      August 2, 2016 / 10:49 am

      3-6 cloves should suffice.

      • EKB
        August 4, 2016 / 1:24 am


  8. Glee Williams
    April 22, 2016 / 9:21 am

    I have a question if you have the time to answer. If not, I do understand. Do you use regular or white vinegar in your Pikliz? They are so good on top of rice and beans!

    Thank you!
    Glee Williams

    • admin
      April 22, 2016 / 12:49 pm

      You can use either. I used plain regular vinegar with great success. If you like the flavor of red wine vinegar you can also use that.

  9. January 6, 2016 / 11:22 pm

    We made the pikliz and it was amazing! I made it for my family and 2 co workers. It was so easy to make, and so fresh. I don’t usually eat spicy anything, but I was drawn by the fragrance and after tasting it I was sold. I surely recommend waiting 7-10 days before eating. I tasted at day 3… one word, DELICIOUS!

  10. Janet
    October 23, 2015 / 5:07 pm

    Just got back from Haiti! Pikliz was sitting on the counter in the kitchen where I stayed it. It’s just cabbage and carrots with peppers and basic white vinegar over it. Just enough to cover it. The cook, in her broken English, said that you can put in it whatever you want. I have this now sitting on my kitchen counter. My son and I love it!

  11. Felicita
    July 20, 2015 / 9:02 pm

    Now how about some riz Djon Djon, (Haiti) or from West Africa riz e grasse
    (greasy rice) ? I have been trying to purchase Djon Djon mushrooms forevern

    • Kaitlehn
      May 12, 2020 / 3:08 pm

      You can substitute the djon djon for djon djon maggie cubes. It has the mushroom in them. Put a little oil in your pot first, geat it up add about two 3 cubes and mush it around till it breaks down . Add your epis and other ingredients and continue as you will normally make it.

  12. linda
    June 27, 2015 / 1:15 am

    kisa ki shredded cabagge la

  13. linda
    June 27, 2015 / 1:14 am

    kisa ki shredded gabagge la

  14. Ravi
    June 8, 2014 / 8:10 pm

    Thanks for the pikliz recipe! The first time I made it came out good, but the vinegar seemed to overwhelm the smell & taste of everything else. Question: When I slice scotch bonnets to add to recipe, do we include the seeds of the scotch bonnets or not?

    • Ross
      April 12, 2015 / 11:42 am

      The seeds make it even spicier.

  15. kelly83
    November 19, 2013 / 8:54 pm


    • maria
      June 13, 2014 / 5:09 am

      I used rice vinegar found on the chinese stores or at Wal-Mart it has a red label and is a little sweet not as sour as regular vinegar

    October 11, 2013 / 8:45 pm


  17. Gerardo
    September 23, 2013 / 12:31 pm

    I´m Dominican And after the earthquake i was workin in Haiti, and the first time i ate pikliz i felt in love whit it !!!!!

  18. Alicia
    July 22, 2013 / 7:37 am

    I suggest you first boil the pot and the lid, also some recipes call to boil the vinegar. Anyway, lovely recipe! Thanks!!

  19. July 20, 2013 / 11:30 am

    Great recipe! The first time I had this I was a young boy of seven living in Bizoton, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, living with my parents (Dad worked for Standard Fruit and Steamship Company). It was called Sauce Ti Malice or Sauce Piment (pee-mahn) by our Haitian cook, Alice. I bawled like a baby after the first bite of it – have since grown to love it since then. I like this version of the recipe, the other one, published everywhere, doesn’t include the garlic which is a grave omission IMHO.

  20. Karen
    July 11, 2013 / 2:00 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks so much for your blog. I make pikliz, but instead of using the acid, I ferment it. It is great! Fermenting adds probiotics that help the gut. Still wicked hot, but with added health benefits. Similar to Colombian cortido.

    • Edwige
      June 25, 2015 / 6:43 am

      How do you ferment it?

      • Polina Mor
        June 29, 2020 / 11:54 am

        Salt, vegetable juices and spices cause the natural breakdown of sugars in veggies and the heat -sitting the counter -does the rest. I make my own sauerkraut only using the veggies and salt and allow it to ferment Naturally! I would not keep the jar on the counter longer than a day or two depending on the temperature and let the fermentation continue in refrigerator after-this way you don’t have to add sugar to reduce acidity. I make my Korean kimchi using the same natural fermentation method as well as pickled pickles, green tomatoes and variety of other veggies … Hope that helps !

  21. BahamaMama
    June 30, 2013 / 11:02 am

    I had pikliz with griot before and I absolutely LOVED it! I can’t wait to try my own pikliz, I’ve been jonesing for some since that last time many years ago. Thanks! :o)

  22. Holly
    June 26, 2013 / 8:20 pm

    I love pikliz from my trip to Haiti! Do you think I could preserve this by canning it? If so, how would I keep it crisp?

    If you could email me that would be wonderful!



  23. Foodtastic
    June 23, 2013 / 2:56 pm

    LOVE pikliz!! Thanks for the recipe!

  24. Karen Chinnon
    June 23, 2013 / 12:00 pm

    Thank you for these great recipes! Enjoying making them!

  25. Justine
    June 23, 2013 / 8:48 am

    Looks great and spicy! What do you serve with this?

    • yovi
      July 11, 2013 / 3:12 pm

      On top of any entree… mostly fried dishes.

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