Green Chili Pickle Recipe, and Tips for Pickle-Making

15 Feb

This was my first attempt at making pickle the traditional way and I have to confess I was nervous. The pickle jar needs to be placed out in the sun during the day and brought inside before sundown, regularly for days together. It needs to be handled with super-dry, ultra-clean  equipment. My anxious mind asked – with no prior experience to bank on, a 9-to-6 job and other pressing domestic matters, will I be able to keep up with the discipline of pickle-making?

I did – and a week later, have this delicious green chili pickle recipe to share with you. Detailed step-by-step pictures included.

Green Chili Pickle Bottles You Need:

  • Green chilies – 250 grams
  • Mustard seeds – 1.5 tablespoons
  • Methi dal (coarsely ground fenugreek powder) – 1/2 tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Lemons – 2
  • Salt – 3/4 tablespoon
  • Mustard oil – 1 cup

You could substitute methi dal with an equivalent amount of fenugreek seeds.

Pick any variety of green chili you like. I have used the medium-sized ones. As a thumb rule – the smaller the chili, the sharper its heat.

How To Make Green Chili Pickle:

Before I give you the finer details, soak in the big picture:

Twofold mantra for any pickle’s longevity –
(1) no moisture: your hands, spoons, ingredients, bottles should have no traces of water.
(2) absolute cleanliness: do not, for example, stir the pickle with the same spoon you had your dal with.

Keep that in mind throughout and your pickle will taste good for weeks.

There are four key steps in making this pickle – I’ve put each in a picture with an easy-to-remember caption so that it lodges tight in your memory and you don’t need to rush between pickle jar and recipe while you’re at the task.

A snapshot of the ingredients first:

Green Chili Pickle Ingredients

In the picture above: Green chilies, lemons, turmeric powder, methi dal and mustard seeds.

Wash and completely dry the green chilies. I wipe with a kitchen towel, spread them on another kitchen towel and dry them in the sun for 30 minutes.

Cut each green chili into 2-3 pieces of 2cms each. Mix with salt. Keep aside for an hour.

Green Chili Pickle, Step 1

Mix the juice of two lemons next. To ensure that lemon seeds don’t fall in, squeeze the lemon through a strainer above the container and discard the pips and seeds. Stir and keep aside for another hour.

Green Chili Pickle, Step 2

Heat a tava on medium flame and dry roast 1+1/2 tablespoons of mustard seeds and 1/2 tablespoon of methi dal for a minute, stirring continuously. Allow to cool to room temperature. Grind to a coarse powder.

Mix mustard-methi powder and turmeric powder to green chilies.

Green Chili Pickle, Step 3

Heat a pan with a cup of mustard oil. Let the oil reach smoking point. Pour immediately over the green chilies and masala.

When hot oil hits the roasted masalas and chilies, it hisses and splutters and releases sharp, delicious fumes. Gentle sniffing is nice at this stage but if you are prone to coughing, avoid now your pranayamic breathing exercises.

Mix well. Keep the container uncovered and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Green Chili Pickle, Step 4

When cool, transfer the contents to a dry, clean bottle with an airtight cap.


I get good sunlight in my balcony. Each morning, I give the contents of the jars a stir with a squeaky clean spoon, keep them in the balcony during the day to bask in the sun’s warmth. When I get back from work, I bring the jars in and store them in a cool dry place.

This is how the green chili pickle looks after day 1:Making Green Chili Pickle

And this, after day 7:

Green Chili Pickle, Ready

[Where did half of it go, you ask? Well, the volume reduces slightly once the chilies get pickled, plus I have been eating some daily since day 1 :) ]

What I will do differently the next time

1. Cut green chilies into smaller pieces: Smaller chili pieces would have widened this pickle’s "target audience". Some of my friends cannot take the heat of large chilies pieces in one go.

2. Add less salt at first, adjust after a couple of days: I added a tablespoon of salt to start with and when the pickle was ready, felt that I could have done with a little less of salt. In the ingredient list, I now mention 3/4 tablespoon of salt. You can start with that, then taste and add more if you wish 2-3 days later.

Green Chili Pickle


This recipe uses Indian lemons – thinner-skinned, smaller and more acidic than their western counterpart. You could use limes in their place.

Looking for more recipes with green chilies as the key ingredient? Try bhuni hari mirch (green chili fry).

24 Responses to “Green Chili Pickle Recipe, and Tips for Pickle-Making”

  1. mustardseed February 15, 2012 at 8:35 PM #

    Love spicy pickles, especially these homemade ones! Now I am feeling encouraged to make some myself!

    • S February 15, 2012 at 8:50 PM #

      Sure do. Your comment handle should encourage you more – this pickle is heavy on mustard :)

  2. Elleh Rachelle March 26, 2014 at 4:26 PM #

    Hey thanks for the great recipe, more than recipe your step by step procedure to make pickle, I have to make my first pickle because you have made it sound so easy.

    • S May 6, 2014 at 11:19 AM #

      Good to know you found it useful. Thanks!

  3. naz July 13, 2015 at 3:34 PM #

    1st time came across home made chilli pickle.
    Will make it soon..
    Thanks for sharing

    • S July 14, 2015 at 10:00 PM #

      Enjoy the pickle :-)

  4. gab February 8, 2016 at 12:03 PM #

    hiwas wonderig if you could use fresh tumeric instead?

    • S February 8, 2016 at 8:25 PM #

      Hi gab, I am not sure if that switch would work in this recipe. Fresh turmeric has higher moisture content than dry and it might affect the duration for which the green chili pickle stays good.

      You could try a different pickle recipe with fresh turmeric, of course – this one looks good!

  5. KaNNu June 30, 2016 at 3:50 PM #

    Wow….. So beautiful and tasty pickle it would be… I’ll try it tomorrow… Thank you for sharing

    • S July 1, 2016 at 1:47 AM #

      I hope it turns out well!

  6. KaNNu July 2, 2016 at 1:42 PM #

    Hellooo… Please help.. I prepared the pickle yesternight but today There is no sun outside.. Its raining instead. What should i do now…. Where should i place the pickle??

    • S July 8, 2016 at 11:42 PM #

      Ooops sorry to hear that! In that situation I would keep the pickle in a dry place indoors and wait till the sun comes out next. I would be careful not to let any rain water enter the pickle jar.

      I hope you managed to redeem the pickle.

  7. dhanya July 16, 2016 at 1:07 PM #

    Hi dear,

    Im new to cooking,i was having doubt about keeping pickles in sunlight.Can u tell me how many days i should continue to keep like this?

    • S July 16, 2016 at 3:21 PM #

      Hi dhanya. For this green chili pickle, a week is good.

      Different pickles have different sun exposure needs – do check the specific recipe instructions. For example, this no-oil ginger garlic pickle is good to eat after two days of sunlight. Other pickles (typically those with raw mango or lime) take longer to mature.

      Fun fact: pickles with slower gestation time typically have longer shelf lives. Some stay good for years.

  8. kammi July 27, 2016 at 5:50 AM #

    Thanks for the recipi. I am going to make chilli pickles now :)

    • S October 15, 2016 at 6:09 PM #

      Hope it turned out well :-)

  9. Konduri Deepthi October 15, 2016 at 10:10 AM #

    I made the pickle.we all loved it.thank you for sharing the delicious recipe.

    • S October 15, 2016 at 6:08 PM #

      Happy to hear the feedback!

  10. Jessie Premdev November 11, 2016 at 7:44 PM #

    Thanks for a divine recipe. I will try to make this for sure.

    • S November 12, 2016 at 6:50 PM #

      Thanks Jessie!

  11. Radha November 13, 2016 at 10:41 PM #

    I am going to make this today . Love the recipe. Should it be stored at room temperature for long shelf life or in the refrigerator?

    • S November 14, 2016 at 12:14 AM #

      Radha, I keep it at room temperature and finish all of it within a few weeks. Not sure if refrigeration will play a big role in extending the shelf life – the pickle has plenty of salt and oil to act as preservative in any case. What does matter is using a clean dry spoon always inside the pickle container and keeping the lid firmly closed when storing.

  12. sushma thakur December 16, 2017 at 12:12 PM #

    By mistake, I have put extra salt in the mirch aachar. what to do ?

    • S December 17, 2017 at 11:13 PM #

      Ah over-salting, that’s a pickle not so easy to get out of.

      With freshly made pickle, you could try balancing the salt with proportional quantities of spices and hot mustard oil.

      With pickle that’s been standing for over two days, avoid recipe alterations to “fix” the salt. I would instead follow the rule of thumb: the stronger the taste, the smaller the portion. Just serve less of the salty pickle per meal.

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