Hot Pepper Vinegar

The classic mignonettes and cocktail sauces are the traditional condiments for serving with raw oysters. Along with those favorites, offer your guests this Hot Pepper Vinegar next time you gather together to shuck oysters. Unless you like things really hot, be sure to remove the seeds from the chiles, as that is where the heat hides. For best flavor, make this condiment several days in advance and keep refrigerated. If you like pepper sauce or Tabasco sauce with your turnip or collard greens, try this recipe next time you cook up a batch. Before serving the vinegar with the oysters, add a few more slices of chiles and some chopped cilantro. Purchase the freshest oysters possible and keep them cold up until serving time. Whether you buy them from a local seafood market or through the mail, pick through the bushel and remove any that smell bad or have broken shells. Never store oysters directly on ice; oysters are living saltwater organisms and fresh water can kill them. Put oysters in a single layer on a baking sheet between two damp towels and keep in the fridge. Put oysters on ice after they have been shucked right before serving.  

Hot Pepper Vinegar
Photo: Cedric Angeles; Prop Styling: Thom Driver
Active Time:
5 mins
Chill Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
15 mins
2 cups


  • 6 halved, stemmed, and seeded jalapeño chiles

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Place jalapeño chiles in a medium bowl or jar. Whisk together apple cider vinegar and kosher salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat; immediately pour vinegar mixture over chiles. Let cool completely. Store, covered, in refrigerator at least 8 hours or overnight. (For best flavor, make several days in advance.)

  2. When ready to serve with oysters, thinly slice a few of the chiles, and place slices in a serving bowl. Add some of the vinegar, and stir in fresh cilantro before serving with oysters.

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