Make Your Own Peppered Cucumber Infused Vinegar

Make your own cucumber vinegar with pepper and garlic

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My garden this year was very small, mostly herbs, a few cucumber plants, and a volunteer butternut squash plant. The cucumbers we grew in an elevated container with a trestle. and it worked much better than expected. Lots of cucumbers and no half eaten cucumbers due to our turtles and the wild racoons that patrol the neighborhood.  We’ve been able to harvest more than enough cucumbers for our salads, salsas and cold soups, and with the extras, I’m brewing a batch of our favorite homemade vinegar – Peppered Cucumber Infused Vinegar.  We’ve been enjoying this vinegar for several years and so have our families and friends because there is always plenty to share.

For this recipe, vinegar is infused with cucumber, pepper and garlic.  The prep takes about 30 minutes and then the jar is left to sit for 6 weeks.  I use to let it sits for 3 months, but one year decided to test it after only 6 weeks (just couldn’t wait). I didn’t notice any difference in the flavors. The cucumber and pepper flavors were just as robust after 6 weeks as they were after 3 months, and the garlic – very subtle and a nice finish. After 6 weeks, the cucumber infused vinegar is strained into pretty little bottles and used for salad dressing or holiday gifts.

Peppered Cucumber Infused Vinegar

Make your own cucumber vinegar with pepper and garlic @mjskitchen #vinegar #cucumber

Make your own cucumber vinegar with pepper and garlic
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Peppered Cucumber Infused Vinegar (Recipe)
Yield: depends on size of the jar used and the amount of cucumbers you have

Prep and rest time: 30 minutes prep, 6 weeks rest

You'll need a pickling type jar. The size of the jar is dependent on how much you want to make and how many cucumbers you have. If you have a good jar, but it's bigger than what you really need, you can still use it. The jar doesn't have to be full. The main criteria are that the jar be ceramic or glass and the lid, non-metallic with a seal like a rubber-gasket. If the lid is metal, you can place plastic wrap between the lid and the jar. The vinegar will corrode any metal it comes in contact with.

In 6 weeks, you'll need a colander, cheesecloth, a funnel, and several sterilized glass jars with non-metallic lids. (See Kitchen Notes for ideas for jars.)

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Condiments, Infused Vinegar/Oil
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
The quantities below are for a 2 liter jar (shown in the pictures). For more or fewer cucumbers, adjust the recipe to 1 Tbsp. peppercorns (~3/8 ounce or 10.5 grams) and 3 large garlic cloves for every, 8" (20 cm) cucumber.
  • 5 to 6 6" to 8" cucumbers, sliced thick (between ¼” and ½”)
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and smashed
  • 5 - 6 Tbsp. 2 to 2.25 ounces peppercorns (a mix of peppercorns is best)*
  • 2 to 3 thick slices of onion
  • About 4 cups distilled vinegar
  1. Wash the jar and rinse well with very hot water. Let air dry.
  2. Wash and scrub the cucumbers. Cut off each end about 1/2" into the cucumber. (The ends can be bitter.)
  3. Slice the cucumbers. Start stacking the cucumber slices on the bottom of the jar to make about a 2” (~5 cm) high layer.
  4. Top the layer with 1 Tbsp. peppercorns and with 3 cloves of garlic.
  5. Create another layer of cucumbers, peppercorns, and then garlic.
  6. Repeat until you use up all of the cucumber or you fill the jar.
  7. Slowly pour the vinegar into the jar to about half full. Tilt and tap the jar to extract trapped air bubbles. Add more vinegar until all of the cucumber is covered. Tilt and tap.
  8. The cucumber will float; therefore, top the cucumbers with a layer of thickly sliced onions. (The onion acts as a weight to keep the cucumber slices submerged in the vinegar.) Make sure that the onion is also submerged in the vinegar.
  9. Close the jar and set in a cool, relatively dark space for 6 weeks. Keep an eye on it to make sure nothing strange happens. I’m not sure what would happen, but…you never know. The vinegar will start to darken on day one due to the peppercorns and will continue to darken for a few days. Do not worry, this is suppose to happen.
Six weeks later
  1. Sterilize the vinegar jars in a hot water bath for about 5 minutes. Remove and let air dry.
  2. From the cucumber vinegar jar, remove the onion and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Use the pickled cucumber-flavored onion for salads.
  3. Line a large colander with cheese cloth and place it over a large, non-metallic bowl. Pour the vinegar from the jar through the cheesecloth. Do NOT squeeze the cucumber. It will make the vinegar cloudy. Just let it sit until no more vinegar is dripping into the bowl.
  4. If you feel you need to strain the vinegar twice, then do so. It should be relatively clear. You could always strain through a coffee filter the second time if needed.
  5. Discard the cucumbers and the peppercorns.
  6. Using the funnel, fill the vinegar jars and seal. Label with name and date.
Kitchen Notes

The Peppercorns – It’s best to use a mix of peppercorns. I’ve use a tricolor blend of black, white and pink peppercorns and bi-color blend of black and white. This year I had black peppercorns and some Sichuan Peppercorns (the red peppercorns at the top of the jar). These are amazing peppercorns and I think they are going to contribute a wonderful bite to this vinegar. In case you aren’t familiar with them, here is a description I found online: “simultaneous numbing, tongue-tingling, party-in-your-mouth sensation that you experience from trying even one of these small, russet-colored spices.”


Repurpose bottles for infused vinegarVinegar Jars – I always repurpose soy sauce jars and other vinegar jars for infused vinegars and oils. Grolsch Beer bottles also make excellent vinegar jars.  They have the ceramic lid with the rubber gasket, so they’re perfect for vinegars.  Really any jar with a plastic or ceramic top or a cork stopper would work.  Just stay away from metal.




Six Weeks Later…..A vinegar infused with peppercorns and cucumber

The Finished Product – It’s been six weeks and now we have the finished product.  This batch of Peppered Cucumber Infused Vinegar yielded two nice jars of vinegar.







Make your own cucumber vinegar with pepper and garlic


How to use – Use this cucumber infused vinegar in place of white wine vinegar for salad dressings and salads that would benefit from a robust flavor of cucumber.  I say robust because this infused vinegar is just that.  It has a strong peppery cucumber flavor that is perfect for a variety of salads – both vegetable and fruit salads.

Here is my favorite salad dressing using this vinegar.  Use with a variety of salads or just pour over some cucumber slices and tomatoes.

A dressing made with peppered cucumber infused vinegar


Peppered Cucumber Salad Dressing (Salad for 2)

1 tsp. Dijon or creole mustard
1 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. Peppered Cucumber Vinegar
1/2 tsp. water (helps the maintain the emulsion)
2 to 3 Tbsp. Extra-virgin Olive Oil

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl and pour over a simple salad.

To learn more about making your own salad dressings, check out these Kitchen Notes.



Other infused oils and vinegars:

How to make pepper sauce with chile pequin

Chile Pequin Pepper Sauce





A raspberry vinegar recipe from 1900


Raspberry Vinegar




Red Chile infused oil with herbs and spices


Red Chile Infused Oil




Roasted garlic infused olive oil or garlic mojo


Roasted Garlic Infused Oil






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63 Responses to “Make Your Own Peppered Cucumber Infused Vinegar”

  1. The Wimpy Vegetarian January 16, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    How did I miss this? I love it, and pinning it right now to make this summer. Wonderful, wonderful idea.

  2. Swathi September 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    I need you to send me this one as christmas gift, Looks perfect my little one will love it.

    • mj September 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

      I’ll add you to my list Swathi! 🙂 thanks!

  3. Nami | Just One Cookbook September 16, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    This sounds so easy to make! And what I surprised about is that you actually use the vinegar part while I might enjoy cucumber more… 😀 It could be win win situation to finish entire jar! We have lots and lots of peppercorns! The salad dressing sounds delicious too!

    • mj September 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

      Thanks Nami! I’m going to have to give the cucumbers another try. I’ve never liked them before – just too vinegary and mushy, but I’m going to try again. Two more weeks and I can bottle this beauty. 🙂

  4. Ally @ Om Nom Ally September 11, 2013 at 1:46 am #

    Is there anything better than home-made pickled cucumber? Yum!
    I always leave my cukes whole for some reason, but these look ready to be plucked out with a fork to go straight in the mouth so I’m going to have to try it your way next time 😀

  5. Princy September 10, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    Wow i have to try this.looks so good and easy to do.

  6. Kiran @ September 6, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    This had me drooling!! Love homemade pickles!

  7. Javelin Warrior September 5, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    I can almost smell this tasty vinegar, MJ! It’s amazing the affect of just a few simple ingredients like cucumbers and garlic on a potent vinegar. Love the idea of sharing this with friends or family as gifts!

  8. Terra September 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    Growing our own is soooooo fun. My hanging tomato plants are just okay, not fast growing, and a bit small…..but oh so delicious:-) Your canned cucumbers sound so delicious!! I wish I had some now, Hugs, Terra

  9. Swathi September 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    Last week I bought cucumber to make some easy salad, but end up using in curries. This peppered cucumber vinegar is wonderful MJ. I will give it shot.

  10. Soni September 3, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    I love pickled cucumbers and this recipe is pretty easy for me to try!Also a great way of using up cucumbers.I bet that infused vinegar must be so so delicious!

  11. Gomo | cHow Divine September 2, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    That jar looks beautiful! I bet the infused vinegar is amazing. My grandmother always has excess cucumbers from her garden that pickles for later consumption. I have to tell her to make infused vinegar with them (and give me some)! 🙂 Thanks MJ!

    • mj September 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

      Thanks Gomo! My next project with cucumbers will be to make my mother’s sweet pickles recipe. Hope I get enough to try it this year.

  12. Hotly Spiced September 1, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    I just love pickled cucumbers and I love the look of yours in the jar. What a great way to use up your cucumbers. Do you eat the cucumbers or just use the vinegar? xx

    • mj September 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

      Thanks Charlie! I actually don’t eat the cucumbers, I just use the vinegar. I don’t like the texture and the vinegar is really, really strong in cucumbers. However, it sounds like I have a lot of people willing to take them off of my hands. 🙂

  13. Nancy/SpicieFoodie September 1, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    How cute you have turtles and raccoons too, well maybe not cute as far as the garden goes.:) I’ve never heard of this type of vinegar but it sounds like one I would love. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • mj September 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      The turtles are cute, but not so sure about the racoons. 🙂 They leave a lot of holes in the yard where they dig looking for something to eat. My new garden is going to be raised to try to keep them from digging it up. This vinegar is quite different, but I truly love it.

  14. Lori Lynn September 1, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Oh, I could find loads of uses for that vinegar. Sounds great!
    Going to take your calabacitas dish to a Labor Day weekend beach party MJ. But I’m going to grill the squash, top with the corn and Hatch chiles when I get to the beach. Thanks so much for that recipe. I adore it. My friends are grilling chicken, so it should be a nice complement.

    • mj September 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

      Thanks so much Lori Lynn! I hope your family enjoyed the calabacitas yesterday! The idea of grilling the squash is a GREAT idea! How did it turn out?

  15. Sissi September 1, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    After the straining process, can I have the cucumbers please? They must have taken on a wonderful taste with this seasoned vinegar. I would have problems which part I should choose: the vinegar or the cucumbers! By the way, I’m in the cucumber pickling period, so you will be surprised to see what I prepared yesterday for next post 😉
    Actually, someone from my family told me she uses often seasoned vinegar from my vegetable pickles as… vinegar in salad dressings. Funny isn’t it?

    • mj September 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

      Thanks Sissi! Yes, you can have the cucumbers because I find them too soft and way too vinegary. Even though I love vinegar, it has to be subdued because my throat doesn’t like it (but that’s a story for another day :)). I use the brine from pickles and olives all of the time in salad dressings. It’s really good! I’d use the brine from your pickles anyway. Can’t wait to see your new post! Hope you’ve had a great weekend!

  16. Helene D'souza September 1, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    That’s a magnificent edible gift idea MJ! We pickle differently in Europe and with different ingredients and procedure. I d like to try your version some time soon, maybe when the humidity is less. What if I would use different vinegar types? Would that be good or better not?

    • mj September 1, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

      Helene, a different vinegar should work fine. I’m not sure what is available where you are but any light vinegar should work. Hope you do get to try it. It’s really good.

  17. Liz August 31, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Your vinegar looks marvelous, MJ! And so beautiful to have sitting on the counter while it cures.

    • mj September 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Thanks Liz! It is nice on the counter. We had company over last night and lots of comments were made about the vinegar. 🙂

  18. Purabi Naha | Cosmopolitan Currymania August 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    OH MY! I love this cucumber vinegar. I always wished I had a garden like you, but in the densely populated Mumbai, it is a dream! Home-grown fruits and vegetables taste great! My grandmother has a big garden in Orissa and I love eating freshly harvested produce there! Lovely post!!

    • mj September 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      Thanks Purabi! A garden is a nice thing to have, but it does take a lot of work. However, it’s enjoyable work and hopefully mine will be a little bigger next year. I hope you live close enough to your mother to get to enjoy some of her fresh produce.

  19. Katerina August 31, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    I love condiments with flavors. This is a great idea!

  20. wok with ray August 31, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    Pepper and garlic? I would definitely love this vinegar infused cucumber. I’m sure the longer it’s kept the more you’ll enjoy it. Love the shot of the jar in the garden. Thanks MJ and I hope you and Bobby are enjoying the weekend. 🙂

    • mj September 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

      Thanks so much Ray! The pepper really adds a lot to the overall flavor. Yes, we are having a nice long weekend. Hope you and your family are having the same! Hugs!

  21. Karen (Back Road Journal) August 31, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Love your photos with the flowers in the background. I’ve had different infused vinegars but this is very different. It has to be terrific on salads.

    • mj September 1, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

      Thanks so much Karen! It is delicious on salads. Hope you’re having a great weekend.

  22. Cynthia L August 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    Firstly, I want to say thanks for stopping by my blog, Feeding Big. I wanted to stop by and say that and also say that I love your blog! I am envious that you are in New Mexico. We lived in Las Cruces for many years and hope to get back there soon. I love your recipes and your photography!

    See you around the internet! Cynthia

    • mj August 31, 2013 at 1:34 am #

      Thanks Cynthia and you are most welcome! It is always good to meet another New Mexican foodie :). I’m sure I’ll be visiting your blog quite often now that we have crossed paths! Love your Apple and Pear salad!

  23. ChgoJohn August 30, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    I’ve not heard of cucumber-flavored vinegar, MJ, but I like the idea. I bet it really does brighten up a salad. Love that it has a bit of a bite due to the pepper. It’s a great way to use up those cukes, too. 🙂

    • mj August 31, 2013 at 1:30 am #

      Thanks John! It is amazing what one came come up with when there is an excess and you need to figure out a way to use it. 🙂

  24. Choc Chip Uru August 30, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    That’s an intriguing vinergarette combination of flavours 🙂
    It looks yummy!

    Choc Chip Uru

  25. Adora's Box August 30, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Hi MJ! This is new to me, sort of. We have cucumbers in vinegar which is eaten as a side for meats. I actually love the vinegar part also but never thought of having just the vinegar. I will definitely try this.

    • mj August 31, 2013 at 1:28 am #

      Thanks Adora! Unfortunately, after 6 weeks I find the cucumber inedible, but the vinegar quite delicious. Hope you do give it a try.

  26. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles August 30, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    I would have loved to have seen a picture of your growing cucs (and your turtles!!) — I don’t think I could wait 3 months to try this either. I’m so curious about the combination of pepper and cucumber. You mention the pepper is robust – does it overwhelm the cucumber or do you still get a distinctive cucumber taste coming through in the vinegar? What a dynamic duo and of course garlic is always welcome. Your photos are lovely MJ. I love how the green of your cucumbers is contrasted against the red/fuschia of the flowers. What a great way to present this recipe.

    • mj August 31, 2013 at 1:26 am #

      Thanks Kelly! Actually the flavor of the finished vinegar is quite robust but mostly with a creamy but peppery cucumber flavor, cucumber being the dominate flavor and smell for that matter. Thanks for the comments on the pics. I have to thank bobby for those because he was using my photo bench for one of his projects so I was forced outside to take pics. It actually worked out for the better. 🙂 have a great weekend!

      • Kelly @ Inspired Edibles September 1, 2013 at 9:10 am #

        There’s nothing quite like natural light. My current set-up in CA has me taking photos outside for the first time (I am blogging from our balcony :)) and I just love it — as long as it’s the right time of day (the sun can white wash everything when too strong) the colors are simply unmatched. I’m having fun exploring and trying to expand my usual/usual a bit ;-).

        • mj September 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

          I hate moving but I do love the newness of a different home,city, or place. I’m sure you are having fun!

  27. Nads August 30, 2013 at 6:26 am #

    The photos are stunning and I’ll bet the vinegar is great. I remember the tarragon infused vinegar you gave us years ago and I believe a raspberry vinegar too. Both wonderful, so I know this is too. I never think of doing vinegars except with hot pepper to make pepper sauce, but love to use them. I have lots of rosemary in the yard. Maybe I’ll give that a shot when I have time. btw, I meant to tell you that I liked the idea of your cold tomato salad with pasta the other day. Haven’t tried it yet but I will at some point. Kind of swimming up stream lately trying to get stuff done so meals have been quickies. Another btw, why do you discard the veggies? Don’t the cucumbers and onions pickle in all that vinegar. Love you Sis!

    • mj August 30, 2013 at 9:24 am #

      Thanks so much Sis!!! You just reminded me that I need to make some pepper sauce. 🙂 I remember that tarragon vinegar. That was made when we had tarragon plants that were 5 feet tall!!! I have a little tarragon in the garden now that I might just have to use for some vinegar. Rosemary should work great! The reason I discard the cucumbers is because they are a little mushy and WAY to vinegary for me. The onion stays somewhat crispy and in small amounts works great in salads. Great question! Need to add that info to the post. XOXOX

  28. Angie@Angie's Recipes August 30, 2013 at 3:15 am #

    Cucumber pepper vinegar…how interesting! I might try it with zucchini 🙂

    • mj August 30, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      Thanks Angie! Let me know if the zucchini works. Sounds interesting.

  29. john@kitchenriffs August 29, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    Thank goodness the squirrels aren’t fond of our cucumbers, so we’ve had plenty this year! We’ve been eating them as fast as they grow (because we aren’t getting many tomatoes), but next year I should think of pickling some. Really great idea, and it looks like fun. Like the idea of an elevated garden, too! Thanks for this.

    • mj August 30, 2013 at 9:18 am #

      Thanks John! Next year we’re planting tomatoes, but for right now – thank goodness for the growers’ markets!

  30. Tessa August 29, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    Love it! This is such an interesting vinegar. I’ve got some Grolsch bottles in the cupboard…. I’m definitely going to try this. Thank you MJ!

    • mj August 30, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      Hope you like it Tessa! Bobby’s going to have to drink a couple more bottles of beer in the next month, but I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. 🙂

  31. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 29, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    My father-in-law asked me if I had considered growing cucumbers in a big container and training them up on something and I said no.. I’ve changed my mind!

    • mj August 30, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      Maureen, I’ll take a picture of my cucumber pot and send it too. I think it would work on your deck.

  32. Ramona August 29, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    This is my kind of condiment… I could eat an entire jar. 🙂 Love the bottle with the flowers in the background… it should be in a magazine. 🙂

    • mj August 30, 2013 at 9:16 am #

      Thanks so much Ramona! The flowers were a last minute thought and they worked. 🙂

  33. Debra August 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    Oh, how I wish I had had this yesterday. I just gave away a shopping bag full of cukes today. I need to venture to the garden and see if I have some more. Love this idea.

    • mj August 30, 2013 at 9:15 am #

      Well, bad timing on my part! Hopefully, you get more cucumbers to enjoy in this way. Based upon what I see you make, I think you’ll love this!

  34. Vicki Bensinger August 29, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    You always come up with fun creative foodie ideas – I love it and look forward to trying this recipe.

    • mj August 30, 2013 at 9:14 am #

      Thanks Vicki! When you have an excess of something, its easier to be creative. 🙂


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