Haitian Pikliz (Spicy Pickled Cabbage)

What is Pikliz?

If you haven’t tried Haitian Pikliz, I need you to change that ASAP.  This spicy pickled cabbage is my favorite condiment to eat with plantains. If you like spicy food, this won’t last long in your fridge!

Pikliz is a staple condiment in Haitian cuisine, and it’s super simple to make. It’s a mix of pickled cabbage, carrots, and scotch bonnet peppers. Some families may also include bell peppers or replace the scotch bonnet peppers with habanero (I tend to do this of I can’t find scotch bonnet).  It’s seasoned very simply with salt or adobo seasoning and sometimes garlic. We pickle the mix in white vinegar and let it rest for that premium taste. 

Pikliz is the best and adds a bright, spicy flavor to greasy food like banan peze (fried plantains) or griot (fried pork).

Carrots, vinegar, onion, habanero pepper, cabbage on a cutting board
Pikliz only requires a few ingredients (I did not use the thyme pictured).

Ingredients and Alternatives

The ingredients for this recipe are super simple, and you can put all of this together in less than 10 minutes. I like to buy whole carrots and cabbage to shred myself because sometimes, the pre-shredded carrots lack flavor. If you know of a good brand of shredded carrots, DM me on Instagram and let me know! 

I alternate between scotch bonnet and habanero based on what is available in my local grocery store. Scotch bonnet is definitely the better choice but either will work just fine! 

Because of regional differences and just different family recipes, you can find variations that include thyme, garlic, and bell peppers. My favorite way is to keep things simple. 

Carrots in a bowl of water and a vegetable scrub brush
Meet Professor Spud! I give the carrots a quick clean with veggie brush.

Food Prep

I usually clean my vegetables by giving them a rinse in a diluted vinegar and water mix. I like to use my this little veggie brush from amazon, Professor Spud, to get any excess dirt off of my carrots before grating. 

It’s an extra step, but I definitely suggest getting yourself a cheap vegetable from like this one to make sure they’re all clean.

Spicy vinegar, Habanero, lime juice in a food processor

To create the spicy pickling liquid, I use a food processor to blend my ingredients. Some people take the time to slice up the scotch bonnet or habaneros, but I prefer this method, because the food processor will blend the ingredients until smooth. You won’t have to worry about accidentally biting into chunks of spicy pepper. You’re also not going to have to worry about getting spicy residue on your fingers and accidentally touching your eye. Not cute. Get yourself that food processor or blender (preferably not one that you make smoothies in) and add in the peppers, vinegar, lime juice, and salt or adobo. 

Haitian pikliz in a bowl with tongs

Final Notes

For the final step, you want to pour your blended spicy mixture onto the shredded carrots and cabbage. Toss it around with some tongs or a large wooden spoon. I like to make sure that I use a big bowl for this step to make sure that every piece is covered. Then I add the mix to a jar and let it pickle for 3 days. 

I hope y’all try this out and enjoy the recipe. I recommend eating this with crispy fried plantain. It’s the best. 

Print

Haitian Pikliz (Spicy Pickled Cabbage)

Pikliz is a staple condiment in Haitian households. Its spicy pickled cabbage with shredded carrots, onion, or shallots. Typically, we use scotch bonnet peppers, but habanero peppers will work just as well! These are best with plantains and Haitian Fritay!

  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 0 min
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Seasonings, Sauces, and Condiments
  • Method: Pickle
  • Cuisine: Haitian

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 head shredded cabbage
  • 4 medium-sized carrots (grated)
  • 1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
  • 23 scotch bonnet or habanero peppers (depends on your spice tolerance, I recommend starting with 2 and going up to 6 maximum)
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 2 tsp adobo seasoning

Instructions

  1. Prep and clean your vegetables. Use a water and vinegar mix and a scrub brush for the carrots.
  2. Shred your cabbage (or buy the pre-shredded), Grate your carrots (I don’t recommend buying the pre-shredded carrots, they tend to have a weird film on them), thinly slice your onions or shallots, and toss these ingredients into a bowl.
  3. Next, add your vinegar, lime juice, pepper, and seasoning into a food processor and blend them until they become a cohesive sauce.
  4. Pour the sauce mix onto your cabbage mix and toss in a large bowl until all of the vegetables are covered.
  5. Store in a glass jar and let it pickle for three days. This tastes great immediately, but for optimal flavor, it’s best to let it sit for a while.

Notes

I typically store pikliz for up to a month in the refrigerator, although it doesn’t usually last very long.

Keywords: Haitian pikliz, pickled cabbage, coleslaw

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3 Comments

  1. Pascale P May 5, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Are you Haitian?

    Reply
    1. Stephanie May 5, 2021 at 7:04 pm

      Hi Pascale! Yes, I am. Are you?

      Reply
  2. Big Jon Lee April 14, 2023 at 5:51 pm

    Can i use apple cider vinegar?? Or do you suggest regular white vinegar?

    Reply

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