Zesty Haitian Pikliz

5.0 from 3 votes

Pikliz (pronounced “pick-leez”) is a staple condiment in Haitian cuisine, offering a burst of flavor to enhance any dish. This tangy, spicy pickled slaw packs a punch and is a versatile companion to grilled meats, rice dishes, or even as a bold taco topping.

Unlike kimchi, its Korean counterpart known for a more pungent and umami profile due to fermentation, pikliz is quick-pickled, boasting a brighter, more acidic taste. Its health benefits are as vibrant as its flavor, thanks to its primary ingredients: cabbage and carrots, which offer a wealth of vitamins and a high fiber content.

The distinct taste of pikliz is sharp and invigorating, with a vinegary kick that is balanced by the heat of Scotch bonnet peppers and the crunch of fresh vegetables. Let’s explore the world of Haitian pikliz, where health meets zest in a jar!

Total Cooking Time

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes (although allowing it to sit for at least 1 day enhances the flavors)
  • Total Time: 15 minutes + resting time

Ingredients List

  • 1/2 head of cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and thinly sliced (use gloves to handle)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, julienned carrots, sliced onion, and Scotch bonnet peppers.
  2. Sprinkle the minced garlic, whole cloves, salt, and black peppercorns over the vegetables.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the white vinegar, lime juice, and sugar until fully dissolved.
  4. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables, ensuring they are completely submerged. If necessary, add more vinegar.
  5. Transfer the pikliz into a jar with a tight-fitting lid, pressing the vegetables down to pack them tightly.
  6. Seal the jar and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, though the flavor will continue to improve over the next few days.
  7. Serve chilled as a condiment with your favorite dishes.

Zesty Haitian Pikliz

Recipe by Dr. Hailee
5.0 from 3 votes


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



This tangy, spicy pickled slaw packs a punch and is a versatile companion to grilled meats, rice dishes, or even as a bold taco topping


  • 3 cups shredded cabbage

  • 1 cup shredded carrots

  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 Scotch bonnet peppers, thinly sliced (seeds removed for less heat)

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns

  • 4 cloves, whole

  • 1 cup white vinegar

  • 1/2 cup lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)


  • In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, onion, and Scotch bonnet peppers.
  • Sprinkle the mixture with salt, and then add the garlic, peppercorns, and cloves.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, and sugar until well combined.
  • Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables and toss to ensure they are well coated.
  • Pack the mixture into a sterilized jar, pressing down to ensure the vegetables are submerged in the liquid.
  • Seal the jar and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours, then refrigerate.
  • Let the Pikliz marinate for at least 12 hours before serving for the flavors to meld.
  • Serve chilled as a condiment with your favorite dishes.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 5kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Fat: 1g

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5 Dishes That Go Great With Haitian Pikliz

Haitian Pikliz is a spicy, pickled vegetable relish that adds a vibrant kick to a wide range of dishes. Made from a mix of shredded cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, onions, and Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, all marinated in vinegar with spices, pikliz is a staple condiment in Haitian cuisine, celebrated for its ability to elevate meals with its bold, tangy, and fiery flavors. Here are five dishes that pair wonderfully with Haitian Pikliz, each benefiting from its bright acidity and heat:

  1. Griot (Fried Pork): This classic Haitian dish consists of marinated pork cubes that are boiled and then fried until crispy. The rich, savory flavors of the pork are perfectly complemented by the spicy, acidic bite of pikliz, making for a balanced and deeply satisfying meal.
  2. Poul Fri (Fried Chicken): The crispy, golden exterior of Haitian fried chicken, seasoned with a blend of Caribbean spices, finds a lively counterpart in the pikliz. The relish cuts through the fattiness of the chicken, adding a refreshing layer of flavor.
  3. Diri ak Pwa (Rice and Beans): A staple in Haitian households, this comforting dish of rice and beans serves as a mild, hearty base that is beautifully enhanced by the spicy complexity of pikliz. The relish adds not only heat but also a welcome textural contrast.
  4. Mayi Moulen (Cornmeal Porridge): This creamy, savory porridge, often cooked with coconut milk and spices, offers a subtle backdrop that allows the bold flavors of pikliz to shine. The combination of the smooth porridge and the crunchy pikliz creates an appealing mix of textures.
  5. Tassot de Boeuf (Fried Beef): Similar to griot but made with beef, tassot de boeuf features marinated, boiled, and then fried beef pieces that are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. The pikliz complements the beef with its spicy acidity, making each bite exciting and flavorful.

Incorporating pikliz into these dishes not only enhances their flavor profiles but also introduces diners to the rich culinary traditions of Haiti, where food is celebrated for its boldness and complexity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Pikliz Like Kimchi?

While both pikliz and kimchi are forms of pickled vegetables, they have distinct differences. Kimchi is a fermented dish with a complex, deeply savory flavor, often with fish sauce or shrimp paste, and can be quite pungent.

Pikliz, on the other hand, is a quick pickle, meaning it’s not fermented and has a crisp, vinegary bite with a clear emphasis on the heat from chili peppers.

Is Haitian Pikliz Healthy?

Yes, Haitian pikliz is healthy. It’s rich in dietary fiber, vitamins A and C from the cabbage and carrots, and capsaicin from the peppers, which is known for its metabolism-boosting properties. Additionally, the vinegar base can aid in digestion.

What Does Pikliz Taste Like?

Pikliz has a unique flavor profile that is tangy, spicy, and slightly sweet. The vinegar provides a sharp tanginess, the Scotch bonnet peppers introduce a noticeable heat, and the mix of spices adds depth to its overall taste.

How Long Does Pikliz Last?

Pikliz, with its vinegar-based pickling solution, is designed for longevity and can last for an extended period when stored properly. Typically, pikliz can be kept for several months up to a year when refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.

The high acidity of the vinegar acts as a natural preservative, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and allowing the pikliz to maintain its quality over time. However, the flavor and texture of pikliz may evolve; the vegetables might soften slightly, and the flavors could become more melded and intense as it ages.

It’s important to use clean utensils when serving pikliz to prevent contamination and extend its shelf life. Always check for signs of spoilage, such as an off smell, taste, or any visible mold, before consuming, although these occurrences are rare when it’s stored correctly.

Given its durability and flavor-enhancing properties, pikliz is not only a vibrant addition to meals but also a practical, long-lasting condiment to have on hand.


In conclusion, this Pikliz recipe is a celebration of Haitian cuisine that brings a punch of flavor to any meal. It embodies the spirit of Haiti—bold, vibrant, and irresistibly flavorful.

Whether you’re a fan of spicy foods or just looking to add some zest to your dishes, Pikliz is sure to impress. Remember to let it marinate to perfection, and enjoy the burst of heat and tang that it brings to your plate. Bon appétit, or as they say in Haiti, “Bon manje!”

You can also buy homemade pikliz here if you don’t have time to make it!

5.0 from 3 votes

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