Potbelly Hot Peppers Recipe

Potbelly’s hot peppers (The Record, August, 2013) by Elisa Ung – “… the chain’s standout hot peppers. They’re really more like a jardinière — a mixture of serranos, jalapeños and red bell peppers packed in oil with carrots, celery, cauliflower and green olives. The sharp, fiery-tangy flavor jazzes up more than just sandwiches — I have a jar in my fridge and like to spoon the oil over eggs.”

We love Potbelly’s Hot Peppers!!! This fan page has the best info for Potbelly Hot Peppers fans to share the love. And if you live where there’s no Potbelly Sandwich Shop, like we are here in Orange County, California there’s one location in Irvine, California, the entire state… if only Potbelly would open an online store for Potbelly Hot Peppers!

This recipe is adapted from a recipe on fundiego.com, which intends to replicate the hot pepper mix from a sandwich chain called Potbelly.

You can adjust the spice level of this recipe. To make it milder, remove some or all of the hot pepper seeds and/or replace some of the hot peppers (especially the serranos) with bell pepper or other veggies like celery.

To make this recipe less spicy, remove some or all of the seeds from the jalapenos and serrano peppers. You can also substitute bell pepper for and equivalent amount of jalapenos or serrano peppers.

This hot pepper mixture is a delicious topping for sandwiches, wraps, salads, eggs, and more! It is basically a Chicago-Style giardiniera, which is condiment typically higher in oil, lower in vinegar, and made with smaller pieces of vegetables. Italian style giardiniera tends to be lower in oil (if any at all) and larger chunks, so it is more of a pickled vegetable appetizer or side.

I didn’t try the spicy Italian pickled relish known as giardiniera until my early twenties. Truthfully, growing up in rural South Carolina, I thought “giardiniera” was a parasite you got from drinking lake water. My Italian culinary experiences were all of the Olive Garden variety, mispronouncing fagioli and amatraciana and imagining picturesque Mediterranean villages where everyone feasted on unlimited breadsticks all day long.

Moving to Brooklyn, however, the unlikely nexus of old-school Italian cuisine and the hipster pickling craze, made the classic condiment—an oil-drenched medley of peppers and vegetables—hard to avoid. And avoid it I did not. A decade and a half into what’s become a crippling obsession, I wish I could tell you that I’ve discovered the ultimate small-batch concoction, one that an ancient Carroll Gardens nonna gives away to friends and family, or, better yet, that I’ve mastered my own home preparation. But the truth is, the best giardiniera I’ve ever tasted—the one I buy four jars at a time—comes from Potbelly Sandwich Shop, the airport-and-food-court stalwart my friends and I refer to affectionately as “classy Quizno’s.”

But here’s the thing: limiting your Potbelly pepper consumption to sandwiches alone is like driving with the parking brake on. Any good Chicagoan knows you have to spoon it liberally on deep-dish pizza. It’s also the best way to spice up scrambled eggs or add punch to boring salads. Slowly, Potbelly giardiniera has found a permanent home in my spaghetti sauce, chili, and stir-fry. The first step is admitting you have a problem. I’m not there yet.

The chain labels its giardiniera—available for impulse-purchase at the register for $6.75—only as “hot peppers,” but that’s some first-rate false modesty. A mix of Serranos, carrots, celery, jalapenos, red bell peppers, cauliflower, and green olives, it shoulders a far heavier load than the standard chopped pepperoncini; it adds a perfect blend of salty-sweet heat and crunch to my favorite sandwich (the Wreck, a monstrosity of salami, roast beef, turkey, ham and Swiss), and the oil dresses the lettuce and tomato before seeping deep into the bread. I’m a freak about this stuff, so much so that I briefly considered buying one of those conveyor belt toasters to replicate the entire experience at home. (My wife nixed the plan, citing countertop space concerns.)

I’m also not alone. Actor Ike Barinholtz told me that he orders them on Amazon (a convenient way to procure your peppers if you don’t mind some serious Prime-eligible price gouging). “It’s so embarrassing when that package comes,” says Barinholtz. “My daughter’s like, ‘Is that a book for me?’ and I have to say, ‘No, it’s spicy giardiniera for daddy.’”


What Hot Peppers does potbelly use?

Potbelly giardiniera is made with 100% soybean oil, serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, red bell peppers, celery, carrots, cauliflower, green olives, celery salt, water, vinegar, salt, herbs and spices.

Do potbelly peppers need to be refrigerated?

If you can’t get the peppers at an actual Potbelly, these are great and *probably* worth it. Word of warning, don’t refrigerate below 40F; the oil will congeal. Love these peppers for putting on anything.

What does potbelly put on their sandwiches?

All Potbelly sandwiches are made on multigrain bread and get topped with lettuce, tomato, and mayo, but you can customize them to your food preferences and diet.

What does P and H stand for at potbelly?

They simply added a “P” and “H” to each location, in reference to pigs and hogs. As the company’s chairman Bryant Keil explains it, “Pigs get fat, and hogs get slaughtered. That just teaches everybody, ‘don’t skimp on serving the right amounts, don’t serve a cookie unless it was baked that day.

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