What exactly is Giardiniera?

Well, loosely translated from Italian, the word “giardiniera” means “from the garden”. And everything you’ll find in giardiniera is indeed from the garden. Although recipes differ, most traditional giardiniera contains hot or mild peppers, celery, carrots, pitted green olives, and other vegetables mixed with a spice blend and packed in shelf stable oil.

How to Pronounce “Giardiniera”

While giardiniera might be a hard word to spell, it’s well worth the time to learn how to pronounce it.  Anything this delicious, everyone should know how to ask for it by name!  So here is how to pronounce “giardiniera”.


Just let it flow off your tongue a few times and you’ll notice there is an ever-so-slight emphasis on the 3rd syllable (the “NAIR”). Sometimes, if you’re in Chicago, you’ll hear people dropping off the last syllable, so it sounds like “Jar-dih-NAIR”. That’s because in Chicago, we drop off lots of syllables from lots of words. So, “Jar-Dih-Nair-Ah” or “Jar-Dih-Nair”, take your pick. Either way you will find it absolutely delicious!

The Different Types Of Giardiniera

No matter how your taste buds tingle, there’s a style of giardiniera made just for you. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular varieties …

Hot Or Mild:

Some like it hot (and some don’t).   And that’s why there are hot and mild versions of giardiniera available. Over the last 20 years or so, hot and spicy condiments have really taken off, but hot giardiniera has been there all along.   Depending on the level of heat, certain types of hot peppers are used. The “normal” hot variety gives a pleasant, smoldering heat … a heat that is designed to complement the food rather than overwhelm it. Hotter varieties, often labeled Extra Hot, sometimes use the devilish Scotch Bonnet pepper, one of the hottest peppers around.On the other end of the spectrum, mild giardiniera doesn’t add heat … it just adds flavor. Try both the hot and mild and see which you like best!

Giardiniera Relish

When you look at a jar of traditional giardiniera, you’ll be able to pick out all the ingredients by sight. You’ll see the peppers, olives, celery, and so on.With giardiniera relish, everything is minced. It doesn’t change the flavor; it merely changes the appearance.
Giardiniera relish, invented about fifteen years ago by E. Formella and Sons, is sometimes preferred by diners because it’s “neater”. When we say neater, we mean it’s easier to spread on a sandwich. You don’t have chunks of peppers or celery rolling off the Italian beef or rolling off the pizza slice.

Uses for Giardiniera

There are all kinds of ways to use giardiniera to liven up your meals. It’s a great addition to any Italian dish or just to add to any dish, hot or cold. Unlike most condiments, giardiniera is much more versatile, so it can be added after a dish is prepared or baked right in. 
We have discussed amongst us here at and we have come up with five of our favorite uses for giardiniera … 
The Obvious is Italian Beef Sandwiches: Giardiniera on an Italian beef sandwich is a match made in heaven since they go so great together. The crispy texture of the giardiniera perfectly complements the soft Italian roll and juicy, tender beef and adds that perfect crunchy texture and depending on the mix, some heat. Pizza: Giardiniera on pizza is like the crown atop Miss America’s head … well, sort of. But it is the ideal finishing touch on a work of art. Add a few fork fulls after the pizza is served to liven up your pie. With a frozen pizza, spread giardiniera over the top before placing it in the oven. The giardiniera will bake right in and add a fantastic new taste dimension to the pizza. Salads: Tumble some giardiniera into a tossed salad, pasta salad, or antipasto tray. You’ll never find your salads boring again! Scrambled Eggs and Omelets: Forget Bloody Mary’s, giardiniera for breakfast is the real eye opener! We like to add a fork full into scrambled eggs or fold it right into an omelet while it’s cooking. Baked Pasta: Giardiniera is the perfect accompaniment for any type of pasta dish, but it’s particularly delicious when it’s baked right in. If you find some pasta meals to be a little bland, add a kick of flavor and texture with hot or mild giardiniera. American giardiniera is commonly made with serrano peppers along with a combination of assorted vegetables, including bell peppers,olives, celery, pimentos, carrots, and cauliflower, and sometimes crushed red pepper flakes, all marinated in vegetable oil, olive oilsoybean oil, or any combination of the three. It is also common to see it pickled in vinegar.

Makers of Giardiniera

Marconi Giardiniera Enrico Formella Bari Foods Vienna Chicago Johnny’s