Pickled peppers are preferred by certain consumer groups at reduced pungency. To investigate the reduction in pepper pungency and capsaicin content, fresh ‘Makedoniko’ hot peppers were treated with 0, 0.5 or 1% NaOH before preserved in acid brine for 60 days. Pepper physicochemical traits were monitored following NaOH treatment and during preservation. Capsaicin content was measured in the beginning and at the end of preservation, and the peppers were also tested organoleptically. Preservation in acid brine induced the typical green–yellow product colour, increased firmness and decreased the dry mass in all treatments. NaOH-treated pepper increased phenolics, chlorophyll and antioxidant content in dry mass during preservation faster than the control. Capsaicin content was reduced by 25 or 50% following 0.5 or 1% NaOH treatment, respectively. Pepper organoleptic pungency was also decreased following 1% NaOH treatment. NaOH reduces capsaicin content and pungency of ‘Makedoniko’ pepper, with minor effects on its processed product quality.