Pulsed electric field (PEF) treatment can be used to increase intracellular small molecule concentrations in bacteria, which can lead to enhanced robustness of these cells during further processing. In this study we investigated the effects of the PEF treatment temperature and the presence of 8% (v/v) ethanol in the PEF medium on cell survival, membrane fluidity and intracellular trehalose concentrations of Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1. A moderate PEF treatment temperature of 21 °C resulted in a high cell survival combined with higher intracellular trehalose concentrations compared to a treatment at 10 and 35 °C. Interestingly, highest intracellular trehalose concentrations were observed upon supplementing the PEF medium with 8% ethanol, which resulted in more than a doubling in intracellular trehalose concentrations, while culture survival was retained. Overall, this study shows that treatment temperature and PEF medium optimization are important directions for improving molecule uptake upon PEF processing.