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Oven drying hot peppers to make your own chili flakes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Tuesday, 22 March 2011 18:17

We have all seen the ubiquitous little shakers of red chili pepper flakes in pizza places. But I like to make my own dried chilis because they are cheaper -  37 cents vs. $3.50 for a jar in the grocery store. They're also  prettier.

With beauty comes pain, though, so make sure you wear rubber gloves, because just the tiniest paper cut on your hand can make you want to cry if you get jalapeno juice in it. (Trust me on this one.)

But first, set your oven to its lowest setting, preferably 160 degrees. Ours only goes down to 200 degrees - which has worked fine - but a lower temperature means less of a chance of jalapeno gas filling your oven and then your kitchen when you open the oven door. You probably want to have a window open when you dry your chilis at any rate, just to be on the safe side.

Then slice your peppers as uniformly as possible (which can be difficult while wearing rubber gloves, but try anyway).  For this batch I used 2 jalapenos and 2 milder cherry peppers. I like the mix of mild and hot dried chilies in sauteed greens, in chili, a stir fry, and of course on pizza.


You don't need to grease the pan or season the peppers, you just want the peppers to dry down to their best essence. And they need to be in the oven for at least 5 hours before they will crumble between your fingers. They aren't done if they are pliable at all, so make sure they really disintegrate when you test them.

When they are done let them cool, and then store them in a storage bag or in a jar. I've kept the dried chilis for as long as one year in our spice drawer -  but we can go through a small batch in a couple of months, because I use them on (and in) so many things.



(Photos by Launie Kettler)


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0 #1 Linda 2011-03-22 20:45
I'm so trying this over the weekend!
-3 #2 Liz 2011-03-22 22:41
Confession: I never dared to use the red peppers that arrived in our farm share this summer because I didn't know what kind they were (or how hot)... so i left them sitting in the pretty wooden bowl on the top of the pie safe just above my line of sight. Months later (around December when I finally finished all the hard squash on top of them) I found them, shriveled and dry... so I put them in a bag in my spice drawer where they'll probably still be in a year... because I'm still afraid to use them! Which is to say...I admire your courage...and what do you dare to use them in?
+3 #3 Launie Little-Kettle 2011-03-25 14:11
Here is an awesome guide to pepper types and heat levels.
And I use red pepper flakes a lot when sauteing kale or swiss chard. Delicious! Just a teaspoon in olive oil with salt and pepper then I add the greens to the pan and toss them around.
And, when I make curry soup I use some dried pepper flakes in the beginning when I'm cooking onion and ginger, it gives it a nice mellow heat.
Good luck with your spice drawer peppers!

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