Jalapenos are an amazing spice that can add not just a basic spicy flavor, but also an earthy taste to many dishes. They are perhaps one of the most popular types of spices in several recipes and are harvested all over the world.
Jalapenos come in many varieties — some are large with less heat while others are smaller and can pack a lot of heat. You can find them fresh or you can even buy canned jalapenos from any supermarket.
One of the best things about jalapenos is that they have multiple uses. They can either be used fresh as a vegetable with heat or they can also be dried and added as a condiment or a spicy addition to soups and marinades.
People have been drying herbs and chili peppers (particularly jalapenos) for centuries. They happen to be one of the easiest spices to dry and process due to their firm texture and moisture content.
How does one begin with drying jalapenos? There are several ways to dry jalapenos. You can either dry them under the sun, in an oven, or in a dehydrator. Jalapenos don’t take long to dry and can be processed within a few days or even a few hours.
Want to learn more about drying jalapenos? Read on!
Why Use Dried Jalapenos?
Jalapenos have a very vegetable-like flavor and aren’t that spicy compared to other peppers.
Generally speaking, the bigger variants are usually less spicy while the smaller and narrower ones are considerably spicier.
The difference between both is in their firmness, flavor, and spiciness — if you are looking to dry jalapenos, then we recommend going for the medium-sized ones.
These jalapenos make for the perfect condiment once they are dried because they can be used in multiple ways — more on this in a bit.
First, let’s discuss the most important factors when looking to dry jalapenos.
Jalapenos have a firm texture and a fairly decent moisture content. While they don’t carry as much moisture compared to other vegetables, the larger varieties do have more water content, which makes them a bit difficult to properly dry.
When drying jalapenos, you want to be able to:
- Dry them as quickly as possible.
- Dry them without having them change their texture.
- Process and store the dried jalapenos for long-term storage.
The Best Ways To Dry Jalapenos
Here are a few of the most popular methods to dry jalapenos that we will discuss:
|Drying indoors||12-20 days|
|Drying using an oven||Bake until dry|
All of these methods achieve the same result, but have different durations — they also have a huge impact on how the jalapenos taste and look.
Let’s first look at the most basic and quickest way to dry jalapenos.
Drying Jalapenos With A Dehydrator
To begin, wash and clean all the medium-sized jalapenos so that they don’t have any dirt on them. You will then pat dry the jalapenos so that they are completely dry.
Now you have two choices: you could either de-seed the jalapenos or leave them intact.
De-seeding the jalapenos will lessen their spiciness and their flavor as well. We recommend that you keep the seeds on for a more profound flavor, but if you really need to minimize jalapeno contact with your skin, use a jalapeno corer.
No matter which choice you choose, wear gloves when processing jalapenos.
Cut the jalapenos in quarters by cutting them down one side and then cutting them in half again. You will be left with 4 pieces of 1 jalapeno.
You can even dice the jalapenos or cut them in round rings/circles if you’d like as well. The reason why we’re cutting them is so that they can be processed easily in the dehydrator — they will also be easier to work with after they have dried!
Now put all the pieces in the dehydrator and turn it on. You can use any dehydrator — if you don’t have one, we highly recommend checking out this one.
If you have diced the jalapenos then you should put a fine mesh barrier at the base of the dehydrator so that the pieces don’t fall through as they shrink.
Allow the jalapenos to dry for about 8 hours; you can even let them dehydrate for 12 hours. You want the exterior of the jalapenos to be almost crispy. This will happen when all of the water has evaporated from the skin of the jalapenos.
You can check them at the 6-hour mark to see if they are done. If you feel they are still “soft” then leave them in for 3-4 more hours.
The jalapenos will have shrunk by then and they will also be almost crumbly. Take them out of the dehydrator and set them on a plate.
You can then either further process the jalapenos in a grinder and turn them into a powder or you could just use them as it is.
A dehydrator is the quickest way to dry jalapenos without changing their texture, flavor, or color. You will notice that these dried jalapenos will have their characteristic green color and flavor.
But if you want to go the traditional route, you can also dry them using the sun.
Drying Jalapenos Under The Sun
People have been drying food using the sun since the dawn of civilization. The main reason why we do this is to either preserve the food or to dry it out and grind it.
Jalapenos can be used in many ways as it is, but when you dry them, you will be able to unlock new, fun ways to use them in different recipes! We’ll discuss a few of these recipes below.
To sun-dry jalapenos, start by simply washing them and then patting them dry. Now, there are many ways you can go about drying them using the sun. The easiest method is to put them in a sieve and leave them out in the sun.
You should pick a place in your home that gets the most sunlight. This can either be the balcony, a window, or even the roof. Any place that receives constant sunlight throughout the day is ideal.
This method takes considerably more time, but the result is worth it. Leave the jalapenos under the sun for about 1 week to 10 days. Give the jalapenos a toss and move them around at day 4 or 5 so that all sides are properly dried.
When you sun-dry jalapenos. you also allow them to undergo chemical changes which modify their texture and flavor. You will start to notice these changes as the jalapenos slowly start to turn red.
These red jalapenos have a very distinct flavor. They are earthy, vegetal, and have a hint of sweetness with mild to moderate spiciness.
We love these red dried jalapenos because they can be used in soups, stews, salads, toppings, and more. You can either use them as is or grind them in a mixer to turn them into a reddish powder.
If you want to go an even more traditional route, then we recommend threading the green jalapenos together using a needle and thread.
To do this, simply tie a thread to a needle and then push the needle through just below the stock of the jalapeno. Repeat this step until you have made a necklace of jalapenos.
You can then hang these jalapenos on a balcony or any place that receives the most sunlight!
Drying Jalapenos Indoors
Of course, this method will take longer since you won’t be exposing them to direct sunlight, but the end result will be the same — red and delicious dried jalapenos!
To dry jalapenos indoors, simply put them in a dry and well-ventilated space for about 2-3 weeks.
They should start to turn red and dry out just as they would if they were under the sun. Use them or process them the same as you would sun-dried jalapenos!
Drying Using An Oven
Preheat the oven or oven toaster at about 110°F-130°F for 15 minutes and leave the door of the oven slightly open.
Put the jalapenos at the bottom of the oven and make sure they are away from the heat source.
Allow them to dry for about 30-45 minutes. You can change their position and give them a good toss every 15 minutes so that they dry evenly from all sides.
You’ll know when they are done when they have reduced in size and have a dry and firm outer texture. Don’t leave the oven unattended — you want to keep an eye on the jalapenos or else they might burn or char!
Storing Dried Jalapenos
Once you have processed the dried jalapenos you can store them in many different ways.
If you have turned them into a powder, we recommend filling the mixture up in a salt or pepper shaker. You could also store it in an air-tight jar if you plan on storing it for the long term.
Alternatively, if you haven’t ground the jalapenos then you can store the whole-dried jalapenos in a zip-lock bag or fill them up in an air-tight container.
These jalapenos will last a long time since they have been dehydrated, but you should always aim to consume them within 2-3 months.
In ideal conditions, dried jalapenos can last up to 2-3 years. But that is if you have them in a highly controlled environment and they aren’t rehydrated at any point. Make sure you keep them in a cool, dry place once they have been dried.
There is a misconception where people believe that dried jalapenos can’t go bad. This is not true. Dried jalapenos can get mold just like any other food if they have been exposed to moisture.
Yes, properly dried and stored jalapenos will last a long time, but if they have been compromised in any way, then there is a high chance of bacterial or fungal growth.
Also, you don’t necessarily have to store them in the fridge or freezer if you plan on keeping them for the long term.
If you freeze dried jalapenos, they may get rehydrated again when they thaw, which will compromise their quality — they might even get mold on them over time.
The best way to store dried jalapenos would be to put them under the counter or in a cool and dry cabinet.
Using Dried Jalapenos
Dried jalapenos can be used in many ways. They can either be used in soups, salads, seasonings, and more.
Both methods of drying (dehydrator/sun-drying) produce different varieties of jalapenos, but they can be used interchangeably in many recipes.
A really popular use of dried jalapenos is to use them in steak seasoning.
A dash of either green or red jalapenos is going to elevate the flavor of the steak and even add a bit of spiciness to it as well.
Similarly, dried jalapenos can also be used in stocks or sauces. For example, red dried jalapenos can be sprinkled over white sauce to give it an interesting color and flavor.
Since dried jalapenos have a milder spice profile, they are suitable in many recipes and can also be added to salads.
Our favorite way to use dried jalapenos is by mixing them with various other herbs and spices.
For example, to make a spicy dried jalapeno seasoning, mix:
- 1 tbsp of red chili powder
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tsp of dried jalapeno powder or flakes
- A pinch of black pepper
- 1 tsp of chicken bouillon powder
This seasoning can be used to marinate chicken — you can even use it with flour to make a great-tasting fried chicken batter. The dried jalapeno flakes (or powder) will complement the red chili powder and will also add a bit of kick to the mix!
You can also use this seasoning on fries with a side of mayo or ketchup for an even special flavor.
Dried jalapenos can also be used to flavor boiled rice. For example, in many Asian regions, dried and aromatic spices are used to add a complex aroma and flavor to plain rice.
To do this, simply add 3-4 dried red jalapenos to a pot of boiling water and let them cook with the rice. You can either leave the spices in, or you can filter them out when you drain the water.
Dried jalapenos can also be used in many curries and you can also make amazing chutneys with them.
To make a great dried jalapeno chutney:
- Mix a fist full of mint leaves and cilantro in a blender. Add in 1 tsp of black peppercorns, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, and 3-4 dried jalapenos. Add 2 tbsp of water and blend the mixture for about 10 seconds.
- Now, add a few drops of lemon juice and continue blending until everything has been mixed. You will want to make sure that the consistency is even and that all of the jalapenos have been processed.
- Check the flavor of the chutney — if it’s bland, add a pinch of salt. You can also throw in 2-3 more dried jalapenos if you want the mixture to be spicier.
Dried jalapenos are a great way to explore a new layer of complex flavors!
Dried jalapenos are extremely versatile and can be used in multiple recipes. They complement the flavors in many dishes all around the world.
Sun-dried jalapenos take things to the next level because of how they offer a subtly sweet undertone. This type of spice is widely used around the world and it goes great with a range of meat and vegetable recipes.
If you are looking to up your game in the kitchen then we highly recommend that you try drying jalapenos — it takes very little effort yet the payoff is huge in terms of its uses and flavor!
Can you rehydrate dried jalapenos?
Jalapenos that have been thoroughly dried can not go back to being how they were before, but you can soften their skin and make them easier to bite into by boiling them in water or through steam.
The dried texture and taste, however, will remain the same regardless of how you rehydrate them.
Can dried jalapenos go bad?
Yes, dried jalapenos can go bad if they aren’t stored properly. Dried jalapenos that have been exposed to moisture may get moldy over time or lose their flavor. Properly stored dried jalapenos can last a very long time.
Ideally, if you store jalapenos in an air-tight container that is kept in a cool and dry place without moisture, you can store these amazing spices for about 1-2 years!
Can you buy dried jalapenos from a store?
Yes, many vendors and even small businesses sell dried jalapenos. You can find them either in supermarkets or even online.
However, we do recommend that you dry the jalapenos yourself since the result is very fulfilling and rewarding. It’s also very easy and may encourage you to experiment and dry other ingredients too!
What’s the difference between green and red dried jalapenos?
Green dried jalapenos are usually the result of drying via a dehydrator. The jalapenos are forced to lose their moisture and dry out within 8-12 hours. These green jalapenos have a milder taste and can be used in several recipes.
Red dried jalapenos are a result of sun-drying.
These jalapenos start the same way except that they are dried under the sun for about 7-10 days. This slow dehydration causes them to go through chemical changes which modify their texture and color from green to red.
Sun-dried red jalapenos also have a milder taste with sweeter undertones when compared to green jalapenos.