Jalapeno peppers are the most common spicy pepper in North America. They are known for having thick walls like bell peppers while having moderate heat levels that most can enjoy. They are also easy to grow at home, either in containers or in the ground. When you grow your own jalapenos, you end up with a lot of peppers. That is where dehydrating jalapenos comes in handy.
Dehydrating jalapeno peppers (or any pepper for that matter) essentially means removing the moisture from the pepper. There are many ways to accomplish this, from simply leaving the peppers out in a well-ventilated room to using a purpose-built dehydrator. We want to help you get the perfect results with your dehydrated jalapenos, regardless of how you do it! The benefits are many – long term storage, reduced storage size, and delicious flavor.
- How-to: With a dehydrator
- How-to: Without a dehydrator
- Storing dried jalapeños
- Making jalapeno powder
- Rehydrating peppers
- Other ways to preserve
Methods Of Dehydrating Jalapeños
Jalapenos and other pepper varieties like Habaneros have been dehydrated for thousands of years. This means that using a dedicated food dehydrator is not your only option! There are essentially three basic methods.
Use a dehydrator. If you have a food dehydrator, it is the simplest method. We use an Excalibur food dehydrator for its ease of use and the ability to set a specific temperature. These are known for circulating air well and keeping a consistent, low temperature. This helps keep your jalapenos nice and green (high heat can cause discoloration). More on using a dehydrator later!
Use the oven. Not everyone has the need or space for a dehydrator. However, most people do have an oven. While this method is not always ideal, it will get the job done. Some drawbacks are that some ovens have a minimum temperature above the recommended level. This can cause unwanted cooking of your fresh peppers. Using the oven is also not the most cost-effective and can heat up your home when running for several hours.
Air dry. This won’t work for everyone. If you live in an arid climate, then this option will suit you. However, if the air is above 50-60% humidity, your jalapenos will have trouble fully drying out.
How To Dehydrate Jalapeno Peppers
We are going to start with the very best method for dehydrating jalapenos: using a food dehydrator. As we said before, we use the Excalibur 2400 (the smallest and most affordable Excalibur). It works very well and has plenty of space for our needs. However, all dehydrators work similarly. If you have a dehydrator, here is how to dry out your jalapeno peppers.
How to dehydrate jalapenos in a dehydrator
- Sort and select peppers.
If you have a lot of jalapenos, you should choose the highest quality peppers. Look for any with rot, holes or mold and discard them.
- Wash and dry the peppers.
Clean the jalapenos with cool water. Be sure to thoroughly dry the peppers before slicing. You don’t want your dehydrator to waste time drying out droplets of water!
- Slice the peppers.
Remove the stems and slice the peppers in the desired size. We like 1/4 inch jalapeno chips. They are great for snacking and for adding to a variety of meals. You can also dry the jalapenos whole, or in spear-shaped slices, though these shapes will take longer.
Tip: Slice evenly to allow all peppers to dry in the same amount of time.
- Arrange on dehydrator trays.
Arrange your jalapeno slices evenly across your dehydrator trays. Give some room between peppers and never overlap pepper slices. If the slices are touching one another, they may stick together during drying.
- Set temperature to 125°F (52°C).
The ideal temperature to dry peppers is 125 degrees Fahrenheit. This is enough heat to help speed up drying without cooking the peppers.
- Dehydrate for 6-10 hours.
Depending on the size of your slices, dehydrating times will vary greatly. You can also stop dehydrating at different stages based on preference. We prefer to stop when jalapeno peppers have reached a leathery texture (not brittle). However, if you are planning to grind the peppers into a powder, you should dehydrate until they readily crack when squeezed.
- Store peppers in a dry, sealed container.
Use freezer bags or mason jars with a desiccant packet to keep peppers dry. Dehydrated jalapenos can be kept for up to a year when stored properly.
Following these steps will bring your jalapeno peppers to the perfect consistency. Remember to check your peppers every few hours to ensure they don’t go beyond your desired dryness.
Tip: Start dehydrating in the morning to avoid leaving your dehydrator on overnight.
How long to dehydrate jalapenos in a dehydrator?
How long you dehydrate jalapenos will depend on your goal. Most dehydrator instructions will recommend to dehydrate peppers for 6-10 hours until they reach a leathery consistency. This is ideal for snacking and for rehydrating peppers later. If you wish to grind peppers to a powder, dehydrate until they crack when squeezed. Times will vary from 6-12 hours depending on the size of the peppers and the desired dryness.
Check on your dehydrator every few hours to see where they are at in the process. Don’t check more often than every 2 hours to avoid releasing heat and dry air from the dehydrator.
Dehydrating Jalapeno Peppers In The Oven
If you haven’t yet made the leap on buying a dedicated food dehydrator, the oven is the next best thing. The process is similar, but it may take longer depending on the type of oven you have. One of the benefits of a food dehydrator is its ability to circulate air. This dries out fruit and vegetables much faster than stagnant air in a standard oven. However, if you have a convection oven, you will be able to dry your jalapenos much faster.
Here are the basic guidelines for dehydrating jalapenos in the oven:
- Wash & dry the peppers. As always, make sure your peppers are cleaned and dried before slicing.
- Slice peppers. Cut off the stems and slice the peppers into the desired format. Remember to be consistent in size and shape for even drying. Remove seeds and placenta at this stage if desired.
- Arrange peppers on an oven-safe drying rack. In order to allow the peppers to receive as much dry air as possible, place them on a drying rack on a cookie sheet. This will speed up the drying process.
- Preheat oven to the lowest temperature. Many ovens have a low temperature of around 150°F. Set your oven to its lowest temperature, or ideally 125°F.
- Bake for 6-10 hours or until the peppers are dried. Check on the peppers after about 4 hours if you have a convection oven. You may want the peppers to be fully dried or slightly leathery depending on your planned use.
Remember that the thicker your slices, the longer the process will take. It will also take much longer in a standard oven than in a convection oven with air circulation. If you do a lot of dehydrating, consider getting a dedicated dehydrator! It is a lot of fun experimenting with dehydrating various foods.
How To Air Dry Jalapeño Peppers
If you want to go truly old school, you can try dehydrating your jalapenos by air-drying. This is the most ancient method and can be accomplished in a couple of ways. However, remember that if the humidity in the air is above 50-60%, you will have trouble reaching truly dried out peppers. Use one of the other methods above instead.
Using A Fan
Have a fan? That will work! If you don’t have a drafty room where you can hang-dry peppers, a fan can mimic a breeze. Set up your peppers on a plate or arranged on a drying rack and aim your fan directly at the peppers. Allow them to dry, rotating occasionally, for 3+ days. It may take longer if you live in a more humid environment. Peppers are adequately dried when they reach a leathery consistency. They will likely not dry to a brittle texture by fan only. Use the oven method for a few more hours to reach a grindable dryness.
How To String Jalapeno Peppers
Another option is to hang-dry your jalapenos. This is a good option if you have a covered outdoor area or a room that gets lots of airflow. Stringing peppers is easy.
What you’ll need:
- Strong string or fishing line (not too thick)
- Your peppers
Start by tying the string or line to your needle. Pierce the first pepper at the base of its stem and threading the string through by about 2 feet (60cm). Tie a strong knot around the first pepper’s stem. Continue piercing additional peppers through their stems until you have a bouquet of peppers on your string. Be sure not to add more peppers than the string can support without breaking.
Hang the strung peppers in a drafty room or outdoors where they will receive plenty of airflow. Depending on the air moisture level, your peppers should be dried within a week or two.
Tip: Give the peppers a shake once or twice a day to encourage even drying.
How Long Do Dried Jalapenos Keep?
If you are dehydrating jalapeno peppers for long-term preservation, you’ll be happy to know that they will keep for 1 year or longer when stored properly. Follow these guidelines to avoid the possibility of spoiling:
- Store them in sealed containers with minimal air
- Use mason jars with food-safe desiccant packets
- Store out of sunlight
- Keep cool
Following these guidelines will help ensure safe consumption for many months, but always be diligent and check peppers for any signs of mold before consuming. If you’re unsure, always better to be safe and throw them out.
Tip: Store dried peppers in multiple containers so that if one becomes moldy, not all are lost.
How To Make Jalapeno Pepper Powder
Making jalapeno powder is a great way to use your dehydrated peppers. It’s a spicy alternative to cayenne pepper powder that gives food a unique and tangy flavor.
Quick steps for making jalapeno powder:
- Remove seeds before dehydrating. Grinding seeds can be difficult without a purpose-built grinder. You can also save your seeds for later growing.
- Dehydrate peppers until brittle. The peppers should easily crack when squeezed.
- Pulse in grinder or blender. A grinder is ideal, but a strong blender will work as well. Make sure the blender is completely dry before adding your dried jalapenos.
- Store in a spice container. As long as it is kept dry and cool, jalapeno powder should last a year or more.
Use your jalapeno powder for spicing up soup, adding to eggs, making aiolis and more!
Rehydrating Dried Jalapeno Peppers
To reconstitute your dried jalapenos, submerge them in regular hot tap water for about 10 minutes. If they float, keep them under the water with a heavy object like a plate or a bowl. The peppers should come back to nearly their original shape and size, though they will not have the same crispness or texture. Flavor and heat levels should be nearly identical to the original peppers.
Other Methods to Preserve Jalapenos
While dehydrating is a great way to preserve your jalapeno harvests, there are many other methods to keep them fresh. Here are a few of our favorite methods with guides on how to do them yourself.
- Pickling – Delicious and crunchy pickled jalapenos.
- Freezing – Retain as much of the original flavor and heat of the peppers.
- Making hot sauce – Get creative with other spices and flavors in a homemade sauce.
Good luck with dehydrating your jalapeno peppers. If you have any suggestions or ideas, feel free to reach out!