How To Freeze Jalapeno Peppers Properly

Freezing peppers is almost as simple as it sounds. But before you just go throwing your fresh peppers into the freezer, read our fool-proof method on how to freeze jalapeno peppers the right way.

How To Freeze Jalapenos

The goal of freezing jalapenos is to preserve your peppers after a large harvest. It is not uncommon for pepper gardeners to have an abundance of hot peppers. Unless you’re eating spicy food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (we wouldn’t blame you), you’ll want to preserve your peppers. Freezing is a great option (though there are others) for keeping your jalapenos fresh and spicy for whenever you’re ready to use them. Let’s get started!

Use The Right Bags

The last thing you want is to open your frozen jalapenos in a month only to find freezer burn and frost buildup. Normal, thin Ziploc baggies will technically work, but they will allow more air particles through to your peppers over time.

Oxygen will be the enemy of your frozen jalapenos, so be sure to get some proper freezer bags (gallon size, $5 Amazon). These bags are thicker and will ensure a highly effective seal for long term storage.

Prepare The Jalapenos For Freezing

For jalapenos, there are two popular options for freezing. Which method you choose will depend on how much freezer space you have and how you plan to use the peppers in the future.

Option 1: Freeze Them Whole

Frozen Jalapenos

Jalapeno peppers are small enough to be frozen whole. In fact, most hot peppers (Habaneros, ghost peppers, etc.) are on the small side and can be frozen whole. If you have enough space for all your peppers, we recommend this method, since it preserves the original shape and avoids problems with oxidization and potential spicy chili oil burns.

If you plan to freeze jalapenos whole, follow these steps:

  • Clean the peppers thoroughly with cold water
  • Dry peppers with a towel
  • Remove the stems (unless you have a need for them)
  • Place peppers in freezer bags
  • Remove as much air as possible and seal
  • Freeze until peppers are needed

Option 2: Pre-slice Jalapenos

The other option for freezing jalapenos is to pre-slice the pepper sin the desired configuration. The benefits of this method are that the peppers will store more compactly (less open space) and you won’t have to slice the peppers later. If you are short on freezer space, or simply have a lot of jalapenos, this may be the right choice.

If you plan to freeze jalapenos sliced, follow these steps:

  • Clean the peppers thoroughly with cold water
  • Dry peppers with a towel
  • Cut off stems and discard
  • Slice peppers into the desired shape (we like long thin “straws” for ideal packing)
  • Spread sliced peppers on a cookie sheet and flash-freeze for 1 hour (Optional; this helps keep peppers separated during long-term freezing)
  • Place sliced jalapenos in freezer bags
  • Remove as much air as possible and seal
  • Freeze until peppers are needed

You can also use a combination of both methods if you need some of the peppers whole. The size and shape are ultimately up to you, but each has benefits and drawbacks. The most important step with either option is that as much air is removed as possible. Oxygen is what causes freezer burn, so do your best to keep the air locked out!

Freeze For Up To 1 Year

How long to frozen jalapenos last? Ideally, you should use up all of your frozen jalapenos within 1 year. It is possible to keep jalapeno peppers frozen for longer than a year, though you may begin to notice changes in flavor and/or color.

Freezers tend to give foods an odd flavor after long periods of time. Have you ever accidentally left ice trays in the freezer for too long? That ice doesn’t taste good, and neither will your jalapenos after that long. Try to use your jalapenos for more homecooked recipes or for making hot sauce. The peppers are versatile and your options are endless!

Thawing Frozen Jalapenos

Thawing your frozen jalapenos is even easier than freezing. Simply remove the desired quantity of peppers from your freezer bag, remove air and re-seal the freezer bag, and thaw jalapenos on a paper towel to allow any excess moisture to be absorbed. Once your peppers reach room temperature, you can treat them like fresh peppers and use them as desired.

What To Do With Frozen Jalapenos

Once you have thawed your frozen jalapeno peppers, you can use them as if they were fresh. They may not have the same crunchiness as a truly fresh pepper (especially if you blanched them before freezing). However, the flavor and heat will be almost identical to that of a fresh jalapeno.

Here are a few ideas for what do you with frozen jalapenos:

  • Use them in a stir-fry. Jalapenos add a nice kick to Asian stir-fry. Thaw a few peppers or throw them in the pan frozen for quick use.
  • Make salsa. You can use frozen jalapenos for a fresh salsa, just make sure you thaw out and dry the peppers completely before chopping for the salsa.
  • Make jalapeno poppers. Yes, you can even use your frozen jalapenos for jalapeno poppers. However, if you blanched your fresh jalapenos before freezing, they will not have the stiffness necessary to support the popper filling.

Note: Thawed frozen jalapenos will naturally lose some of their crispness. The ideal usage is as an addition to cooked meals or side dishes. We wouldn’t recommend pickling frozen jalapenos.

Do Jalapenos Lose Heat When Frozen?

This is where freezing shines for preserving jalapenos. Freezing peppers locks in the original heat levels, so jalapenos lose almost none of their original capsaicin. This makes freezing a great option if you plan to use the peppers for hot sauce or for spicing up dishes in the future.

Do Jalapenos Lose Flavor When Frozen?

This is a tougher question to answer. When freezing anything, you will lose some flavor over time, but if frozen properly it will take a long time. If you plan to eat your jalapenos within 6 months or so, you shouldn’t notice any flavor loss. Just be sure to follow our steps above on how to freeze jalapenos properly!

Can I Use This Method For Other Peppers?

Yes! As mentioned before, most spicy peppers can be frozen whole, just like jalapenos. However, if you plan to freeze larger peppers (like bell peppers or poblanos) you may want to slice before freezing to save room. Refer to our general guide to freezing bell peppers for more info here.

That’s it! Have any other questions about freezing jalapenos or other peppers? Feel free to reach out or leave a comment.


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Calvin

One of the original PepperGeeks! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning more about peppers, he might be traveling new places or playing some music.

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