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How To Freeze Jalapeño Peppers Properly

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When you have a large harvest or an excess of peppers, you might wonder if can you freeze jalapeño peppers. Freezing jalapeños is almost as simple as it sounds.

But before you just go throwing your fresh peppers into the freezer, there are a few things to know. Read our fool-proof method on how to freeze fresh jalapeño peppers the right way.



The goal of freezing jalapeños is to preserve your peppers after a large harvest. It is not uncommon for pepper growers to have an abundance of hot peppers at the end of the growing season.

Unless you’re eating spicy food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (we wouldn’t blame you), you’ll want to preserve some of your peppers. Freezing is a great option for keeping your jalapeños fresh and spicy for whenever you’re ready to use them. Let’s get started!

How To Freeze Jalapenos

Use The Right Bags

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

Instead, use freezer bags, which are designed for long term freezer storage. You can use them for a variety of foods, including jalapeños and other peppers.

Oxygen will be the enemy of your frozen jalapeños, so be sure to get some proper freezer bags. These thick-walled and double-sealed bags will keep your peppers tasting great for many months to come.


Preparing Jalapeños For Freezing

For jalapeños, 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 whole

Frozen jalapeños
Whole frozen jalapeño peppers.

Jalapeño peppers are small enough to be frozen whole. In fact, most hot peppers (habaneros, ghost peppers, etc.) are on the small side and freeze best without chopping. You’ll also avoid getting any hot pepper juices on your hands.

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 skin irritation.

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

  • Rinse peppers under cool water
  • Dry peppers thoroughly
  • Remove 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 jalapeños

The other option for freezing jalapeños is to pre-slice the peppers into the desired shape. 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 would like to pre-slice your peppers for easier use later, this may be the right choice. It is great to be able to open the bag and add some frozen peppers straight into a frying pan without slicing!

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

  • Clean peppers under cool water
  • Dry peppers thoroughly
  • Cut off stems and discard
  • Wearing gloves, slice peppers into the desired shape (we like long thin “straws” for ideal packing) – you can also remove the seeds at this point
  • Optional: Spread sliced peppers on a cookie sheet and flash-freeze for 1 hour (this helps prevent clumping in the freezer)
  • Place sliced jalapeños 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, some sliced and some whole, if you want to keep some of the peppers intact. The size and shape are ultimately up to you, but each has benefits and drawbacks.

Tip: For removing the air from the bag, you can get more out by submerging the bags in a pot of water. Leave a small corner of the filled bag open and submerge it underwater. This will press all the air out. Then, seal the bag fully and remove it from the water. Just be sure to dry it off before popping it in the freezer!

The most important step with either option is to remove as much air as possible. Air exposure is what causes freezer burn, so do your best to keep the air locked out!

Using a vacuum sealer

Since we grow an abundance of peppers each year, we decided to get a vacuum sealer for our harvests. While this may not be for everyone, it certainly prolongs the shelf life of your produce.

Vacuum sealers suck out all of the air within special bags, then form an airtight seal. This protects peppers, meats and other foods for long-term freezer storage.

Tip: If you use a vacuum sealer, make small batches for use throughout the year. That way, you can open a bag and use it all without the need to re-seal.


How Long Do Frozen Peppers Last

Freezers tend to give foods an odd flavor after long periods of time. Have you ever accidentally left ice cube trays in the freezer for too long? That ice doesn’t taste good, and neither will your jalapeños after that long.

Ideally, you should try to use up all of your frozen jalapeños within 1 year. It is okay to keep jalapeño peppers frozen for longer than a year, though you may begin to notice negative changes in flavor and color.

Try to use your frozen jalapeños for more home cooked recipes or for making hot sauce. The peppers are versatile and your options are virtually endless!


Thawing Jalapeños

I prefer to cook frozen peppers straight out of the freezer (no thawing necessary). This is best for frying, soups, stews and most other meals. However, if you need a softer pepper (say for an omelet or hot sauce), you can thaw the jalapeños before use.

Thawing your frozen jalapeños is even easier than freezing. Simply remove the desired quantity of peppers from your freezer bag and thaw them on a paper towel to allow any excess moisture to be absorbed. Re-seal the bag with the remaining jalapeños, removing any excess air, and return them to the freezer.

Once your peppers reach room temperature, you can treat them like fresh peppers and use them as desired. The main drawback to freezing is that thawed peppers will be soft, not crisp. However, they should have the same heat level and flavor!


What To Do With Frozen Jalapeños

Once you have thawed your frozen jalapeño peppers, you can use them as if they were fresh. They won’t have the same crunchiness as a fresh pepper. However, the flavor and heat will be almost identical to that of a fresh jalapeño.

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

  • Use them in a stir-fry. Jalapeños add a nice kick to a stir-fry. I like to just cook the peppers straight from the freezer without thawing. If you need to slice them, you may wish to thaw them beforehand.
  • Make salsa. You can use frozen jalapeños for making fresh salsa. Just make sure you thaw out and dry the peppers completely before chopping for the salsa.
  • Make hot sauce. If you need some extra heat to warm up during the winter, use your jalapeños to make a tasty homemade hot sauce. They can be cooked beforehand, or just thawed and blended with other ingredients.
  • Add to pasta. Spice up a red sauce or pasta dish for an extra kick of heat and flavor. I like to dice the jalapeños into small cubes for pasta.
  • Make jalapeño poppers. Yes, you can even use your frozen jalapeños for jalapeño poppers. However, if you blanched your fresh jalapeños before freezing, they will not have the stiffness necessary to support the popper filling. Try whipping up a cheesy dip if your peppers are too limp!

Get some more ideas for what to do with jalapeños here.

jalapeño hot sauce pouring into small bowl
Jalapeño hot sauce

The only thing I might avoid using frozen jalapeños for is pickling. The frozen peppers will lack the crunch factor that is essential to a good pickle. Make pickles with fresh jalapños only!


Do Jalapeños Lose Heat When Frozen?

Since jalapeños are hot peppers, it would be a shame if freezing them reduced their heat level. Thankfully, freezing peppers locks in the original spiciness, so jalapeños lose almost none of their original heat. This makes freezing a great option if you plan to use the peppers for hot sauce or for spicing up dishes in the future.

Interestingly, frozen peppers also retain most of their nutritional value after freezing. So, you’ll still get plenty of vitamins and minerals from your frozen produce.


Do Jalapeños Lose Flavor When Frozen?

This is a tough question to answer. When freezing anything, you will lose some flavor over time. But, if frozen properly, it will take a while to degrade.

If you plan to eat your jalapeños within 6 months or so, you shouldn’t notice any flavor loss. Just be sure to follow our steps above on how to freeze jalapeños properly.

If you notice freezer burn on your peppers, you know that something is wrong with your storage container. Try not to leave your freezer open to avoid condensation buildup in your frozen peppers.


Can I Use This Method For Other Peppers?

Yes! As mentioned before, most spicy peppers can be frozen whole, just like jalapeños. However, if you plan to freeze larger peppers (like bell peppers or poblanos) you may want to slice before freezing to save room.


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

Calvin Thumbnail

Calvin

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

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24 Comments

  1. I slice mine and store in freezer jars used for canning. I can easily fork out the amount I need and put the lid back on. I haven’t seen any ice build up using this method. It looks cool in my freezer as an added bonus.

  2. When roasting i would like to do a lot at one time for future use . I guess you are including roasted and cleaned jalapenos would freeze the same ?

  3. Calvin, I just found your site; excellent! Yesterday, I roasted a small batch of 20 peppers on my pellet grill. I wanted a real smoky flavor, so I set the temp at 180⁰ and the extra smoke setting for 30 minutes. l left the peppers on the grill and raised the temp to 450⁰. Once the temp registered 450⁰, I let the peppers roast for 5 more minutes, put them in a bowl to steam and they peeled great.

    I used them this morning, canning them into 10 pints of homemade salsa.

    1. Sounds incredible!! I love the idea of smoking them fresh and canning them into salsa. I’ll have to try this next time the smoker is going

  4. Great videos. You make it simple and easy to learn!!!! Please sign me up!!
    Thanks Calvin.

  5. Thank you this makes me feel better, I have a garden full of peppers and would be able to use them now.

    1. @Mary Hernandez,
      Freeze the product for 30-60 min. before you bag them to freeze for good.

  6. I would like to attempt to freeze jalapenos for bacon wrapped poppers. Could I prep them as if I were going to stuff and wrap them, then vaccum seal them prior to freezing or would that mash them to much?

  7. I’m constantly canning ‘Cowboy Candy’ (8 lbs at a time). My husband eats these jalapenos at every meal (he absolutely loves them). We started growing some jalapenos, so if I freeze them, they should work in canning, shouldn’t they?

    1. Hi,

      I have not tried to pickle/preserve previously frozen jalapenos, however they may have a different texture than when fresh. Namely, they might lose some of their crispiness / crunchiness.

      If you try it, let us know how the cowboy candy turns out!

      -Calvin

  8. Hey there! Hope you’re staying safe & healthy during these COVID times 😊

    I have a question about freezing Jalapenõs to be used strictly for making bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers. What would you suggest to do: 1) Simply wash, dry, flash freeze, then bag them; 2) Cut them in half, scoop out seeds etc. (I don’t like them TOO spicy), flash freeze, then bag them; 3) Cut them in half but DON’T scoop out the inards, flash freeze, then bag; 4) Or some other way.

    Thanks in advance, appreciate it!

    M.

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks for the comment! As for the poppers, you might find that thawed jalapeños are less firm than when fresh, but it should still be doable (especially wrapped in bacon).

      I would probably recommend your 2nd option to save space and make it easier to cut them lengthwise. It should also save a little space in the freezer.

      Don’t forget to save some seeds to grow your own jalapeños in the garden! 😉

      -Calvin

    2. I know this comment is a couple months old but I actually assemble the poppers then flash freeze. I halve, de-seed and remove pith if you need to tame the heat, then fill with cream cheese, sprinkle with garlic powder and cheddar cheese, wrap in bacon, secure with toothpicks then flash freeze on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Once frozen I put into freezer ziploc bags. You will have to double up the bags as the toothpicks are pokey or I use ziploc freezer containers. To cook them I put them in the air fryer at 400^ for 14-15 minutes. They come out amazing, you’d never know they were frozen.

        1. Flash freezing is when you arrange the pepper slices on a baking sheet, separated from one another, and freeze for about 1 hour. This gets the peppers cold before the deep freeze and will help prevent caking while they are freezing for long periods of time.

    3. @Melissa, I love bacon wrapped jalapenos. Then my daughter made them with prosciutto and I couldn’t believe how great it was you got to try it instead of bacon, P.S. she’s a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu yum.

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