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How To Freeze Jalapeno Peppers Properly

When you have a large harvest or an excess of peppers, you might wonder, can you freeze jalapeno peppers? Freezing jalapeno 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 fresh jalapeno peppers the right way.

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The goal of freezing jalapenos 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, simple option (though there are others) for keeping your jalapenos fresh and spicy for whenever you’re ready to use them. Let’s get started!

How To Freeze Jalapenos

Get 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-type baggies will technically work, but they will allow more air particles through to your peppers over time.

Get freezer bags on Amazon here.

Or, try reusable silicon baggies (they have an airtight seal).

Oxygen will be the enemy of your frozen jalapenos, so be sure to get some proper freezer bags. 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
Whole frozen jalapeno peppers.

Jalapeno 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 spicy chili oil burns.

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

  • Clean peppers thoroughly with cold water
  • Dry peppers thoroughly
  • 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 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 simply have a lot of jalapenos, 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 jalapenos sliced, follow these steps:

  • Clean peppers thoroughly with cold water
  • Dry peppers
  • 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 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, 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 within the bag, you can get more out by using a straw. Simply insert a straw and seal the bag all the way to the straw. Suck out as much air as possible, remove the straw, and seal the bag completely for storage.

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


Freeze For Up To 1 Year

How long do frozen jalapenos last? Ideally, you should use up all of your frozen jalapenos within 1 year. It is okay to keep jalapeno peppers frozen for longer than a year, though you may begin to notice negative 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 cube 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 frozen jalapenos for more homecooked recipes or for making hot sauce. The peppers are versatile and your options are virtually endless!


Thawing Frozen Jalapenos

For cooking frozen peppers, I like to use the peppers while still frozen. This is true for use in stir fry, soups and stews, and other meals. However, if you need a softer pepper (say for an omelet), you can thaw the jalapenos before use.

Thawing your frozen jalapenos is even easier than freezing. Simply remove the desired quantity of peppers from your freezer bag and thaw jalapenos on a paper towel to allow any excess moisture to be absorbed. Re-seal the bag with the remaining jalapenos, 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 drawback to this is that thawed peppers will likely be soft and mushy, not crisp. However, they should have the same heat level and flavor profile!


What To Do With Frozen Jalapenos

Once you have thawed your frozen jalapeno peppers, you can use them as if they were fresh. They won’t have the same crunchiness as a 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 a stir-fry. Thaw a few peppers or throw them in the pan frozen for quick use.
  • Make salsa. You can use frozen jalapenos for making fresh salsa. Just make sure you thaw out and dry the peppers completely before chopping for the salsa.
  • Add to pasta. Spice up a red sauce or oil-based pasta dish for an extra kick of heat and flavor – I like to dice the jalapenos into small squares for pasta.
  • 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. Try whipping up a cheesy dip if your peppers are too limp!

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.

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


Do Jalapenos 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 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!

If you notice freezer burn on your peppers, you know that something is wrong with your storage method. 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 jalapenos. 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 jalapenos 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.

Clairie Abbott

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

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

John Sedgwick

Monday 6th of September 2021

thanks for the info sign me up thanks

Neil Buckner

Friday 13th of November 2020

I enjoyed reading all about peppers. Would love to subscribe.

Mary Hernandez

Wednesday 14th of October 2020

What is flash freeze ? I never heard of this.

Marci Bonney

Monday 21st of September 2020

How long should you flash freeze peppers? Half hour or an hour?

peppergeek

Thursday 24th of September 2020

Hi Marci,

If you are flash freezing bell peppers or any other thick-walled pepper, 1 hour is sufficient.

-Calvin