What To Do With Habanero Peppers – Using Your Harvest

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Habanero pepper plants can be prolific. Because of this, you may harvest more habaneros than you know what to do with. It’s not a bad problem to have. If you’re in this situation, you’re in the right place.

In this article, I’ll share some great ideas for what to do with habanero peppers. We have a great variety of recipes and storage methods to make sure none of your hot peppers go to waste.

Habanero peppers are easier to find in the grocery store than exotic chili varieties. Even though store-bought peppers tend to be less spicy than homegrown, they still pack an impressive amount of heat and flavor. Habanero peppers clock in at 100,000–300,000 on the Scoville scale, making them about 100x hotter than a jalapeño pepper.

Red habanero pepper harvest in hand
Freshly harvested red habanero peppers.

1. Make A Habanero Hot Sauce

One great way to use a large pepper harvest is to make a delicious habanero hot sauce. We have a fantastic recipe for a simple habanero hot sauce that packs a great punch.

Check out our video tutorial on making the sauce here.

Homemade Habanero Hot Sauce

After making this hot sauce, we’re confident you’ll want to put it on everything. This recipe calls for 15-20 pods, so it’s a good way to use up a large harvest. If you have extra peppers, make a batch of hot sauce for your friends!

If you want a milder hot sauce, try our fruity habanero hot sauce recipes:

2. Dehydrate Them and Make Chili Powder

Dehydrating peppers is one of our favorite ways of preserving chilies. Read our article on how to dehydrate habanero peppers here. The method for dehydrating habaneros is very simple. We use an Excalibur dehydrator, but you don’t need any fancy equipment.

Dehydrated Habanero Peppers
Dried habanero peppers.

You can dehydrate habaneros in your oven, or even hang dry them in the air. After dehydrating your habaneros, you can grind them up into a tasty, spicy powder. This powder can be sprinkled on tacos, stir-fries, or any food of your choice.

We like to bottle up our pepper powders into fancy jars and give them as gifts. You can even rehydrate the habanero peppers at a later time, if you wish. See all the great ways you can use dried hot peppers here.

3. Pickle Them For a Snack

Probably the tastiest method of preservation is pickling! If you love the flavor of habaneros, try them pickled. You don’t need an abundance of peppers to enjoy them in this form. We like to quick-pickle our peppers for simple snacking, usually using a combination of thick peppers (jalapeños, banana peppers, etc.) and hot peppers.

Quick Pickled Habaneros

If you’re making a batch of classic cucumber pickles, try throwing in a sliced habanero for some extra heat. Pickled peppers taste delicious on tacos, sandwiches, and pizza. How about a Hawaiian pizza with feta cheese and pickled habaneros? Yum!

4. Save The Seeds

If you find yourself with a lot of habaneros and they’re starting to spoil, you can still save the seeds. This way, the whole pepper will not go to waste. Read our guide on how to save pepper seeds here.

How To Store Pepper Seeds

After saving the pepper seeds, you can plant them next season, or give them away to other fellow gardening pals. Properly stored pepper seeds can also last many years, so you can build your own long-term seed collection.

5. Freeze Them For Later Use

Move over ice cream, we need to make room for the peppers! Habanero peppers freeze very well. We’re known to pull hot peppers from the freezer regularly and throw them into omelets or breakfast burritos, all winter long. The method for freezing habaneros does not differ from freezing other varieties.

Learn how to freeze habanero peppers properly here.

If you have any habanero peppers that are softening or rotting, don’t freeze them. Choose fresh, firm habaneros and make sure they are clean and dry. You can freeze them whole in freezer bags, or slice them into strips for easy use.

6. Give Them Away To Friends or Family

It may surprise you how many people enjoy spicy food. Sometimes, those you wouldn’t expect are fellow pepper geeks, too. However, not all of them can grow fresh habaneros in their garden.

If you have an abundance of peppers, it’s worth asking your friends, family, and co-workers if they would be interested in taking some off your hands. Perhaps they would like to experiment with making their own habanero hot sauce!

7. Add Them To Stir-Fry or Chili For Extra Heat

If you have a couple fresh habaneros on hand, try adding them to a pot of chili or mixing them into your stir-fry. The flavor profile and spice level of habaneros can really level up a bland dish.

We prefer mixing fresh hot sauce into our dishes for more control over the heat, but we’re also known to throw a few freshly sliced hot peppers into a stir-fry.

Be sure to open a window if you are cooking spicy peppers indoors. The fumes can be intense and may bother your lungs and eyes.

While many grocery store peppers run on the mild side, your habaneros may be very spicy, so be careful! You don’t want to ruin an entire dish and have it be inedible for your family because it’s too spicy. Of course, we’ll be happy to take it off your hands.

8. Make Habanero Gummy Bears

We love candy, and we love hot peppers, so we combined the two! Check out our recipe for delicious homemade spicy gummy bears. We also have a video on YouTube for making homemade gummy bears.

This is a unique way to use up habanero peppers that you may have sitting around. We also love to throw these candies into baggies and give them as gifts for our spice-loving friends.

The sweet flavor of the gummy bear balances perfectly with the heat of the habanero. We particularly like the flavor of strawberry-habanero candies. Get creative!

9. Steep Them In Vodka or Tequila

That’s right, you can use hot peppers to spice up your alcohol. Toss a couple seeded habanero slices into one cup of vodka. The spicy habanero flavor will infuse into the alcohol and can be used for some unique cocktails. The habanero peppers will actually be less spicy after steeping them in vodka, making them perfect for cooking as well!

Even after 30 minutes, the flavor of the alcohol will be intense. The longer you steep, the deeper the flavor. Check the flavor throughout the process until it reaches a level you’re happy with, then remove the habanero slices.

Do you have any other creative ways to use up habanero peppers? We are always looking for new, fun ideas and recipes to try in the kitchen. Let us know in the comments how you used up your harvest this season!


Crystalyn loves spicy food and getting creative in the kitchen. When she isn’t finding new ways to use hot sauce, shes very busy watching cat videos on the internet.

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  1. Last season I planted more plants than I actually needed and had an abundance of Habs so I made a few quarts of fermented sauce, gave a bunch away and made cream cheese and bacon stuffed poppers. I put about 200 of the poppers in the freezer and have been using them throughout the winter. They make a great snack. I usually pull out 10 or so at a time and put them in the air fryer from frozen for about 15-20 min to crisp them up and enjoy. They are great with homemade raspberry jam on top or some ranch dressing. I will definitely be making more of them next season. I might even devote my entire hab harvest to the poppers and try some other varieties for sauce.

  2. Very interesting and informative article, thank you! I’ve been picking 100-130 peppers per week and freezing most of them. I’ve got 4, 1 gallon bags full and little freezer space for other things lol. It’s time I start pickling and drying and doing everything else I can with them. I only have 1 habanero plant this year, it’s a 2nd year plant and it’s been extremely productive. Can’t wait to see how well it’ll produce next year (it’s 3rd summer). I’ve also got sweet cherry, tangerine dream, banana, big Jim, giant Marconi, Serrano, Jalepeno, cayenne, ghost, Scorpion, and Carolina reapers I’m growing. More than 50 plants, so 100s of more peppers still to come! And you know what? I can’t find a single person who will take any kind of pepper haha. Then, I can’t find anyone who will take tomatoes beans or cucumbers either. They seem to be grossed out by knowing I breed my own worms and use worm castings, and compost. It’s hilarious. How did they think vegetables grow, in sand? Hah

    1. Haha, sometimes it’s best to keep your gardening practices a secret to those who don’t garden, maybe just say “homegrown” and leave it at that 🤣. Sounds like a great assortment though! Hope your habanero is doing well so far on its 2nd overwinter. Good luck next year!

  3. We dehydrated a bunch on our smoker and ground them up with coarse Himalayan pink salt for a smoky spicy seasoning salt! Amazing!

  4. I can’t wait to try these in fruit gummies! Great idea. All great ideas – except for giving them away. ha-ha.

    I love to use when making popcorn!! I prefer Thai peppers for this, but habaneros would be perfect too. Mince peppers and add to cooking oil. Let peppers marinate in oil for as long as you’d like. The longer you can wait the better. Remove/strain the minced peppers from the oil before using it for popping, so they don’t burn.

    Traditional method: pour seasoned oil mixture in bottom of pan (coat bottom) and add popcorn kernels. Cook on medium high until kernels slow/stop popping.
    Quick method: Coat enough kernels in seasoned oil to add to bottom of paper bag and microwave. Close bag and fold top over a couple of times so your popcorn doesn’t go everywhere. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Don’t leave the area!! Hang around until popping slows down/stops. Stop microwave and carefully remove bag.

    You can sprinkle garlic power or salt in oil before you start popping for extra flavor.

  5. A friend of mine once sliced a bunch of seeded habaneros, put them in lime juice and served them as an appetizer. The natural flavor was preserved, but the heat was diminished somewhat, making them less explosive. They were awesome!

  6. I came here because I mixed up my peppers. I grew Carolina Reapers and Habaneros. I got them mixed up but this clarifies things for me. Thank you for all the great info you share.

  7. What about the fact that I buoght them from seeldings and have no idea as to their heirloom status?

  8. Can you preserve Habaneros as they are drying on the vine? We have a plant that has over 50 small peppers on it and we couldn’t pick them prior to vacation. They are still on the plant and are shriveling up, but don’t look rotten. Generally, I take the peppers and put in a large container with jalapeno-which was also plentiful!- and it helps add a kick to the jalapenos. Hoping I could preserve these as well or still be able to dry them off the plant. Are we still able to use these peppers?

  9. I have a recipe for Habanero Bourbon salsa that has been fairly popular among people who like spice. Can I share it here?

  10. Steep in vodka like at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. They wouldn’t tell but looked like peppers, onions, celery, garlic, and fresh herbs. Wonderful bloody marys.

    1. @jim, Did you end up trying to tweak the recipe? I would love to try and make it if it was a success.

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