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Drying Peppers is a simple way to preserve this delicious ingredient! Learn how to dry peppers in a food dehydrator, via air drying, or in the oven.

A white dish full of dried peppers with other pepper slices on a blue plate and a white board.
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Peppers are a staple in so many kitchens for a reason. This incredible ingredient adds so much flavor to all kinds of recipes.

While fresh peppers can last for a week or two, dehydrating peppers will extend their shelf-life.

And if you don’t have a dehydrator, the right weather, or don’t want to dry peppers in an oven, this tutorial on How to Freeze Peppers will be right up your alley.

Quick note: technically chilies and peppers are from two separate genuses/genera, but for the purpose of this post, I’ll use them interchangeably. The processes described below for drying peppers will also work with chilies.

HOW DO YOU DRY Raw Peppers?

There are three methods you can use to dehydrate peppers – the dehydrator, the oven, and air drying. I’ll walk you through each of the options in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post so that you can decide which method works best for you.

Between you and me, my preference is always to use my dehydrator. It’s energy-efficient, it doesn’t heat up my house, I can dry a lot at once, and I know it will consistently dry my peppers.

But, if you live in a warm place with limited humidity, air-drying peppers are also an option. It just takes a lot longer!

What Peppers Are Good For Drying?

You can technically dry all kinds of peppers or chilies. Look for fresh peppers/chilies that are ripe, at full color, firm, heavy, and free of blemishes and rot.

While you can dry all kinds of peppers/chilies, consider drying super spicy versions outside. As they dry, the intensity of the peppers becomes concentrated and can irritate indoor air quality.

Pro tip: if you’re working with spicy varieties or even are prepping a lot of relatively mild peppers, wearing disposable food handler gloves is recommended.

As someone who wears contacts, I tend to wear my glasses when I am working with peppers. This prevents me from touching my eyes for 12-24 hours.

How Long Does It Take to Dehydrate Peppers?

Drying conditions and methods will determine the total drying time, but on average, it takes 8-12 hours to dry peppers in the dehydrator, 5-8 hours in the oven, and 3+ days outside.

I have owned this dehydrator for at least a dozen years, and it has held up beautifully. I’ve added additional trays over the years and it is a workhorse in summer and fall.

6 photos showing the process of dehydrating peppers.

How to Air Dry Peppers and Chilies

To safely air dry your peppers/chilies, you’ll need 3-4 days of favorable weather. The daytime temps should reach 90˚F or above, and the humidity levels should be no higher than 55-60%.

If you’re planning to dry them whole, this works best with small, slim peppers/chilies. If you’re drying larger peppers, the drying time will increase by multiple days. Monitor the 7 to 10-day forecast when selecting the size of peppers to air dry.

You can slice the peppers in half or dry them whole.

To halve, cut the peppers horizontally down the middle, and (optionally) remove the seeds. Sustainability tip: consider setting aside some of the seeds to grow your own peppers for next year. See: how to save seeds.

Place the peppers/chilies facedown on a large plate, baking sheet, or food-safe drying screens. The peppers will need multiple days of hot weather to fully dry. You should cover them with a clean towel/pillowcase/muslin overnight and bring them inside at night if nighttime critters might mess with them.

If you have the space, you can even use multi-tiered hanging drying racks. They combine the drying screens and insect coverage in one. That’s a true preserving nerdy win.

Additionally, you can string the peppers/chilies together and hang them to dry. Take a large sewing needle attached to a long piece of strong thread or fishing wire and pierce through each stem of the pepper/chili until you have 5-10 strung together. Hang to dry.

HOW DO I KNOW WHEN DRIED PEPPERS ARE DONE?

If you’re drying slices or pieces of peppers, you’ll know they’re done when the texture feels brittle and you can easily break apart pieces with minimal pressure between two fingers.

If you’re drying peppers whole, they will feel dry and look shrunken and ~1/3 their original size.

How to Store Dried Peppers

As long as they are stored in a cool and dry place, dehydrated peppers will be good for at least a year.

Make sure the dried peppers are fully cooled before putting them into an air-tight container. As they cool they will continue to release heat that could result in condensation and eventually cause the peppers to mold.

If you dry more than you think you’ll use in a year, consider placing the container of dried peppers in the freezer.

You can also hang dry whole peppers/chilies for storage, but this only works in dry climates. Do not attempt this in a humid environment.

Can dried chilies go bad?

Yes, dried peppers and chilies can absolutely go bad. Their freshness will last for about a year, and the flavor will diminish over time after that.

If they are stored improperly or are not fully dried before being stored, dried peppers can grow mold and become unsafe to eat.

How to Rehydrate Dried Peppers

Cover dried peppers or chilies in hot water for 10-15 minutes, strain, and then use in your favorite recipe.

They are best used incorporated into soups, stews, sauces, or casseroles and won’t be desirable for fresh eating.

HOW TO USE DRIED PEPPERS

Dried peppers will be 3-4 times stronger than a fresh version, so consider using them conservatively.

Use them in recipes like Dill Pickle Relish, Chicken Fajitas Casserole, Ham Fried Rice, Thai Chili Paste, Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas, Instant Pot Egg Bites, or Jalapeño Simple Syrup.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • Aim for slices that are 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick. Thinner slices will dry more quickly.
  • Avoid the temptation to increase the heat on the dehydrator or oven to speed up the process. Low and slow wins in the race on this one.

Looking for more dehydrator tutorials? Check out our posts on Drying PeachesDehydrating ApplesDehydrating Marshmallows, Dehydrated OrangesDrying LimesDehydrating OnionsDehydrating PotatoesDrying ChivesDrying PearsHomemade Tomato Powder, and Dehydrating Tomatoes.

And you’ll love these drying herb tutorials: Dehydrating OreganoDehydrating MintDehydrating GarlicHow to Dry Basil, and Drying Rosemary.

a blue plate with sliced peppers.
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Drying Peppers

Prep: 15 minutes
Drying Time: 12 hours
Total: 12 hours 15 minutes
A white dish full of dried peppers with other pepper slices on a blue plate and a white board.
Drying peppers is a simple way to preserve this delicious ingredient! Learn how to dry peppers in a food dehydrator, via air drying, or in the oven.

Ingredients 

  • peppers or chilies

Instructions 

  • Clean and pat peppers/chilies dry.
  • If you're drying in pieces or slices, remove the stems of the peppers/chilies and remove the seeds.
  • Cut in into pieces/slices about 1/2 inches thick
  • Arrange the peppers on your dehydrator so that there is space around each piece/slice, and they are not touching.
  • Set your dehydrator to the "fruit/vegetables" setting (or 135˚F degrees).
  • Rotate trays every few hours.
  • Peppers/chilies are ready when pieces break or snap instead of bend. If your pieces are thinner, they will feel brittle when ready. (8-12 hours depending on conditions)

Notes

  1. If possible, move your dehydrator outside to a safe covered space. The smell of drying peppers can be overwhelming to many people.
  2. Dried peppers are 3-4 times stronger than fresh.
  3. Dried peppers/chilies will rehydrate to ~80% of the original size when soaked in hot water for ~10-15 minutes.
Oven-Drying Instructions: Follow the prep/cutting instructions above and then place pepper slices on baking drying racks set on baking sheets.
Place in the oven at the lowest temperature possible (usually 140-170˚F) and prop open the door with the handle of a wooden spoon. This allows condensation to escape instead of just settling back onto the peppers. Bake for 5-8 hours.
Air Drying Instructions:
  1. To safely air dry your peppers/chilies, you’ll need 3-4 days of favorable weather. The daytime temps should reach 90˚F or above, and the humidity levels should be no higher than 55-60%.
  2. You can slice the peppers/chilies or dry them whole.
  3. Place peppers/chilies on food-safe screens – OR – use a large needle and thread to string the peppers together through the stem.
  4. Place outside until fully dried. You should cover them with a clean towel/pillowcase/muslin overnight and bring them inside at night if nighttime critters will mess with them.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bell pepperCalories: 24kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: How To
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!

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About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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