Drying Jalapeno Peppers (Tips & Tricks for Making Chipotle Peppers)

When you’ve collected a bumper crop of jalapeno peppers, drying them is one of your best storage options!

Dried jalapenos – otherwise known as chipotle peppers – are a staple in Mexican cuisine. Sure, you can purchase them, but preparing your own chipotles is an ideal way to make use of your jalapeno harvest. To dry your fresh peppers, you can: air dry them, use a food dehydrator, dry them on the counter, or dry them in the sun. Always follow safety protocol when drying and storing your peppers.

Keep reading to discover various pepper drying techniques!

What is the best way to dry jalapeno peppers?

Drying jalapeno peppers is a favored preservation method for your pepper harvest so much so that the end product even gets its own name: chipotle peppers.

While fresh jalapeno peppers are widespread in Mexican cuisine, it could be argued that chipotle peppers and chipotle pepper powder are even more popular. Jalapeno peppers offer a bright, spicy kick, but drying them adds an extra layer of smoky flavor.

For those of us cultivating jalapeno peppers, preserving them through drying is a natural choice. So how do you proceed?

The best ways to dry jalapeno peppers include:

  • Air drying
  • Food dehydrator
  • Dry them on the counter
  • Sun drying
  • Let’s delve into each method.

Air drying

Air drying jalapeno peppers is a traditional, tried-and-true, simple, and effective technique.

Air drying jalapeno peppers is one of the easiest ways to dry them. Make cuts near the stems of the peppers and string them together with a thin thread. Finally, suspend them in a well-ventilated room. Your peppers should be dry in about four weeks!

Air-drying peppers is one of the most energy-efficient methods. It may take longer than using a dehydrator, but it’s less expensive and potentially simpler!

First, make a cut as close to the stem as possible. Then use a large needle to thread a thin string through all the stems. 

Once you’ve strung all the peppers, suspend them in a well-ventilated room. Proper air circulation is crucial to prevent excessive humidity, which can spoil your peppers.

Air-drying peppers usually takes around four weeks.

Food dehydrator

Using a food dehydrator is the fastest way to dry jalapeno peppers.

Food dehydrators are commonly used to dry various vegetables, peppers included! All you need to do is clean them, cut them, and place them in the dehydrator. In a few hours, you’ll have perfectly dried peppers!

Drying peppers in a food dehydrator is rather straightforward once you know the process!

Rinse and dry your peppers, removing the stems.

Cut your peppers as desired, keeping in mind that smaller pieces will dehydrate faster. 

Remove seeds if you want to reduce the heat of your jalapenos.

Use a temperature of 130°F until your peppers are brittle and tough.

Dry them on the counter

Wait, can you just lay out your peppers, and they’ll dry?

Indeed, you can dry your jalapenos on the counter! You’ll need low humidity and excellent ventilation for this to work. You don’t even have to slice your peppers since hot peppers can dry whole!

This tip will only work if you live somewhere with low humidity and have good ventilation, but if these conditions are met, it’s an excellent option!

Spread your peppers out so they aren’t touching. You don’t have to cut them because hot peppers can naturally dry whole!

Sun drying

Sun-drying jalapeno peppers is an engaging and effective way to dry your harvest.

You’ll need temperatures consistently over 90°F for several consecutive days, with humidity under 60%. It’s crucial to pasteurize your peppers after this method since they’ve been exposed to the elements.

Sun-drying jalapeno peppers is an intriguing project with specific conditions.

The temperature must be at least 90°F for several consecutive days, and the humidity needs to be under 60%. 

Clean your peppers to remove any dirt. Then arrange them on screen trays, covering with cheesecloth to protect your peppers from insects and birds.

Pasteurize your peppers once they’ve dried either by:

Placing them in the freezer for two days or putting them in the oven at 160°F for half an hour.

Can dried jalapeno peppers mold?

Once you’ve dried your peppers, are they safe from mold?

Dried jalapeno peppers can still mold if exposed to moisture. They can reabsorb it each time you open their containers or if stored improperly. This underscores the importance of proper storage!

Dried jalapeno peppers can mold if they reabsorb moisture. This is why storing your peppers correctly is crucial. More on that shortly!

How do you dry jalapeno peppers so they don’t mold?

So what’s the solution?

To dry jalapeno peppers so they don’t mold, allow them to cool completely. Then store them in cans, vacuum-sealed bags, freezer containers, or plastic freezer bags. The best way to prevent mold is to store your peppers in serving-sized containers, preventing frequent opening and closing of the container!

The first step to storing dry jalapeno peppers is to let them cool thoroughly. Any residual heat can cause sweating, potentially releasing moisture which will lead to mold.

Store your dried peppers in cans, vacuum-sealed bags, freezer containers, or plastic freezer bags.

A handy tip is to package your peppers in multiple serving-size containers. Each time you open a container, you expose it to air and moisture. Thus, constantly opening your pepper containers could cause problems – storing them in multiple containers is an effective solution!

How do you know when jalapeno peppers are dry enough?

Determining when your jalapeno peppers are adequately dried can be one of the trickiest parts for beginners.

Fully dried jalapeno peppers will be tough and brittle.

If you’re intending to make chipotle chile powder, you’ll want to ensure the peppers are completely dry before grinding them into powder.

How long do dried jalapeno peppers last?

Drying peppers is a long-term solution for storing jalapeno peppers.

Properly stored dried jalapeno peppers can last between 1-2 years.

Of course, this duration is dependent on storing them in a cool, dry space.