How to Make Your Own Hot Pepper Flakes

My Garden Life
August 28, 2020

Equipment

Food dehydrator (Preferred, though it is also possible to dry peppers in the oven)
Cookie sheets
Food prep gloves

Ingredients

Hot peppers
Though red and orange peppers like cayenne, serrano, Thai, habanero and ghost peppers are traditionally used for pepper flakes, any hot pepper will work. You can even chop some sweet peppers into one-inch squares and dry those along with your hot peppers; using them to cut the heat of your final product.
To make the perfect mix of spicy and not-so-spicy flakes take a look at the Scoville heat index, a measurement that ranks peppers from sugar-sweet to red-hot.

Instructions

1. Using protective gloves, slice your hot peppers in halves or quarters (so the resulting pieces are no bigger than one-inch square and lay relatively flat) and place without crowding on dehydrator trays or cookie sheets. Small
peppers can be dried whole but this could extend the drying time.

Wear gloves when cutting up hot peppers

2. If using your dehydrator, place it in a well-ventilated area or even outside if possible. If using the oven, make sure to run the fans at full speed. Even at low temperatures, the steam escaping from the drying peppers can irritate and even damage eyes and lungs.
3. Set your dehydrator or oven to 130° F. If your oven doesn’t go that low, set it as low as it will go and prop the door open to lower the temperature and increase air circulation.

Tray of hot chili peppers drying

4. Place the trays with the prepared peppers in the dehydrator or oven. Let dry for eight to twelve hours in the dehydrator. Allow several hours for drying in the oven and check periodically to make sure that the peppers are drying, not cooking. They should be uniformly crisp but not burned.

Crushing dried chili peppers into small flakes.

5. Again, wearing gloves, scrape the cooled, dried pepper pieces into a sturdy plastic bag and crush into flakes with a rolling pin or your hands, or, you can use a mortar and pestle. Store in a jar or shaker as you would store-bought red pepper flakes.

Table shaker filled with dried hot pepper flakes

Bring a little of summer’s sizzle to your recipes all year round by adding a pinch or more of your homemade red pepper flakes to any of our signature spice blends.

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