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6 April 2014

Chili peppers bring dishes to a whole new level, transforming boring meals into phenomenal dishes exploding with flavor. Here are a few tips for cooking with peppers that will spice up your favorite recipes, and to make your next meal a phenomenal one.

If you’ve ever cooked with chili peppers, you may have found yourself hooked on them. I started off by purchasing peppers from the store, learning to cook with them in various ways, then moved into growing chili peppers so I could grow different types of chili peppers with varying heat levels. I got hooked on them very quickly.

It isn’t only about the heat, though. When most people think of chili peppers, they think of crazy, spicy heat, but truth be told, there is a huge range of chili pepper types running from zero heat, like the sweet bell pepper, all the way up to peppers that are almost as hot as pepper spray, like the Carolina Reaper

You don’t have to love all the crazy heat. There are so many different chili peppers, you can very easily find some in the heat range you prefer. Looking for medium heat peppers? There are many options. Prefer more sweet and mild peppers? How about hot pepper types? There are, of course, the superhot chili peppers for those who crave extreme heat. There is a bit of something for everyone.

The more you cook with hot peppers, the more you’ll come to not only appreciate the heat, but you eventually come to crave it. That’s what happened to me. I kept desiring hotter and hotter peppers, but still, it is best to find a spiciness factor that you’re comfortable with.

If  you’re new to cooking with peppers, here are a few tips to help you make the most of them.

Tips for Cooking with Peppers

Here are some ways to let chili peppers make your next meal the best it can be.

Wear Gloves When Cutting Chili Peppers

I’ve posted this tip in the Chili Pepper FAQ section as well because I get many many emails from folks who have burned their skin when cutting chili peppers. Or they’ve cut chili peppers and rubbed their eye, resulting in a stinging burn. The best way to avoid getting the chili pepper oils on your skin is to wear rubber or latex gloves when handling the peppers. Personally, the oils do not bother my skin at all, but I have felt the burn in the eye on occasion, and it isn’t pleasant.

Remove the Innards for Less Heat

If you love the flavor of chili peppers but not quite the heat, you can easily remove the innards, or placenta, to reduce the heat. Most of the chili pepper heat resides in the whitish interior, not the seeds, though when you remove the innards, you remove the seeds. Removing them and only eating the fleshy part of the pepper will still add a bit of kick, plenty of flavor, but will avoid that heat that you can’t handle.

Roast Your Peppers for a Different Flavor

Fresh chili peppers are wonderful, but roasted peppers are something entirely different, and extremely delicious. Roasted red peppers are a sweeter and not quite as biting as the fresher versions. Give them a roast and see how they change your dish.

Make Hot Sauce

There are so many different hot sauces on the market today, and I hope you buy as many as you can, but if you have a lot of chili peppers on hand, why not make your own? Homemade hot sauces are so good to have on hand to spice up your meals and add in some extra flavor. Plus, if you make your own hot sauce, you can easily make them with your own flavor preferences. Check out my Hot Sauce Recipes section of the site for a lot of different recipes. Or check out my page on How to Make Hot Sauce: The Ultimate Guide

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are an extremely popular way to cook with chili peppers. Peppers are unique in that most of them grow hollow. You can slice them open, core them out, then fill them with all sorts of wonderful ingredients. You can make entire meals from larger peppers, like these Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers or this Stuffed Anaheim Peppers recipe, famous ethnic meals like this Classic Chiles Rellenos recipe, or fun appetizers like these Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers. Check out my Stuffed Peppers Recipes section for loads of recipes to inspire you.

Got any questions? Need more advice? Drop me a line. I’m glad to help and can update this page as needed.

Be sure to check out my Chili Pepper Recipes section for hundreds and hundreds of recipes in various categories to help you find inspiration. Enjoy!



  1. When preparing chili peppers do you have to get rid of the little seeds or leave them.Thank Toby

    REPLY: Toby, it is up to you. I typically leave them in or will shake some of the out. If you cut out the whitish insides, which includes the seeds, you’ll remove a lot of the heat with most peppers. Some remove the seeds for aesthetics as well, though they are edible. I hope this helps! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

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