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14 April 2014

Freezing peppers is a great way to preserve your chili pepper harvest. Learn how to freeze peppers of any kind so you can enjoy them all year long.

Freezing peppers is a good idea if you have a large crop and want to save them for later use. You don’t have to cook your chili peppers before freezing, although you can skin or peel them if desired.

Just keep in mind that after you thaw them, the skins usually come right off easily.

You can freeze any type of chili pepper this way, including bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, even the hottest of the superhot chili peppers.

How to Freeze Peppers – Step by Step

  1. First, select fresh peppers that show no signs of rot.
  2. Wash the peppers clean, then dry them completely.
  3. Slice the peppers open and remove the stems. Remove the seeds and membrane, if desired.
  4. Chop the peppers if you’d like, or you can freeze them whole.
  5. Transfer the peppers to freezer bags and remove as much air as possible.
  6. Set the peppers into the freezer. Use as needed.

Some people like to blanch their peppers before freezing, but it is not necessary. If you’d like to blanch your peppers, however, simply set your sliced peppers into boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, cool and dry them, then freeze as needed.

Tips for Freezing Peppers

You can remove the seeds and membrane from the peppers if you’d like by scraping them out with a spoon, or keep them in if you’d like. Most of the heat from most peppers is held within the whitish interior, so choose accordingly.

You can also set out  your chopped or whole fresh peppers onto a baking sheet and set it into the freezer before bagging. Then, once they are frozen, transfer them to freezer-safe bags and seal them up. 

Safety Tip

It is recommended to wear gloves when handling hot chili peppers. Capsaicin, the chemical that makes chili peppers hot, is an oil that can get onto your skin and cause a burning sensation. Gloves will protect you from the burn.

If you do feel the burning sensation, wash your hands thoroughly. There are many methods to help. Learn more about how to stop the chili pepper burn.

How Long Do Frozen Peppers Last?

One you freeze chili peppers, it is recommended they be consumed within 6 months to maintain best quality. After about 6 months, they start to lose quality and may suffer from freezer burn.

How to Thaw Frozen Peppers

To thaw frozen peppers, simply remove the amount you need from the freezer and let them come to room temperature. It is good to freeze them in portions that you normally use, but if you freeze them in a very large bag, they should break apart fairly easily so you can keep the unneeded portion frozen.

Using Frozen Peppers – How to Cook with Frozen Peppers

Cooking with frozen peppers is easy. Simply thaw a portion of them required for your recipe and use them as you would fresh peppers. They will most likely be softer, however, than fresh peppers, so consider this for the recipe you are making. Cook them into anything from soups and stews, stir fries and more. Frozen peppers can be used to make sauces and hot sauces, and they can also be dehydrated without issue to make powders and seasoning blends.

Can You Refreeze Thawed Peppers or Vegetables That Have Been Previously Frozen?

According to, you can safely refreeze thawed or partially thawed food if it still contains ice crystals or at 40 °F or below. Partially thawing and refreezing them, however, may negatively affect the food quality. But, they will be safe to eat.


Further Pepper Preservation and Information

See below for other information to help you with your chili pepper harvest. There are answers to some of the most common questions I receive on the site.


  1. 5 stars
    How does freezing effect the weight used in the recipes? I didn’t weigh my yield before freezing. Should I just let them though and then start my recipe? Thanks

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Jordan, it really shouldn’t make a difference. I would just thaw and continue with the recipe. Enjoy.

  2. Hi Mike… I’m a grower of the wonderful ghost chilli and have been asked to make up 250 small bottles of chilli oil for a clients wedding early June 2021. I’ve started freezing them and was thinking of defrosting early May 2021 then letting them dry for 2-3 weeks then mixing them with a good olive oil. Does that sound about right? Open to any advice and tips. Many thanks

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Mark, this should work fine, but you may want to look into using a dehydrator for the drying. You’ll minimize any risk of rot with the soggy peppers.

  3. Hi… quick Chilli Pepper question… I grow the wonderful Ghost chilli (I’m a professional gardener) and I’ve been asked to make 250 small bottles of chilli oil for the family I work for. It’s for their daughters wedding next year. I’ve started freezing the chillies in preparation. The weddings early June 2021 so I was thinking of starting to defrost beginning of May then drying them for approx 3 weeks then adding them to the oil in a big container for a week then decanting them straight after…. sound about right? Any advice gratefully received!…. many thanks everyone

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Mark. Yes, I think that would work just fine. What drying process are you using? My only caution would be to make sure the air is dry enough to avoid any rotting, which can happen if there is too much moisture in the air. This can be a particular issue from frozen pods, which will be more water logged when thawed. I use a dehydrator, which is the most effective. Something to consider. Please let me know how it goes. Good luck!

  4. Hi MIke:

    I just bought your book, The Spicy Food Lover’s Cookbook, and I LOVE it. I can’t want to try the recipes. And the pictures of the food are amazing, kudos to the photographer Patty!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks so much, Jody! I hope you enjoy the book!!

  5. I have a bunch of jalapenos that I would like to keep but I’m not able to preserve them by any of the methods you talk about. My thoughts are to run them through the blender, seeds and all, add some lime juice to make it a slurry consistency and then pour that into ice cube trays. Once frozen, individually wrap the cubes and store in the freezer and then use as needed in dishes like chili. Is there any reason why that wouldn’t work?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Danne, that would work just fine. I do the same method to freeze sofrito, which isn’t far off from what you’re describing. This is great method for saving the peppers. Let me know how it goes. Enjoy!

  6. Amber Clark

    I just did a google search and found this page… hope someone can help me.
    I froze some fresh jalapeños from my garden – they were all picked well before they got too mature, so I know that they had not started to rot or anything. The problem though, is this….
    I took them out and thawed them in the fridge over night, then a after I sliced them up, I saw that the seeds in ALL 30 of them have turned brown! Is this normal after freezing whole peppers? I want to pickle them… but are they still alright to eat even though all the seeds have turned brown? Thank you in advance for your help!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Amber, the seeds/innards had already started to turn brown before you froze them. FYI. If you see any other signs on rot on the peppers, you can toss them out or cut that part away. If you feel the peppers are OK, you can just scoop out the innards and pickle the outer flesh. But if you feel there is just too much rot, toss them out.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Ferozs, that’s a tough one. Once they freeze, they soften up. I really don’t know of a good way to do that. Sorry.

  7. Herlinda M Acevedo

    I had about two dozen Hatch green chiles left from making tamales. They have been in the fridge about a week. Can I refreshed them? Thank you.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Herlinda, are they roasted? Or fresh peppers? If roasted, they should be OK to freeze, but you should do so right away. If fresh, check for any signs of rot. If you see none, you should be fine.

  8. Hi, I want to share a freezer storage method. A friend showed me to put canned chipotle peppers (whole) with some of their sauce into a clean ice cube tray in the freezer, one pepper per compartment. This way, you don’t have to try to use them all before they spoil in the fridge. Keep in the freezer, pop out a pepper when needed. I wanted to try this on some Hatch green chilies which I had roasted. After roasting and allowing the peppers to cool down, I slipped off the skins, removed the stems, but left the seeds in. Chop in a food processor, pour into ice cube tray, and freeze. Once they’re frozen, pop out the pepper cubes, store in the freezer in a zipper bag. Drop a cube (or a couple) into soups, sauces, or whatever else needs some chilies. I’ve also done this with canned whole chipotle, instead of freezing them whole, and they seem to work out well. Pour entire can of peppers, sauce included, into processor, and chop for a few seconds, then pour into ice cube tray for freezing. Food processor blends it all together nicely.

  9. Chili peppers madness: hi. can u freeze. Reapers, choclate habs,yello scoth bonnies. And can u dry them in oven

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Dan, absolutely, you can freeze any chili peppers. You can also dry them in the oven, but you need to make sure the temperature is not too high or the peppers will cook. Best to dry them at about 130 degrees F or so, with a fan going. You may need to have the oven door cracked. See this page for Dehydrating Chili Peppers.

  10. I froze my peppers. I want to make pepper powder from them. I got them out of the freezer, cut in half and placed them on a tray with a towel under them outside. Problem color is turning brownish. Will that affect taste?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Walid, if the inside of the peppers are brown, they were probably starting to go bad before you froze them. If there is a lot of brown, I probably wouldn’t use them. If there are just some very small parts you can scrape away, that should be OK.

  11. If I freeze my peppers. Will they still work for HP made salsa and stuffed peppers?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Lepha, yes, you can use frozen peppers for making salsas and stuffed peppers. Absolutely. Best of luck!

  12. I have hanged my chillies and cayenne peppers on string on my window they have turned red what should I do now

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Pat, is your intention to ripen them and eat them? Or dry them to grind or make something decorative? If they’ve turned red, they’re most likely ripe, so you can use them or store them in the fridge. If you want to dry them, let them hang in dry, open air, but watch for signs on mold or soft spots. Not good. Let me know what you’re trying to do and I can help.

  13. Hi Mike, I want to make powdered chilis for Sambal Ulek, which is just roughly ground up Thai chilis, with added vinegar and salt. I have several bags of frozen red Serranos. Will those work, and should I dehydrate whole and then grind, or would it be best to chop, so they don’t turn to mush in the dehydrator.

    REPLY: Sarah, yes, this will work. If you want to dehydrate them, you can rough chop them to dry them faster than drying them whole. Let me know how it turns out. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  14. Hi Mike,
    How long will chili’s last in the fridge once they have been thawed completely?

    REPLY: Cheryl, they should last a few days if they’re wrapped up, but I would use them right away. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  15. Hi—-I grow dozens of varieties of peppers and chilis. I dehydrate those that I do not use right away or freeze. I then grind them all up, sweet, hot, and stinking hot!, all together in food processor. But the color, due to greens and reds in the mix, is very dull—- and sometimes way too hot! So i add a lot of sweet smoked paprika to sweeten things up and give good red color. I have so much, though, that i need to preserve it all. Can I freeze this powder? Or just store in fridge? Or will that diminish the flavor, etc.?
    Thank you for your help!

    REPLY: Randee, yes, you can freeze chili powder or store it in the fridge. It would be best to vacuum seal it to stay fresher longer. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  16. Have never eaten a jalepeno pepper, just how hot are they?

    REPLY: Joey, technically they measure about 5,000 Scoville Heat Units, which isn’t that hot when compared to something like a habanero, which is about 300,000 SHU. However, they still have a bit of a kick for most people. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  17. jim Peterson

    Hi, Mike…I took my Thai chilies out of the freezer, to plant the seeds. Would you dry the seeds, before planting? If so, dry how many days?
    Thanks for the great help,

    REPLY: Peterson, you can bring them to room temperature then plant them as normal. There is a possibility of seed damage if they were frozen wet, however. If you’re concerned, take several of the frozen seeds and perform a germination test on them. If you get a low germination rate, then I would suggest getting new seeds. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  18. Hi Mike, I want to freeze cayenne peppers, so do I cut off the green top cap or how do I prepare them?Thank you

    REPLY: Dawn, it depends on what you want to ultimately do with them, but I like to wash then dry them, then chop them and freeze them. I do chop off the stems. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  19. I just picked a bunch of hot peppers from my garden threw them in a bag..sealed but didn’t wash first. Should I throw them away?

    REPLY: Janet, no, they are still good. Just wash them afterward. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  20. My Chillies seeds have gone brown are they safe to eat.

    REPLY: Mo, they are still safe to eat as long as they haven’t rotted inside, though the peppers certainly won’t be as fresh. You can easily remove the seeds, or just go with fresher peppers. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  21. can u freeze jalepenos same way

    REPLY: Mike, absolutely. This applies to all peppers. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness

  22. Just FYI we are still eating chillies from the freezer that were picked and frozen 18 months ago. They still taste great and haven’t lost any appearance. Just stored in an airtight container. Didn’t expect them to last so long.

  23. Can you refreeze chillies after they have already been frozen and thawed out?

    REPLY: This is from “Thawed or partially thawed food in the freezer may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below. Partial thawing and refreezing may affect the quality of some food, but the food will be safe to eat.” — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  24. Do you remove the seeds and stem before you freeze them?

    REPLY: Brenda, you can if you’d like, but sometimes I don’t and do it later. – Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  25. How long of a freezer life do they have?

    REPLY: Deb, I usually go through the Winter, up to 6 months, though you can keep them longer if you double wrap them or use a vacuum sealer. Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

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