Use your dehydrator (or oven) to make your own chili flakes at home. They’re perfect for dashing over pizza or any other food for a bit of zing and flavor. A great way to preserve your pepper harvest.
My garden, at the moment, is EXPLODING with chili peppers. I just picked several pounds of peppers yesterday and there are still more to grab today. It's that time of year, my friends. SO. MANY. PEPPERS. All harvesting at the same time.
There are many, many ways you can preserve them - see our Preserving Chili Peppers section - and here is yet another that I haven't written about in a while.
Homemade chili flakes.
Chili flakes are great to have around. I mean, just look at them. They're a super seasoning. You can sprinkle them over anything you'd like for a nice pop of heat and flavor. And, the great thing about making them at home is, you can make any type you'd like.
When you purchase them from the store, you're basically limited to the singular crushed red peppers they sell, the same stuff you get at every pizza place across America. I've never understood why there isn't more crushed pepper variety. Don't get me wrong. I love the stuff served with my pizza, but as a chili pepper afficianado, I like a bit of variety. Don't you?
So let's make our own!
I HIGHLY recommend using a dehydrator for this, my friends. You CAN use your oven to dry your peppers, but the process is so much smoother and easier with a dehydrator. And yes, that is basically all we have to do is dry some of our favorite peppers.
So let's get drying.
How to Make Homemade Chili Flakes - Method
First, wash and dry your preferred chili peppers. I used Squash Red peppers that I grew this year, as they have a nice medium level of heat, but this will work with ANY pepper. I often make crushed scorpion peppers for a crazy heat blast.
Next, slice each pepper in half lengthwise for smaller peppers, or into rings for thicker walled peppers. It is best to cut them into 1/4" or smaller pieces for ease and uniformity of drying.
Set them into your dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 130 degrees F for 12 hours, or overnight. You may need to dehydrate longer, depending on the air conditions.
If oven drying, you need to keep the heat at the lowest setting possible. Most ovens won't go as low as 130 degrees. If not, spread the peppers out on baking sheets and crack the oven door so keep the temps down and some air flow moving. Air flow is important to dry the peppers evenly.
Learn more about How to Dry Chili Peppers, and also How to Dry Chili Peppers to Make Your Own Seasoning Blends.
When the peppers are completely dried through and brittle, place them in a plastic baggie and seal. Crush them with your hands, or with a towel if your skin is sensitive, as some of the powder may leak through.
Finally, pour the crushed peppers/chili flakes into a shaker and use as needed.
It really is a great way to preserve a large chili pepper harvest. I have chili flakes all over the house, at our breakfast table, at the bar in our basement, tucked away in drawers. You never know when you're going to need them. Actually, you DO know when you're going to need them. When you're eating!
If you don't have a dehydrator, this is one that I recommend:
Nesco FD-75A Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator - It's an affiliate link, FYI. I started with a Nesco and still use it today.
Also, if you enjoy dehydrating, check out my cookbook - The Spicy Dehydrator Cookbook: 95 Incredible Recipes to Turn Up the Heat on Jerky, Hot Sauce, Fruit Leather and More.
I hope you enjoy your homemade chili flakes!
How to Make Homemade Chili Flakes – Recipe
- 8 ounces chili peppers of choice
- Clean and dry your chili peppers.
- Slice each in half lengthwise for smaller peppers, or into rings for thicker walled peppers.
- Set them into your dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 130 degrees F for 12 hours, or overnight. You may need to dehydrate longer, depending on the air conditions.
- When the peppers are completely dried through and brittle, place them in a plastic baggie and seal. Crush them with your hands, or with a towel if your skin is sensitive, as some of the powder may leak through.
- Pour into a shaker and use as needed.
The crushed chili flakes will last indefinitely, though they will lose color and potency over time. They’re best used within a year.
Makes about a cup or so of crushed chili flakes.