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27 September 2017

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.

Yes!

How to Make Homemade Chili Flakes – Recipe

Why I Love 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 – Recipe

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.

How to Make Homemade Chili Flakes – Recipe

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.

Like so…

How to Make Homemade Chili Flakes – Recipe

Finally, pour the crushed peppers/chili flakes into a shaker and use as needed.

How to Make Homemade Chili Flakes – Recipe

Making Chili Flakes – a Great Preserving Method

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

Safety Advice

When working with hotter peppers, including superhots, it is important to wear gloves when handling the peppers both in raw and dried forms. The oils can get on your skin and cause burning sensations. See above.

Need help? How to Stop the Chili Pepper Burn On Your Skin.

Also, the fumes from the chili peppers and/or the fine powders may get into the air if you are not working in a well ventilated room, so you may want to wear a mask and goggles. Superhot chili peppers, truly, are called superhots for a reason.

Check Out Some of My Other Homemade Seasoning Blends

If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

How to Make Homemade Chili Flakes – Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

How to Make Homemade Chili Flakes – Recipe

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.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time12 hrs
Total Time12 hrs 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 32
Calories: 22kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces chili peppers of choice

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Makes about a cup or so of crushed chili flakes.

Nutrition

Calories: 22kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 132mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1875IU | Vitamin C: 2.2mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.4mg
How to Make Homemade Chili Flakes - Recipe

 

24 comments

  1. I respect the American restaurant supply companies for giving me consistency for decades. It’s tasted the same everywhere and I know how much I can shake on a pizza slice in many states of the union. Like some mutant proprietary strain or blend of red chiles—I never thought they were cayenne-derived but I’m often wrong.

    I’m going to DIY.
    My region has a big turnover of bagged, dried chiles at many markets. Sun-dried and bagged (except for the smoked ones), I’m guessing, is the manufacturing process. Could get quite a variety of heat for 79 cents a bag…

    It’s not your garden-to dehydrator-to table…but is this a doable venture? See any pitfalls going the store-bought DIY route?
    Thanks.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Brent, absolutely. You could sell at farmer’s markets, etc, though if you are seeking an eventual commercial endeavor, you’d need to look into state laws. But I know of people who sell their peppers in various forms all the time.

      1. I don’t think I made myself understood. Sometimes I get excited about peppers. I was basically asking if you think I’d have success making homemade pepper flakes from dried store chiles instead of dehydrator (I don’t have one) chiles?

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Oh, sorry, yes! Absolutely, my bad. You can absolutely use dried peppers from the store to make chili flakes the exact same way. The only thing to look out for is – some of them can be quite pliable and not brittle, so when you process them, they won’t break down as much. I suggest heating them on very low heat in the oven until they become more brittle, if needed. Then proceed to flake making. Sorry about that. I hope this helps!

          1. I’m not always clear, it’s me. It’s getting to be triple digits in my region so I will air dry the pliable chiles. I worry even with a low oven temperature I’d essentially be toasting them or changing their color—and thank you for that info.
            Is dehydrating considered toasting?
            Last question before I come back and rate this, good sir:
            off the top of my head I’m inclined to just keep it simple: arbol and chiletepins with gaujillo to keep it from going over the top. Reasonable? Thanks.

          2. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

            Brent, dehydrating is different from toasting in that the temperatures are lower. Toasting will scorch the peppers with higher heat, where dehydrating uses warm air and heat to remove all of the moisture from the peppers, leaving the dry husk. I believe your choice of peppers would make for a nice blend of chili flakes. You’ll get a nice mix of flavor and heat. Let me know how it turns out for you.

          3. 5 stars
            Sorry to bug you so much on this one, sincerely. Think we are all tightening our belts and I’ve thrown $ down the drain on kitchen mis-steps before. Dried outside for 2 days then crushed by hand. Nice deep red. An arbol scorcher and pizza-perfect. A DIY success.

          4. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

            Excellent! No bother at all, Brent. Glad you enjoyed them!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Abraham, yes, you can do this, but make sure there is very little or no humidity. Many people who air dry their peppers lose them to rot from moisture. I feel a dehydrator is best, but let me know how it goes.

  2. Beautiful mate. My first ever season of growing is reaching a fiery crescendo. I was planning to make chilli flakes amongst other things with my bounty. I have 8 bushes that are absolutely booming, fruit everywhere!!!! And as I’ve kept them all close to each other there looks to have been some cross pollination by the bees going on which is just icing on the cake for me.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe, i look forward to trying it real soon. Hopefully I can find morerecipes that I’m capable of following for the other things I want to do (I’m not particularly adept in the kitchen, but I try…)

    Cheers mate.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Nik! I appreciate it. If you need any help, let me know! Enjoy.

  3. 5 stars
    Bumper crop this year! We have dehydrated a couple batches of jalapenos in the last couple of weeks and turned them into chili flakes for our shakers using this recipe. No more raiding those little pizza packets . . . it takes forever to fill the shaker not to mention a small mountain of packets.

    Will be looking into making some of your powder mixes soon. Thanks for the great content!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, David! Glad it worked out for you! I’ve already made several large batches this year. Looking forward to enjoying it all year long.

  4. 5 stars
    So I tried my first batch, all some Scorpions my mother (bless her heart) grew for me. I’m a fan of pain by heat, but oh boy was this hot. So much so that im thinking it might be (god forbid) too hot for daily use lol. Do you have any good blends that tame the heat just a tiny bit, or that add a complexity to the flavor? I wish we had our normal abundance of basic habaneros this year! I think they might help, but I would love to hear any of your favorite blends of peppers for a mixed flake! Even if it wont help this year, maybe i can plan for next?

    Also, love your site!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks! Yeah, pure scorpions are going to be pretty awesomely hot. Depending on your heat preference, I suggest mixing them with milder chili flakes. You can dry bell peppers and mix the scorpion flakes to really even things out. Test out some ratios. Bell peppers have a TON of flavor. Another ideas is to grind the flakes into a powder then mix it with some other ingredients to make a seasoning blend. Just a little will go a long way, of course! Let me know if you want any other suggestions.

  5. Maggie Viken

    What do you think is the variety of chili pepper used to make commercial chili flakes? Thank you

  6. I am fermenting products as a business and have started to make fermented hot sauce this year and was looking at ways to include more chilli products to my range. I am definitely going to include chilli flakes and also maybe a chilli and garlic shake. Thank you for a great newsletter and website!

  7. Hi!

    I have a batch of chillis that I froze last year. Perhaps a silly question, but are they able to be dried? May take longer but do you know if it even works or will I lose them all?

    ( 🙁 I wish I’d dried them instead of freezing)

    REPLY: Mat, yes, you CAN dry frozen peppers. You are correct that it may take longer. Just be sure to thaw them and chop them as needed. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

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