How to Make Red Pepper Flakes
One of our favorite ways to preserve our peppers is to make red pepper flakes. In this simple recipe, you simply dry or dehydrate your peppers and then grind them in a food processor or coffee grinder to create chile flakes (or chile powder if you grind them fine enough).
It's super easy and is perfect for all varieties of pepper such as Aleppo Peppers, Chimayo Chile, Guajillo chile, Paprika peppers, Cayenne peppers, Goat Horn Peppers, Thai Dragon peppers, Pasilla peppers, etc. You can also make hot pepper flakes out of super hot peppers like Bhut Jolokia Ghost Peppers, Dorset Naga Peppers, Carolina Reaper Peppers, or any pepper you wish!
To make your own Hot Pepper Flakes, read our simple instructions below. You can dehydrate your chile peppers or you can simply let them dry by hanging or arranging them to dry on a table or counter. Read on:
To Dehydrate Peppers to make Hot Pepper Flakes:
Trim the stems off the peppers, cut the peppers into thin strips – make sure to keep the seeds intact, those are the best part! Cutting into thin strips helps them dry out faster.
Put the peppers into the dehydrator*, arranging them so they're not touching and on one layer.
*Learn How to Dry Peppers without a Dehydrator »
Dehydrate the peppers for 24-72 hours until they are crisp and easy to crush.
Use a mortar and pestle, molcajete, or a spice grinder, food processor or coffee grinder to process the deyhdrated peppers in batches until the desired consistency. You can grind them into coarsely for pepper flakes or for longer to make a chile powder. Make sure to do this in a well-ventilated place, and wear a face mask and even goggles for super hot pepper flakes – the powder is quite an irritant as you may imagine!
Recipe Variation: You can also mix hot peppers with other spices or salt to make a Spicy Salt Recipe.
You can store your red pepper flakes in an air-tight container, keep out of direct heat or sunlight for best flavor and shelf-life. Pepper flakes don't typically spoil, but they can lose their potency and flavor over time.
Hang Drying Peppers for Pepper Flakes:
You can also dry your peppers by stringing them to hang to dry – simply thread the stems with a needle with a 20-inch-long length of dental floss or heavy duty thread, string them up and hang in a sunny window to dry. Once totally dry and crisp, remove stems then crush or grind as desired.
By the way, when you dry your peppers this way in a Ristra, it also preserves the seeds so that if you want to save seeds and grow them next season, they'll be viable!
These hanging chiles are called Ristras, and are quite decorative and great for the home and holiday decor! Learn more about How to Make Chile Ristras »
These dehydrated Purple Bhut Jolokia peppers above were grown from seed and have been dried to preserve for cooking, salsas and hot sauces in the winter (when we have more time!) We can also grind these down to make a powder or pepper flakes for crush and use to sprinkle into recipes – a great way to add heat and flavor to any dish!
Hot Pepper Lover Gift Idea:
We made this "label" just by drawing on a cut-out piece of paper and then "laminating" it onto the jar with some cut out clear packing tape. Simple and easy, and it makes for a great gift! You can even do 3-set pepper flakes, and dry out and crush pepper flakes from 3 different hot peppers. Now that's OUR kind of gift to receive!
View more of our chile pepper recipes »