Man does my husband ever love hot peppers. There are so many ways you can preserve excess hot peppers from the garden to enjoy later!

What to Do With Hot Peppers from the Garden: Dry, Freeze, Pickle and Eat!

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Wondering what to do with hot peppers from the garden? You have a lot of options! I’ll tell you how to dry chili peppers, how to make chili powder, how to freeze hot peppers, and, of course, lots of amazing recipes with hot peppers!

Different kinds of hot peppers laying on a cutting board.

Man, does my husband love hot peppers. So we tend to grow a lot. I’m a big sissy when it comes to heat, so I only use a little. 

Throughout the garden season we make tons of Pico de Gallo, homemade Rotel, and salsa. We also put hot peppers in many dishes such as soups, casseroles, and pasta. Hot peppers have such a wonderful flavor. 

But we always grow more than we can use. Thankfully, there are so many ways to preserve excess hot peppers from the garden to enjoy year-round.

Want to grow hot peppers? Check out my favorite seed brand, and what to do when your garden is overflowing with excess fruits and vegetables.

What to Do with Chili Peppers From Garden

Chili peppers are medium-hot peppers that are perfect for many applications such as drying. They really do make the prettiest dried pepper in my opinion, although many types of peppers will dry beautifully. You can use them fresh in many dishes as well.

How to Dry Chili Peppers

The easiest way to use excess hot peppers is to hang them to dry. I just thread a needle and poke it through the stem area of the pepper and run it down the thread. Then I poke the next one and keep adding them until I have a foot or so of beautiful hot peppers strung up like a piece of art.

Then I take the needle off the thread and tie a little loop in the end so I can hang it on a nail or hook on the wall. In a few weeks, the peppers are beautifully dried. 

Dried red chili peppers hanging on a wall.

When I need some spice for a dish, I just cut one off and toss it in the pot or grind it up and sprinkle it in. It’s so easy. 

Peppers can last for years this way. The only thing you need to make sure of is to hang them in a dry place so they won’t mold. I’ve been doing it for years and have never lost any of my excess hot peppers to mold.

Freezing Hot Peppers For Later

You may wonder, can you freeze hot peppers? Yes, you can! 

Freezing hot peppers is another way I love to save our excess hot peppers for use year-round. I dice the peppers into small pieces – seeds, ribs and all – and put them in a freezer bag. Then I can sprinkle them in my dishes throughout the year. The only thing we don’t use is the stem.

For a complete guide on how to preserve even more produce, check out How to Use All the Garden Produce You Grow – Without Canning.

Pickling Excess Hot Peppers For Later

My husband loves those pickled jalapenos in a jar. I make them the same way, but I use all kinds of peppers and even onions and carrot slices. He loves to add them to his food for a zesty treat. 

To pickle our hot peppers, I use our recipe for refrigerator pickles, but I slice up all the peppers, onions and carrots and use them instead of cucumbers. You can also make any other pickled vegetables spicy with hot peppers like these spicy dilly beans.

How to Make Chili Powder From Peppers

Another treat you can make with your excess hot peppers from the garden is homemade chili powder and chili salt. 

Start by cutting off the stems and cutting the peppers in half. Then dry your peppers in a dehydrator, a sun oven, or in your oven with the pilot light on. Dry them until they are no longer chewy. 

Once they have cooled, you can grind them up in a blender or spice grinder. Use the chili powder as is, or mix with salt according to your taste. This pepper salt will give a wonderful flavor to finish off any dish you want to use it on. Yum yum.

Recipes With Hot Peppers

Peppers are very versatile and can add flavor to almost any dish. Hot peppers can also be used to make marinades, sauces, salads and more. Here are some of my favorite recipes with hot peppers.

Hot peppers in a bowl on a table.

Entrees that use hot peppers:

Appetizers, soups, and sauces that use hot peppers:

  • This traditional Greek spicy whipped feta dip – Tirokafteri is a rustic, delicious appetizer served with pitas, crackers, or cut-up veggies. 
  • Spicy Jalapeno Deviled Eggs will have your taste buds tingling with fresh jalapeno and sriracha – a unique take on a classic dish.
  • This spicy, fragrant, herbaceous sauce is going to make your dishes pop with flavor! It’s amazing on meat, fish, vegetables or as a dipping sauce for bread.
  • This stuffed pepper soup is made with lean ground beef simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce and chicken broth and served with a bowl of steaming hot rice. 
  • Feature those fresh garden peppers in this sweet and spicy jerk sauce. Use it as a dipping sauce or marinade to add heat and Caribbean flavor to your dishes. You can use any hot peppers you have on hand in this recipe.
  • An authentic Mexican soup, Sopa de Tortilla is packed with flavors of pasilla peppers, tomatoes and herbs, filled with tortilla strips.
  • Keto Jalapeño Savory Poppers are fun and easy to make, even more fun and easy to serve. These savory poppers are yummy snacks or appetizers with a little kick.

Need even more ideas for what to do with hot peppers from the garden? There are other ways you can use hot peppers besides as the main part of your dish. You can make all these wonderful condiments as well:

Types of Hot Peppers

There are tons of pepper varieties that range from no heat to unbearable to eat! The bell pepper, for example, has no heat at all. But the Carolina Reaper is VERY hot – the hottest pepper in the world!

There are banana peppers and pepperoncinis which are barely hot. Then the anaheim and poblano which are larger and easier to stuff, but are just a little hotter. 

The next hottest are jalapenos and serranos. Serranos are notoriously inconsistent. You can easily get one with no heat and then a scorcher in the same batch off the same plant.

If you want a pepper that’s a little hotter, the chile de arbol, cayenne, and tabasco are next in line. And if you really want some heat, thai, habanero, scotch bonnets, and ghost peppers can light up your life. And then the infamous Carolina reaper takes top position.

Hot peppers are so versatile and have a ton of uses. Experiment with different peppers to see which ones you like best. If you like spice, peppers can really bring a lot of flavor and variety into your life!

More on preserving your garden bounty:

Don’t forget to pin for later!

Hot peppers from the garden.

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8 Comments

  1. My Dad used to love those pickled jalapeños, too. He´d eat them straight from the jar, like others spoon Nutella straight from the jar. He would do the same with pickled garlic.
    We got a bottle of homemade jalapeño oil for cooking last year. It made esp pasta more interesting for the adult members of the house hold! I think they just popped a few hot peppers into the bottle and filled it up with a good quality olive oil and let it sit for 3 months.

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