4 Ways to Dry Cayenne Peppers at Home

You can add dried cayenne to homemade pizza, pasta dishes and more.
Image Credit: zhikun sun/iStock/GettyImages

Cayenne peppers are full of robust flavor and can easily spice up any dish. If you're growing cayenne peppers in your own garden, only harvest them when they're fully ripe and turned from green to bright red, as peppers are best when allowed to ripen on the plant.

Advertisement

Video of the Day

Cayenne peppers dry easily and don't require much prep work other than a quick rinse to remove garden dust. When thoroughly dried and properly stored, cayenne peppers are unaffected by mold.

Warning

Always wear gloves when working with cayenne, as hot peppers can burn your skin. Never touch your eyes while handling them, and wash your hands with plenty of soap and water after working with peppers, even if you wear gloves.

Things You'll Need

  • Food dehydrator

  • Paring knife

  • Dehydrator rack, baking pan or baking sheet

  • Spatula

  • Screen or drying rack

  • Netting or cheesecloth

  • Clean cloth

  • Large needle

  • Dental floss, fishing line or sturdy thread

  • Airtight container

In a Food Dehydrator

You can dry cayenne peppers in a food dehydrator or in your oven. To use a food dehydrator, simply do the following:

Advertisement

  1. Rinse the cayenne peppers to remove any dust.
  2. Use a paring knife to cut a small slit in each pepper.
  3. Spread the peppers in a single layer on your dehydrator's rack.
  4. Turn the temperature of your dehydrator to between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Turn the peppers with a spatula at least once every hour to promote even drying. Drying in a dehydrator can take up to a day.

Advertisement

In the Oven

To dry cayenne peppers in the oven, you'll prep the peppers the same way. If you don't have a dehydrator, here's how to dry peppers using your oven:

Advertisement

  1. Rinse the cayenne peppers to remove any dust.
  2. Use a paring knife to cut a small slit in each pepper.
  3. Spread the peppers on a baking pan or baking sheet.
  4. Preheat your oven to between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit and put the peppers in.
  5. Turn the peppers with a spatula at least once every hour to promote even drying. Drying in an oven can take up to a day.

Outdoors

You can dry cayenne peppers outdoors if daytime temperatures are above 85 degrees F. Here's how:

  1. Slit small cayenne peppers and cut large peppers in half lengthwise.
  2. Place the peppers one layer deep on a screen or drying rack.
  3. Cover the peppers with netting or cheesecloth to keep pests away from the peppers.

Bring the peppers indoors during the night. Drying time takes at least several days, but varies widely depending on air temperature humidity and size of the peppers.

Indoors

You can air-dry cayenne peppers by hanging the peppers in a dry, well-ventilated room. To air-dry peppers:

  1. Rinse the peppers or wipe them with a clean, damp cloth.
  2. Thread a large needle with dental floss, fishing line or sturdy thread such as carpet thread.
  3. Insert the needle through the stem end of each pepper and string the peppers together.
  4. Hang the peppers on a nail or hook. Drying may take up to a month, depending on room temperature.

Tip

Dry cayenne peppers until they're shriveled and their color has deepened to dark red.

Crumble or grind the dry peppers, and then store them in an airtight container in a dry, well-ventilated spot. A dark spot is best, as sunlight quickly fades the red color of the peppers.

Advertisement

references