how to dry chillies fi

How to Dry Chillies [3 Chilli Drying Methods]

Chillies are fabulous to use when fresh and most definitely when dried.  Drying a chilli means that you’ll get to preserve a glut of chillies for future use.  If you dry chillies properly then they’re very versatile and you can use them more or less in the same way that you do fresh chillies.  Chillies have thin walls to the fruit which makes them easy and quick to dry.   It also means that drying chillies is one of the best ways to preserve them.    Welcome to our dedicated article on how to dry chillies. 

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED AND AFFILIATE LINKS. MORE INFORMATION IN OUR DISCLAIMER

Chillies are incredibly versatile when fresh and even more so when dried.    We have an entire article here on how to store chillies, which covers all the different methods of storing chillies.  However, there’s a specific art to drying chillies and so here we’ll provide an in-depth guide to drying chillies.  In this article, we’ll cover.

  • How to dry out chillies
  • How to dry chillies quickly
  • Drying chillies in a dehydrator
  • How do you dry chillies in the oven?
  • How to dry chillies in the microwave
  • How to hang chillies to dry

What is the Easiest Way to Dry Chillies?

If you’re looking for the easiest way to dry your chillies, then this is by using a dehydrator.  Drying chillies with a dehydrator works best with the fleshier chillies.   If you’re looking at a dehydrator, then here are two that we recommend – there are budget dehydrators for £40 or some really awesome ones for not much more. 

Dehydrators are a great way to preserve vegetables and meats and for a small outlay, you can make your vegetable harvest go a long way!   So much so we have an entire guide to food dehydrators here – here’s a spoiler and the best dehydrators here.

Food Hydrator NameHighlightsWhat It Looks LikeRead Reviews & Buy Now!
Excalibur Food Dehydrator• 9-Tray dehydrator, 15 square feet of drying space
• Built-in on/off switch and adjustable thermostat with 26-hour timer
• Easy to clean Polyscreen tray inserts
• 7-inch fan, 600 watts, voltage: 110-120V
• Unit Dimensions: 12-1/2 H x 17 W x 19 D (inches)
Check prices and buy now
BioChef Arizona• Digital Display: 19.5 Hour Timer
• Adjustable Thermostat: 35º to 70ºC
• 9x Stainless Steel Drying Trays + 100% BPA Free inner- and outer casing
• 3x Non-Stick Sheet, 3x Fine Mesh Sheet & 3x Drip Tray
• Superior horizontal airflow for even & consistent drying of foods & no flavour contamination between the trays
• 3 years warranty on motor & parts - UK service & support centre
Buy Now!
Klarstein Fruit Jerky 6• Temperature and timer setting gives even dehydration as the fan circulates warm air
• Adjustable display on the upper surface.
• Adjustable temperature from 35-70°C.
• Adjustable timer from 0:30 - 19:30 hrs
Check Prices here
MisterChef Circular Food DehydratorTemperature- setting. easy to clean plastic trays and lid
On/off switch on the unit base.
Settable temperature from 35-70°C.
Buy the best Circular food dehydrator here
Cooks Professional Budget Food Dehydrator• 5 tier design means you can preserve varieties of food simultaneously
• Instruction manual included with drying time guidelines
• The 240W dehydrator has a timer that can be set between 1 and 72 hours with an adjustable temperature of between 35°C and 70°C
• Measures W33.5cm x D26cm x H27.5cm when all 5 trays are stacked together.
• If only one tray is used, the height is 14.5cm
Buy the best budget food dehydrator

Why are chillies good to dry?

Chillies are an excellent product to dry because they have a short season and because dried chillies are very similar to use to fresh chillies and you can use them virtually exactly the same in recipes as you would do fresh ones.  Once dried chillies can be used in recipes, ground to powder and used in recipes, in pastes and even in oil or vinegar to add flavour!

How to dry chillies at home

There are several methods that you can use to dry chillies at home.  The first is to dry chillies using a dehydrator (we recommend this Food Dehydrator for Chillies)  You can also dry chillies in the oven.  You can dry chillies by hanging them.  You CANNOT dry chillies in the microwave.

Drying fresh chillies is easy and there are several ways in which you can dry chillies.   We’ll start, however by dealing with how to prepare chillies for drying, regardless of the method that you use to dry chillies.

The easiest way to grow chillies? Here’s our guide to the best Chilli Growing kits here

How to Prepare Chillies for Drying

The first step when drying chillies at home is selection.  And it’s a really important step.  I seriously recommend wearing disposable gloves while working with chillies. Some chillies that I work with are so hot that it takes several good scrubbing hand washes to get rid of the capsaicin from the chilli that remains on the skin.  And forgetting and wiping your eyes/nose/mouth really, really hurts.

Selecting Chillies for Drying

When you’re looking at drying chillies you’ll need to select only the good quality ripe chillies with no signs of decay or damage.  If you have chillies that aren’t the best or that have some (even small) signs of damage or decay put them to one side.  These damaged and decayed chillies are great to use – when you’ve removed the damage – in pickles or chutneys, but if you include them in your drying batch they can damage the rest of the batch.  Err on the side of caution.

You can dry any variety of chilli.  You should take into account that the larger the chilli the longer it will take to dry, regardless of the drying process that you use. 

selecting chillies to dry

You should also take into account when you’re drying a batch of chillies that chillies of a similar size will dry at a similar rate.  If you try and dry a chilli that is twice the size of the one next to it, then the drying time is going to be different. 

We recommend drying chillies of similar sizes together.

When you’re selecting which chillies you’re going to dry then you should start the drying process as soon after harvesting as possible.  DON’T pick the chillies and stick them in the fridge for two days, or leave them on the side for a week.  Harvest.  Clean.  Dry.

Preparing Chillies for Drying

Regardless of the method that you use to dry your chillies you need to prepare them in the same way.

Start by washing your chillies thoroughly. 

washing chillies for storing

Pat them dry with a clean tea towel or some kitchen roll.

You can dry chillies whole or slice them in half to expose the insides.  You can also slice larger chillies.

Now you’re ready to dry your chillies.  Here are the 3 ways in which you can dry chillies.  We’ll start with the quickest and easiest way to dry chillies. 

How to dry chillies in a dehydrator

It is simple to dry chillies in a dehydrator.   A dehydrator is a specific appliance used to remove moisture from whatever foodstuff you put inside them.  You can read more about dehydrators here, but they’re fabulous appliances for extending the useful life of virtually anything that you grow in the garden.  Drying chillies in a dehydrator is the most effective and easy way of drying them.

Select and prepare the chillies as I’ve described above.

Spread the pieces of chilli or full chillies on the drying grids of the dehydrator.  Make sure that they’re not touching each other and have a little distance between them.  It’s necessary for air to be able to circular between and around each chilli or piece of chilli.

chillies in a food dehydrator

Don’t overload the dehydrator.  Turn on the dehydrator to the setting recommended by your food dehydrator manufacturer for chillies and off you go.

How long does it take to dry chillies in a dehydrator?

Each dehydrator manufacturer will detail the time it is likely to take to dry different fruit and vegetables, so check the instructions.  However, it usually takes between 5 and 12 hours to dry chillies in a food dehydrator.  A halved chilli will dry quicker than an intact chilli.

What are the best dehydrators for chillies?

Here are the highlights of the best food dehydrators for chillies.  You can read more in our full guide on food dehydrators here.

Food Hydrator NameHighlightsWhat It Looks LikeRead Reviews & Buy Now!
Excalibur Food Dehydrator• 9-Tray dehydrator, 15 square feet of drying space
• Built-in on/off switch and adjustable thermostat with 26-hour timer
• Easy to clean Polyscreen tray inserts
• 7-inch fan, 600 watts, voltage: 110-120V
• Unit Dimensions: 12-1/2 H x 17 W x 19 D (inches)
Check prices and buy now
BioChef Arizona• Digital Display: 19.5 Hour Timer
• Adjustable Thermostat: 35º to 70ºC
• 9x Stainless Steel Drying Trays + 100% BPA Free inner- and outer casing
• 3x Non-Stick Sheet, 3x Fine Mesh Sheet & 3x Drip Tray
• Superior horizontal airflow for even & consistent drying of foods & no flavour contamination between the trays
• 3 years warranty on motor & parts - UK service & support centre
Buy Now!
Klarstein Fruit Jerky 6• Temperature and timer setting gives even dehydration as the fan circulates warm air
• Adjustable display on the upper surface.
• Adjustable temperature from 35-70°C.
• Adjustable timer from 0:30 - 19:30 hrs
Check Prices here
MisterChef Circular Food DehydratorTemperature- setting. easy to clean plastic trays and lid
On/off switch on the unit base.
Settable temperature from 35-70°C.
Buy the best Circular food dehydrator here
Cooks Professional Budget Food Dehydrator• 5 tier design means you can preserve varieties of food simultaneously
• Instruction manual included with drying time guidelines
• The 240W dehydrator has a timer that can be set between 1 and 72 hours with an adjustable temperature of between 35°C and 70°C
• Measures W33.5cm x D26cm x H27.5cm when all 5 trays are stacked together.
• If only one tray is used, the height is 14.5cm
Buy the best budget food dehydrator

How to dry chillies in the oven

The next quickest method of drying chillies is to dry them in the oven.  This does, however, require more energy than a specific dehydrator.

The length of time it takes to dry chillies in the oven depends on the size and type of chillies.  Here’s how to dry chillies in the oven.

Preheat the oven to about 100 degrees centigrade (fan oven)

Place whole chillies or slices on a baking tray and place them in the centre of the oven.

Slicing chillies for drying in the oven

Chillies should take at least 6 hours to dry in the oven.  I tend to check them after an hour and turn them to make sure that they’re not sticking and then check them occasionally.  If they seem to be burning or sizzling turn down the temperature.

You can also leave the oven door open slightly, which will allow moisture to escape.  It will give you a spicy aroma in the kitchen though!  Be careful when you open the oven door, you’re likely to be hit by a blast of spicy air.  Watch your eyes!!

When chillies crumble or break between your fingers they will be dry enough to store in an airtight container.  You should ensure that they are completely cooled before putting them into the container.

How long does it take to dry chillies in an oven?

It will take a minimum of 6 hours to dry chillies in an oven. 

How to Air Dry Chillies

The most natural way of drying chillies is also the method of drying chillies that takes the longest time.   Air drying chillies requires an area with low humidity and good ventilation.  A polytunnel with good ventilation is usually a great spot.  This method of drying chillies is the cheapest as there is no extra energy cost, the challenge, however, in the UK is humidity and of course the lack of heat.

The ideal temperature for air drying chillies is 25 degrees Celsius. 

If you can’t find a low humidity spot with this temperature then you may be better off trying to dry your chillies using one of the other methods.

If you plan on drying chillies in the air, then you’ll want to keep them whole.  And with the stem on them.  Don’t slice them or cut them at all.

String your chillies together with some strong, clean thread, with 10 centimetres between each chilli.  You can string them closer together, but especially in the UK, it’s best to try and keep as much airflow as possible and as little possible contamination between fruits. 

Air drying Chillies

Hang them in direct sunlight. 

It will take about 3 weeks for chillies to dry in this manner.  If you tire of waiting, then pop them in the oven to finish off the drying process.

Check your chillies at least every two days.  Remove any that are rotting or look damaged.

How long does it take to air-dry chillies?

It’s likely to take up to 3 weeks to dry chillies naturally in the air.  The time taken to air dry chillies is very dependent upon the environment in which you locate them.

How to dry chillies in the microwave

You can’t dry chillies in the microwave.   Microwaving chillies will overheat them and likely scorch them and change the flavour.  It’s not recommended. 

Microwaves can be used to toast chillies if you don’t have access to a stovetop, but to be honest, if you’re toasting chillies for the flavour there is nothing like the charring when you do it on a stovetop.

How to Store Dry Chillies

Dried chillies can be stored in an airtight container.  Locate the airtight container in a cool dry place.  Make sure that the chillies are completely cooled before putting them in the container. 

You can also grind the chillies to powder and store that in an airtight container too.  We use this grinder and it’s fabulous.

If you’ve airdried chillies, then they make a fabulous display and do look lovely.  However, they will not last as long as those stored in an airtight container.  They’ll lose their flavour and colour more quickly.

How long do dried chillies last?

Dried chillies stored in an airtight container will last indefinitely.  They will, however, over time lose some of their flavour intensity and colour. 

Final Words on How to Dry Chillies

I have all manner and varieties of chillies here in my kitchen.  Fresh and dried.  Chilli flakes and ground powdered chilli.  There’s habanero chillies, jalapeno chillies, Kashmiri chillies, cayenne peppers, chipotle chilli peppers…. oh the list is endless.  And so being able to preserve and use all these different types of chillies throughout the year – and deal with the gluts of fresh produce is absolutely key.   It also means that we’ve experimented with the best ways of drying chillies over the years.  And while I love the display of air drying chillies, the environment in which we live (wet and not quite warm enough) means that it doesn’t always work as well as the other methods.  I hope this has managed to give you some ideas on how to dry chillies and I’d love to know how you get on with drying your chillies.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *