When you have an excess of jalapeno peppers, you wonder about freezing them. But freezing jalapeno peppers isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Before you go throwing fresh peppers into your freezer, read our methods on how to freeze jalapeno peppers (and other hot peppers) the right way. Let’s get started!
How to Freeze Fresh Jalapenos
The goal of freezing fresh jalapenos is to preserve the excess of peppers you may have after the harvest. It is not uncommon for many vegetable gardeners to have an abundance of Jalapeno peppers at the end of the growing season.
Unless you’re fond of eating spicy food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you’ll want to preserve your hot peppers. Freezing is an excellent option for keeping your jalapenos fresh and spicy for whenever you want to use them.
Find the Right Bags
The last thing you want is to open your frozen peppers in a week only to find frost buildup and freezer burn. Normal, thin Ziploc baggies will work, but they often allow more air particles through to your Jalapenos over time.
Oxygen is an enemy of your frozen jalapenos, so be sure to get proper freezer bags. These air-tight bags are thicker and ensure an effective seal for long term storage.
Prepare the Peppers for Freezing
For jalapenos, there are two primary options for freezing. Which method you choose depends on how much freezer space you have or how you plan to use your peppers in the future.
Option 1: Freeze Them Whole
Jalapeno peppers are small enough so you can freeze them whole. Most hot peppers (ghost peppers, habaneros, etc.) are quite small and can be frozen whole. If you have enough freezer space for all your peppers, we recommend trying this method. It preserves the original shape of the Jalapenos and avoids problems with oxidization and potential chili oil burns.
If you plan to freeze your jalapenos whole, follow these steps:
- Clean the hot peppers thoroughly with cold water
- Dry peppers with a towel
- Remove the pepper stems (unless you need them)
- Place peppers in air-tight freezer bags
- Try to remove as much air as you can and seal
- Freeze until you need peppers
Option 2: Pre-slice Jalapenos
The other option for freezing peppers is to pre-slice the Jalapenos in the desired configuration. The benefits of this smart method are that the peppers require less space and can store more compactly. Besides that, you won’t have to slice them later.
If you have limited freezer space or an overabundance of jalapenos, this may be the ideal choice.
If you plan to freeze sliced jalapenos, follow these steps:
- Clean the peppers with cold water thoroughly
- Dry the hot peppers with a towel
- Cut off the stems and discard
- Slice peppers into the desired configuration (we prefer long thin “straws” for easy packing)
- Spread sliced peppers on a dry cookie sheet and freeze for 1 hour (Optional; this helps keep Jalapenos separated for long-term freezing)
- Place sliced jalapenos in air-tight freezer bags
- Press out as much air as you possibly can and seal
- Freeze peppers until you need them
You can try both these methods if you want to keep some of the Jalapenos whole. The size and shape preference is up to you, but each has its benefits and drawbacks. The most crucial step with either option is to remove as much air as possible. Air exposure causes freezer burn, so do your best to keep the air locked away!
Freeze Jalapenos For Up To 1 Year
How long do frozen peppers last? Ideally, you should use all of your frozen jalapenos within the first year. It is possible to keep hot peppers frozen for longer than a year, though you may start to notice changes in flavor and color.
Food can develop an odd flavor when frozen for extended periods. Have you ever left ice trays in your freezer for too long? The ice lacks luster and doesn’t taste fresh, and neither will your peppers.
Try to use jalapenos for more home-cooked meals or for making hot sauce. The peppers are versatile, and the options are virtually endless!
Thawing Frozen Jalapenos
Thawing frozen jalapenos are much easier than freezing them! Remove the required quantity of peppers from your sealed freezer bag and thaw jalapenos on a dry paper towel. Allow any excess moisture in the peppers to be absorbed, re-seal the freezer bag with the remaining peppers, remove any excess air, and return them to the freezer.
Once the Jalapenos attain room temperature, you can treat them like freshly-harvested peppers and use them as desired. They will have the same flavor profile and heat level.
What to Do With Frozen Peppers
Once you have thawed the frozen jalapeno peppers, you can treat them as if they were fresh. They may not have the same crispy level of crunchiness as a fresh pepper (if you blanched the peppers before freezing). However, the flavor profile and heat will be almost identical to that of truly fresh Jalapeno.
Here are some ideas for what do you with frozen jalapenos:
- Use them in a spicy stir-fry. Jalapenos jazz up an Asian stir-fry. Thaw a few hot peppers or throw them in the saucepan frozen for quick use.
- Make some salsa! You can use frozen peppers to make fresh salsa. Just make sure that you thaw out and dry the Jalapenos completely before chopping them for the salsa.
- Make jalapeno poppers. Yes, you can use your frozen jalapenos for making jalapeno poppers. However, if you blanched fresh jalapenos before freezing, they will not retain the stiffness necessary to support the filling for your poppers. Try whipping up a smooth, cheesy dip if your peppers are very limp!
Note: Thawed frozen jalapenos naturally lose some of their crispness. Ideally, it would be best if you add them to home-cooked meals or side dishes. We don’t recommend pickling frozen jalapenos.
Can I Use the same method for other peppers?
Yes! Most hot peppers can be frozen whole, just like spicy jalapenos. However, if you plan on freezing larger peppers (like poblano, banana, or bell peppers), you may want to slice them before freezing to save room. Below you’ll find foul-proof methods to store other peppers.
Preserve the Harvest
You can soak hot peppers in a vinegar wash for a few minutes and give them a gentle scrub with a dry cloth. Then, you can rinse with water and pat the peppers dry. Try to put them out in a single layer on a paper towel or tea towel to dry out completely. Drying can take a few hours, but the peppers must be bone dry before freezing them to prevent freezer burn. Some people prefer removing the stem before freezing, but you can leave it on.
Once the peppers are completely dry, place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Then, put the dry cookie sheet in your freezer until the hot peppers are frozen solid. My mother taught me to freeze Jalapenos, and it’s effective for all fruits and vegetables.
Transfer the frozen peppers over to a transparent Ziploc bag and press out the air.
Pro tip: Always write the type of chili pepper on the bag to avoid confusion later on. It’ll also be helpful to note the date you freeze them and make sure to use the chilies within six months.
You will be opening and closing the Ziploc bag several times over the winter, so try using Ziploc bags with double zippers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do Jalapeno Peppers Lose Heat When Frozen?
Freezing peppers locks in the natural heat levels, so jalapenos lose none of their original capsaicin and crispiness, which makes freezing an ideal option if you plan to use the Jalapenos for hot sauce or for jazzing up dishes in the future.
Do Jalapeno Peppers Lose Flavor When Frozen?
This is a tougher question to answer. Frozen peppers may lose some flavor over time, but if frozen effectively, it will take a long time.
If you plan to eat the jalapenos within six months, you won’t notice any major flavor loss. Just be sure to follow the steps shared above on how to freeze hot peppers properly!
How to stop peppers from going mushy?
One of the best tips to stop peppers from going mushy is to freeze them. You can start by chopping the peppers. If your hands are sensitive to spicy peppers, make sure you wear gloves to protect yourself and wash your hands afterward. You can leave peppers to freeze for up to 3 months
Will the peppers get hotter when frozen?
No. You’re not crazy for thinking it might. Freezing can rupture the cell walls of chili pepper, releasing capsaicin stored in parts of the pepper into the whole batch—the heat is evenly distributed but not increased.
Can you freeze chili peppers whole?
If you can spare some free space in your freezer, you can freeze whole peppers, too. Just slice off the top of your chili peppers, and pull out the stems. Then, you can flash freeze the tops and the spicy peppers separately, and transfer them to Ziploc bags, once they’re frozen.
Are jalapeno peppers hot?
How spicy are Jalapeno Peppers? What’s the Jalapeno’s Scoville scale rating? Since jalapenos range between 2,000 and 8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Most people do not find them very spicy, but it depends on your tolerance levels.