How to make Red Pepper Flakes 13 Comments

Oct 11, 2009

Ever wonder how red pepper flakes are made? Or where they come from? Until recently I hadn’t really thought about it. I buy my red pepper flakes/ chile flakes from the grocery store in a bottle like I do with most of my spices.

In my weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box I found a full pound of cayenne peppers. Researching how to cook with them, I discovered Julia from Mariquita Farm’s photo essay on how to make red pepper flakes.

First, wash the peppers and pat them dry. Cut the peppers length-wise and take out the pith and seeds. Set oven at 200 degrees and place peppers skin side up, and let roast for about 6-8 hours until roasted, dark and dry. You’ll know the peppers are ready to be grinded when they become brittle.

Next, let the peppers cool a bit and put them in a grinder. You can use a coffee grinder, a food processor—whatever you have in your kitchen. Start by grinding just a little to see the size of flakes you get. The less grinding—the more flakey the result. The more you grind—the closer it’ll look to the powdered pepper you buy in a store.

These cayenne pepper flakes are nothing like the plastic store bought red pepper flakes. The color is a deep blood red, the flakes smell like fresh pepper, and the texture is like rock salt. And the taste…is incredible—deep, warm, mysterious—with just a touch of a rounded spiciness.

P.S Cayenne peppers rate about four out of ten in terms of heat.

How to make Red Pepper Flakes (Image 2)
How to make Red Pepper Flakes (Image 3)

Ingredients

1 pound cayenne peppers

Yields

½ cup

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

6-8 hours

Directions

Wash the peppers and pat them dry. Cut the peppers length-wise and take out the pith and seeds. Set oven at 200 degrees and place peppers skin side up, and let roast for about 6-8 hours until roasted, dark and dry. You’ll know the peppers are ready to be grinded when they become brittle.

Let the peppers cool a bit and put them in a grinder. You can use a coffee grinder, a food processor—whatever you have in your kitchen. Start by grinding just a little to see the size of flakes you get. The less grinding—the more flakey the result. The more you grind—the closer it’ll look to the powdered pepper you buy in a store. Let the peppers sit for about 15 minutes before you open the grinder or the food processer. You’ll end up sneezing from the peppers.

You can substitute cayenne peppers for other peppers as well.

Credit

Mariquita

Filed Under

Sauces| Rubs| Blends and Food Gift Ideas

Spices Used

Chili

13 Comments

This is so interesting. I never thought about how to make them until now, and it looks so easy.

Christina, over 4 years ago

do you know how much electricity you waist by doing this? isin't it cheaper to buy them?

—Maja, over 4 years ago

brilliant! I wonder if his would wok with habaneros too - my garden seemed to like them and I have way more than I know what to do with.

lk , over 4 years ago

Hi -- yes it would work with haberno as well. Ursula

—Ursula, over 4 years ago

I love making chili flakes, so much better than the grocery store stuff. I cheat a little though, I buy the dried red chilies and throw the whole thing in the food processor. I leave the seeds in because I like the extra spice. I just bought a huge bag of serrano peppers at the Oakland farmers' market and I'm going to try this recipe with a bunch of them.

Allison Arevalo, over 4 years ago

@Maja- if electricity is your issue use a mortar and pestle

—Bre, over 4 years ago

Do you know if putting them out in the sun all day would also work? I once dried miso paste like this to end up with dried miso. This meant I didn't have an oven on all day. its worth checking on them throughout the day though otherwise they burn.

—Chana, over 4 years ago

Love it. Made it right after you posted this and only got to grind the dried peppers today. Left it at flake consistency.

Warning to you spice lovers--even though you don't smell the spiciness upon preparation, it is actually quite a powerful pepper...it took 3 days for the air in the house to clear and for my sneezing to stop.

—Ravit, over 4 years ago

Why not sun dry them to save the 6 to 8 hours of wasted oven time!

—Sam, over 2 years ago

Wow now I never new this but I like my food hot since my brain injury well I'm going to use that as an ecuse and I'm sticking to it, But the hotter the better cause if it dosen't have alittle heat to it then it can't be that tasty LOL

—Paul Jr., over 2 years ago

I use my food dehydrator. We plant chili peppers of all varieties. I eat 1 Tbs a day sprinkled all over my food. Have been doing this for years. Helps digestion, helps against cancer & helps to lose weight. Once you get over the initial discomfort in a couple of days you cant even tell you ate chilis. Build up tolerance. It is good for your stomach and keeps it healthy from stomach & intestinal problems.

—Janis Cramer, over 2 years ago

Is it 200 degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit???

—Damian , over 2 years ago

My Dad grows them in the summer, dries them in the attic and then grinds them in food processor. (it takes a couple months to dry out so this is a much longer process.) However, he does not remove the seeds. Isn't that where the hot flavor comes from? What would hot pepper flakes taste like without the seeds? I would like to try your method but I think the seeds should not be
removed.

—Carolyn, over 2 years ago

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