Making classic red pepper flakes is simple and easy to do and a perfect way to use up those late garden season hot peppers.

red pepper flakes
Red pepper flakes that are made from our garden cayenne peppers.

If you like red pepper flakes like the kind you find at your favorite pizza restaurant you are going to love this recipe!

Most red pepper flakes are made from dried cayenne peppers, but honestly, any combination of hot peppers will do.

Every year, as the garden season begins to wind down, we end up with a plethora of hot peppers that are ripe and just waiting to be picked!

Not only have we eaten our fresh hot peppers over the growing season, we have also used them to make salsa and picante sauce.

red pepper flakes
Our cayenne peppers in the garden.

We have also used them to make hot pepper rings and hot pepper sauce.

But as the garden season begins to wind down and we are strolling through the raised rows, it seems that our hot peppers plants always have a late season boost.

Just when we think we are ready to pull out our vegetable plants, it becomes apparent that we have multiple peppers to preserve one last time.

Just like many gardeners, we tend to add too many hot pepper plants to the garden. At the beginning of the year we are in fear of a low yield so we plant that one extra pepper plant, just in case.

red pepper flakes
We even use our peppers to make our homemade Hot Pepper Sauce.

By mid to late September, we must get creative on how to not let any of those ripe peppers go to waste.

This is when we began making our own red pepper flakes. It is a fantastic way to use up a bunch of peppers at once.

There are multiple ways to dry your hot peppers, but oven roasting is often the quickest and most practical way.

You can use a dehydrator if you have one. Just layer them on the trays and heat them until completely dry and crumbling.

We use our Cuisinart food dehydrator. It typically will take 12-24 hours for all of the peppers to become dry.

red pepper flakes
If you live in the right climate, you can air dry your peppers.

Another way to dry the peppers is by simply hanging them in a warm and dry area with little humidity. Not many of us have an ideal spot or location to do this, however, it works great when you do!

But no matter how you decide to dry your peppers, it is important to remember to use the appropriate personal protection equipment when doing so.

We use rubber or nitrile gloves when cutting the peppers to help protect our skin.

The gloves will help prevent your hands from absorbing the capsaicin from the peppers. This is important so that you prevent any type of chemical burn to your skin.

red pepper flakes
Just-dried cayenne peppers ready to grind down to make our red pepper flakes.

We also use a respiratory mask when checking on the peppers as they dry. The smell and odor of the hot peppers can be overwhelming as you crack open the oven door.

We also use both the gloves and mask as we grind down the dried peppers into flakes. And whenever possible we try to do this in a well-ventilated area such as in an open garage or on the back porch.

We use our Hamilton Beach Duo Food Processor and/or our Krups coffee grinder to chop up the peppers. The food processor cuts the peppers into sizes like you find at your favorite Italian restaurant.

red pepper flakes
Grinding down our dried peppers in our Hamilton Beach Duo Food Processor.

And the Krups coffee grinder will lead to a finer consistency that is more like pepper powder. Both which we place in an air-tight container and use throughout the year!

And red pepper flakes aren’t just for sprinkling on your favorite pizza!  We use the little bit of extra spice to jazz up soups, stews, chili, pasta dishes and even on top of our eggs in the morning.

In fact, we even use our red pepper flakes to mix up our own garden spray to repel deer and pests! See: Hot Pepper Spray 

So this year, when you don’t know what to do with all of your extra hot peppers, make your own red pepper flakes.

red pepper flakesHow To Make Red Pepper Flakes

INGREDIENTS:

Ripe red cayenne peppers

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 180° F

1. Wearing gloves, wash and dry your peppers and cut off the stem of each pepper.

2. Place your peppers on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and place them in the oven. You can do several trays if you wish.

3. After about 3 hours, shake each pan and rotate for even drying.

4. At the 4 hour mark, check to see if any of the small peppers are dried. They will begin to crumble when touched. Remove any peppers that are completely dried and continue to dry the others to the oven to finish drying. (approximately 4-6 hours)

5. Once your peppers are completely dried, remove them from the oven to cool.

6. Place the dried chilies in a food processor or grinder and pulse until you get the desired texture red pepper flakes

Store in an air tight container

Enjoy!

Mary and Jim

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Red Pepper Flakes

Ingredients

  • Ripe red cayenne peppers

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180° F

  1. Wearing gloves, wash and dry your peppers and cut off the stem of each pepper.
  2. Place your peppers on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and place them in the oven. You can do several trays if you wish.
  3. After about 3 hours, shake each pan and rotate for even drying.
  4. At the 4 hour mark, check to see if any of the small peppers are dried. They will begin to crumble when touched. Remove any peppers that are completely dried and continue to dry the others to the oven to finish drying. (approximately 4-6 hours)
  5. Once your peppers are completely dried, remove them from the oven to cool.
  6. Place the dried chilies in a food processor or grinder and pulse until you get the desired texture of the red pepper flakes.
  7. Store in an air tight container.

Recipe Notes

Approximately 50 cayenne peppers will yield 1 cup of red pepper flakes.

Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

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