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Can You Freeze Fresh Chillies?

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By Ross Young

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Chillies add spice, heat, warmth and smokiness to various dishes from across the globe. They’re a staple in the kitchen. But is there a way to ensure you always have a solid supply of chillies at home? What do you do with leftover chillies?

Long green chillies in a pile taking up the entire photo

Can You Freeze Fresh Chillies?

Yes, you can freeze fresh chillies for up to 4 months. You have a few options when freezing chillies: Freeze them whole, chopped up or in ice cubes.

How to Freeze Chillies

With chillies being such a versatile ingredient, it’ll come as no surprise that there are many ways to freeze them. I’ve covered the three different methods to take when it comes to freezing chillies:

How to Freeze Whole Chillies

If you want the least amount of work possible, then this first method is the one you’ll want to follow. This isn’t the best way to freeze chillies but it is certainly the easiest way:

  1. Clean
    First, you need to make sure your chillies are clean and dry. Rinse under water, then dry them with a paper towel. If you don’t like them too hot and aren’t a fan of that burning sensation, you can slice them in half and scoop the seeds out.
Red chillies sliced length ways with the seeds removed on a wooden chopping board
  1. Bag Up
    Place your whole chillies into a bag, then seal the bag, squeezing as much air out of the top as possible. Remove as much air from the bag as possible to protect your chillies from freezer burn.
Red chillies sliced lengthways in a sealed freezer bag on a wooden chopping board
  1. Freeze
    Place the bag into the freezer, and you’re all done. It’s a good idea to write a clear label on the bag, including the date they need to be used.
Red chillies sliced length ways in a freezer bag in the freezer

How to Freeze Prepared Chillies

If you’re willing to put a little more effort in, then this is a great way to freeze chillies. It won’t take too long to achieve the best results:

  1. Prepare Chillies
    Prepare the chilli how you want. You can choose to dice, slice or cut them into halves. Just consider how much chilli you use in one go and freeze it accordingly.
A woman's hands slicing green chillies lengthways to remove the seeds
  1. Initial Freeze
    Take a baking sheet and spread your prepared chillies in a single layer. Wrap the tray in cling film, then place it in the freezer for several hours.
Green chilli halves spread out in a glass dish
  1. Bag Up
    Remove the baking tray and carefully tip the contents into a resealable bag or airtight container. Seal the bag up, and remove as much of the air as you can as you do so.
Sliced green chilli halves in an open freezer bag being held open by a woman's hands
  1. Freeze
    Place the bag in the freezer. You now have a ready-to-use supply of fresh chillies direct from the freezer.
Green chilli halves sealed in a freezer bag for freezing

How to Freeze Chillies in Ice Cubes

I love freezing ingredients into ice cubes. It’s my favourite freezing method for many ingredients.

By doing so, you can create little flavour bombs that can add instant flavour to your cooking. Chillies work well in ice cubes – especially when mixed with other aromatics:

  1. Prepare Chillies
    First, you need to decide on your spice mix. You can stick with chillies on their own, but I recommend packing your ice cube tray slots with as much flavour as possible. Try adding some garlic, ginger or herbs.
  2. Portion Into Ice Cubes
    Add a couple of spoonfuls of your spice mixture into each slot on the ice cube tray. Once you’ve done that, top up with water until the spices are just submerged. You could also use olive oil or melted butter.
  3. Freeze
    Wrap the tray in a layer of cling film to keep it protected, and then place it in the freezer overnight. You may not need to wait this long but you’re basically waiting for the cubes to go completely solid.
  4. Bag Up
    Remove the tray the following day, unwrap the cling film and pop the cubes out of the tray. You can now store the cubes in a container in the freezer and remove a cube as and when you need to pack a punch in a curry or stir fry.
Do I Need to Blanch Chillies Before Freezing Them?

Unlike many other vegetables, chillies do not need to be blanched before they are frozen. This can actually ruin their flavour. Instead, freeze them raw and as fresh as possible.

Freezer-Friendly Chilli Recipes

Try out one of these delicious recipes that are perfect for freezing:

Jaipuri Curry

2.7 from 3 votes

Aubergine and Tomato Curry

2.5 from 4 votes

How to Freeze Different Types of Fresh Chilli

Chillies come in so many forms. Yes, in your local Western supermarket, you’ll probably only have access to generic red and green chillies but there are actually around 4,000 varieties. So, can they all be frozen?

Red Chillies

Red chillies can be frozen like you would any colour, type and size of chilli. Either freeze them whole or in half in a freezer bag. Or, dice them finely and pack them into an ice cube tray with some water or oil.

Green Chillies

Yes, you can freeze green chillies of any shape, size or variety. Green chillies can either be frozen whole or prepared into pieces in freezer bags or diced into a paste with other flavourings and frozen in an ice cube tray.

Scotch Bonnets

Scotch bonnets are probably one of the most famous chilli varieties, known for being really quite fiery and synonymous with jerk. With them being so fiery and, if like me, you can’t handle too much heat then, when buying them, you’ll find you always have a few leftovers.

Fortunately, like all other chilli varieties, scotch bonnets freeze really well for 3 to 4 months without losing their poke!

Thai Chillies

Of course! Any chilli can be frozen either whole, sliced or popped into the slots of an ice cube tray. You can freeze Thai chillies for around 3 months.

Thai chillies tend to be relatively small, so they are often used whole in curries – you wouldn’t want to make Thai green curry without them! For this reason, I would freeze them whole. You can thaw them overnight in the fridge before popping them into your curries.

Other Chillies

Of course, as I already mentioned, there are literally 1,000s of chillies varieties out there so it would be impossible to cover every type. Generally speaking, all varieties can be frozen.

If you want further information on other types of chillies then check these out: How to freeze habaneros, how to freeze jalapenos peppers, how to freeze bird’s eye chillies.

How Long Can You Freeze Fresh Chillies?

The good news is that you can freeze chillies for a long time, regardless of the type of chillies you have frozen.

Fresh chillies will last for 3 to 4 months in the freezer.

After this time, I have found that there is a risk the flavour will degrade, which will render your chillies pretty much useless as their purpose is to add flavour.

The other thing to bear in mind is that you need to stop ice crystals from forming on the chillies. This is a sign of freezer burn and this will ruin the flavour of the chillies. This is why it’s important to store them in a plastic bag with a tight seal or a plastic container.

Air and moisture are the enemies – keep them out!

How Long Do Chillies Last in the Fridge?

When properly stored in a resealable bag, fresh chillies will last around 1 week in the fridge. After this, they will lose some of their potency.

How Do You Defrost Fresh Chillies?

The good news is that if you have sliced, diced or stored the chillies in an ice cube, you don’t need to defrost them. If you use prepared chillies, grab a pinch and throw it into your pan.

You would do this at the same time you would cook onions down for a curry, for example.

If you’re using a spice mix, I recommend cooking this first. Add your ice cube to a pan over low heat to slowly melt the outer layer.

However, if you’re using whole chillies, give these a little time to thaw out. I would suggest doing this in the fridge overnight. If you’re in a rush then you can leave them out at room temperature for a couple of hours.

Grate Them

Thanks to Jamie Oliver, I love taking a whole frozen chilli and immediately grating it into the pan with other base ingredients like garlic and ginger. Grating it will almost instantly thaw it. If you’re pushed for time, this is such a useful technique!

Can You Refreeze Fresh Chillies?

Where possible, I wouldn’t refreeze fresh chillies.

It’s the oil in chillies that gives them a kick and flavour – that’s the heat source. When you refreeze chillies, you’ll draw out more oils and risk turning firey chillies into bland peppers. 

Try to only thaw the amount of chilli you need at a time to prevent the need for refreezing. 

Do Fresh Chillies Freeze Well?

Chillies certainly do freeze well. Like most things, it’s hard to beat completely fresh ingredients. But if you’re looking for a way to preserve chillies, freezing them is a great option.

Generally, I can’t tell the difference between fresh and frozen chillies when using them in the base of a dish.

The advantage of chillies is that they are generally used within the body of a dish and are there for the hit of spice. The texture isn’t a significant factor. The colour doesn’t matter too much.

So if the colour or texture gets slightly impacted in the freezer, it won’t matter too much – as long as it still provides a kick.

Do Frozen Chillies Lose Their Heat?

Freezing doesn’t significantly affect the heat of chillies. A direct impact of freezing them is not loss of heat. However, like most fresh ingredients, they will lose their pungency if left in the freezer for over 3 or 4 months.

Can You Freeze Chillies From Your Own Plants?

Of course! In fact, the best time to freeze chillies is when they have been freshly harvested from your pepper plants. This is when they will have a complex flavour that isn’t just instant heat.

Sources

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Delish

Chili Pepper Madness

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2 thoughts on “Can You Freeze Fresh Chillies?”

    • We agree! Removing as much air out as possible is critical. In fact, we’ll be adding a store section soon so our readers will have some well-researched options.

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