Can red peppers be frozen

The correct way to freeze most kinds of peppers

For freezer storage, keep small peppers whole and cut up the larger ones. (Courtesy of Linda Perry )

Some raw peppers just don’t freeze well, no matter what the Interweb says. This occurred to me as I was squishing the moisture out of some defrosted aji amarillos, a thumb-length, orangey-yellow variety that’s hard to buy fresh in the Washington area.

I like to grab different peppers when I’m grocery shopping, because it increases my cooking options tenfold. There’s a good range of varieties at Asian and Latino markets, where they are cheap but often packaged by the small mound. That’s when I offload to friends, Costco-style (“need a 12-ounce jar of dried basil, Susan?”) or find room in the deep freeze.

I hardly ever use an entire bell pepper; finding modest-sized ones is becoming as tricky as tracking down the elusive small shallot. Cut bells last up to a week in the refrigerator, and that’s where I keep them to retain any of their crispness, because they are 92 percent water and won’t bounce back from zero-degree storage. By the way, did you know that purple ones have the same tang as the greens? Another fun fact: Not all green bell peppers will turn into red or other colors, and not all bell peppers start off green.

Freezing sweet or mild or bell peppers involves simple steps: Remove the stems, seeds and membranes; cut them as you like, then spread on a tray so they’re not touching each other; freeze till firm, then transfer to a freezer-safe zip-top bag with all the air pressed out or to a vacuum-sealed bag.

Hot peppers such as small jalapenos, serranos, habaneros, Thai/bird’s-eye and cayennes are better left whole. The good news here is that, especially once they’re cut, their skins will most likely slip off with the same ease as though they’d been charred and steamed. That’s what happens with the frozen aji amarillos, too.

Can we offer a few pepper preparations? You bet. But first . . . .

Top recipes of the week

Readers are on the pizza trail, making two of the three Midwestern pies among the most-viewed options in our Recipe Finder:

1. Quad Cities-Style Pizza. Malt syrup, bread flour and dried seasonings give this pie’s crust a deep flavor and satisfying chew.

2. Dorie Greenspan’s Mediterranean Yogurt Cake. A sunny and easy loaf pan cake.

3. Detroit-Style Pizza. Buttery-tasting, with crisped edges.

4. African Soul Fried Rice. Michael Twitty’s colorful side or main dish is flavored with an African spice.

5. Lentil Shepherd’s Pie. From #WeeknightVegetarian.

Get those peppers out of the freezer and make . . . .

(Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

Georgian Garlic Chicken

Almond Pepper Sauce

Lomo Saltado

Grape, Corn and Red Pepper Relish

(Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

Tri-Pepper Burgers

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Pepper and Potato Frittata

More from Food:

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Freezing Chili Peppers: A How to Guide

Freezing peppers is a great way to preserve your chili pepper harvest. Learn how to freeze peppers of any kind so you can enjoy them all year long.

Freezing peppers is a good idea if you have a large crop and want to save them for later use. You don’t have to cook your chili peppers before freezing, although you can skin or peel them if desired.

Just keep in mind that after you thaw them, the skins usually come right off easily.

You can freeze any type of chili pepper this way, including bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, even the hottest of the superhot chili peppers.

How to Freeze Peppers – Step by Step

  1. First, select fresh peppers that show no signs of rot.
  2. Wash the peppers clean, then dry them completely.
  3. Slice the peppers open and remove the stems. Remove the seeds and membrane, if desired.
  4. Chop the peppers if you’d like, or you can freeze them whole.
  5. Transfer the peppers to freezer bags and remove as much air as possible.
  6. Set the peppers into the freezer. Use as needed.

Some people like to blanch their peppers before freezing, but it is not necessary. If you’d like to blanch your peppers, however, simply set your sliced peppers into boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, cool and dry them, then freeze as needed.

Tips for Freezing Peppers

You can remove the seeds and membrane from the peppers if you’d like by scraping them out with a spoon, or keep them in if you’d like. Most of the heat from most peppers is held within the whitish interior, so choose accordingly.

You can also set out your chopped or whole fresh peppers onto a baking sheet and set it into the freezer before bagging. Then, once they are frozen, transfer them to freezer-safe bags and seal them up.

Safety Tip

It is recommended to wear gloves when handling hot chili peppers. Capsaicin, the chemical that makes chili peppers hot, is an oil that can get onto your skin and cause a burning sensation. Gloves will protect you from the burn.

If you do feel the burning sensation, wash your hands thoroughly. There are many methods to help. Learn more about how to stop the chili pepper burn.

How Long Do Frozen Peppers Last?

One you freeze chili peppers, it is recommended they be consumed within 6 months to maintain best quality. After about 6 months, they start to lose quality and may suffer from freezer burn.

How to Thaw Frozen Peppers

To thaw frozen peppers, simply remove the amount you need from the freezer and let them come to room temperature. It is good to freeze them in portions that you normally use, but if you freeze them in a very large bag, they should break apart fairly easily so you can keep the unneeded portion frozen.

Using Frozen Peppers – How to Cook with Frozen Peppers

Cooking with frozen peppers is easy. Simply thaw a portion of them required for your recipe and use them as you would fresh peppers. They will most likely be softer, however, than fresh peppers, so consider this for the recipe you are making. Cook them into anything from soups and stews, stir fries and more. Frozen peppers can be used to make sauces and hot sauces, and they can also be dehydrated without issue to make powders and seasoning blends.

Can You Refreeze Thawed Peppers or Vegetables That Have Been Previously Frozen?

According to, you can safely refreeze thawed or partially thawed food if it still contains ice crystals or at 40 °F or below. Partially thawing and refreezing them, however, may negatively affect the food quality. But, they will be safe to eat.


Further Pepper Preservation and Information

See below for other information to help you with your chili pepper harvest. There are answers to some of the most common questions I receive on the site.

  • How to Freeze Roasted Peppers
  • How to Freeze Stuffed Peppers
  • Dehydrating Chili Peppers
  • How to Pickle Chili Peppers – a Guide
  • How to Ripen Unripe Peppers
  • How to Ferment Peppers
  • Saving Pepper Seeds for Growing Later
  • How to Freeze Peppers
  • How to Can Peppers
  • How to Store Peppers


Freezing Peppers

with Sharon Peterson

I spent my morning freezing peppers. I was gifted with a whole box full of green peppers. A LOT of peppers!

There is no way I’m going to get them all used up before they go bad. I don’t really care for canned green peppers, (mushy ick). We like pickled pepper rings but right now I have plenty.

I’ll make up some stuffed peppers for dinner but I’ll still have some left over.

Solution? Freeze them up. Easy quick way to take care of them now to use them up later.
Usually when you are freezing vegetables you need to blanch them first. Freezing peppers is an exception. You do NOT need to blanch peppers first.

Freezing Peppers, green, Anaheim, mild chili, hot jalapenos.

Are you interested in an AD-free Simply Canning? Check this out…

Wash the peppers first. They may be frozen whole, halved, sliced, or diced. It is personal preference. It just depends on how you’d like to use them. I mostly pack diced

To cut up your peppers simply chop off the top stem end of the pepper. I cut out the center of these tops and keep the edges. Pull out the inside seeds and core of the pepper. Then slice down each side making strips. Finally chop each strip into the size pieces you want.

Today I had so many peppers and needed to get them taken care of quickly. I diced them up in rather largish pieces. And simply placed them in freezer bags. Label and date the bags then place them in the freezer.

Try not to stack them more than 2 deep. You want them to freeze as quickly as possible and the center bags will take longer to freeze if you stack them high.

Another option is to lay them in a flat tray or pan and freeze them this way. After they have frozen place them in a large gallon size bag. The peppers will be individually frozen and easy to pour out just how many you want for a recipe.

If you freeze green peppers diced in 1/2 cup or 1 cup quantities they are ready to be tossed into a chili or soup recipe right from the freezer. Measure out your quantities and place in inexpensive sandwich baggies. Then place the sandwich baggies in quart or gallon freezer bags. The sandwich bags will be less expensive but the freezer bags will give you the freezer protection your peppers need.

Remove as much air as possible by pressing your bag flat without crushing the peppers. Seal the bag. Label with contents and date, and freeze.

Please note:

When handling hot peppers it is a very good idea to wear gloves. Especially if you will be cutting them up. The seeds can be very hot and may burn your skin. Be very careful not to touch your eyes or face! I have experienced burning on my hands and it is uncomfortable!

Related Pages

Canning Peppers

Pickled Pepper Rings -(mild, great for omelets!)

Pickled Hot Peppers

Dehydrating Peppers

From Freezing Peppers back to freezing vegetables.

Online Canning Classes

Learn Home Canning

I’ve been teaching home canning for a long time. I’d love to share what I’ve learned with you.

Simply Canning School is what you need to start filling jars.

Quick Way to Freeze Red Peppers

Megan Cain is setting out to create a legion of gardening addicts that successfully and passionately grow their own food. Through her gardening education business, The Creative Vegetable Gardener, she helps people get more from their gardens by first mastering the essentials and then indulging in the colorful details that make gardening not just a favorite pastime, but a lifestyle.

Last winter when I popped into Whole Foods to pick up some ingredients for dinner I noticed a big sign proclaiming, Red Pepper Sale! I walked over to check it out and the sign further explained – Red Peppers, $3.99 each.

I quickly calculated in my head how many red peppers I had in my freezer at home – at least 50. Wow! That meant I had $200 worth of red peppers in my basement. I smiled to myself as I thought of all the money I had saved by preserving my extra peppers during the harvest season that past summer.

Red peppers are one of my favorite vegetables to grow in my garden. They’re deliciously sweet, beautifully colored, and one of the vegetables that provides a great payback because they’re so expensive to buy. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of harvesting a bucket full of red peppers from the garden on a summer morning. I always feel so rich!

But, you can only eat so many fresh red peppers in salads, on pizza and with veggie dip. Eventually you might start to giving them away to coworkers, neighbors and friends. This year, instead of getting rid of your extra red peppers, try putting some away for winter eating.

The great thing about peppers is that they’re super easy to preserve. You don’t need any special equipment and you don’t have to slave away for hours in front of a hot stove. Peppers just need to be chopped into pieces and put into containers. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Listen to a podcast or chat on the phone while chopping, and before you know it, you’ll be finished.

If you didn’t grow peppers in your garden this year, you can still preserve some for winter eating. Visit your local farmers market during the height of the harvest season and shop around for bulk deals. I guarantee you won’t be paying $4 per pepper like you will be in the winter!

How to Freeze Peppers

Prep Materials Needed: Cutting board, knife.
Best Storage Containers: Freezer bags or glass mason jars.

Easy Storage Directions:
1. De-stem and de-seed peppers. (You can leave hot pepper seeds in if you want!)
2. Chop into desired bite sized pieces.
3. Peppers can be frozen raw, so simply pack them into your containers.
4. If the peppers are dry when frozen they shouldn’t stick together. If you want to make sure they remain loose, spread them on a cookie sheet for an hour in the freezer and then pack them into containers.

Favorite Recipes with Peppers from the Freezer: In the winter we use our frozen red peppers several times a week in home cooked meals such as vegetarian burritos, curries, fried rice dishes, Shepherd’s Pie and frittatas.

Join me in the upcoming FREE 7 Day Challenge – Make Your Garden Harvest Last All Year. I’ll help you get started preserving the harvest in the simplest ways possible so you have a pantry full of mouth-watering vegetables to use in your recipes way beyond the gardening season. Join here (

  • If you are wanting to preserve your own garden-fresh peppers, then it’s time to learn how to roast and freeze red peppers to use later.

    Truth is . . . I’ll take a red pepper any time over a green pepper since I’ve come to love their sweet taste! Oh, and not to mention how healthy they are for us!

    Tasty and healthy? Seriously? You’ve got both with red peppers!

    Our gardens are overflowing with perfectly vine-ripened peppers now in a variety of colors of yellow, red and green. So too are all of the farmers’ markets and grocery stores. So when peppers are in their peak season, head out to your garden or local farmers market and fill up a basket! Prices are still a bit high at this time for red peppers in stores nation-wide, so that’s one more reason to remember to get that garden going next spring with some pepper plants included if possible.

    Even if you have just ONE little window box . . . get something GROWING!

    from the garden!

    Go beyond tossing these ruby babies in salads . . . give them a quick and hot roast . . . either in your oven (like I do) or on the grill (like my husband does . . . sorry, I can’t grill; I’m just too scared of blowing things up)! Roasting red peppers is a super easy way to let these red beauties SHINE with an intensified flavor, a hint of smokiness, and a delicate tenderness beyond compare! Purchasing roasted red peppers in jars is so expensive and the amount of peppers from just one plant is so much more affordable for us to harvest and roast by ourselves.

    Roasted red peppers do really well in the freezer . . . much less work than canning them!

    The simplest way to roast red peppers is in your very own oven spread out on a large baking sheet.

    FIRST, get that oven of yours set at the hottest temperature that it can possibly get . . . I set my oven at “Broil” which is 500 degrees F!

    set your oven on BROIL or on the hottest temperature that your oven allows!

    cut the red peppers in half and lay them skin-side up on a baking sheet or pizza panha.

    roast the skin side up first . . . keep an eye on them
    about 5 – 10 minutes

    Roast the red peppers until the skins begin to blister and have a blackened char.

    flip the red peppers over to roast the opposite non-skin side (optional, but I do this to roast them completely)

    beautiful roasted, blackened, charred edges

    After the roasting is finished, while the peppers are still hot, place the charred red peppers in a bowl and cover with some plastic wrap. You can also use a sealed plastic container. By doing this, the peppers are steamed a bit while they cool.

    After your peppers have cooled off enough for you to handle with your hands, you can either peel off the blackened skins or leave them on (I do this both ways). If you choose to leave the skins on, you can also easily slip them off after thawing the peppers from their freeze.

    In small freezer ziplock bags, place two pepper halves in each bag. I pack them this way because I only use a few roasted red peppers at a time. This way I can just go to the freezer and take out a bag as I need them instead of thawing out a whole bunch of peppers at a time when I don’t need that many. But it is totally up to you.

    Here’s a fantastic recipe to use your roasted red peppers:

    Bucatini with Roasted Sweet Red Peppers


    • Red peppers, cut in half and opened to lay flat


    1. Heat oven to broil or hottest setting.
    2. Place pepper halves flat, skin side up, on a baking sheet or pizza pan.
    3. Roast until the peppers are blackened and charred.
    4. Remove peppers from the oven and flip them over to roast the opposite side (optional).
    5. When edges blacken, remove the peppers from the oven.
    6. Place the roasted peppers in a bowl and cover.
    7. Allow the peppers to cool.
    8. Place 2 red pepper halves in one small freezer ziplock bags.
    9. Continue to fill ziplock bags until finished.
    10. Place the bags of roasted peppers in the freezer.

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      • Freezing Bell Peppers: A Step-By-Step


        Freezing is an important technique for preserving ripe, in-season fruits and vegetables. Bell peppers are among the easiest types of produce to freeze. For starters, you do not need to blanch them before you freeze them, which makes the process a lot easier. You can also use frozen bell peppers in many of the same ways that you use them when fresh; however, remember that they can lose their crispness after thawing. As a result, they are better for cooked preparations rather than raw ones. Add them to your soups, stews, and to chili.

        Freezing bell peppers may seem simple, but you will need to follow the right steps to make the process as efficient as possible. The step-by-step below will ensure that the peppers taste their best after thawing and that they retain both their color and their flavor.

        1. Inspect your peppers for signs of mold and for soft spots. Separate these peppers and cut away the blemishes. If possible, use them immediately as they may not stand up to freezing.

        2. Use your chef’s knife or a paring knife to core the peppers. You can compost the unusable parts such as the stems, pith and seeds.

        3. Next, you will want to get the peppers to an appropriate size for freezing. If you want rings, cut them across or right down the center for strips. Whatever shape you prefer, you can freeze them that way to make it easier to use them in the future.

        If you want to use your bell peppers for stuffed peppers, you will have to keep them whole. Cut the tops off, get as many of the seeds out as you can and then replace the tops. Keep in mind that freezing bell peppers whole takes up a lot of room in your freezer. Another tip when making stuffed peppers is to place the stuffing inside the peppers before you thaw them. This does not affect the finished dish and actually makes them easier to stuff.

        4. Rinse the peppers thoroughly to get rid of any leftover seeds, then dry them with a towel. Freezer burn is a potential issue; getting them completely dry helps to reduce the risk.

        5. Scatter the peppers on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. This step allows each piece to freeze individually and keeps them from sticking together when you store them in the freezer. Another benefit from this is that you can remove exactly the amount that you need without having to thaw a whole batch. Remember to position them so that the pieces are not touching each other when you freeze them on the cookie sheet. It should take about 20 minutes to freeze them.

        6. Place your frozen pepper pieces in freezer-safe containers with as little empty space as possible. If you are using freezer bags, squeeze and roll to eliminate air. The more empty space you have, the more likely freezer burn becomes.

        7. Label the containers and place them in the coldest part of your freezer. Remember that they may succumb to freezer burn even if you followed all the tips above; use them before they get to that point. Ideally, you will want to use your frozen peppers within 8 months to get the most nutritional value and flavor from them.

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