Jalapeño peppers are perfect for adding a little kick to a range of dishes – from Mexican-style burritos to pizza and even sandwiches and salads.
However, these feisty green peppers thrive best in warmer climates, and so getting your hands on some – or growing them yourself – can be a little tricky once the temperature starts dropping.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to enjoy them. A simple way to enjoy your Jalapeños for longer, and reduce your food waste, is to freeze them.
Jalapeños can be frozen either whole or chopped, and you can even roast them and then freeze them later on so that you always have a stash of roasted jalapeños on hand.
You can then add these to your recipe or meal to enhance the flavor of any dish, and save you a bunch of meal prep time, too.
Want to find out more? Keep reading and we’ll show you how.
How to freeze jalapeños
Freezing jalapeños really couldn’t be easier. The process will take minutes and will leave you with a handy supply of peppers that you can defrost at a moment’s notice.
Follow our step-by-step guide to ensure you safely freeze your jalapeño peppers:
Wash and dry your jalapenos. You can discard any that are past their prime – bear in mind that limp, moldy peppers won’t freeze as well as the fresh ones.
Use a sharp knife to cut off the stems. You can then scoop out all of the seeds on the open side.
If you’re going to use your jalapenos whole, for example, to make jalapeno poppers, you can simply leave them as they are, but if you plan on slicing and dicing them, it’s best to do it now rather than after they’ve been frozen. Cut your peppers up to the desired shape and size.
To freeze the whole or sliced peppers, simply spread them on a cookie sheet in a flat, single layer. Freeze them like this, and then transfer them to a freezer bag once they’ve frozen.
For diced jalapenos, you can put them in an ice cube tray, which will allow you to create single servings equivalent to about two tablespoons for each cube – perfect for adding a little kick to wraps or salads. Then transfer these to a freezer bag.
Whether you’re freezing your jalapenos whole, sliced, or diced, be sure to squeeze as much air out of the freezer bag as possible, as air exposure is what causes freezer burn.
How to defrost jalapenos
Defrosting your peppers is probably even simpler than the freezing process. All you need to do is remove the desired quantity of peppers from your freezer bag and allow these to thaw on a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
Then simply re-seal the freezer bag if you have jalapenos remaining, and be sure to remove any excess air. You can then pop these back in the freezer for future use.
Once your peppers have fully thawed and have reached room temperature, they’re ready to use. You can treat them exactly as you would fresh peppers and use them whichever way you desire. They should still offer the same heat and flavor as regular jalapenos.
Factors to consider before freezing jalapenos
There are a few things to bear in mind when freezing and defrosting your jalapeno peppers:
It’s a good idea to wear latex gloves (or a non-latex alternative) when you’re handling hot peppers. The capsaicin in jalapenos can irritate the skin, and you should be especially careful not to touch your face and eyes while you’re preparing them.
After you’ve placed your jalapenos in the freezer, wash your hands in hot, soapy water and wipe down your kitchen counter as an extra precaution.
Label your peppers
Not everyone is a fan of the jalapeno heat, and if you’ve frozen other green peppers it’s going to be pretty easy for somebody to mix them up.
To avoid any confusion, label your peppers so no one mistakes them for a milder pepper.
Beware of freezer burn
Before freezing your peppers, and any frozen foods, always squeeze the air out of the freezer bags or vacuum seal the bag for superior freshness.
Avoiding excessive air exposure will limit the freezer burn and extend the jalapenos’ storage life.
Make the most of your Jalapenos
Frozen jalapenos can be used in a range of dishes, just like regular ones. They work best cooked or baked once thawed, but raw, diced jalapenos are also great for condiments such as homemade salsa.
Whole peppers that have been frozen can be defrosted and used to make jalapeno poppers. It’s worth noting that sometimes they may be too limp to use for this purpose after freezing, but if this is the case, a great alternative dish is to whip up a cooling dip to accompany them.
You should try to use up your frozen jalapenos within 1 year. While it’s possible to freeze them for longer than this, you’re likely to notice changes to the flavor and color after this time.
For optimal taste and heat, use your frozen peppers within 6 months of freezing to ensure they don’t lose their flavor.
Jalapenos are super easy to freeze and can be frozen whole, sliced, or diced, depending on what you intend to use them for. They can then be defrosted and cooked, baked, or used raw to make salsa or a spicy salad topping.
Freezing allows you to avoid wasting fresh produce, and also saves you time on future meal prep, particularly if you slice your peppers before freezing.
The main thing to bear in mind when freezing these little green peppers is to ensure you wear gloves while preparing them to protect your skin from irritation, thaw them fully before cooking and eating, and be sure to consume them within six months to make the most of their optimum flavor and heat.
Any longer than this, and they’ll start to lose their kick slightly.