Crushed red pepper is a staple in our house, and we use it in all of our spicy recipes! It’s super easy to make your own using chillies from your garden or the store. In this post, I will show you exactly how to make red pepper flakes, step-by-step.
Hot red pepper flakes can be used to spice up just about any recipe, and taste great with everything. You can simply sprinkled it over the top of a dish, or mix it in to any of your favorite foods to give them an extra kick.
Making your own crushed red pepper will give you the freshest and spiciest flavor possible! And it tastes much, much better than the stuff that you buy from the store.
It’s very easy to make your own crushed red chilis. Plus it’s a great way to use up all those hot peppers from your garden.
We love it and use it all the time! Below I will walk you through everything you need to know to make your own, step by step.
Here’s what you’ll find in this guide for how to make red pepper flakes…
What Are Red Pepper Flakes?
Red pepper flakes are basically just crushed up chilies. Probably the most common place you’ll see them used is at your local pizza joint or Italian restaurant.
They are also a common seasoning, often found in kitchen spice racks. When you buy them commercially made, they are usually moderately hot. But if you make your own, you can control the level of spiciness.
What Kind Of Peppers Are Used For Red Pepper Flakes?
Traditionally, chili flakes are made using cayenne peppers. Not only are they the best type to use for making crushed red pepper, they are one of the easiest, and most prolific varieties to grow in your garden.
I usually use cayenne peppers for mine too. But the best part about making your own from scratch is that you can experiment with using different varieties!
Oh, and you could also use green cayennes, they don’t all have to be ripe. Just keep in mind that the green ones won’t be as hot as the red ones are.
What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Cayenne Peppers?
No cayennes? No problem! Arbol or serrano peppers are a great substitute. But you could use any type of peppers you have in your garden, or from the store. It’s really up to you.
If you want to make extra hot crushed red pepper, try mixing in some habanero, ghost, or jalapeños to take it up a notch.
Or, if you prefer to tone the heat down a bit, then mix in some mild chili, bell, banana, or any other type of sweet peppers. It’s fun to experiment with the different flavors.
Related Post: How To Grow Peppers From Seed
How To Make Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
The process of making red chili flakes is super easy. You can either dry cayenne peppers from your garden or the grocery store yourself, or purchase them beforehand.
Crushed Red Pepper Ingredients & Supplies Needed
There is only one ingredient necessary to make crushed red pepper flakes, but there are a few other items you’ll need for this recipe too…
- Dried peppers (cayennes, arbol, serrano, or any others of your choice)
- Food processor, mini food chopper, or a manual chopper
- Food prep gloves
- Large pepper shaker or spice jars (great to give as gifts!)
- Dust mask (optional)
Crushed Red Pepper Recipe
You can use as many peppers as you want for this recipe. The best part about it is there is no batch to large or too small.
Just keep in mind that it takes approximately 50 cayenne peppers to make about 1 cup of chili flakes. Of course, the larger they are, the more crushed red pepper you’ll get.
After the peppers are crushed, it doesn’t look like you get very much out of the deal. But you don’t need to use much of the chili flakes to add lots of spice to a recipe. You will find that a little will go a long way!
How To Grind Red Pepper Flakes
Below are the steps to follow for grinding red pepper flakes. I highly recommend using some kind of a food processor or chopper for this task, rather than a coffee grinder. Otherwise you’ll end up with chili powder instead of flakes.
I also recommend wearing disposable gloves any time you are handling hot peppers, or the oils can burn your hands. You might also want to wear a dust mask, because small particles can get into the air too.
Step 1: Remove the stems – If your peppers still have the stems on them, then remove them before proceeding. Otherwise you’ll end up with tough bits of stems in your pepper flakes, and you don’t want that.
Step 2: Fill the food processor – Fill your mini food chopper with the peppers, seeds and all. Don’t stuff them in though, keep it loose.
Step 3: Grind the peppers – Pulse the food processor in short bursts of 1-2 minutes at a time until you don’t see any more large pieces.
step 4: Check for doneness – Open the processor lid, and check the flakes for doneness. When they are ready, there shouldn’t be any large chunks left in the food chopper.
Stir it up to dislodge any large chunks if necessary, and pulse again until everything is chopped up into red pepper flakes.
How To Store Crushed Red Pepper
You can use your homemade red pepper flakes right away, or store it for later. I store mine right in my large pepper shaker, just like they do at the restaurant.
DIY crushed pepper flakes can be stored in spice jars as well. Place them in your spice rack, pantry, refrigerator, or freeze them for longer term use.
Related Post: How To Preserve & Store Peppers Long Term
How Long Is Crushed Red Pepper Good For?
Your homemade ground red pepper flakes will last for about a year, longer if you keep them in the fridge or freezer.
Of course, you could keep them much longer than one year. But over time, they will start to lose their potency and flavor.
So, it’s best to replenish your supply annually. Once we start harvesting cayenne peppers in the summer, we toss out our old red pepper flakes, and replace it with a fresh batch.
Below I’ll answer a few of the most frequently asked questions about crushed red pepper flakes. If you can’t find an answer here, ask your question in the comments section below.
Is crushed red pepper spicy?
Yes, if it’s made the traditional way, crushed red pepper is spicy. However, you can tone down your homemade chili flakes by adding mild or sweet peppers to the mix, if you prefer them to be less spicy.
Do red pepper flakes go bad?
Though they may not technically go bad, red pepper flakes start to lose their potency and flavor after about one year. So it’s best to toss them out, and make a fresh batch annually.
How do you use red pepper flakes?
If you like spicy food, you can use red pepper flakes on pretty much everything. Sprinkle it on your pizza or spaghetti, mix it into soups, casseroles, sauces, or really any recipe. You can’t go wrong!
Making own crushed red pepper flakes is easy and doesn’t take much time. Plus you’ll find the flavor is much better than the store bought stuff. Be sure to try experimenting with different varieties to come up with your own unique mix of DIY chili flakes!
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Share your tips for how to make crushed red pepper flakes in the comment section below.