Can You Freeze Fresh Chillies?

Chillies add spice, heat, warmth and smokiness to a range of dishes from across the globe. They’re a staple in the kitchen. But can you freeze fresh chillies?

The Quick Answer

Can You Freeze Fresh Chillies?

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

You can use the links below to jump through this article if you need help with how to go about freezing fresh chillies, how to defrost them or whether it’s actually worth doing in the first place:

How to Freeze Fresh Chillies

When freezing fresh chillies, you can opt for freezing them whole, chopped up and sliced or in ice cubes. All three of these options have been explained below for you to decide from:

How to Freeze Whole Chillies

This is the easiest method for freezing chillies but not the most efficient. If you know you’ll need whole chillies, then go with this approach. It’s also the quickest, so that’s why we’re starting here, but keep reading on to discover some slightly more efficient ways of freezing chillies.

  1. Clean
    First, you need to make sure your chillies are clean and dry. Give them a rinse under water, then wipe dry with a kitchen towel.
  2. Bag Up
    Place your whole chillies into a bag, then seal the bag, squeezing as much air out of the top as possible.
  3. Freeze
    Place the bag into the freezer, and you’re all done.

How to Freeze Prepared Chillies

Freezing whole chillies works really well if you know you’ll use a whole chilli in the space of a day or two. If not, then it can lead to waste – something you were probably trying to avoid in the first place. So, instead, you should consider freezing your chillies ready prepared so you can grab a pinch, a tablespoon, or a handful as and when you require it:

This is a great way to store chilli if you know you’ll only need a pinch here and there.

  1. Prepare Chilli
    To get started, you need to prepare your chillies. We would recommend removing the stalk, seeds and white membrane inside. Now slice the chillies up how you would normally use them – this could be in slices, diced up small or left in strips.
  2. Flash Freeze
    Take a baking tray and spread your prepared chilli out on it. Wrap the tray in cling film, then place it in the freezer for several hours.
  3. Bag Up
    Remove the tray and carefully tip the contents into a resealable bag. Seal the bag up, remove as much of the air as you can as you do so.
  4. Freeze
    Place the bag in the freezer. You now have a ready-to-use supply of fresh chillies direct from the freezer.

How to Freeze Chillies in Ice Cubes

That’s right! The trusty ice cube tray is coming into play here. This method is perfect if you want to add a hit of spice to your dishes alongside other flavours such as lemongrass or ginger.

  1. Prepare Chillies
    First, you need to do decide on your spice mix. You can stick with chillies on their own if you so wish, but we would recommend packing your ice cube tray slots with as much flavour as you can. We would recommend equal quantities of ginger, lemongrass, galangal (if you can get hold of it), fresh chilli and garlic. Cut your ingredients into roughly the same sizes. You could even use a grater.
  2. Portion into Ice Cubes
    Add a couple of spoonfuls of your spice mixture into each slot on the ice cube tray.
  3. Top Up with Water
    Once you’ve done that, top up with water until the spices are just submerged.
  4. Freeze
    Wrap the tray in a layer of cling film to keep it protected, and then place it in the freezer overnight.
  5. 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.

3 Tips for Freezing Fresh Chillies

Now you know how to freeze them, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing fresh chillies to have the best results:

  • Create a Spice Mix – Chillies, garlic, ginger, herbs, and spices can all be combined into one mix in an ice cube tray to make it super easy to add instant flavour to your cooking. 
  • Label the Chilli Variety – If you have frozen a range of chillies, make sure you label them clearly. You might want a smokey chipotle chilli but may accidentally use a fiery habanero.
  • Use Cubes from Frozen – There’s no need to defrost frozen cubes of chilli beforehand. Pop it into the pot you’re cooking in, let it melt away and cook as normal. 

How Long Can You Freeze Fresh Chillies?

Fresh chillies will last in either of the forms above for 3 to 4 months. After this time, there is a risk the flavour will degrade, which will render your chillies pretty much useless as their purpose is to add flavour.

You Can Freeze Fresh Chillies for up to 4 Months

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 are using prepared chillies, then grab a pinch and throw it into your pan. You would do this when you’re cooking onions down for a curry, for example.

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

However, if you’re using whole chillies, you will need to give these a little time to thaw out. We would recommend doing this in the fridge overnight.

Can You Refreeze Fresh Chillies?

Where possible, we would advise against refreezing fresh chillies. It’s the oil in chillies that gives them kick and flavour. When you refreeze chillies, you’ll draw out more of the 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?

They certainly do. Like most things, it’s hard to beat completely fresh ingredients.

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 major factor. The colour doesn’t matter too much. So if the colour or texture does get impacted slightly in the freezer it won’t matter too much – as long as it still provides a kick.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing fresh chillies or chillies in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Dried Chillies?

There’s no need! Dried chillies will last for around 6 months in the cupboard, especially if you store them in an airtight container. That’s why freezing won’t be worthwhile, as you’ll only be able to keep them in the freezer for the same period of time.

Can You Freeze Any Chilli Variety?

The methods we have used in this article can be used for a range of chillies. In the supermarket, most chillies are just plain red or green chillies. But if you’re lucky enough to have access to habanero, scotch bonnet, or birds eye chillies, then the techniques we have used for freezing chillies above will work just as well.

Can You Freeze Chilli Paste?

You certainly can. For freezing chilli paste, we would recommend using the same ice cube tray method outlined above. Just make sure you label it up as you don’t want to get your hot and spicy chilli paste muddled up with tomato puree, for example.

Leave a Comment