Ways & How

How to Dry Bell Peppers

How to Dry Bell Peppers

There are many reasons why you should learn how to dry bell peppers, but for most people, the most appealing one is that dried bell peppers are very expensive to purchase. If you frequent gourmet stores, then you would know that a jar of dried peppers soaked in olive oil goes for as much as ten times the price of their fresh counterparts. Drying bell peppers at home can help you save quite a lot of money, especially if you grow your own vegetable garden. Even if you don’t, you can simply buy fresh bell peppers cheaply when they are in season. The drying process tends to intensify the flavor of the bell pepper. They taste better when dried than when fresh. In fact, if you pick the sweetest varieties (red, yellow, and orange) and dehydrate them, you can even snack on them as dried fruit chips. You can use bell peppers in many recipes as well, like stews, salads, soups, etc. To dry your own bell peppers at home, follow our easy step-by-step guide below:

  1. Pick out the peppers. The best ones to use for drying are thin-walled peppers, simply because they have less moisture content.

    Inspect the fruit carefully for rot or bruises—a spot here or there isn’t so bad, but you have to remember to cut them out later.

  2. Wash and dry your peppers carefully. Do this step on the same day that you are planning to get started with the drying process. Washing vegetables and then storing them back in the fridge will just encourage faster spoiling.

  3. Cut off the tops from the bell peppers and remove the stems. Split them lengthwise in half so you can clean out the seeds and other mush. The seeds can be saved for planting or roasting, if you like.

  4. As for the bell peppers themselves, cut them into quarters. You can actually leave them in halves if you prefer, but larger pieces will take longer to dehydrate.

  5. For the actual drying, the most convenient method is to use a dehydrator. If you have one at home, you can simply set it on low (that’s about 100-155 degrees). Place a single layer of cut peppers, moist side up, in the dehydrating trays and leave them in until they are as dry as you want them to be.

  6. If you don’t have a food dehydrator, the oven is a good alternative. Note that this will only work if your oven has a temperature setting between 100-155 degrees. Some older ovens that come equipped with large pilot lights can actually produce enough heat for pepper drying just by using the pilot light alone.

  7. Preheat the oven just to get it hot, and then turn it down to the recommended drying temperature. Line your baking tray with wax paper and arrange the cut bell peppers in a single layer, moist side up.

  8. Place the tray in the oven and leave it there to dry. You will need to turn them every hour to make sure that the pieces dry evenly. Keep your oven door cracked open by a few inches so that the water evaporating from the peppers can escape. You can use a large wooden spoon or any other item to prop it open.

  9. Whether using a food dehydrator or an oven, check on your bell peppers from time to time. You will find that halfway through the drying process, the bell peppers will become sticky and somewhat sweet as the natural sugars caramelize. Some cooks like to use semi-dried bell peppers in various recipes.

  10. However, if you intend to make pepper flakes out of your dried bell peppers, you will need them to be brittle and thoroughly dried. This can take anywhere between eight and 16 hours; the time varies with each batch.

  11. Once the peppers are done, take them out of the oven and place them in clean mesh bags. Leave them to air dry for a few more days just to get rid of any remaining moisture.

If you live in a climate where strong sunlight is almost guaranteed for several consecutive days, you can even learn how to dry bell peppers out in the sun. The preparation is practically the same: cut the peppers and lay them on a sunning rack, turning them every now and then until done.


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