Dried chilies are a terrific way to save space in the kitchen and to enjoy chili pepper heat all-year round. To use them for most recipes, you’re going to need to rehydrate them prior to use, but what’s the best way to do this? Rehydrating just means adding water, is that all you do? When it comes to rehydrating peppers for the best flavor, there’s more to this than meets the eye. But – the good news – it’s still a simple process. Follow these steps, and you’ll get the most flavor from your dried chili – whether ancho, Chile de Àrbol, chipotle, or any other pepper.
Rehydrating peppers – Watch the video
For our visual learners, we’ve created this video that follows the best practices as outlined below.
How to rehydrate peppers step by step
Step 1: Tear open the dried chilies and shake out the seeds. If the chili is large, you can continue the tear so that you have two halves or even tear them into strips.
Step 2: Place a large pan over medium heat – a cast iron skillet works well here. Don’t coat the pan with any oil. Use it dry.
Step 3: Add the dried chilies (or chili strips if torn) to the heated pan. Dry-roast the chilies for one to two minutes per side. Use a spatula to hold the chilies down for 10 to 15 seconds at a time to increase the bubbling of the chili skins.
Step 4: Transfer the chilies from the pan into a large bowl. Pour boiling water over the chilies until they are completely covered. If you have floaters, use a tablespoon placed on top to weigh them down.
Step 5: Let the chilies soak for 30 minutes.
Step 6: Remove the peppers from the water and use in your recipe.
The heat and skin bubbling opens up the chilies so that your peppers are optimally rehydrated. You can also use this soaking liquid upon completion for your cooking. The chilies infuse this water with nutrients and a slight chili bitterness that works well for many hot sauces, marinades, and soups.