Chili peppers are one of those ingredients that can stump the uninitiated.
If you’re wondering what to do with chili peppers that you may have sitting around your kitchen, here are five simple ideas that’ll help get your imagination going. They’re very easy to try, and each acts as a gateway to a lot of cool culinary exploration of some of the spiciest foods out there. Soon you’ll be wanting to put chilies into EVERYTHING, and we say welcome to the club!
Idea 1: Dry out those hot peppers to turn them into homemade chili powder.
This is one of our favorite options for extra chilies. Simply let the chilies dry out and then muddle the pepper into chili powder to use in other recipes. It’s an excellent way to enjoy those hot peppers for many months to come. You can also use this powder as a base for homemade taco seasoning and other powder mixes.
Idea 2: Slice up the chilies and fry them up for a super-spicy and crunchy appetizer!
Who doesn’t like fried-up-just-right bad-for-you appetizers, especially the ones with some serious zing to go with the crunch. Fried jalapeño slices are a terrific example here. If you have extra hot peppers sitting around, this is a meal starter that’s guaranteed to not last long.
Idea 3: Make a hot sauce. It takes less than 30 minutes to do.
Basic hot sauces are surprisingly easy to make, and you likely have all of the ingredients you need already sitting in a well-stocked kitchen. It’s another great way of extending the life of your hot peppers for months to come. Plus, people will love when you tell them that you made the hot sauce from scratch.
Idea 4: Create a spicy simple syrup to use in cocktails and other drinks.
Flavored simple syrups can turn an otherwise boring cocktail into something a lot more interesting. One of our favorites is the habanero simple syrup. Try using it with any fruity cocktail to turn the heat notch up to eleven.
Idea 5: Only for the brave – have a raw chili sampling.
Yes, this last idea is not for everyone. But there’s no better way to really understand the heat of the pepper scale than to sample the chilies raw, including the seeds and membrane where a lot of the heat is contained. Think of it as culinary research, and keep a glass of milk at hand to douse out any chili burn that’s too much to take.