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Here’s a really easy recipe for making your own pepper flakes or dried ground pepper.

I don’t have a food dehydrator (although, I’d love this one).  I also don’t live in a region that’s particularly warm or dry this time of year, so hanging my peppers to dry in a window is not going to do the trick.  I read that you can dehydrate peppers using your oven, but that seems like a waste of gas and way too time consuming for me.  I needed to find a way to dry and preserve all of these peppers without spending a lot of money.

Enter the toaster oven.  Try this method with any thin walled pepper.  Use Thai chiles, cayenne or mix and match your favorites to create your own pepper blend. The thicker the wall of the pepper, the longer it will be in the toaster oven.

  • I washed about 20 red Serrano peppers and 1 ripe cayenne, split them down the middle and arranged them on a toaster oven pan covered with aluminum foil.
  • I set the toaster oven to the lowest temperature (keep warm setting should work).
  • I kept the door of the toaster oven open while the peppers slowly lost their moisture for about 2 hours.
  • The key to using this method is to find a balance of roasting and dehydration.  You want to completely dehytdrate the peppers, but only roast them slightly.
  • I then propped open the door of the toaster oven with a ball of foil so that the door was about 30% open for another hour.
  • Lastly, I opened the door completely and waited for the peppers to dehydrate fully for another 1-2 hours (they will start to appear more transparent and brittle).
  • I used my spice grinder to turn these peppers into flakes.  20 dehydrated peppers only yielded about 3 Tablespoons of flakes, but well worth it!

After about 3 hours in the toaster oven, the peppers will appear slightly transparent and lose a lot of water weight.

5 hours later. Perfectly dried and slightly roasted Serrano chiles, the smell was amazing.

Delicious, organic Serrano chile flakes.