Easily freeze peppers - both hot and sweet - to use in recipes all winter long. This quick method for freezing peppers is a great way to preserve your in season produce. Includes tips and ideas for using in recipes.
I've had quite a few people over the years ask if you can freeze peppers. And the answer is definitely yes! Not only that, but fresh peppers are one of the easiest things to preserve by freezing - and it's a great for the grocery budget, too.
I love having all types of frozen, diced and sliced peppers available in the winter to use in soups, stews, casseroles, fajitas and other recipes.
And whether you buy them on sale in season or grow them in a garden, freezing peppers will save you money instead of buying them out of season when they are more expensive.
Also, say goodbye to those expensive little cans of green chilies!
I've found that frozen, mild hot peppers like anahiem and poblano work great in recipes that call for a can of green chilies.
It's true that they aren't roasted (though you can roast them and then freeze them roasted, then they'd be exactly the same - I just never have time for that when all the peppers and other garden produce are ripening!), but we don't really notice a difference. It's probably because most of the recipes that use these, like enchiladas and stews are further cooked with other ingredients so that the chilies are only for flavor.
And these deliver on the flavor!
How to use frozen peppers for canned green chilies in recipes:
When a recipe calls for a can of mild, green chilis, use 1/3 cup of frozen Anaheim or Poblano chili peppers and add them to your recipe (I usually add them frozen).
Beyond just asking about freezing peppers, the second question I get is:
Do you need to blanch peppers before freezing?
Since you know I'm a fan of not blanching vegetables before freezing (green beans here, peas here, and even a version of corn), I'm happy to say that no, thankfully, you don't need to blanch them first.
However, this is the normal advice - I'm not even bucking tradition like I do with green beans!
Here area some other questions I've gotten about peppers:
Can you freeze hot peppers and sweet peppers the same way?
It doesn't matter if the peppers you have are hot peppers like Jalapeños and Anaheims, or sweet, ripe bell peppers, the process to freeze and preserve them is the same.
Do bell peppers freeze well?
Yes, both bell (sweet) peppers and hot peppers freeze beautifully and are great to use in any recipe, either cooked or raw. The texture is different than raw, so it's best to use the frozen peppers for cooking.
On a side note: did you know that green "sweet" peppers (which are actually bitter, not sweet) are simply unripe colored peppers? Really!
All peppers start out green and then ripen to a color as they mature, mostly red (even hot peppers do this, we just usually eat them green), but some to orange, yellow, or even unusual colors like brown and purple.
Which is why letting green, bitter, and immature sweet peppers ripen fully to a color makes them truly sweet. It's the only way we eat sweet peppers in our house!
Can you freeze pepper slices for fajitas and stir fries?
Yes, you can choose either to dice them as I show here, or to slice them - the method remains the same with either cut.
Here's a great fajita tip I use: slice 3 peppers and then slice 1 onion, freeze as shown below on a tray and them bag up for a recipe sized serving for fajitas. All you add is the meat.
To serve, thaw first (or not - they will take a bit longer to cook, though) and either cook in 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until tender (broil a few minutes for charred spots if desired), OR cook on stovetop in large pan for 15 minutes. You can add your protein, too, at the same time so dinner's done with hardly any hands-on time!
How to Easily Freeze Peppers
- cutting board
- sharp chef's knife
- bell peppers and/or hot peppers
- large baking trays
- freezer baggies, containers, or vacuum sealer
- straw (if using baggies)
1. Wash the peppers well.
2. Stem, core, and chop or slice them (don't forget the gloves when working with hot peppers!).
3. Spread the peppers out on a cookie sheet in an even layer, place it in the freezer and freeze until firm, about 12-24 hours.
4. When the peppers are frozen, use a spoon or spatula to break them up and place the them in freezer containers or baggies (use the straw method to remove as much air as possible from baggies). Label with the contents and the date and put them in the freezer.
Why freeze them flat first?
By freezing the peppers flat on a sheet first before packaging, you will have a sort of home version of 'flash frozen' so you will be able to pull out just the amount you need easily without them clumping together.
This makes them super easy to use without having a bunch of smaller amounts in baggies or containers in your freezer.
I couldn't believe how easy it was to freeze peppers when I first tried it years ago to deal with a huge harvest of peppers - now I make sure to grow enough to preserve some by freezing each year! What about you?
Recipes Ideas for Using Frozen Peppers
- Mexican Chicken Corn Soup – 30 Minute Recipe
- Slow Cooker Italian Vegetable Beef Soup Recipe (+ Instant Pot Option)
- Savory Tomato Seafood Stew
- Seafood Chowder with Green Chilies
How to Freeze Peppers, Both Hot & Sweet
- Cutting Board
- sharp chef's knife
- large baking tray
- freezer baggies, containers, or vacuum sealer
- straw (if using baggies)
- 4 to 8 bell peppers or hot peppers
- Wash peppers
- Stem, core, chop or slice the peppers. Don't forget the gloves when working with hot peppers - even mild peppers can sting.
- Spread the peppers out on a cookie sheet in an even layer, place it in the freezer and freeze until firm, about 12-24 hours.
- When the peppers are frozen, use a spoon or spatula to break them up and place the them in freezer containers or baggies (use the straw method to remove as much air as possible from baggies). Label with the contents and the date and put them in the freezer.
When a recipe calls for a can of mild, green chilis, use 1/3 cup of frozen Anaheim or Poblano chili peppers and add them to your recipe (I usually add them frozen). To use frozen slices for fajitas:
To serve, thaw first (or not - they will take a bit longer to cook, though) and either cook in 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until tender (broil a few minutes for charred spots if desired), OR cook on stovetop in large pan for 15 minutes.
More Ways to Preserve Peppers:
Quick Pickled Jalapeños OR Fermented Pickled Jalapenos
Nice and Thick Salsa for Canning
Canned roasted red peppers in wine
This how-to has been updated - it was originally published in October 2009.
Linda Gordon says
just joined the group, with a counter full of peppers sweet to super hot. Do you have a freezer salsa recipe Mild, thats fast and easy. fires pandemics and politics have this gramma frazzled, so the easier the better. looking forward to enjoying this site.
I'd still use my salsa recipe that I use for canning and just freeze it, Linda! Keep it mild by using all Anaheim and sweet peppers.
Lee Hernandez says
Just so you know, all peppers can be roasted and blacked on the barbecue. If you are using the peppers now, just turn and roast over the barbecue until they are blistered and blackened all over, then transfer them to a bowl that can be covered with a plate. This steams the skin loose. They are easy to peel and seeded when they are cool. To save them to freeze, roast the same way. When they are cool, just slip them into a freezer bag unpeeled. They can be easily peeled and seeded when they are thawed. Where we live, we can buy Hatch (NewMexico) chilis by the crate in August. Again, this recipe works on all peppers. I personally don’t like fresh green bell peppers, but if they are roasted, they taste like mild Mexican chilis!
What a great tip, Lee! I'm going to try that with our huge harvest of jalapeños this year.
I have a lot of poblano and wanted to freeze them. Have you ever just steamed,cored and cut in half to freeze ( freeze on cookie sheet) then I can take them out, put in cream cheese mixture and bake or grill? Or have u stuffed them then freeze peppers?
I think the steaming idea may be a good one, Cindy! I wouldn't freeze with cream cheese, though - dairy products are known for not freezing/thawing well.
Great idea for sauces and stews but I guess that eliminates two of my favorites, hamburger, wild rice and sausage stuffed bell peppers and beer battered Anaheim poppers stuffed with Monterey pepper jack cheese. Maybe I should prepare them then freeze them.
Yes, Rdee! As I was reading your comment (and drooling a bit, ha!) that's what I thought and then you did, too - just make them and freeze them ready to go. Yum!
I have a ton of Anaheim peppers from my garden I planted to can in salsa. The problem is that my tomatoes are not ready to harvest yet! Can I freeze the peppers and use them in my canned salsa in a few weeks when the tomatoes are ready to go? Thank you!
Yes, Adrianne, that's a perfect solution! And won't that be great that all the prep work is done for the peppers when it's time to make the salsa? 🙂
Awesome! Thanks for your super speedy follow up! 🙂
Thanks for the tips on snaps and peppers. I would like to share one about squash. Squash can be frozen without becoming mushy by doing the following. Use young fresh squash. Try to freeze only if you have picked when the temps are under 90.Cut fairly thickly and then either put into pint quart containers . Add one tablespoon sugar per pint then fill with water making sure they are completely covered . Alternate, cut thickly but not to thickly. Bread as for frying then place individually on cookie sheets freeze then transfer to freezer bags[regular or seal a meal . Personally I prefer seal a meal. It prevents freezer burn and condensation] Can also be shredded and frozen. Shred coarsely rather than finely. Zucchini can be done the same way. The key is not having many if any seeds and cooler temps when picking. You can also salt bigger ones. Simply soak in salt water overnight then drain and dry and freeze. Note if you have any major seeds in the fruit don't bother it is waterlogged and needs to be used now rather than frozen. I have used this method for years and know it works.I live in a hot and very humid environment, so if it works here, it should work for you.
Thank you for this info, Brenda!
I cut the green and red peppers in half, and flash freeze on a pan and freeze. Then I take them out, stuff with Italian Sausage, top with tomotow sauce, mozzarella cheese, parmesan and bake! YUM!
What a fun idea - thanks so much for sharing it, Maryg!
Can you use frozen red/yellow sweet peppers on pizza or are they too watery? I want to try but was afraid of messing our pizza up since we don't like the pizza to be runny at all:)
I still have a lot of frozen peppers from last season. Gallon bags of jalapeños bell peppers, serono, Thai and also ghost peppers. I'm Gona have to try and dehydrate some of the hot ones before my plants start producing this year. I don't know how this will work after being frozen whole, when they defrost there kinda mushy
Oh, I find that I just don't use them as much if they're frozen whole, Karl, mainly because of the mushy issue. Hope you are able to dehydrate them!
Farmer Phyl says
Last year I froze 50 stuffed red peppers. They were stuffed with cooked hamburger, rice, onion, herbs and chopped cranberries. The peppers had tops and cores removed, NO blanching. Since the meat filling was already cooked, 6 minutes in the microwave and we had perfect peppers. Will definitely do this again.
I've never heard of that, Phyl - that's such a good idea!
Love this blog, and this post. I was just asking my wife today if she thought we could freeze sweet peppers. We were advised year to freeze instead of dry all peppers. The pepper farmer we spoke to told us that drying peppers, especially hot peppers, reduces the oils. So, to test it out, my wife froze all of our jolokia (ghost) peppers last summer (there were only about 15, but we live in the northwest and planted too late). They pack a huge punch, are great (in extreme moderation) in all kinds of dishes, and pickle beautifully. We don't remember the farmer's name, unfortunately. Her stand at the local market is just known in our family as "the pepper guy". Thanks for the great tips on sweet peppers....and snow peas....and snap peas....maybe we'll have enough frozen fresh veggies from our garden for the winter after all...
Wonderful! Glad you found the freezing posts helpful. 🙂
David Stansfield says
I cook my hot Peppers in Olive Oil and then Mix with salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder. Put in 8oz. containers and freeze. I've had them 4, 5 years and they are as good as the day I put them in the Freezer ! Enjoy !
GREAT idea. My mom used to freeze green peppers but they were always like a brick of ice when we went to use them. Have you tried freezing chopped onion the same way? I've bought it in the past (when I had literally 15 minutes to make dinner) and am tempted to try it again since its so much less expensive to chop your own onion. Thanks!
I freeze bell peppers and onion. The trick is to dry them if they are wet (they get a little juicy!), lay them on a cookie sheet without touching if possible, and flash freeze them. When I get lazy I slice my peppers/onions into strips and they go straight to the freezer bag, which they clump together due to the juices and freeze that way. You get quite a bit of ice in the bag. Flash freezing separately allows you to remove peppers or onion from the freezer bag without as much clumping. Either can be sliced into strips (great for fajitas) or diced for soups, stews, etc. You can dice later if necessary, it's just a little more effort since they are frozen. I hope this helps!
I was looking for instructions to freeze my beautiful crop of peppers this year.... From 6 plants I picked 163 peppers. I have frozen them in the past just like you have but...over time ya kinda thing its okay to double check.
Thanks for posting instructions
Thanks for the tips. We received a box of peppers from a church down the street and I wasn't sure if I could freeze them or not. pretty neat blog here too 🙂