How Long Do Dried Peppers Last?

Dried peppers, whether no-heat sweet peppers or fiery chilies, can go bad just like any other food. By drying peppers, you can extend their shelf life for quite a long time, but not indefinitely. You should also keep in mind that other things can go wrong with peppers besides spoiling; loss of flavor and color can also reduce quality. Read on for a deeper look at how long dried peppers last, based on how you store them.

What’s a dried peppers shelf life? Does how they are stored matter?

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How long do dried peppers last when stored at room temperature?

In general, dried peppers can last up to three years. They can last longer, but only if they are correctly stored. If they are poorly stored, that can greatly shorten their lifespan. How well peppers are dried is also important, especially if you are drying them yourself — you will want as much moisture as possible removed.

Assuming the peppers have been thoroughly dried, you will need to keep them in a container that protects them from light and moisture. Light can cause dried peppers to lose their flavor, while moisture promotes mold growth and can cause them to rot. Airtight containers are ideal, since exposure to air will also expose the peppers to moisture.

It’s worth noting that even if you find dried peppers that are older than the three-year shelf life, they will probably be fine to eat as long as they have been stored properly, and you see no evidence of mold. These old peppers might not be the most flavorful but they are not likely to make you sick.

Ceramic containers with clamp-style or airtight lids are among the best for storing dried peppers. Containers designed for storing coffee will be particularly useful, since coffee shares some of the same storage requirements. Glass is good too since it isn’t porous, but clear glass isn’t ideal; if the glass is clear, keep the container in a dark cupboard.

Regardless of what material was used to make the container, keep your spices away from your stove’s heat. Metal containers are good for storing dried peppers, but you will have to be even more careful to keep them away from high temperatures because of metal’s heat-transferring properties.

Does refrigerating dried peppers help their shelf life?

It’s not necessary to refrigerate dried peppers, but the lower temperatures can extend their shelf life. As it does with fresh foods, refrigeration slows degradation. It can slow spoilage and helps ground dried peppers like cayenne pepper and paprika to retain their vibrant red colors.

Does freezing dried peppers help their shelf life?

While it is possible to freeze dried peppers, freezing isn’t necessary unless you are planning to store them indefinitely. Freezing dried peppers can extend their shelf life for as long as you can keep the temperatures stable. If you thaw the peppers, use them right away, since condensation will probably cause moisture and mold problems.

Does leaving the dried chili whole matter?

Leaving dried peppers whole does matter. If peppers are kept whole, you might be able to add a year or two onto their shelf life. The reason has to do with surface area. When you grind peppers, you create a larger surface area that is vulnerable to all the things that can ruin dried peppers, including light and moisture. Whole peppers can retain all the volatile compounds responsible for flavor, while ground peppers will lose them.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on April 11, 2022 to include new content.
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