5 Easy Steps to Rehydrate Dried Peppers (Just 20 Minutes or Less!)

Got a supply of dried chili peppers? Rehydrating (reconstituting) is a delicious way to unlock flavor — perfect for enhancing dishes like soups, sauces, and marinades.

how to rehydrate dried peppers jar

Below, you’ll discover how to rehydrate dried peppers in five simple steps. Enjoy the vibrant flavors that reconstituted chiles bring!

Common Dried Peppers

board of different dried peppers included guajillo, habanero, and cascabel
Different Dried Peppers

If you need a stash of dehydrated peppers, you can find all kinds of dried chillies on Amazon. Many varieties — such as Chile Guajillo and the Ancho pepper — are also found in international markets or the ethnic foods aisle of grocery stores.

» Related: 23 Mexican Chiles You’re Definitely Want to Eat (and Grow!)

Why Dry Roast Peppers First?

heating a cast iron pan

Dry roasting — adding your peppers to a hot pan without oil or other fats — brings out the aroma and wakes up the flavor in your chiles.

If you skip this step, you won’t get all the deliciousness from your peppers.

Reconstitute Dried Peppers Like A Pro

When rehydrating, certain things can mess with the flavor. To help you avoid that, here are my best tips before getting started.

Puya pepper pliability
Ideal Dried Pepper
  • Pick the best chilies to rehydrate: Old peppers that are brittle and faded can lose flavor and potency. Choose pods that are whole, unbroken, somewhat pliable, and have a deep color.
  • Don’t use too much water when rehydrating: Specifically, the liquid should just cover the tops of your peppers during the reconstituting process — you don’t want to dilute too much flavor accidentally.
  • Dry roast carefully: When heating your peppers in a pan, watch them closely so they don’t start to blacken. Charred peppers create a bitter flavor.

Lastly, you may want to wear gloves. If you’re like me, you’re rehydrating some hot chilies — you know what happens when you forget and touch your face!

How to Rehydrate Dried Peppers Step-By-Step

Rehydrating dried chiles usually takes about 20 minutes.

Shortcut: If you’re planning to use your rehydrated peppers in a heated pot of liquid — think simmering or braising — simply de-stem, de-seed (if desired), and toss them right in! This way, you can skip the reconstitution steps and you’re done in less than 20 minutes! 😀

1. Prepare Your Chilies

removing Pasilla pepper seeds and stems
Removing Pepper Seeds

Wipe down your dried peppers to remove any dust.

Next, remove the stems, cut open the peppers, and scrape out the seeds. Done!

de-seeding dried Peppers (or not)

You don’t need to remove every seed inside the chile pods. Some people choose to leave them in because of the potential for more flavor — it’s up to you!

2. Dry Roast Peppers

dry roasting ancho peppers in a cast iron pan
Dry Roasting Anchos

So, how do you get the flavor out of dried peppers? Dry roasting is the step that sets it off because it helps bring out the oil in your chilies.

First, heat a cast iron pan or heavy skillet on medium heat. Then, add your dried peppers to the pan.

Next — this is important — turn your peppers every 15 to 30 seconds so they don’t burn and end up with charred skins that taste bitter. You should be able to smell the aroma of the chilies and see them getting slightly puffy to let you know they are ready for the next step.

alternative roasting method

Instead of dry roasting, some people roast peppers in a 400°F oven for 1 to 2 minutes. I don’t do this because it’s too easy for some chilies to burn — just mentioning it in case you want to experiment!

3. Soak Roasted Peppers

rehydrating pasilla chiles
Soaking Chilies

Boil some water and place your chiles in a bowl.

Now, pour the hot water so that it completely submerges your chilies (just enough to cover them). If your peppers keep floating to the top, place a small plate over them so they stay in the water.

Finally, cover your bowl with a lid or towel. Your peppers are now rehydrating (reconstituting), losing their hardness, and becoming softer.

4. Wait 15 Minutes

rehydrated peppers in a bowl with liquid
Rehydrated Pepper

Rehydrated peppers are typically ready in 15 minutes. If they need more time to soften, leave them for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Now, strain the water and continue to the next step. Or, why not use the leftover water (if it’s not bitter) and take advantage of the nutrients and flavor in the liquid — it’s perfect for a recipe that calls for water or broth!

5. Use Your Rehydrated Peppers

Unlike other concoctions (such as pepper powder), you’ll want to use your rehydrated peppers immediately. For example, blend them into a chili paste, add them to chili, make a pepper sauce, season a soup, or make my Scotch Bonnet recipe (jerk marinade) if you happen to rehydrate Scotch Bonnets, Habaneros, Jalapenos, or Serranos. 😀

Popular Recipes That Use Dehydrated Peppers

So there you have it! Now that you know how to rehydrate dried peppers you can start using them to make some seriously mouthwatering recipes. 🌶

Want more on using peppers in the kitchen? Check out my Spicy Recipes page for fiery food fans!

Mexican chiles feature image

How to Rehydrate Dried Peppers

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Got some dry chiles? Here's all the steps for rehydrating dried peppers -- perfect for recipes like soups, marinades, braises, pastes, and so much more!


  • Dried peppers


  1. Remove the stems, cut open your dried peppers, and scrape out the seeds.
  2. Heat a cast iron pan or heavy skillet on medium heat.
  3. Dry roast your peppers for up to 30 seconds a side until you can smell the aroma. Be sure to flip your peppers constantly so the skins don't blacken and create a bitter flavor.
  4. Add your roasted peppers to a bowl and pour boiling water until the chiles are completely submerged (just enough to cover them). Use a lid or towel to cover the container.
  5. Wait ~15 minutes to make sure your chiles are softened. When ready, strain the water (see notes) -- your peppers can now be used in pastes, marinades, salsas, or whatever you can dream up!


  • If you're working with hotter peppers, such as dried Habaneros, put on gloves first to protect your hands from a burn.
  • It's okay if you don't get all the seeds out in step 1. In fact, some people prefer to leave the seeds in for additional flavor.
  • Taste the leftover water after soaking your chiles -- if it's not bitter, take advantage of the nutrients by using it in a recipe that calls for water or broth!

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Jenny is the creator of Grow Hot Peppers. She is a self-taught gardener and has been growing peppers and a plethora of veggies for over 10 years. When she’s not writing or gardening, she loves eating spicy foods, hiking, and going to the ocean.

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