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D.I.Y Chilli Strings

Have you ever considered making your own dried chilli strings? If you like to have chillies on hand when you’re in the kitchen, drying them is a great way to keep them stocked without having to worry about them going bad.

You can use them in soups, stews, and sauces; you could even grind them up to make chilli powder or re-hydrate them to make a paste. Chillies make great additions to many dishes with their various flavours and degrees of smokiness and heat.

Grind them to a powder for cooking, or tear into strips and soak in hot water for 20 minutes or so, then mash or liquidise to add to a recipe - good for adding to a pasta sauce.

Equipment & Ingredients Needed:

• Fresh chillies

• Medium size string

• Needle

• Scissors

• Gloves

• Towel

• Airtight container


1. Wear Gloves whilst handling chilli peppers to protect your skin. Remember not to touch your face too as they have hot oils and capsaicin which can burn your skin.

2. Sort through your peppers and discard of any bruised ones. Any pepper with soft or brown spots shouldn’t be used for drying as they will go bad before the process completes.

3. Rinse and dry the chillies to prepare them for stringing. Quickly rinse any dirt from the peppers, then set them aside on a clean towel to air dry or physically dry them if you would like to get started right away. TIP: Ensure they are as dry as can be, if they are still moist then they could grow mould or start to rot.

4. Now cut a 3-4ft piece of strong string for your 30-40 chillies, ensure you use a fishing line or sturdy cotton thread as it will need to be able to hold the weight of the chillies. Alternatively place less on your string and do more than one instead.

5. Thread your string onto a sewing needle, then knot the end.

6. You can now thread the chillies onto the string with your sewing needle. When poking the needle through the chilli be sure to target the base of its stem, avoid piercing the actual skin of the pepper. Then push the chilli down the string ready for the next one.

7. As you begin to add more chillies to the string be sure to arrange them in a loose spiral turning the chilli 30 degrees around from the previous one. By doing this you allow air to circulate evenly around the chilli, speeding up the drying process.

8. Then you are ready to hang your chilli string up in a dry sunny spot in your kitchen, in front of a window is usually best.

9. Now allow your chillies to dry for 3-4 weeks, if the peppers feel crispy to the touch when you squeeze them, they should be done. If there is still from buoyancy to the peppers, leave them for an additional week.

Storing and Using Dried Chillies:

Once dried you can keep your chillies whole in an airtight container for 4-5 years. Remove your chillies from the string and place them into clean dry containers. Glass is usually best as it doesn’t absorb any of the oil. They would look great stored in glass jars on the kitchen side.

There are many ways in which you can now enjoy your dried chillies. Firstly you can grind the dried chillies to make homemade chilli powder. You will need to cut off the stems and clean out the seeds, then place them into a blender or spice grinder until they’re a fine powder. You can then store the chilli powder for when you need it.

Incorporate the physical chilli by adding them in whole to a dish or cut them up and remove the seeds if you don’t want your meal to be too hot.

Making a chilli paste is another great way of using your dried chillies, cut off the stems and remove the seeds, then soak them in water until they are soft. You can then blend them in a food processor until they form a paste. Then add 1-2 tablespoons of the paste to your dish. Store the paste in a container within the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

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