Make Homemade Chilli Flakes Using Simple Tips
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Chilli Flakes, the coarse, crushed variety of chillies, typically sprinkled over pizza or pasta, is in fact an effective source of mild heat that adds flavour to food. Unlike the store-bought variety that tastes like sawdust on most occasions, homemade chilli flakes possess a mellow piquancy, which adds a noticeable layer of heat to food, making it have some more depth of flavour. Making chilli flakes at home is a pretty straightforward process that doesn’t involve too much effort, save for the roasting of chillies. You can choose to buy fresh chillies and sun-dry them before toasting them in a dry wok or simply use a local variety of dried spicy chillies, to save time.

Picking Chillies

Using fresh chili peppers such as bird's eye chili, Byadgi or Guntur chillies is advisable to make chilli flakes, that pack quite the heat punch. Select ripe chili peppers that are fresh and free from any signs of rot or mould. The spiciness of the peppers will determine the heat level of your chili flakes, so pick a chilli variety depending on your tolerance for heat. Go for a milder variety if you have a lower spice tolerance and a dark red, spicy variety if you prefer your chilli flakes hotter.

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Thoroughly rinse the chilli peppers under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities and pat them dry with a clean towel. It is important to let them air dry completely and let any remainder of the moisture evaporate before drying them in the hot sun, to let them dehydrate further. If desired, you can remove the stems from the chilli peppers. Leaving the stems intact will not affect the flavour but might make the flakes slightly easier to handle. Place the chilli pepper slices on a clean tray or wire rack and set them in a well-ventilated area. It can take several days to a week for the peppers to fully dry, depending on the humidity level. Make sure to turn the slices occasionally for even drying.

Image Credits: Chili Pepper Madness


Break the dried chilli peppers using your hands but be sure to wear gloves and a mask, to prevent any accidents. The size of the chilli pieces will impact the texture of the flakes. For thicker flakes, break the dry chillies into slightly bigger pieces. Once the chili pepper slices are completely dry, you can grind them into flakes using a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or a mortar and pestle. Grind them to your desired coarseness, ranging from fine flakes to chunkier pieces. Transfer the homemade chilli flakes to an airtight container, preferably a glass jar or a spice jar. Store them in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight, which can degrade their flavour and colour. If stored correctly, the shelf life of chilli flakes can extend for several months.