DIY Cayenne Pepper Powder

This year I grew both cayenne and paprika peppers. I planted seeds and had half a dozen plants of each just about ready to transplant, but our dogs reduced that number to one plant of each variety. I was thankful they spared those two plants.

My goal is to grow and dry those peppers to make my own cayenne and paprika powders. I use a lot of both in cooking; I also add cayenne powder to the herbal wormer I give the goats. I'd like to be able to grow the things I use most, instead of being dependent on the grocery store.

Cayenne is also beneficial to our heart health. Cayenne can regulate blood pressure, stop bleeding and help prevent strokes. It's definitely something I want in my pantry as well as in my herbal medicine chest.

I babied the two remaining plants, keeping them potted in my herb garden for awhile until the grasshopper infestation died down a bit. Then I planted them in metal tubs in partial shade just because that's where I had room and could easily keep an eye on them. They had more room to stretch out there, and both of them took off and grew.

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The paprika plant is still covered with yellow peppers that haven't yet turned red, so I'll talk about those later when I harvest them. For now, I have picked all the red cayenne peppers. There are just two green ones left on the plant, so I'll dry and powder them later. (There are also a few new blossoms on the plant, but I doubt that those will turn into red peppers before the first frost.)

Those look almost neon - it's from the camera flash.

I washed the peppers in vinegar and water, then spread them out on a towel to dry well. That one plant produced 46 red peppers plus the 2 not-ripe-yet peppers. I forgot to fertilize it; it might have produced even more if I'd remembered, but I am happy with that number from just one little plant. This year's experiment will help me decide how many plants I should grow each year.

Wearing gloves, I cut the tops off the peppers and cut them into pieces about a half-inch long. You can remove the seeds at this point, or leave them for a little extra heat. I left them, but next time I'll remove them. I found that they didn't grind to quite the fine powder that I'd expected, and I think removing the seeds might fix that. Not that it really matters; I just expected a finer powder. Don't forget to wear gloves when cutting up the peppers. 

Then I put the pieces in my L'Equip dehydrator (affiliate link). It took about 24 hours for them to dry to a brittle state.

I put the pieces in my electric coffee grinder and powdered them. (I only use it for spices, not for coffee. A manual coffee grinder also works well for this, or you can use a mortar and pestle.)

Cayenne powder! Since the peppers were at slightly different stages of "ripe," there is variety in the color and the powder isn't uniformly red. I'm hoping it will give some complexity to the flavor as well. I need to run it through the grinder a bit longer, I think. I can see pieces of the seeds; next time I will remove the seeds before I dehydrate the peppers.

Those 46 peppers from one plant yielded just shy of two ounces of cayenne powder. This will help me decide how many plants to grow next year, as long as I can keep the dogs from eating the seedlings.

You might also enjoy:
Ten Ways to Use Basil
How to Dry Homegrown Herbs

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  1. Everyone in my family, but me likes hot :)
    Great idea!

  2. Sandra, hubby likes food much hotter than I do too. I might just use this powder with the seeds in it for the goats (I add 1/2 tsp to their herbal wormer).

  3. It cracks me up that your dogs ate the plants. What the heck?!? WHY? LOL...

    Great tutorial, thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for the simple straight forward directions for cayenne pepper powder. I dehydrate mine, but never thought to powder them. Thanks for the idea. I always de-seed (is that even a word? LOL) mine before dehydrating and it makes it much easier. Thanks again

  5. Anonymous7:30 PM

    My dog will pull peppers off the vines and eats them but not the plant.


  6. Rose, I don't think the dogs are eating the plants, just pulling them up and destroying them. :-( If mama digs in the dirt, it must be fun so they should try it too!

    Sue, you must have a HOT DOG! Eating peppers, whew!

    Rhonda, I will be de-seeding mine next time too. :-)

  7. This looks great! I made my own red chili pepper flakes and they are wonderful for adding seasoning to various meals, so I would bet making your own cayenne pepper powder would be great also! I just got my first book from Rosemary Gladstar and saw that she recommends cayenne powder for several different ailments, so I will include cayenne next year when I begin my medicinal herb garden. BTW - are you using the cayenne powder as a dewormer for your goats?

  8. Yes, Vickie, I mix cayenne pepper powder in with the goats' herbal wormer each week. They don't notice it at all. I use half a teaspoon of cayenne and one teaspoon of wormer per goat, in a molasses "medicine ball".

  9. We use cayenne pepper a lot, going to have to try growing it myself next year!

  10. Nancy, they weren't fussy plants at all; I think if you can grow bell peppers you can grow cayenne.

  11. Very cool! I'm looking forward to seeing how your paprika turns out! Thanks for linking up at Simple Lives Thursday. :)

  12. Thanks Kara. The paprika are getting close!

  13. Love this post on the making cayenne pepper powder, I make lots of spicing food and this would be a benefit! thanks for sharing this at my Fabulous Friday Party. Hope you can come this friday for another party


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