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How Long does Cayenne Pepper Last and How to Store It

Cayenne peppers are thin, flavorful, and hot chili peppers that are bright red in color. Cayenne tastes earthy and pungent and great when fresh or dried.

If you grow your own Cayenne peppers or have a lot of Cayenne pepper powder, you probably will ask the question, “How long are these Cayenne peppers going to last? And am I storing them properly?”

How long do fresh Cayenne peppers last?

Fresh Cayenne peppers, when stored at room temperature or in a pantry, will last around 3 to 5 days. When Cayenne peppers are stored in a fridge, their shelf life is extended to 1 – 2 weeks. When stored in a freezer, you can extend a Cayenne pepper’s shelf life to 4 – 6 months.

How long does Cayenne powder last?

Cayenne pepper powder lasts between 3 – 4 years. Ground Cayenne has a long shelf life because of its low moisture content and high concentration of essential oils, the combination of which prevents spoiling. You can tell if your Cayenne powder has gone bad when it loses its flavor.

See below for a table on the shelf life of Cayenne peppers in different forms, based on storage method:

 Type of CayennePantry (room temperature)FridgeFreezer
Whole Cayenne Pepper3 – 5 days1 – 2 weeks6 – 8 months
Sliced Cayenne Pepper2 hours3 – 4 days6 – 8 months
Chopped Cayenne Pepper2 hours3 – 4 days6 – 8 months
Cooked Cayenne Pepper2 hours3 – 4 days6 – 8 months
Roasted Cayenne Pepper2 hours3 – 4 days6 – 8 months
Ground Cayenne Pepper Powder3 – 4 years

How to store Cayenne peppers in the fridge to lengthen their freshness and flavor?

A great way to maximize the shelf life of Cayenne peppers, while at the same time maintaining freshness and flavor, is to follow these steps:

  1. Dry your Cayenne peppers with a paper towel before storing them. Sometimes peppers are wet from produce aisle misters when bought at a grocery store. If they are not wet, you should still wipe them down with a paper towel to remove dust and dirt before storing them.
  2. Once the Cayenne peppers are dried, open a plastic bag, and put them inside and seal or tie off the plastic bag. The sealed plastic bag will create a mild, humid environment which helps maintain the freshness of the Cayenne peppers.
  3. Place the Cayenne peppers in the fridge’s crisper drawer. Place the peppers near the front of the crisper drawer because it is slightly warmer in temperature than the middle or rear of the drawer.

How to store Cayenne peppers in the freezer to lengthen freshness and flavor?

  1. Wash your Cayenne peppers thoroughly to remove any excess dirt and debris. Pre-washing your Cayenne peppers before storing them is also helpful because they can be used immediately after removing from the freezer without having to clean them again.
  2. After washing the Cayenne peppers, dry them until they are completely dry. We recommend wiping them down with paper towels and then letting them air dry for an hour to ensure they are completely dry.
  3. Once the peppers are dry, open a large freezer safe Ziplock bag and fill it with the Cayenne peppers. Once the bag is filled, place it in your freezer and leave them there until you are ready to use.

For maximum freshness, use your frozen Cayenne peppers within six months after freezing. They are still safe to consume if stored for longer than six months, but they are at greater risk of developing unappetizing freezer burn.

How to tell when Cayenne peppers are going bad?

When Cayenne peppers start spoiling and going bad, they show some key characteristics. Below are some common signs that indicate that your Cayenne peppers could be going bad:

  1. Excessive wrinkled and/or shriveled skin – Unlike many peppers, Cayenne peppers are still good even if they shrivel a little bit. The wrinkling just means they are starting to dry out. But when the wrinkling becomes excessive, that indicates that the Cayenne pepper is losing a bit too much moisture. Instead of a firm and crisp texture, the Cayenne pepper will have a softer and squishy texture.
  2. Soft surface spots – When feeling and touching the Cayenne pepper, if you notice spots on its surface that feel extra soft or give in under a bit of pressure, throw out the pepper. These soft sections are an early sign of rot.
  3. Fuzzy mold – Fuzzy or furry looking patches on Cayenne peppers, especially near the stem, are a common form of mold that often develops on produce.
  4. Dark or brown spots – Dark speckled or brown spots, which sometimes look like dirt but cannot be wiped away, is an indication that the Cayenne pepper is diseased and is starting to spoil.
  5. Lack of spice or heat – If you take a bite of the raw Cayenne pepper and notice very little spice or heat, it means the pepper is getting old. Fresh Cayenne peppers are spicy and should make your mouth burn and water.

What happens if you eat a Cayenne pepper that has gone bad?

If you eat a Cayenne pepper that has gone bad, you will probably be fine, but try not to eat spoiled produce. Eating spoiled Cayenne peppers probably will not make you sick, but they will taste gross. If the Cayenne pepper you consumed had mold, the mold that commonly grows on spoiling produce is usually harmless to consume, so do not panic.

Some people have mold allergies and mold growing on Cayenne peppers can cause an allergic reaction. So, it is best to dispose of the pepper in the trash or compost heap if you notice any mold growing, instead of cutting out the moldy parts.