Do Jalapeños Go Bad? How Long Do They Last?

Nothing adds a bit of kick to a salsa or even a pizza like some jalapeño peppers. Whilst you can definitely rely on them to add some extra dimension and heat to dishes, you may wonder how well you can rely upon them to stay tasty.

Do they go bad? Unfortunately, like all fresh foods – the answer is yes. However, there are things you can do to prolong their taste and quality.

This article has been written with the goal of clarifying how long jalapeños last. I’ll address the different ways to extend their shelf life and how to handle your peppers after you’ve preserved them.


How Long do Jalapeños Last?

How Long do Jalapeños Last?

Fresh, intact jalapeños can keep for anywhere from 3 to 5 days if left in the pantry. You can add quite a few days to their shelf life if you move them to the fridge; there, they will keep for up to 2 weeks. The situation changes if you are talking about peppers that have been chopped up or sliced.

How Long do Chopped Jalapeños Last?

Leave your sliced or chopped jalapeños out to sit at room temperature and you have a time bomb of mere hours before they will need to be tossed, used or transferred to the fridge. Chopped peppers will keep up to 3 or 4 days when refrigerated.

How Long do Canned Jalapeños Last?

Canned jalapeños can be kept at room temperature or in the refrigerator for no more than 6 months beyond the expiration date printed on the side or bottom of the can.

The biggest influence on the viability of your peppers is temperature. Whatever form they take, the warmer you keep them, the less time you will have to enjoy them before they go bad.

How to Tell if Jalapeños Have Gone Bad?

How to Tell if Jalapeños Have Gone Bad?

Jalapeños are like many other vegetables in that it becomes quite obvious when their prime has come and gone.

The biggest tell that your jalapeños have gone bad is that they are starting to wrinkle up.

A less visual cue that your jalapeños have spoiled is that they simply pack less of a kick than you are used to.

A third sign is the appearance of spots of brown or gray color; you may be able to safely eat them but the taste and spice will be lacking. Note that if you also detect mold on those brown and gray spots, then you need to throw them out. Mold is never a good sign.

The final indicator that you have bad jalapeños is if they smell off or even rotten. If you notice that your peppers smell off, you should toss them.

It’s worth mentioning that bad jalapeños work the same as apples; one bad pepper will quickly spread that nastiness to the rest if you keep them all together in one spot.

How to Tell if Canned Jalapeños Have Gone Bad?

When dealing with canned jalapeños, your only real worry beyond the expiration date should be if you notice dents, rust or leaking around the can.

Once you pop the can open, you should still be wary for any signs of mold. If you see any mold, throw the whole can away. You’ll also quickly be able to tell if your can has expired by a strong odor given off when you open it.

How to Keep Jalapeños Fresh

Do Jalapeños Go Bad?

Keeping jalapeños fresh is more than just a matter of where and how you decide to store them. The first factor is to consider when they were harvested and how long ago that was. If you have a garden that features jalapeños, you’ll have a very good idea of just how fresh your peppers will be.

When buying from the store, make sure to verify their quality. Since fresh jalapeños do not tend to feature any sort of information regarding when they were harvested, it can be hard to get a feel for how long they will last when you bring them home.

Always check your peppers before you spend money on them. You should make sure that you’re only buying the very best quality. Pick one up and give it a good check. You want a nice, firm pepper that is free of any sort of bruising, cuts or mold.

The moment you decide to buy them, either place the peppers into a resealable plastic bag or move them to the “crisp” region of your refrigerator. When dealing with homegrown peppers, it is best to hold off harvesting them until you are ready to use them or they are about to go out of season. You also have the option of freezing, canning or even pickling your jalapeños.

How to Store Jalapeños

Do Jalapeños Go Bad?
Photo by Andrew Coop on Unsplash

Keeping jalapeños fresh and at top quality takes knowing how best to store them. Your storage options for maximizing their shelf life depends on whether you’re working with fresh or chopped peppers.

How to Store Fresh Jalapeños

If you plan to use your freshly picked jalapeños the same day, then you should be fine keeping them on your table, counter or wherever you keep them in your kitchen.

However, if you plan on using them another day, you need to keep your peppers in either the vegetable or crisper drawers of your fridge. You can simply store them within those containers without needing to place them within any protective coverings.

How to Store Chopped Jalapeños

Unless you plan on using your jalapeños within two hours of chopping, dicing or slicing them up, you need to get them into your fridge as soon as possible to ensure they last.

Note that the very first step in properly storing chopped jalapeños is to transfer them to either a resealable plastic bag or small airtight container. Placing the jalapeños within an airtight container helps reduce the effect of oxidation, which includes the risk of drying out.

If you choose to use a plastic bag, make sure to push out as much of the air from that bag as you can before adding the peppers.

Lastly, make sure that your jalapeño bits are not packed too tightly but instead given some breathing room.

Can You Freeze Jalapeños?

Can You Freeze Jalapeños?
Photo by Phillip Larking on Unsplash

Yes, you can freeze jalapeños. In fact, the freezer is the best approach for extending their shelf life beyond a fortnight.

Frozen jalapeños last for up to one entire year so long as you keep them within a freezer bag. Make sure to push out as much air as you can from your freezer bag as trapped air can lead to that nasty little problem known as “freezer burn;” freezer burn will take a major toll on the health, taste and spiciness of jalapeños.

If, for some reason, you plan on keeping your jalapeños frozen for more than one year, you should really look into a vacuum sealer. Because oxygen is the worst problem when it comes to preserving the taste of frozen jalapeños, a vacuum sealer is your best way of eliminating air from whatever bag you choose to store them within.

How to Freeze Jalapeños

There are two approaches to freezing jalapeños and the approach depends entirely on the form that your jalapeños take: whole or in bits.

Freezing Whole Jalapeños

  1. Clean the peppers with cold water.
  2. Dry the peppers off with a clean towel.
  3. Snip off the steams if you have no plans for them.
  4. Loosly pack them into a freezer bag.
  5. Free up as much air as you possibly can from the bag as you seal it up nice and tight.
  6. Grab a sharpie and mark the day’s date on the bag.
  7. Store the bagged jalapeños in your freezer until you are ready to use them.

Freezing Sliced/Chopped Jalapeños

  1. Clean the peppers with cold water.
  2. Dry the peppers off with a clean towel.
  3. Snip off the steams if you have no plans for them.
  4. Slice, dice and chop your peppers however you like them.
  5. Grab a baking sheet and move it to a tray.
  6. Transfer the pepper bits to the baking sheet, making sure to space everything out.
  7. Move the entire tray of peppers to your freezer.
  8. Give them a flash-freeze for one hour, just until they are frozen solid.
  9. Move the frozen peppers to a freezer bag.
  10. Squeeze and press out as much air as you can.
  11. Label the bag with the current date, and possibly the contents, then store in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

How to Defrost Jalapeños

Either use the entire freezer bag’s contents or just as many peppers are you want and leave them to sit on a plate. Leave your plate of frozen peppers to sit in your fridge for 6 hours. Note that your jalapeños will become soft and a bit wrinkly once they thaw out. While they may not have the same taste as a fresh pepper, they are more than a great addition to a sauce.