Mary Ann's Blog

Red Pepper Paste

I am seeing red! Red hot chili peppers from my garden are coming in fast, and look like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Cute... but oh so dangerous.

I picked a large bowlful and donned rubber gloves to stem and seed them for my annual making of "il diavolo" aka the devil. These miniature peppers look harmless but they are as fiery as their color suggests. I know a lot of people like to dry them. I do that too, but a great way use them is as a paste.

Hot red pepper paste is one of my go to ingredients all winter long; I use it in everything from chili to stews, stir-fry, soups, sauteed vegetables  and sauces.  You get that zing flavor booster that is so essential in many recipes. And an 8 ounce jar will last you all year long because you only need a thimbleful (unless you are Iron Man) to add some  heat in a big way to any recipe that you concoct.

Here's how to make it. Before you start, get a pair of rubber gloves on your hands and do not touch your eyes or face while making this. Otherwise your face and hand will be feeling the heat long past the winter season.

red hot peppers

Il Diavolo (Red Pepper Paste)

Makes one 8 ounce jar

16-20 fresh hot red chili peppers, stems cut off
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 teaspoons white cider vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil

With rubber gloved hands slit the peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the peppers in a food processor with the salt and vinegar. Process until coarse then with the motor running add enough olive oil through the feed tube to create a paste consistency.

Red hot pepper paste in a glass jar

Transfer the paste to a jar; cap and refrigerate. Use sparingly!


  1. A. Amico's avatar

    A. Amico

    Thanks Mary.

    I never heard of white cider vinegar. I have heard of apple cider vinegar and white wine vinegar. Do you have any links to where I could buy this kind of vinegar? None of my local stores carry it.

    Also, are these the kind of peppers that are dried and used by italian pizza parlors. If so, what kind are they and where can I get it? I would like to grow it next year. And is there a special method for drying peppers? Thank you.
  2. mary Ann Esposito's avatar

    mary Ann Esposito

    White distilled vinegar is a staple in the grocery store usually in the salad dressing aisle. Yes, these peppers can be dried by stringing them together and hanging them in a dry airy spot. These are small chili peppers and if you go to the website and go to the garden page you can order them from Franchi seeds.
  3. Tina P.'s avatar

    Tina P.

    Thanks for the recipe. I just made this. Yum! It's delicious. I'm growing cayenne peppers this year & it gives me something to do with them!! Grazie!
  4. Kathy A.'s avatar

    Kathy A.

    Hi Mary Ann,

    I too have lots of peppers. This recipe sounds like a great way use them. I have one question however, how long is the paste good for? I realize it has to go in the frig, I just wondered if after a certain amount of time you have to throw it out.

    Kathy A.
  5. Joan Demarais's avatar

    Joan Demarais

    Is it necessary to remove the seeds? We like the extra heat they provide. Also, how long will it last in the refrigerator? Thank you.
  6. Jerry's avatar


    Am Jerry into chili paste and tomatoes powder production in Ghana. We have fresh natural very hot chili here in Ghana. Any buyer interested in larger quantity should WhatsApp me on 233-555-90-88-74 for more information. Tx
  7. Sharon's avatar


    Just wondering what variety chili pepper you grow in your garden for this? It looks AMAZING and I’m already looking ahead for ideas for next spring.

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