How to Cut a Jalapeño the Right Way

updated Apr 29, 2024
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Fresh jalapeños are among the most ubiquitous hot peppers. They’re spicy without being over-the-top and add a fresh flavor to all kinds of dishes. We use them in everything from cheesy grits to cornbread muffins. We stuff them, pickle them, and add them to cocktails.

If you want to take advantage of everything this mighty green pepper has to offer, it’s important to know the right way to seed, slice, and dice them.

How to Protect Your Hands

First thing’s first, safety. Jalapeños contain a compound called capsaicin that, when it comes into contact with your skin (or other sensitive parts of the body, like your eyes), can lead to a burning sensation. The easiest way to prevent this is to wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers. If you do wind up feeling the burn, you might need more than soap and water to find relief. Finally, don’t forget to wash your knife and cutting board thoroughly to avoid spreading spicy oils around your kitchen.

What You’ll Need

How to Cut a Jalapeño

  1. Cut off the stem. Slice off the stem end and half the pepper lengthwise.
  2. Remove the seeds. Use a spoon or a paring knife to remove the seeds from the center of the pepper.
  3. Cut into sticks. Use a paring knife to cut each pepper half lengthwise into 1/4-inch sticks.
  4. Dice. Cut the sticks crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces.

How to Remove Jalapeño Seeds

There are two ways to remove the jalapeño seeds and membrane. The first is to cut the jalapeño in half lengthwise, exposing the membranes that hold the seeds in place. Then take a spoon and scrape out the membrane, working from the bottom to the top of the pepper.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

The second method involves a little more skill. Remove the jalapeños stem end, then insert a paring knife into the pepper and work the knife around the seedy core. This method requires some practice, but is the best way to remove the seeds for slicing the jalapeño into rings.

What to Do With Cut Jalapeño

How To Cut a Jalapeño the Right Way

Makes 1 perfectly diced

Serves 1

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    jalapeño or other small oblong chile

Equipment

  • Paring knife
  • Cutting board
  • Spoon

Instructions

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  1. Cut off the stem end of the jalapeño. Halve the jalapeño lengthwise for removing the seeds with a spoon.

  2. Use the spoon to scrape the seeds and membrane out of the halves. (Alternatively, insert the pairing knife into the stem end and slowly cut around the seeds and membrane. If you want rounds, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch rings.)

  3. Place jalapeño halves cut-side down on the cutting board and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide sticks.

  4. Gather the sticks together and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch dice.