How To Cut a Jalapeño the Right Way

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Jalapeños are a culinary delight — readily available at every market, and just the right size for spicing up almost any dish. Rumors abound about the source of jalapeños’ heat — some swear the seeds hold the heat, others the membrane. Knowing how to seed, slice, and dice them will make spicing up every dish a little easier.

How To Cut Jalapeños: Watch the Video

How to Remove Jalapeño Seeds

There are two ways to remove 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.

This method is great for beginners, and works well when you want to dice a jalapeño.

Oops are your hands burning now? Try this: Hot Pepper Hands: An Easy Way to Stop the Burn

(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.

Hands still burning? Try even more tips: The Best Remedies for Hot Pepper Hands

(Image credit: Jenny Huang)

How to Use a Jalapeño

Slice the cored jalapeño into rings for topping nachos or cornbread, or for pickling. Or dice the jalapeños for adding to salsa, dips, or pierogi.

How To Cut a Jalapeño the Right Way

Makes 1 perfectly diced jalapeño

What You Need

1 jalapeño or other small oblong chile

Paring knife
Cutting board


  1. Cut off the stem: Cut off the stem end of the jalapeño. Halve the jalapeño lengthwise for removing the seeds with a spoon.
  2. Remove the seeds: 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. Cut into sticks: Place jalapeño halves cut-side down on the cutting board and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide sticks.
  4. Dice: Gather the sticks together and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch dice.