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Thai Chili Flakes Recipe (Prik Bon)

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Thai chili flakes recipe, or prik bon (พริกป่น), is the best to add some fiery heat to your Thai food! In just 10 minutes, you can whip up this homemade Thai chili powder that outshines any store-bought option. A sprinkle of this condiment is all it takes to spice up your dishes.

Thai chili flakes in a black spoon on a wooden background.

You can use these in one of my authentic recipes with Thai chili flakes: Thai mango dipping sauce, easy Thai tamarind dipping sauce, spicy Thai ground beef larb recipe, and nom tok moo recipe.

What is Thai chili powder

Thai chili powder, also known as prik bon, is a versatile, spicy condiment essential in Thai cuisine. Made from ground-dried chilies, this fiery powder adds a hot flavor to dishes like noodles, soups, and stir-fries.

Thai chili flakes

Ever wandered through an Asian grocery store and spotted those bags of dried chili peppers? They are the key to making your own homemade Thai chili flakes!

In Thailand, we can get them at Asian markets, or we dry our own fresh chili peppers.

You can use any type of chili peppers, just make sure they’re dried. Thai bird’s eye chilies will make spicy chili flakes, but you’ll have to use less of them, so it’s a win-win.

Close-up of Thai chili flakes ground in mortar with pestle.

My kitchen pantry is always stocked with these Thai chili flakes! It fits right next to my favorite condiment prik nam pla, a fish sauce based condiment that’s a staple at Thai street food stalls.

You can make them flakey or powdered, they’re an absolute must-have for anyone who loves Thai food or a good spicy kick.

Speaking of spice, I absolutely love adding these homemade dried chili flakes to everything. From a steaming bowl of noodles to a fresh salad, they can bring heat to everything.

Thai cuisine is all about balancing flavors, the spicy, sweet, sour, and salty. And these chili flakes are your go-to for quickly adding some spice!

Don’t miss out on these other Thai condiments, they’re all easy to make at home: tom yum paste recipe, homemade Thai chili paste (nam prik pao), and Thai green curry paste.

Why homemade is best

Store-bought is easy, I get it, but there’s just something magical about creating your food from scratch. That includes these Thai chili flakes and toasted rice powder!

  • Longer shelf life: Make and store these correctly, and they’ll last you up to several months!
  • Control the heat: You decide how spicy you want your flakes, simply choose your favorite type of pepper or remove the seeds for a mild option. Balance between mild and very spicy, in your kitchen it’s all about how you like them best.
  • Authentic Thai: Grinding dried chilies with a mortar and pestle is traditional and fun!
  • Always at hand. They’re so easy to make, you will never run out. All you need is 10 minutes, and you got yourself a batch to spice up your Thai dishes for weeks to come!
  • No additives: Homemade means you’re enjoying pure chili goodness with no preservatives.
  • Fresh flavor: Nothing beats the aroma and taste of freshly ground chili flakes.
  • Make-ahead: They’re perfect to make in advance. Simply make ahead and put it out on the table at your next gathering or party, so your guests can add spice to taste.
  • It’s cheaper: Grinding your own spices is often more budget-friendly than buying prepacked stuff.

Did you know that homemade chili flakes often pack a spicier punch than the store-bought ones? That’s because commercial brands tend to sneak in unnecessary extras, dialing down the heat. When you whip up your own batch, even a tiny teaspoon can turn your noodles and soups into something deliciously spicy.

Top-view of red chili flakes in mortar with pestle.

And hey, if you can get your hands on some fresh Thai dried chilies, your flakes will taste so fresh and so good! You might be able to find some at Southeast Asian markets.

If you can’t find dried chilies, why not try sun-drying or dehydrating your own chili peppers?

How to dry chili peppers (sun-dry, oven, dehydrator)

A crucial step is washing your chilies. Simply wash them under running water and then use one of these methods to dry your chili peppers:

  • Oven-method: Preheat your oven to 100-125°C. Place the chilies on a baking sheet. Bake for several hours until completely dried.
  • Sun-drying: Lay the chilies out on a tray. Place them under direct sunlight, turning them occasionally. Sun-drying chilies can take several days, depending on the weather.
  • Dehydrator: Arrange the dried chilies in a single layer in the dehydrator. Follow your dehydrator’s instructions, usually at a low setting. Check periodically until the chilies are fully dried.

What kind of chilies to use

You can make Thai chili flakes with all types of chilies. For spicy flakes, simply use dry bird’s eye chilies. These can be sourced at Asian grocery stores.

At Asian supermarkets, you’ll typically find two main types of dried chilies:

  • Thai bird’s eye chilies (Prik Kee Noo): Small and fiery, often used in Thai cooked to add heat to our dishes like stir-fries, Thai dipping sauces, or spicy salads.
  • Larger dried red chilies (Thai spur chilies – Prik Chee Fa): These are milder in heat but rich in flavor, ideal for those who prefer a gentler spice level. They impart a beautiful red hue and a subtle warmth to your flakes. In Thai cuisine, these are typically used to prepare our curry pastes, like this Thai red curry paste and massaman curry paste.

However, you can play around and experiment with different flavors or heat levels, there are plenty of options.

  • Thai Jinda chilies: These Thai chilies are spicy, but not as spicy as bird’s eye chilies.
  • De Arbol Chilies: They’re a bit more Mexican, but have a heat profile similar to Thai chilies.

If your dried chilies are a bit too spicy for your taste, you can simply remove the seeds. Simply split the chilies open and gently scrape out the seeds to tone down the spice. Or, for an even quicker method, snip off the top and give them a good shake to let the seeds tumble out.

How to make chili flakes

Use a dehydrator or sun-dry fresh chili peppers and crush them into flakes. You can use a traditional mortar and pestle or simply use a food processor.

1. Roast the chilies: Remove the stems from the dried chilies. Roast them in a frying pan or cast-iron skillet over low heat. Stir continuously to prevent them from burning. For ventilation, it’s a good idea to open your windows or consider doing this step outside. Don’t add oil to the pan; the chilies will release their natural oils, enhancing their aroma. The peppers will darken slightly as they roast.

2. Cool down: Once roasted, take the chilies off the heat and allow them to cool completely. This step is crucial before you move on to grinding them.

3. Pound or mix: To create your roasted Thai chili flakes, you can use a mortar and pestle to pound the chilies. You can choose to crush them into either a fine powder or leave them in chunkier bits, depending on your preference. If you prefer a quicker method, use a spice grinder. Just pulse the chilies until you reach the desired texture. Remember, the longer you blend or grind, the finer the flakes will be.

Kitchen tools

Few tools are needed for this chili flakes recipe:

  • Fine mesh strainer if you want a fine chili powder, strain it to remove the big chunks
  • Stone mortar and pestle or food processor, blender, or spice grinder
  • Non-stick frying pan with spatula

Recipe tips and tricks

  • Grind to your preference: Some prefer flaky chilies, while others like them finely powdered. Simply adjust the grinding to your liking. I’m team flaky.
  • Different types of heat: If you’re experimenting with different types of chilies, label your jars so you know the heat level and type of each batch.
  • Wear gloves: Always wear gloves when handling chilies to avoid skin irritation or accidentally touching your eyes. I learned the hard way while working at Thai restaurants!
  • Ventilation: Make sure you have good ventilation while toasting to avoid spicy air.

When you’re roasting chilies, brace yourself for a super strong smell. It’s so powerful, you might find yourself coughing a bit (or a lot). But hey, don’t worry – it’s totally worth it for that spicy flavor! Just a little heads up: make sure to open your windows before toasting.

How to this spicy table condiment

With homemade red pepper flakes, you can easily turn any mild dish into super spicy food. There’s no need to have fresh chilies on hand.

Thai people love to use them to spice up anything from noodles, salads, stews, fried rice, and more.

Try some of my recipes with Thai chili flakes:

How to store prik bon

After making a big batch of prik bon, you want to store it correctly to increase the shelf life.

  1. Cool down: After making your chili flakes, let them cool entirely.
  2. Mason jar: Transfer them to an airtight container, like a glass jar with thigh-fitting lid.
  3. Store: Store in a cool, dark place.

Storage tips: For longer storage, you can refrigerate your chili flakes. If you want to keep them for an extended period, you can even freeze them for long-term storage.

Frequently asked questions

Are red chili flakes the same as red pepper flakes?

No. Red chili flakes is typically made from a single type of red chili, while pepper flakes is a blend of various peppers, offering a different heat profile.

How hot are Thai chili flakes?

Thai chili flakes are often hotter than standard pepper flakes, with a heat level that can vary from 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville units, depending on the chilies used.

How can I adjust the spiciness?

You can control the spiciness by removing the chili seeds, or using a mild type of chili. When garnishing, use fewer chili flakes to reduce spiciness.

What types of chili flakes are used in Thai food?

In Thai cuisine, two popular types of chili flakes are used. The first is from the fiery bird’s eye chili, known for its intense heat and sharp flavor. The second comes from larger, milder dried red spur chilies, which offer a subtler heat and are great for those who prefer a gentler spice level.

How to use chili flakes?

Chili flakes can be used to add spice to anything from soups to noodle dishes and stir-fries.

What to do with dried Thai chilies?

Dried Thai chilies can be ground into chili flakes or powder to use as spice. They’re great for adding heat to curries, soups, and stir-fries or for making curry pastes.

Where to buy dried Thai chilies?

You can find dried Thai chilies at Asian grocery stores, specialty spice shops, and even online. They’re commonly available in the international or ethnic foods section of larger supermarkets too.

More Thai condiments you’ll love

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Thai Chili Flakes Recipe (Prik Bon)

Prep Time 5 min Cook Time 10 min Total Time 15 mins
Servings: 1 Calories: 20

Description

Easy-to-make Thai chili flakes to spice up your noodles, stir-fries, salads, and even dipping sauces!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Remove the stems from the dried chilies. Roast them in a frying pan or cast-iron skillet over low heat. Stir continuously to prevent them from burning. For ventilation, it’s a good idea to open your windows or consider doing this step outside. Don’t add oil to the pan; the chilies will release their natural oils, enhancing their aroma. The peppers will darken slightly as they roast.

  2. Once roasted, take the chilies off the heat and allow them to cool completely. This step is crucial before you move on to grinding them.

  3. To create your roasted Thai chili flakes, you can use a mortar and pestle to pound the chilies. You can choose to crush them into either a fine powder or leave them in chunkier bits, depending on your preference. If you prefer a quicker method, use a spice grinder. Just pulse the chilies until you reach the desired texture. Remember, the longer you blend or grind, the finer the flakes will be.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 1


Amount Per Serving
Calories 20kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0.22g1%
Total Carbohydrate 4.4g2%
Sugars 2.65g
Protein 0.94g2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Note

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Use a mortar and pestle or a food processor to make chili flakes.
Keywords: Thai chili flakes, red chili flakes, how to make chili flakes
About Author

Praew

I owned my own Thai restaurant and have years of experience in various other Thai restaurants. I've been whipping up classic Thai dishes by my mother's and grandma's side since I was just a little girl. Now I'm sharing my deep-rooted passion with my authentic Thai recipes on this food blog.

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