When I make chilli, I use dried ancho and chipotle chillies which I rehydrate in beef stock. However, as they are light, they just float on top of the liquid and so they don't rehydrate very efficiently - one side can still be a little dry.

Is there some way I can ensure even, efficient rehydration?

4 Answers 4


I had the same problem with floating chillis so I now soak mine in a cafetiere.

  • I should point out that I don't have coffee in at the time!
    – Ste
    May 3, 2012 at 10:57
  • That's an excellent idea! May 3, 2012 at 11:56

I have been following the advice of Homesick Texan on this one for awhile:

Heat the dried chiles (anchos, pasillas, costenos, guajillos and chiles de arbol) in a dry, cast-iron skillet on medium for a couple of minutes on each side. Turn off the heat and then add enough water to the skillet to cover the chiles, and let them soak for half an hour.

the advantage to efficiency here being that you're not using beef broth/stock. That said, aside from imparting some bitterness, you should be able to reuse your soaking liquid.

If your concern is solely with the fact that one side is floating, and not getting wet, place a plate atop the soaking peppers to press them down into the liquid. You might also slice them in advance to allow air to escape and lessen their buoyancy (and would make it easier to remove the pith later without the pepper falling to shreds). However, in my experience, one side floating has never been a problem, though I typically stir the skillet a few times as well.

  • I use the beef stock in the chilli - the problem is the floating more than anything else. May 3, 2012 at 11:56
  • @ElendilTheTall I have added to address the dryness of one side, however I have not found that inefficiency to be problematic; if you could detail any actual problems that have arisen, perhaps we can identify other leaks in the procedure
    – mfg
    May 3, 2012 at 12:20

When I am using dried chilis they are always pureed into a sauce. I don't like using them whole because I find the reconstituted texture to be unpleasant.

I remove the seeds and membranes and cut them into the pan with kitchen shears to be toasted and then simmered.

As they are cut up there is no problem with floating.

  • I usually deseed and slice them after I rehydrate, always assumed they'd be too tough to cut beforehand. May 3, 2012 at 13:28
  • 1
    @Elendil- They don't cut well with a knife because they pop all over the kitchen. Cutting them in the pot with kitchen shears works very well. May 3, 2012 at 13:31
  • The reason for toasting whole is to control the degree of toasting more evenly; also are you toasting dry or sauteeing?
    – mfg
    May 3, 2012 at 17:15
  • @mfg- I would think it would be easier to control toasting when cut up because I can regularly agitate the pan and mix everything thoroughly. I toast them dry and then saute. May 3, 2012 at 18:27

I keep them submerged in a pot using the lid of the next-smaller pot to weigh them down.

  • My neighbor always refer to this (placing something heavy to keep things from floating back up) as the 'mafia treatment'.
    – Joe
    Dec 1, 2013 at 23:49

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