Something I've noticed when using raw, fresh jalapeños and adding them directly to heat. It can sometimes put out a "pepper spray" which can make you and others around the area you are cooking cough and have trouble breathing.

So my question is, how to prevent this? And other tips for working with even hotter peppers that need very little to create a spicy atmosphere.

EDIT: Don't think the linked question is very helpful in terms of cooking with hot peppers, seems more to do with oil use.

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Deep frying and burning eyes although not an exact duplicate question, the issue and resolution are the same.
    – Escoce
    Feb 9, 2016 at 16:45
  • Just read that question and the answers, and the accepted answer doesn't really help much. It just says to vacate? I'm supposed to vacate while cooking?
    – JWiley
    Feb 9, 2016 at 17:12
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    @JWiley: Weeeeeeeeeeell....it's a bit like that. I have an excellent tolerance (and love) for capsaicin. I eat peppers raw, fry them, and eat them fried, without any problems. I consider Jalapenos to be hottisch, but not overly so. I still tear up from onions though, not one lifehacker suggestion helped. Always have, always will. Still have to cut them though. In my opinion there's only one way: Battle through it and hope to build up some tolerance, or keep your self away from it as much as you reasonably can, while still getting the job done. Feb 9, 2016 at 19:04
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    JWiley making sure you can safely leave the kitchen for a minute or two - make sure there is a safe, maybe even slow-heat, place (cold or slow burners, cork mats, baking sheets...) to park a hot pan if things will burn in it if left unattended; have a clear path to a place with fresh air; prepare things like soaked rags if you might need them - is wise. Feb 9, 2016 at 23:36
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    I look forward to the answers. My tangential advice: do not insert or remove contact lenses after working with jalapeños.
    – Paulb
    Jul 8, 2016 at 21:52

2 Answers 2


You have a couple of options, one is to wear a respirator or a bandanna that is soaked with water over your mouth. There really isn't any way around these fumes being created when you put peppers on a hot pan unless you cook them at a very low temperature. The reason is that the capsaicin molecules become airborne when heated.

Whenever I cook with peppers I incorporate them in with the dish after I have done any sort of frying.


For peppers, you’ll want to cook them on an outside grill or inside on very low heat and without oil.

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