How to Spice it Up: Your Perfect Peppers Guide

How hot do you like it?

Mild Peppers:

  • Sweet bell
  • Sweet banana
  • Shishito
  • Cherry
  • Piquillo

Medium Peppers:

  • Poblano
  • Ancho
  • Anaheim
  • Cascabel
  • Jalapeno

Hot Peppers:

  • Chipotle
  • Fresno
  • Serrano
  • Chiles de arbol
  • Aji
  • Cayenne
  • Thai

Very Hot Peppers:

  • Habanero
  • “Ghost”


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You’ve probably had the experience of biting into something that turned out to be a bit too spicy.  Whether you like to keep things on the mild side or prefer your peppers hot-hot-hot, we’ve laid out a handy guide to all kind of different types of peppers to help you get the perfect level of heat.

Grilled, raw, dried or pickled, get to know these popular fruits (that’s right — peppers aren’t vegetables), ordered from mild to eye-wateringly spicy.

Types of Peppers

A pepper’s potency is due to a chemical compound called capsaicin. Sweet bell peppers have relatively little capsaicin, while habanero peppers have much more. A quick tip on identifying a spicy pepper is to make note of it’s size — generally the smaller the spicier. A pepper’s heat level is measured by Scoville Heat Units, or SHU — the higher the SHU, the hotter the pepper

Don’t Sweat It (mild)

Sweet bell (0-100 SHU) peppers are the least spicy of all and come in a variety of colors — green, yellow, orange and red. You can get your daily dose of vitamins A and C, which boost your immune function and promote healthy skin, from a single red bell pepper.

Sweet banana (0-100 SHU), or Hungarian wax peppers, are typically yellow, medium-sized, and named for their banana-like shape. They taste great pickled and make a very pretty garnish on Greek salads or deli sandwiches.

Shishito (0-100 SHU) are Japanese peppers with a mild bite of spice. These guys are on the smaller side and can be found in green or red varieties, often as grilled and salted appetizers on restaurant menus.

Cherry (100-1,000 SHU) peppers are typically served on pizzas, salads and sandwiches. Round and red — similar to the cherry fruit — they deliver mild to medium hotness. These peppers are the precursors to pimentos and are commonly eaten on the East Coast as antipasti stuffed with provolone or prosciutto.

Piquillo (500-1,000 SHU) peppers — tapered in shape and red in color — are native to Spain, and their sweet and spicy flavor tastes wonderful on sandwiches or stuffed with cheese.

Read the full article here.


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