Choosing Chile Peppers Article -
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Choosing Chile Peppers

Whether you want refreshingly mild or mind-altering hot, the guide below will help you pick the perfect pepper.

Pick a Pepper

Chiles come in many varieties, offering a wide array of colors and sizes and a range of heat and flavor.

Colors can be anywhere from light green to dark green, red to purple or dark brown, and yellow to bright orange. They can be as long as 12 inches or as short as 1/4 inch.

Fairly Mild Peppers

Some fairly mild chile peppers are the Anaheim chile, poblano chile, Hungarian wax chile, and the ancho chile.

Moderately Hot Chile Peppers

Some moderately hot chile peppers are the Cascabel chile, chilaca chile, pasilla chile, chipotle chile, and the jalapeño chile.

Hot Peppers

Some really hot chile peppers are the cayenne chile, Serrano chile, Thai chile, and the Pequín chile.

Thai chile

Extremely Hot or "Call the Fire Department"

The habanero and Scotch Bonnet are extremely hot, offering the strongest heat of all chile pepper varieties!

habanero chile
Sep. 21, 2009 11:03 am
My son is leaving for college. What is the better method for taking the habaneros from our garden with him - make a sauce with vinegar or dried?
Nov. 30, 2009 6:01 am
i live in a country where i can get almost any kind of chile pepper, except the anaheim, poblano,hungarian wax,or ancho chile, which i believe is used for chile rellenos. I was wondering if there would be an alternative way to make chile rellenos.
May 26, 2010 8:27 am
There are now chiles available that are even hotter than the habanero. One is called a ghost pepper. They are about 1,000,000 or over on the Scoville Scale.
Jun. 10, 2010 5:24 pm
I'd like to point out, that including the heat level in scoville units might make it a bit clearer as terms like hot and very hot can be very subjective. Also to me , spicy comes from the pepper flesh, the HOT comes from the seeds. I don't go higher than 20,000 scovilles.
Jun. 10, 2010 11:10 pm
Very informative chilies are hot, very hot,and distinct spicy comes from pepper flesh, the hot comes from seeds. And never knew about scovilles scale, this is all very amazing..
Aug. 5, 2010 5:47 pm
One of the hotest I have tried is the Serano, boy does it add a kick to any Salsa or recipe. In Alberta they are usually found in late August or September if even then.
Aug. 15, 2010 9:53 am
I tasted a dish in Jamaica made with Scotch bonnet peppers. I licked a piece of cooked carrot that must have touched a pepper and my mouth was incinerated!!!!!
Mrs. Laundry 
Sep. 4, 2010 11:51 am
I love the serrano chiles in my salsa and don't think they're that hot. They do have a higher level of capsaicin than jalapenos, which I can't tolerate, which must be an allergy.
Sep. 7, 2010 7:24 am
I grow poblano, habanero, ghost, kung pao, and the "gringo" jalapenos (no heat) peppers. I give a fair amount away, and freeze some to cook with later. I eat the no heat jalapenos in salads and other recipes. A whole lot of peppers are ground, OUTSIDE at the picnic table, with an old hand food grinder, spread in 9x13x2 glass dishes, no more than 1/2" deep, and allowed to dry in the hot garage, with a window screen on top to keep the insects out. They need to be stirred every day or two, until they dry or they will spoil. When dry enough to preserve for pizza & cooking, I grind them again with the same grinder(clean), and they get perfectly sized, so start saving your empty parmesan shakers!
Sep. 7, 2010 7:25 am
Sep. 18, 2010 9:03 am
Old El Paso has a canned chile than can be used for rellenos, they are canned whole. Works well!
Nov. 4, 2010 9:03 am
To lorisue, one of our favorite ways of preserving Habaneros is to make jelly. I got the recipe on this web site.
Nov. 15, 2010 3:44 pm
For the person doing chile relleno, I prefer using the pablano pepper to the anaheim, if you havent tried it, you need to, they are delicious!
Dec. 30, 2010 9:18 am
I had a green chili grower in Hatch NM point out to me that if you want to know how hot a respective chili is, look at the stem end of the chili. Where the stem meets the flesh of the meat of the chili, it looks sort of like a star. The star will have points. The hotter the chili, the more points there will be on the chili. According to this green chili grower, for green chilis, anything over six is usually a hot chili. When you open up a green chili with six points, you will find that it also has six veins in it as well. Most people think that it is the seeds that carry the heat, but the veins have a lot of heat as well. The vein test has proven successful with other chilies as well.
Jan. 14, 2011 5:16 pm
That is very interesting, Cammy! Thanks! I have been to hatch NM during the Chili festival but I never could figure out how they decided which were hot, med. or mild!
Judy A 
Jan. 16, 2011 1:30 pm
Here is the formula I learned for the heat vs. flavor factor. 1/2 of the heat is in the veins, 1/4 in the seeds & 1/4 in the meat. Most of the flavor is in the meat so with the hotter chilis if you want the flavor but not so much heat just remove the veins & seeds. I do this with serranos for my fresh salsa & get wonderful flavor without searing my mouth.
Jan. 20, 2011 5:05 pm
As for preserving habaneros, I found that freezing fresh ones retained the heat the best, while pickling in vinegar allowed it to fade very very much. Fresh is just TOO hot for me. So is frozen. But this data is from before I knew to remove the seeds and rib veins, so is limited.
Feb. 27, 2011 12:48 am
Maureen, I live six months of the year in Thailand, usually until the end of April and six months in Toronto. I always bring a couple of packages of what Thais call "rat s*** tailed" peppers back and grow them and give to friends. They can be started inside then transplanted. If you are interested, drop me a line at, one of my e-mail addressess because I do not give out my others. I can mail a package from bangkok anytime. Thanx all. 'nuf sed. plamuk aka travellingchef
Feb. 27, 2011 12:49 am
Maureen, I live six months of the year in Thailand, usually until the end of April and six months in Toronto. I always bring a couple of packages of what Thais call "rat s*** tailed" peppers back and grow them and give to friends. They can be started inside then transplanted. If you are interested, drop me a line at, one of my e-mail addressess because I do not give out my others. I can mail a package from Bangkok anytime. Thanx all. 'nuf sed. plamuk aka travellingchef
A Ray 
Feb. 28, 2011 2:52 pm
Hi, I love Allrecipes! As to "Call the Fire Department," (Habanero/Scotch Bonnet)being the hottest of all the chiles. This was true until the Bhut Jalokia or "Ghost Chile" was discovered in India. With a Scoville rating of over one million units, it is recognized by Guiness BWRs as the hottest pepper on Earth. You can check it out at If you want to grow your own peppers, they also give you more seeds per packet at a cheaper price than other similar sites even with S & H included! Enjoy! -A
Mar. 28, 2011 6:03 pm
One trick to growing hotter peppers is to reduce their water ration a few weeks before harvest. they produce more capsian to protect themselves from preditors when they feel water is restricted. it works!
Nov. 7, 2011 12:03 pm
The bhut jolokia has been superseded by two in the last year or so... although at least one is a hybrid with the ghost pepper Where will it all end????
Jan. 23, 2012 4:50 pm
the heat from chilies does not come entirely from the seeds, in fact very little till dry. Heat is in the membrane holding the seeds in place inside the chili. Scorpian peppers are even hotter than ghost peppers which I grow. looking but havent found seed yet to try them..
Jan. 23, 2012 6:48 pm
Cammy ... i lived in NM for a year & absolutley loooooved when they would roast the chilli... i always thought those were ancho's ... am i right? It is the greatest smell in the world!
Jan. 24, 2012 12:46 pm
Rayvensol--I believe that ancho chiles are dried pablanos. And, if you are referring to the Hatch festival, those are hatch chiles.
Feb. 16, 2012 5:20 am
What???No mention OF THE "Ghost Chile". There must be some uses for this Indian treat!!
Sue Sproul 
Feb. 16, 2012 2:40 pm
The latest word on the source of heat (which I got from the growers of Hatch chiles in N.M.) is that the seeds are not responsible. It's the ribs to which they are attached inside the pepper. Of course, no one I know enjoys chewing on the seeds, but just removing them won't change the heat.
Aug. 12, 2013 2:16 am
Has anyone actually tried the "ghost pepper"? I first heard of it on Dr. Oz and wondered why anyone would need anything so hot! I clearly remember the warning streaming across the screen: Warning! Ghost Peppers are not meant for human consumption!
Sep. 5, 2014 12:58 pm
They are no hotter than many others once you remove the veins
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