The datil pepper is a fiery chili produced mainly in St. Augustine, Florida. The pods are smallish and yellow-orange when mature. They reach up to 300,000 Scoville Heat Units.
Scoville Heat Units: 100,000 – 300,000 SHU
The Datil pepper packs the intense heat of a habanero or a Scotch Bonnet, but its flavor is sweeter, and more fruity. It grows to about 3 inches long, and turns yellow-orange when mature.
The majority of Datils come from St. Augustine, FL, where they are grown commercially, but they can be grown almost anywhere indoors with seeds from vendors.
Many companies make all types of hot sauces, which can be found at some specialty stores or online. There is also a famous Datil Pepper Festival held every year in St. Augustine, Florida, where people can vote for the best datil pepper dishes presented by some of the finest restaurants in town.
How Hot is the Datil Pepper?
Datils are quite hot by any chili pepper standard. They measure from 100,000 to 300,000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale, placing them in the territory of both habanero peppers and Scotch Bonnets. Compare that to the more common jalapeno pepper, which averages around 5,000 Scoville Heat Units, and you'll find the datil pepper can be up to 60 times hotter. Quite hot!
Why are Datil Peppers Grown in St. Augustine, Florida?
Two different stories exist about the arrival of the Datil in St. Augustine. Some say that people brought the pepper from Minorca, a Mediterranean island off the coast of Spain, in the 18th century.
Others say a jelly maker from Chile brought it to Florida around 1880. Either way, the Datil is so popular in St. Augustine and its local cuisine, that they hold an annual Datil Pepper Festival each October.
Popular Recipes with Datil Peppers
As datils are quite fiery, you might think their applications would be limited, but this isn't so for true lovers of the datil pepper. You'll find them cooked into anything from hot sauces to bbq sauce, datil pepper jelly and jam, and many other fiery foods. And even if the foods weren't traditionally fiery, you can be sure they will achieve a wonderful level of spiciness with datil peppers included.
The most famous datil pepper sauce is Dat'l Do It Dat'l Pepper Sauce, which has some wonderful spicy flavor.
Try my Datil Pepper Sauce Recipe. It is quite spicy hot, yet wonderfully fruity with a touch of sweetness. I hope you enjoy it.
My Personal Experience
I grew datil peppers in my garden and found them very easy to work with. The plants were hardy enough, and were very productive. I had dozens and dozens of pods throughout and at the end of the season. They're not only great for sauces and hot sauces, but I enjoy drying them and grind them into powders for my own seasoning uses.
See how to dehydrate chili peppers and how to make chili powders.
Where Can I Find Datil Pepper Plants and Seeds?
I purchased my seeds online and grew them myself. If you're not lucky enough to be a St. Augustine local, it is best to purchase datil pepper seeds and plants through an Amazon seller.
Dennis Mooneyham says
I am looking to purchase 10-15 pounds of Datil Peppers. Please advise if you can provide or who I should contact? Thank You.
Jennifer Burns says
Hi Mike! Love your site...I own a gourmet foods company in Georgia and I make a Datil Peach Marmalade. I am updating my website currently and need a picture for the recipes page for the Datil Peach Marmalade. Would you grant me permission to use your picture of bunch of peppers? It will go on my website listing for Datil Peach recipes....let me know. Thank you! You should add our product to your "shop" listing....it's a tasty treat with cheeses or over grilled meats and fish - with a heated finish.
REPLY: Sure thing, Jennifer. Go for it, and thanks. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.