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22 September 2013

Scoville Heat Units: 2,500-10,000 SHU

Capsicum Annuum

The Fresno pepper looks and tastes almost like a jalapeno, but they can be much hotter. Fresno peppers change from green to red as they grow, and increase in hotness, but they are often harvested and sold as green. The green peppers are mild to medium hot, while the mature red version is much hotter, surpassing the jalapeno. They grow to about 2-3 inches in length and have a diameter of about one inch.

Fresno chilis are commonly grown in the U.S. and are popular for making ceviche and salsa. The green peppers can be used in many types of dishes to add great flavor, but the hotter red version may be better for dips or salsas. Fresno peppers do not dry well, so they are not ground down to powder, like many other types of chilis.


  1. Frost is upon us in a few days. I need to preserve the Fresnos for later use. I read where they are a good addition to bread. Would it be best to dice and freeze them, or pickle them to use in breads (like cornbread)

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Nancy, I believe you can do BOTH for bread, but if picking just one for bread, I’d probably freeze them over pickling. Not sure how well the pickling flavor will translate over to bread. Let me know how it turns out!

  2. Todd Burgess

    My first ever attempt at growing chili peppers, just happen to have chosen the Fresno.
    The very first growth was 3 little buds that turned red in 75 days. The rest of the full sized peppers are still quite green. I have eaten 4 green ones, and they have a little bite. The red buds had no seeds, but were they ever flavorful, without heat. I can’t wait for the full size ones to ripen. Do they ripen before or after harvest? They are past 75 days by a couple weeks.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Todd, a number of conditions can affect harvesting times, so it is best to wait for them to ripen on the plant. Be sure you are properly watering and feeding the plants for best results.

  3. Robert Strack

    I too have noted that Fresno peppers, fully ripe, freshly picked, lost perhaps two-thirds of their heat when heated with sugar and vinegar to make hot sauce. Yes, a bite of one just off the plant suggested that there would be plenty of heat but after bringing to a boil all became most wimpy. The seeded and chopped peppers were used two pounds to three quarts of liquid.

  4. Jennifer Pederson

    I am growing red fresnos this year but none are turning red. How long does this normally take?

    REPLY: Jennifer, Fresno peppers mature in 75 days on average, so keep an eye on them. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  5. Do you know if the Fresno pepper can be grown in Miami, Florida?

    REPLY: I can’t image why you couldn’t grow any pepper there. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  6. I have been growing Fresno peppers in my garden this year. When picked and eaten fresh they are quite hot, but when I cook with them they don’t seem to impart any heat at all. I cut them up very fine and have used them in an omelette, a tomato sauce and a stir fry with some swiss chard. Why is it that they don’t have any heat when cooked? Should I throw them in at the end of cooking instead of the beginning?

    REPLY: Hi, Sarah. It could be the amount of peppers you are using. You might try adding more of them to see if you get a better heat level. Some foods tend to absorb the pepper heat. I have noticed some peppers lowering in heat after being cooked, like jalapeno peppers. You can also try adding a few fresh peppers toward the end for a nice heat addition. Let me know how it goes. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

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