Medium-Hot chili peppers range from 15,001 to 100,000 Scoville Heat Units. There are so many varieties of chili peppers, and they often have different names depending on region. Here is some information on spicy chili peppers and the vast variety of chili pepper types in the world.
30,000-50,000 Scovilles. Since “Amarillo” is the Spanish word for yellow, and “Ají” is the term for chile in South America, this pepper is also appropriately known as the “yellow chile.” The Ají Amarillo is grown in all areas of Peru. Used by the Incas, it is still the most common and popular chile in that country. It may be said that is it possibly the most important ingredient in Peruvian cooking. It grows to about 4-5 inches in length, and despite its name, it actually matures to a deep orange. Like other chiles from this area, the Amarillo has a fruity, berry-like flavor. It is medium in heat level, but it does not leave your mouth burning. It is also great as a condiment. The Ají Amarillo may be sold in Latin food stores and on the internet in its dried or paste form.
1,177 - 75,000 Scovilles. Also known generally as the Peruvian hot pepper, aji is the common name primarily in South America and areas of the Caribbean for chili peppers.
30,000-50,000 Scovilles. The Limo chile (or Ají Limo) is another super-hot chili from Peru. (Ají is the term for chile pepper in South America.) It grows to about 2-3 inches, and may be red, yellow, orange, or even purple or white, providing great color for your dishes. They are commonly used in ceviche, and other Peruvian cooking, and they’re also great for salsas, chili and other fish dishes. The Limo has a citrus-spice flavor when cooked.
Capsicum baccatum. The Aji Pineapple is a gorgeous yellow baccatum pepper with elongated fruits that average from 2-3 inches long. They begin green and ripen to the vibrant yellow that you see in the photos. Similar to other Ajis, which are typically bright and fruity, the Aji Pineapple runs around 20,000 Scoville Heat Units, so it is moderately hot. I'm told this is a rare chili pepper, though that is a shame. It is a delicious pepper and works in many a dish. The plants are easy to grow and are very productive, at least from my personal experience.
15,000-30,000 Scovilles. The Barker’s Hot chili pepper is an extra-hot chile, the hottest of the Anaheim/ New Mexico variety, and it has great flavor. They grow to 5-7 inches in length, and can be used just as you would use an Anaheim, with an extra punch. This variety originally comes from a selection of native New Mexican chiles, so it naturally grows well in very hot, dry climates. The peppers ripen from green to red, with the red fruits growing hotter than the green ones. The fruits have thin skins, making them great for roasting, frying whole, canning or stuffing. They also make deliciously hot salsa.
50,000-100,000 Scovilles. The tiny Bird’s Eye Chili originated in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, The Philippines, and surrounding countries, but they can now be found all over the world. They are presumably called Bird’s Eye Chili because of their small round shape and because they have been spread by birds, which are not affected by the heat of the peppers. The Chiltepin pepper in North America is also known by the same name, and for the same reasons, but it is a different pepper altogether.
5,000-30,000 Scovilles. Capsicum Baccatum. This chile is a member of the Capsicum Baccatum species, which includes the Ají pepper. It has an interesting shape, hence its name, and can be very spicy, with a fruity flavor. It is red when mature, and measures about 1 inch long and 2-3 inches wide. It can be used fresh in salsas or salads, and can be dried or pickled as well.
10,000-30,000 Scovilles. Grown for centuries in Bolivia (Central South America), the Bolivian Rainbow chile is a stunningly beautiful plant. The peppers start out a brilliant purple and turn yellow to orange to red, with all stages of the pepper present on the plant at once, making it a bright and colorful addition to your garden or your home. They can be grown indoors and will produce fruits continuously, year-round. When grown outside, they need a warm climate. The peppers are small, about 1 inch, and cone-shaped, growing upright on the plant. They somewhat resemble Christmas lights because of their shape and their bright and differing colors. In addition, the foliage and blossoms are purple, making the plant even more unique.
30,000 - 50,000 Scovilles. A thin chile pepper, green to red in color, about 2 to 3 inches long. The "cayenne pepper" spice you use is the dried, ground version of this pepper.
70,000-100,000 Scovilles. Similar to the Carolina Cayenne, the Charleston Hot is a variety of Cayenne created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in South Carolina. Although it was not bred for its heat, it is much hotter than a regular cayenne, which averages about 30,000 Scovilles. In fact, it’s almost as hot as a habanero but with a great cayenne flavor. The Charleston Hot starts out green and turns to yellow, then orange, then bright red. It can be harvested during its immature stages, but most people are familiar with its typical mature, red color. The peppers are long and skinny, growing to about 5 inches in length, and ¾ inch in width.
Sources rate this chile in 2 categories- 15,000-30,000 and 50,000-65,000 Scovilles. Capsicum Annuum. Chiles de Árbol are small and thin Mexican peppers, growing to 2-3 inches long and less than a ½ inch wide. They mature to red, and are harvested and used at this stage. Chile de Árbol means “tree chili” in Spanish, a name which refers to the woody stem of the pepper. Other names for this chile include Bird’s beak chile, andRat’s tail chile. These peppers may be sold fresh, dried or powdered. The dried whole chilis are often used to make chile wreaths, or ristras, because when dried they keep their deep red color.
30,000-60,000 Scovilles. Capsicum Annuum. Also spelled Piquin, this chile is also called Bird Pepper, because it is consumed and spread by wild birds. It is a tiny fruit, (pequeno in Spanish means tiny) measuring only ½ to ¾ inches long, but don’t be fooled, this little chile packs quite a punch! As it matures it changes from green to bright red. It is sometimes confused with the Chiltepin, which is a similar but different pepper. Some describe the flavor as citrusy, smoky, and nutty. It is used in hot sauces, salsas, and soups, and it can be pickled. Just one or two of these little chiles punctured and put in a pot of food will add a kick!
50,000 to 100,000 Scovilles. Capsicum Annuum. The Chiltepin, or Chiltepine, is a tiny, round or oval shaped, red to orange-red chile, measuring about .8cm in diameter. It has grown in the wild throughout much of Northern Mexico and Southern Texas for generations, and there is much folklore and history involving the plant in the US/Mexico Borderland areas. Efforts to grow the wild plants on farms have led to the development of the Chile Piquin which is grown commercially in Mexico and Texas.
60,000-100,000 Scovilles. The Diablo Grande comes from the same group that includes jalapenos, poblanos, cayenne, and Serrano peppers. The fruits of this chile start out yellow-green and ripen to red, with a narrow crescent-shape and somewhat thick flesh. They may be harvested while green or red. These peppers are delicious when used fresh, pickled, or cooked in dishes.
55,000-65,000 Scovilles. Capsicum Annuum. These small, round chili peppers from Pakistan grow to about ½ inch to 1 inch in diameter, and are dark red in color. They are very popular in Pakistani and Indian cooking, with a flavor similar to Scotch Bonnet Chili Peppers, but with less heat. These little chiles pack a punch though! Just a couple crushed Dundicuts added to a pot will add heat and flavor.
35,000-40,000 Scovilles. Capsicum Annuum. The Guntur Sannam chili is grown in and around Guntur and Warangal in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. It is an extremely important cash crop in that area, and the livelihoods of thousands depend on a successful harvest. Its popularity spreads throughout the world. It is mostly used as a condiment, a culinary supplement, or a vegetable.
6,000-17,000 Scovilles. The Hidalgo is an heirloom pepper, similar in shape and hotness to the Serrano, originally from Mexico and Central America. The plants of this chili pepper produce large quantities and seem very sturdy. The chilis grow to about 2” long, and have thick, shiny red skin. The Hidalgo pepper is great for pickling. It can be used to make relish or added to many dishes for quite a kick. They taste great put in salsa or sauces as well.
20,000-30,000 Scovilles. The Jwala is the most popular chile in India, adding great flavor and spice to many Indian dishes. The word “Jwala” means “Volcano” in Hindi, and they are commonly found in the Gujarat region of India. The peppers start out light green and ripen to red, and can be used fresh or dried. They grow to about 4 inches in length with wrinkled skin, and resemble a slightly curved finger. The plants are very productive, and can be grown easily in pots or in a garden.
15,000-30,000 Scovilles. This bright yellow, citrus-flavored chile is also known as Kellu Uchu in Peru, where it originated. The pods grow to 2-3 inches long and ½ inch wide with wrinkled skin. Its unique lemon taste has caught the attention of those who love the citrus flavor of habanero but just can’t quite handle the intense heat. The Lemon Drop is a fantastic substitute. Although the heat is intense, it does not linger. Instead, it leaves behind the nice, lemony flavor.
60,000-100,000 Scovilles. The Malagueta chili pepper is similar in appearance to the Bird’s Eye chili or the Thai chili because of its bright red color and short, tapered body. It starts out green and matures to red, and grows to only about 2 inches. The Malagueta is one of the most popular chilis in Brazil, and is also used widely in Portugal and Mozambique. Its name comes from an unrelated spice in West Africa called the melegueta, which causes some confusion.
The Moshi Chili Pepper originates from Tanzania, Africa. It is named for the village of Moshi, located at the base of Mount Kiliminjaro. It is a very rare but productive hot pepper variety, yielding many peppers. The chili plants grow on average between 3-4 feet in height. The peppers ripen from green to red and typically reach two inches in length with a pointed end. This variety made its way to the United States via an exotic seed collector.
60,000-70,000 Scovilles. Another of the many New Mexico varieties, the New Mex XX Hot is just that- very hot. The chiles are slim with thin walls and smooth skin, and grow to 3-5 inches. When grown on a farm they can be machine harvested.
The Orange Thai chili pepper is a thin chili pepper that is very similar to the typical red Thai-style chili pepper, though unique for its orange ripening pods. The peppers grow a few inches long overall and have very bright, colorful orange skin. I place them in the medium-hot category along with other Thai-style peppers, though the fruity flavor may make them seem slightly milder. The plants are very productive and can yield up to 200 chili peppers.
5,000-30,000 Scovilles. This very interesting little chili makes a great conversation piece in the garden or in the kitchen due to its distinctively phallic shape, hence its name. It grows to about 3-4 inches long and 1-1.5 inches wide, and matures to a bright red. Originally from Texas and Louisiana, they are grown commercially and seeds can be obtained through private companies. They are great for salsas!
75,000 Scovilles. The Red Amazon is actually dried Tabasco chile, but since it is so commonly known in this form, we included it separately here. The Tabasco chile is one of the most common chiles in America, and it is often used in hot sauce, but the Red Amazon, in dried form, is a great addition to soups and sauces. Ground into a powder, it can be used as a spice in place of cayenne pepper to add kick to just about any dish.
30,000 - 100,000 Scovilles. This pepper grows in the Andes from Chile to Columbia, as well as in the highlands of Central America and Mexico. It goes by many names including the locoto pepper widespread through South America, or as the rocote, or as the caballo or "horse" in Guatemala and some parts of Mexico. It is also known in Peru and in Mexico as the manzano/manzana or "apple pepper" in one variety resembling small apples and often used when red, or as perón or "pear pepper," once again in Mexico and in allusion to its especially fruity or even sometimes green appearance. They are called canario or "canary" pepper when referring to the yellow variety, particularly in Oaxaca. They are further known as cera and malinalco, or ciruelo, as well as cirhuleo in Querétaro, a state in central Mexico.
40,000-50,000 Scovilles. From Japan, the Santaka chili pepper is a hot and flavorful Asian variety, perfect for Asian cooking, especially stir-fries. They are also great in salsas and sauces, and can be strung together, dried, and ground into powder. They grow to about 2 inches long and the plant itself if very attractive, with white flowers and an ornamental appearance. The chilis are cone-shaped, bright red when mature, and the skin is thin and wrinkled.
5,000 - 23,000 Scovilles. The serrano chili pepper is a smaller version of the jalapeno pepper, similar in color, but smaller, about 1 to 4 inches long on average and 1/2 inch wide. They generally grow between 1 - 4 inches long and about 1/2 inch wide though they have been known to grow longer. They are meaty peppers and are not the best choice for drying. The serrano pepper originated in the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo. They are commonly red, brown, orange, or yellow, though you are likely to find them in their more common green color, much like a jalapeno pepper.
5,000-30,000 Scovilles. Also known as the “Bulgarian Carrot Pepper,” this interesting little chili pepper looks remarkably like a carrot, with its bright orange color and long, narrow body. It grows to about 3 ½” long and has an intensely hot but fruity flavor. An heirloom pepper originally from Bulgaria, “Shipkas” was its native name. The rumor is that the Carrot Pepper was smuggled out through the Iron Curtain around the late 1980s. The crunchy flesh of the Shipkas makes it excellent for roasting, and it tastes great in salsas, marinades and chutneys. Its color also adds a distinctive appearance to everything it touches.
40,000-50,000 Scovilles. These small peppers grow upright in clusters and mature from light green to red, often with shades of orange in between. They do best in a hot, humid climate. They grow to 1 ½”-2” in length and ½”- 1” in width and have a cone shape. They are decorative and colorful, and are often used as a border in gardens with limited space. The Super Chili is great for flavoring Asian dishes, including Thai and Szechwan cuisine, among others. Like many other chili peppers, they can be harvested and used at any stage of maturity.
30,000 - 50,000 Scovilles. Yep, this is THAT pepper used to make that very famous hot sauce. It's one of the most well known peppers next to the jalapeno. The fruit is tapered and under 2 inches long. The color is usually creamy yellow to red, and turn yellow and orange before ripening to bright red. The tabasco pepper is a variety of chili pepper species Capsicum frutescens, like the Naga Jolokia. It's a very pungent pepepr grown mostly in the Gulf Coast states. The word, "tabasco", is the name of a state in Mexico.
50,000 - 100,000 Scovilles. Despite the common belief, there is no single "Thai chili pepper" though most candidates for the title are small in size and high in heat or pungency. There are at least 79 separate varieties of chili that have appeared from three species in Thailand. While the names of chili peppers are often "hotly" debated and therefore in a volatile state of flux the world over, some would say that there is particular confusion when the subject comes around to Thai peppers.nliven pastes and sauces, especially those with local fish flavors, of course.
50,000 - 75,000 Scovilles. The Tien Tsin is named after the province in China where its harvest originally took place. This pepper has traditionally accompanied fare in its native Asia. It now grows widely beyond the Middle Kingdom and appears in cuisines around the world. The Tien Tsin pepper is very hot. It usually displays a bright red color and grows from 1 to 2 inches in length. You can still find these once-exotic peppers in much of general Hunan and Szechwan cooking, and especially in the popular dish Kung Pao chicken.
75,000 Scovilles. Also known as Japanese chile. Originating in Japan, these chiles come from small plants (the name refers to a dwarf tree) and grow upward in clusters around yellow flowers. It is grown as a short-lived perennial, meaning it comes back each year, but only for 2-3 years. Mature peppers are often dried before use. The Yatsafusa peppers mature to a deep red at about 3 inches, but can be picked before maturity, when they are green, for a slightly different and milder flavor. It is said that the best flavor comes from mixing the young green peppers with the mature red ones in dishes. The chile is of course popular in many Japanese dishes such as soups and stir-fries, as well as other Asian cuisine. They are also used in hot sauces and as a rub for smoked meat.
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