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7 January 2020

The Peppadew pepper, or sweet piquanté pepper, is a sweetened pickled pepper from South Africa that is popular for snacking. Learn all about it.

Scoville Heat Units: 1177 SHU

About the Peppadew Pepper

“Peppadew” is the brand name of piquanté peppers grown in the Limpopo province of South Africa that have been pickled and sweetened. As the story goes, a farmer discovered the tiny pepper in South Africa in the 1990s and put it on the market. He described it as “peppery” but “sweet as the dew,” hence the name. It became very popular in South Africa in the 2000s, especially as a pizza topping.

The product is actually made from the sweet piquanté pepper, or Juanita pepper. The name has been somewhat genericized, with the sweet piquanté pepper referred to more often as a “peppadew”.

The Peppadew International, a company in South Africa, trademarked the name “Peppadew®” to sell a number of food products. Though the company has a myriad of products under its belt, its highest selling product is the Peppadew pepper cultivated in South Africa. The  pepper is fancied by lovers of spicy food, and the sweet piquanté pepper has never failed to thrill the taste buds.

Peppadew peppers are the perfect combination of sweet and heat. 

History of Peppadew Peppers

The Peppadew pepper, a kind of Piquanté Pepper, was first seen in 1993 in South Africa. After a few years, the pepper was ushered into the market. Some believe the pepper is a crossbreed of tomato and pepper because of its resemblance to both cherry tomatoes and red peppers in size and color, but that’s far from the truth.

Once this kind of Piquante Pepper was discovered, plant breeder’s rights were obtained from the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, with the aim of ensuring that the species is protected.

What Kind of Pepper is the Peppadew?

The Peppadew is actually a piquante pepper, also known as the Juanita pepper, that has been pickled. It resembles a cherry tomato, but it has no relation.

How Hot is the Peppadew Pepper?

The Peppadew pepper measures in at 1177 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale. This is roughly equal to the heat of the poblano pepper or a sweet apple pepper. Compare this to the more well-known jalapeno pepper, which averages about 5,000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale, and this pepper is more that four times milder.

Processing Peppadew Peppers

Usually, the peppers are processed by removing the seeds and innards and reducing the pepper’s heat to ensure it is palatable for consumers. After this is done, it is pickled, bottled, and shipped off to stores. The packaged peppers aren’t made to be as hot as the raw peppers.

The Flavor of The Peppadew Pepper

When the Piquantè Pepper fruit is being processed, sugar is added to it to sweeten it up. This is done in the pickling process. This is why when you consume it, you may feel a hint of the sweet taste.

It is considered a sweet pepper, with just a bit of heat. It is sold commercially, either hot or mild, and may be stuffed with soft cheeses, such as cream cheese or goat cheese. It is also tasty on salads, omelets, and sandwiches.

What is a Good Substitute for Peppadew Peppers?

Pickled cherry peppers or pimentos are probably the best substitutes, though you may not get as much of that sweetness you are looking for. Consider swirling in just a touch of honey if you are using any of these as a substitute.

Where Can I Buy Peppadew Peppers?

You can sometimes find these peppers for sale at your local grocer near the pickles and pickled pepper products, but they can be hard to find. Sometimes I find them in grocery store lunch buffets, but those are for immediate consuming. I usually purchase them from Amazon to make it easier. Buy Peppadew Peppers from Amazon (affiliate link, my friends!).

NOTE: This page was updated on 1/7/20 to include new photos and information. It was originally published on 9/22/13.