Jalapenos are very hot chili pepper and are used especially in Mexican style cooking. This pepper is commonly grown in Mexico, China, Peru, Spain, and parts of the U.S. Because of its popularity, it can be found in most supermarkets and stores. Jalapeno peppers are used to flavor hot sauces, chips, pretzels, and many others. It is a mildly spicy pepper with a unique and delicious flavor. When jalapeno is smoked and dried it is called a chipotle. Because of its popularity, it is very rare to need a jalapeno substitute because it is unavailable in your area. Most times, the only reason people want a substitute for jalapeno is because they either want to step-up the heat or just want something that will give your dish a different flavor.

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This article will provide you with several suggestions for the best alternatives for the jalapeno. However, choosing a substitute for jalapeno depends on the recipe you intend to make with it.

Jalapeno Nutrition Facts:


Substitute for Jalapeno

It is rare to not have jalapeno in the supermarkets or stores around you. However, if you need to make a recipe and you find out that jalapeno pepper is missing from your pantry, you may wonder if there are other ingredients you can use in its place. This article will provide the best jalapeno substitute that will make your dish complete as the original recipe. The substitutes for jalapeno are:

Serrano Pepper


Serrano pepper is the most suitable substitute for the jalapeno. Serrano’s have a similar taste as jalapeno pepper. The only difference between the two is the heat, and that the serrano pepper has a thinner exterior than the jalapeno which is thick-walled. If your goal is adding more spice, the serrano is perfect for you as it will help you amp up the heat levels while maintaining a similar pepper flavor as the jalapeno. Simultaneously, the jalapeno pepper measures 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville Scale, the serrano pepper measures 5000 to 15,000 Scoville Heat Unit.

The serrano is very easy to work with but is not a good stuffed pepper substitute because of its thin walls. It is easier to digest because of its thin walls, so it can be served raw in salsas and sauces.

Fresno Pepper


The Fresno pepper is a very good replacement for jalapenos when cooking. It is similar to the jalapenos in appearance and on the heat scale, with the Fresno being slightly hotter. On the Scoville Scale, Fresno measures from 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville Heat Unit which is close to the range of the jalapenos (2,500 to 8,000). Fresno peppers have a bright crispy taste layered in a smoky and fruity flavor.

The biggest difference between Fresno and jalapeno pepper is the thickness of its walls. Fresno peppers have thinner walls than the jalapeno, but its walls are not as thin as the serrano’s. They can also be dehydrated for grinding into powders when making chili flakes or hot sauces.

Anaheim Pepper


The Anaheim pepper is the best alternative for jalapeno pepper if the heat is too much for you. It has a milder heat than the jalapeno, though many times, it can kick up to almost equal heat as the jalapeno. On the Scoville Scale, Anaheim peppers range from 500 to 2,500. Making them fairly mild at 500 and 2, 500 Scoville Heat Unit places them close to mild jalapeno pepper heat.

Anaheim pepper is slightly sweeter than a jalapeno pepper and offers a crispness making it a decent replacement for the jalapeno. They are larger than the jalapenos and can be used as a substitute for poblano pepper. Anaheim pepper work great as an alternative for jalapenos when you’re making stuffed peppers or jalapeno pepper. They also make great additions for soup, salads, roasted jalapeno salsa, and jalapeno mustard.

Cayenne Pepper Powder


If you don’t have any pepper in the kitchen and add some quick heat to a meal, the cayenne powder will do the trick. Because you’re substituting fresh jalapenos with powdered cayenne pepper, you’ll miss out on the crispy, fresh pepper taste. Bell peppers can be included to give your recipe a fresh pepper taste. However, if your recipe calls for just the jalapenos’ heat, powdered cayenne pepper is a great replacement. When cooking with dried cayenne pepper, we recommend that you use 1/2 tablespoon of cayenne pepper per jalapeno for approximately the same heat level.

Smoked Paprika Powder


Smoked paprika is another jalapeno substitute spice. The paprika powder comes in various spice levels and flavors, ranging from sweet and mild to spicy and Smokey. Smoked paprika has a rating of 250 to 1,000 Scoville Heat Unit on the Scoville Scale. They are milder and sweeter, so they don’t give your meal much heat, but it adds a sweet red pepper flavor and color to your meal, making it an alternative for the jalapeno. Smoked paprika is great when making salsa or hot sauce.

Hot Sauce


Hot sauce is a condiment made from chili peppers and other ingredients. They are used in a variety of meals and is a very obvious substitute for jalapeno peppers. Just add a few dashes into your meal for extra heat and flavor. It can be used alone or with any of the other listed substitutes.

Habanero Pepper


Habanero peppers are extremely hot chilies used in making a variety of sauces and other spicy foods. The habanero pepper is native to the Caribbean, and the north coast of South America, and has a color that ranges from a bright green to orange color. This chili looks similar to a Scotch Bonnet. The habanero pepper has fruity undertones and is extremely hot in flavor. It is one of the hottest pepper a consumer can buy. You can remove the seeds and the membranes of the pepper to reduce its heat. You need to know that the habanero pepper’s skin is extremely fiery, so when handling it, make sure to use a pair of gloves. Habanero peppers are rated around 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Heat Unit on the Scoville Scale.

Poblano Pepper


Poblano pepper range from 1,000 to 1,500 Scoville Heat Unit on the Scoville Scale which is between two and eight times milder than a jalapeno. It is considered the bell pepper of Mexican cuisine. Poblanos have an earthy and slightly smoky flavor while jalapenos have a grassier and brighter taste. Dried poblanos are called ancho peppers.

Poblano is wide and deep so that it could be used to stuff cream cheese, grated cheddar, or rice. Substituting poblano for jalapeno is possible when you’re making salsas. The poblano changes its flavor, but the change isn’t noticeable as other ingredients in the recipe mask it. Fresh poblano has a deep green with a heart-shaped body and very waxy skin. It is best to char or grill the poblano pepper before stuffing because of its thick skin.

Bell Pepper


Bell pepper resembles the thickness of the jalapeno’s flesh but is lacking in heat. The closest it can get as a replacement for jalapeno is, using the bell pepper for flavor and adding cayenne pepper for heat. The only shared characteristics between jalapeno pepper and bell pepper are the thick wall and the crunchy texture. Bell pepper is not accepted as a substitute for jalapeno by some people. But, if you require an alternative with no heat, bell pepper is perfect as a replacement for jalapenos.

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Fresh Cayenne Chile


Fresh cayenne chili, also known as finger chili, is another alternative for the jalapeno. Unlike the cayenne powder, fresh cayenne peppers give a lot of heat and are ranked as a four on the heat scale, hotter than a jalapeno pepper. In the Scoville Scale, cayenne pepper has a rating of around 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville Heat Unit, making it spicier than the jalapeno pepper.