7 Common Peppers – How Hot Are They?

Here’s a guide to the most common peppers commercially available, with their Scoville rating (which measures chilies’ heat). The higher the number on the Scoville scale, the more capasaicin a chili has — and the hotter it is. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the chili, the hotter it is likely to be.

Anaheim (Mild: 500-2,500)

A mild, large chili that’s perfect for stuffing, the Anaheim has tough skin, so you need to remove it before eating. Char the chili over the flame, let it steam in a sealed paper bag, then peel the skin. Great for use in chili rellenos and other Mexican and New Mexican dishes.

Bell (Mild: 0)

The mildest chili, bell peppers start out green and ripen on the vine to red, yellow, orange and purple varieties, which is why the green bells are not as sweet as the others. Good raw in salads, sauteed for stir fries or fajitas, in soups and as toppings for all types of sandwiches.

Photo Credit: Steven Jackson/CC-BY-2.0

Banana (Mild: 0-500)

Often confused with the yellow wax pepper, which is hotter, the banana pepper is often served pickled as is another mild chili, the pepperoncino (pepperoncini is the plural form of the word).

Poblano (Mild: 1,000-1,500)

Once in a while you can get a poblano with a little more kick, but it usually has a mild flavor. The heart-shaped poblano is sweeter and a wee bit hotter than most Anaheims. It is also more tender, making it perfect for salsa, for stuffing and for cooking as a base for green chili or tomatillo sauce.


Photo Credit: Food Blogga/CC 2.50

Habanero (Exceptionally Hot: 100,000-350,000)

The habanero is extremely hot and rather fruity, and a little goes a very long way. If you can stand the heat, it’s great for homemade hot sauces and salsas (although beginners should probably steer clear of this fiery chili).

Jalapeno (Medium: 2,500-8,000)

With is pepper kick, the jalapeno is perfect for adding heat to most dishes. Use it in salsas, sauces and salads. Smoked jalapeno are called chipotle peppers; they are found canned in adobo sauce. Use chipotles in salsas, sauces, marinades and dressings where you want some heat and smoky flavor.

Serrano (Hot: 10,000-25,000)

With a bright, crisp taste — and a bite — the serrano is typically eaten raw. Because they have thin walls, you don’t have to steam, char or peel serranos before using them. Enjoy in pico de gallo.

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Main Photo Credit: Briciole/CC 3.0


Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Not for everyone

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you :)

Mary Deforest
Mary D3 years ago

New Mexico--CHILE-not chili for pity's sake. If U say Hatch- it has 2B Hatch Chile. Bueno is best for chile products. Anaheims and other similar looking chiles are best roasted in cast iron skillets or griddle, until the skin starts blistering off. Then you immediately plunge them in cold water. When they cool off, put them in plastic freezer bags, and put them in the freezer. I used to roast 4 bushels a year. I take the chile bags out and peel while they are pretty cold. Remove the seeds before you ever put chopped chile in scrambled eggs, with a pot roast, good with a bologna sandwich. HINT: if 2 hot, chop up some fresh garlic, mix it-and let it stand-it will cut the heat. The "Gulf Coast Fisherman" had a chile recipe contest. The prize was a free deep sea fishing trip on the Gulf Coast. My husband sent the Bueno super hot red chile pepper powder and my recipe. Guess who went fishing? Even Chinese, Vietnamese, and Koreans eat food with chiles. Green chile, sauteed pork, put on rice that's browned, add water- Viva Central Mexico. Ay, Chihuahua! and I'm Irish

Stanley R.
Stanley R4 years ago

I like it HOT HOT HOT.

GGma Sheila D.
GGmaSAway D4 years ago

Used to cook with peppers and onions in just about everything. Can no longer have them and find I miss them - food lately is too bland. Thanks for interesting article.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson4 years ago


Betsy Bee
Fiona O4 years ago

Some of these peppers merit the respect of chopping them while wearing rubber gloves. Great article. Thank you.

heather g.
heather g4 years ago

A bell pepper is all I eat and certainly not the green one. Just the red, orange and yellow.

When I eat anything, I prefer my taste-buds to work as they should and assist me in tasting and enjoying my meal. My intention is not to burn my tongue - let alone my insides!

When I need a hot spike to any food I add Chili Flakes - that's sufficient for me....

Marg Tyrell
Margaret Tyrell4 years ago

Love peppers :)

Jacqueline S.
Jacqueline S4 years ago

They didn't mention the ghost pepper! It is supposed to be the third hottest. I'm growing them in my yard. It only takes one seeded pepper to flavor a whole pot of chili. Very HOT!