Are you finding a substitute for jalapenos? If yes, you have landed in the right place.
You can encounter jalapenos in many recipes, adding a sense of hot spice to the dishes. What if you can’t put your hand on this ingredient, or you prefer a less or more hot taste?
In today’s article, we are displaying 11 replacements for jalapenos in order from bottom to top of the Scoville scale.
Top 11 Substitutes For Jalapenos
Now let’s start our journey to find out the suitable substitute for jalapenos, beginning with the least spicy one.
1. Bell Pepper
If you can’t stand the hot spice of peppers, bell pepper is your savior since it has zero Scoville Heat Unit (SHU), offering a mild and sweet taste.
Accordingly, bell pepper and jalapeno have no flavor in common. But they share the thick walls and crunchy texture, so you can confidently use them interchangeably.
You will easily come across bell pepper in salads, pizzas, stir-fries, or skewers, thanks to its harmonious flavor. What impresses us most is the Turkey-thyme stuffed peppers, even better than jalapenos due to its thicker and crispier flesh.
The tender and meaty turkey combined with the stinky cheese is perfectly glorified with the crispy and fresh green bell pepper wrap. You won’t expect more from a main course.
Bell pepper is a great source of vitamin C and A. The former can boost your immune system, consequently enhancing your mood and energy. The latter helps your eyes stay away from night blindness and speeds up the healing of your skin.
Sometimes, you need to peel off bell peppers to prepare a recipe. Things will get easier if you bake them in a preheated oven at 300°F for 5-8 minutes.
2. Banana Pepper
Banana pepper, also called yellow wax pepper, measures about 500 SHU. It is not as hot as jalapenos, yet you can taste a touch of mild and tangy flavor.
Although this kind is a little bigger, it resembles the crispy walls compared to jalapenos. You can use banana peppers instead of jalapenos, adding a bright yellow to your dish for visual appeal.
Banana peppers pop up in many recipes requiring jalapenos, including salads, sandwiches, tacos, or stuffed dishes. Besides, pickling is not a bad idea. You can use pickled banana peppers as a side dish for steaks, hotdogs, etc., in picnic season.
This fruit is famous for vitamin B6, which is a good friend of your brain. B6 helps combat anemia and depression, thus promoting brain health. Besides, calcium in banana pepper also does wonders for your bones and skin by maintaining natural moisture.
To prepare banana pepper, cut the top stem and gently twist the rest with your fingers to remove the inner.
Another option for those who don’t love hot food is pepperoncini, rating about 100 to 600 SHU. Although you can feel a little peppery, the signature of this veggie is still sweetness.
You can easily get fresh or pickled pepperoncini at stores to use whenever it calls for jalapeno peppers. Fresh pepper can be mixed with salads, hamburgers, sandwiches, or salsa recipes.
What about pickled pepperoncini? Try out Pickled pepperoncini deviled eggs. The avocado trees on the deviled eggs garnished with acidic and sweet pickles not only bring out a visual pleasure but also are a crowd-pleaser.
Pepperoncini is an excellent source of fiber and calcium. Fiber is helpful in cleaning out bacteria and aiding your intestines for better digestion. Meanwhile, calcium plays an important role in your bone and teeth health.
Only wash pepperoncini peppers when you are about to use them. If not, they will soon decompose in a wet environment.
4. Cubanelle Pepper
We consider cubanelle a sweet pepper since its Scoville scale ranges from 100 to 1,000 SHU, just slightly tangy. This pepper comes with thinner flesh than jalapenos, but they are both crispy. So if you are not a spice lover, cubanelle pepper is a proper alternative.
Like jalapenos, this pick also appears in stuffed recipes, salads, stir-fries, or stews. We recommend trying Chicken cacciatore with cubanelle, a rustic poultry-veggie stew dish.
The secret is the outstanding sauce from wine to whet your appetite, and the cubanelle replaces bell pepper for a less bitter flavor.
Cubanelle pepper is packed with vitamin C, an essential nutrient to strengthen your immune system and fight off illness. It also comes with folate, significantly contributing to red blood cell formation. This substance is vital during pregnancy to eliminate the risk of congenital disabilities.
If you are about to make a stir-fried cubanelle pepper, it is wise to use olive oil.
5. Anaheim Pepper
Another “sweet pepper” on this list is anaheim. The so-called sweetness is not that exact since this pepper comes with 500 to 1,000 SHU, meaning that you can feel a bit of heat.
With its slight heat and crunchy flesh, anaheim pepper will decently take the place of jalapeno.
You will notice the big size of anaheim, making it the go-to choice for stuffed recipes. Too tired of stuffed peppers? Why not take a fresh wind with Anaheim chicken tortilla soup?
The sweet and spicy pepper flooded in chicken broth comes with a hint of wine to brighten up the meaty flavor. What can you expect more on a cold winter day?
Anaheim is high in water content and low in calories, making it a great vegetable for dieters. Eating this pepper also brings you lots of vitamin C and A, improving your energy and eye health.
It is better to grill anaheim before putting it into soups. This way can enhance its sweetness and make it juicier.
6. Smoked Paprika Powder
Want some red color in your dish but can’t bear too much heat? You can’t go wrong with paprika powder. This type adds a hint of hot spice of 500 to 1,000 SHU to your recipes.
You may wonder why not fresh pepper, but it’s up to you indeed. It is easier to put your hand on paprika powder than the fresh ones, so we just suggest more available ingredients.
Paprika comes with a distinct ground spice, giving an amazing scent and smoky flavor in hot salsas or sauce recipes. You can also sprinkle it on fried rice or seafood dishes as a garnish to praise their flavor. Paprika contains many beneficial antioxidants. Studies have shown that these substances contribute to reducing the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. Vitamin A found in this pepper also supports your vision and healing process.
Paprika powder tends to lose its color when not properly stored. It is advisable to keep it in an airtight container in cool and dark places like the refrigerator.
7. Fresno Pepper
We have to admit that fresno pepper is the closest substitute for jalapenos since they share the exact heat level of 2,500 to 10,000 SHU. However, fresno brings a thicker and crisper wall along with a smoky and fruity flavor.
You can replace jalapenos with fresno peppers in salsas, soup, or hot sauces if you are into spicy food. Otherwise, Fresno pesto can pair well with many other dishes. Mixing it into pasta or scrambled eggs, spreading it on toast, or serving it with steak are just some typical examples.
Fresno is full of vitamin C and B. Vitamin C, as I mentioned, can aid your immune system to fight off flu, cold, etc. while vitamin B supports the formation of red blood cells.
When making fresno pesto, if almond is not available in your kitchen, you can use walnuts, pine nuts, or pecans to make a perfect creamy texture.
8. Serrano Pepper
Let’s level up to a hotter pepper. Serrano measures 5,000 to 15,000 SHU, meaning that it is nearly twice as pungent as jalapenos. This fruit really adds a heat bump to your dishes.
Since serrano does not have a thick wall like jalapenos, you’d better not use it as a stuffed pepper substitute. Instead, sauté or pickle it and mix with other ingredients to highlight the spicy taste.
You will want to try taco wrapped with tortillas and top it with lime juice, avocado, and chopped-up serrano to balance the flavor.
Serrano pepper is prized for its included vitamin B6, an important nutrient to enhance your heart health. Vitamin C and A in this fruit also benefit your eye immune system as well as your skin.
We recommend wearing gloves when handling serrano chiles. The heat can burn your skin.
9. Cayenne Pepper (Fresh/Powder)
Coming with a heat scale of 30,000 to 50,000 SHU, cayenne pepper will give a pungent kick to your taste buds. If you want to heat up on a cold winter day, a dish with cayenne won’t let you down.
When fresh cayenne pepper is not around you, its powder is not a bad idea. Although you may miss out on the fresh and crunchy texture, you can have the same heat level.
While jalapeno sauce can add a touch of heat to your dishes, cayenne’s gorgeous red color makes it perfect for pepper sauce for hot spicy lovers. You can serve this sauce with chicken, chips, or any fried food. Cayenne pepper powder can be sprinkled on soups, stews, or pizzas to enhance their spiciness.
Cayenne contains a significant amount of capsaicin, a must-have in a diet menu. This substance promotes your body to burn more calories by increasing heat production. Even better, you can receive vitamin A from cayenne, aiding your eye health and healing process.
When you replace cayenne powder for jalapeno peppers, apply the 1/2 : 1 formula. 1/2 spoon of cayenne powder is compatible with one jalapeno.
10. Habanero Pepper
Habanero pepper is not something that everyone can consume. Unless you are a slave to spicy food, you can’t stand its Scoville scale of 100,000 to 350,000 SHU. Let’s challenge yourself with this super hot pepper.
You will notice its super fiery, fruity, and floral flavor when first eating this tropical pepper. Taste-test is a must to ensure your recipe is not overpowered.
Due to its extreme heat, it’s better never to eat habanero raw but turn it into jam, paste, or sauce to pair with other dishes. Habanero jam goes well with white fish and salmon since they can erase the sickly flavor of fish and glorify their subtle and fresh taste.
Can spice mix with sweetness? This thing sounds strange, but we’ll blow up your mind with an exceptional combination of habanero and mango sauce. The fruity, sweet, and spicy flavor turns out a perfect mixture to go well with grilled chicken or fish.
Like cayenne or any hot pepper, habanero is also packed with capsaicin. This nutrient helps lower and increase body temperature, thus burning calories and boosting metabolism. Also, vitamin C supports your immune system to protect you from illness.
You might think that seeds are the hottest parts of a pepper. The truth is that its membrane makes up most of the heat. So, to reduce spiciness, remember to remove the membrane along with the seeds.
11. Hot Sauce
In case you can’t come across a fresh pepper to substitute jalapenos, we suggest any hot sauce as a final resort. You can’t expect a fresh and crispy texture from hot sauce, but it offers a hint of spice to replace jalapenos in a recipe. The heat level depends on the key ingredient of that sauce.
When it comes to hot sauces, many dishes come to our minds. Using hot sauce for salads can deliver a nearly similar spice of jalapenos. Or simply, a few drops on your omelette or serving with chicken wings and other fried recipes can never be out of date.
Have you ever tried hot sauce mixed with mayonnaise? This mixture is considered an all-purpose sauce that can win the hearts of everyone.
Because there are many kinds of hot sauce on the market, you’d better taste test it beforehand to make sure you use the right heat level.
Frequently Asked Questions
Apart from suggestions for jalapenos substitutes, we also list some frequently asked questions related to this chili pepper. Let’s discover!
What Are The Health Benefits Of Jalapenos?
Jalapeno deserves a nutritional powerhouse, delivering a ton of vitamin A, C, and K. These vitamins benefit your eye and bone health, plus boosting your mood and overall energy.
Not to mention, the included potassium is a remedy to reduce water retention and high blood pressure, protecting you from strokes and kidney stones.
Is It Hotter When Jalapenos Cooked?
In theory, a touch of sweetness will come out when cooking jalapenos. However, high heat will break the fleshy cells. Thus, the juices will infuse with the hot spice from the seeds, making the entire pepper spicier.
Can You Substitute Green Chiles For Jalapenos?
100% yes. They are not that different in shape and color. Plus, you can experience a comparable spicy flavor from these two. Green chili or any substitute for green chili can replace jalapenos in a dish.
The reason we don’t mention this plant on our list is that there are many kinds of green peppers, coming with a different SHU. We make it clear here so you can confidently use it when needed.
So we have walked you through all 11 comparable ingredients to substitute for Jalapenos. They are all easily available, so no need to worry about a lack in your original recipe.
Depending on your preference of spice level, it is easy to pick one kind of pepper on our list. We hope this article can help you fulfill your cooking journey.