10 Different types of peppers to add to salads, stir-fries, and other tasty recipes. Whether your dish calls for spicy chili peppers or sweet bell peppers, these picks bring the flavor (and heat).
All types of peppers are a part of the Capsicum family, which includes both the sweet peppers as well as the hot and spicy ones, often referred to as chili peppers. Fun fact: the heat of a pepper is measured using Scoville heat units (SHU), and this scale goes from o, think bell pepper, to the X Pepper which clocks in at over 3,000,000.
Below we broke down each type of pepper, and included their SHU measurements, so you can know exactly when and how much heat you’re adding to a dip or skillet supper. Just be warned that the heat can still vary from pepper to pepper, so one jalapeño could taste milder compared to another.
Quick tip for those who can’t handle the heat: have some dairy, like yogurt or milk, nearby to help balance the spicy heat in chilis. If you want to simply take the spice level down a notch, remove and discard the seed and whitish ribs before using it.
1. Bell Pepper
SPICE LEVEL (SHU) – o
These big sweet peppers come in a rainbow of colors (green, red, orange, yellow, purple and more). Because of their size and mild-sweet taste, they are perfect to stuff, but are also incredibly versatile, adding flavor to any dish they are used in.
2. Mini Sweet Pepper
SPICE LEVEL (SHU) – o
These tiny peppers look and taste similar to bell peppers but are smaller, have less seeds to dig out and are often slightly sweeter. Use them as scoops for your favorite dip or roast or sauté them like you would a bell pepper.
3. Cubanelle Pepper
SPICE LEVEL (SHU) – 100 to 1000
Also known as the Italian Frying Pepper, this sweet pepper packs a touch of heat. This light greenish-yellow in pepper is long, has a slight wrinkle to its thin skin and is widely used in cuisines of Cuba, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. Because of the thin skin they are ideal for quick frying, but they can be roasted as well. Up your pizza game by throwing a sliced one of these on top.
4. Banana Pepper
SPICE LEVEL (SHU) – 0 to 500
These peppers got their name for their long curved shape and yellowish hue. They are tangy but mild and are most often found pickled for piling on sandwiches.
5. Cherry Pepper
SPICE LEVEL (SHU) – 100 to 500
Cherry peppers or Pimento (or Pimiento) are red, heart-shaped peppers that are mild, sweet and smell like a supercharged red bell pepper. They are most often found jarred, and can add sweet pepper flavor to a dish similar to roasted red peppers.
6. Poblano Pepper
SPICE LEVEL (SHU) – 1000 – 1500
Although hot, poblano peppers are on the mild end of the spicy pepper scale. Poblano peppers are thick and meaty just like a bell pepper, but have a slight kick. Because of their size, they are great for stuffing. They are also good for roasting, grilling and sautéing. They are one of Mexico’s most popular pepper — and when they’re fully ripened and then dried, they are anchos.
7. Jalapeños Pepper
SPICE LEVEL (SHU) – 2500 – 8000
Jalapeños are the king of spicy peppers. Not because they are the spiciest (in fact they are relatively moderate on the Scoville scale compared to most), but because of their popularity and availability. They do pack some heat, but the palatable kind. Guacamole wouldn’t be complete without it.
8. Fresno Pepper
SPICE LEVEL (SHU) – 2500 – 10,000
They might look like a red jalapeño, but they are a bit more complex overall and have a bit more heat. Fresnos get a bit fruitier and smokier in terms of taste as they mature. If you are looking to switch things up, give these a go.
9. Serrano Pepper
SPICE LEVEL (SHU) – 10,000 – 23,000
These long, thin red peppers pack a clean, bright punch without sending you screaming. They have thin skins so if you decide to roast a bunch, you can chop them with the charred skins on, no need to peel. Add them to salads, salsa and chiles.
10. Thai Pepper
SPICE LEVEL (SHU) – 50,000 – 100,000
There are many many varieties of Thai pepper. You’ll most likely find the Bird’s Eye pepper in the grocery store, but all Thai peppers have a similar red color and for a tiny pepper, they pack some serious heat. They are most often used to add a hot kick to soups and stews.