Here’s a compiled list of different chile peppers you may come across in your own travels. The number next to the name is the pepper’s Scoville rating. The hotter the pepper equates to a higher number.
Sweet bell pepper: 0 : Yes, this is indeed a chile, although we don’t typically believe it to be so. Ubiquitous in the states, they’re typically green and about the size of a large fist.
Pimento: 100 – 500 : Also a chile. I actually did not know this about pimentos, thinking them only as olive stuffing. Pimiento is the Spanish word for “pepper”, which shows you how well I know the spanish language.
Pepperoncini pepper: 100-500 : Also known as Tuscan Peppers, this pepper is found in Italy and Greece. It’s the Grecian crop that we typically find in pizzerias and Italian eateries here in the states, as they tend to be more sweet than those grown in Italy.
Paprika: 250 – 1000 : It’s not a spice, but actually a chili pepper from which the spice is made. Think of it as a large sweet pepper, conical in shape.
Santa Fe Grande pepper: 500 – 700 : Also known as the yellow hot chile and the guero chile, I’ve seen this pepper in the grocery store from time to time. They’re about 5″ long and ripen from greenish-yellow, to orange-yellow to red.
Poblano pepper: 1,000 – 2,000 : Probably Mexico’s most popular variety of chile. It has a big interior which is perfect for stuffing. It’s 4″ long and its coloring is a dark blackish green maturing to red or brown. An Ancho pepper is dried form of the poblano chile.
JalapeÃ±o: 2,500 – 8,000: Rightly or wrongly, when an American thinks of Mexican cuisine, the jalapeÃ±o is most likely thought of. A chipotle is a jalapeÃ±o that has been smoked. It is often found in adobo sauce. They are harvested when they are green or red if allowed to ripen. You can find them between 4″-6″ long.
Serrano pepper: 5,000 – 23,000 : Generally 1 to 2 inches long, 1/2 inch wide and similarly colored to the jalapeÃ±o, dark green to red. This chile is often used in salsas and as a flavoring for stews, casseroles and egg dishes.
Tabasco pepper: 30,000 – 50,000 : The chile they use to make Tabasco sauce. The fruit is tapered and small (under 2″ in length). The color is often a creamy yellow to red.
Cayenne pepper: 30,000 – 50,000 : A very thin chile pepper, green to red in coloring, and about 2 to 3 inches in length. It is often used in a ground form as a spice, hence – Cayenne Pepper.
Tien Tsin Pepper: 50,000 – 75,000 : Traditional for Asian cooking. Very hot, bright red, 1-2″ Chinese pods. These are the peppers found in your Kung Pao chicken. I recall many of my knowledgable friends daring anyone gullible enough to eat these dried delicacies.
Rocoto Pepper: 50,000 – 100,000 : Also called the Manzano pepper, this chile is typically found in South America. It is among the oldest of domesticated peppers, and was grown up to as much as 5000 years ago. It is probably related to undomesticated peppers that still grow in South America.
Thai pepper: 50,000 – 100,000 : These chiles are small, seldom growing larger than 1 to 3 inches long. They are usually less than 1/2 inch wide, but provide plenty of heat. These slightly curvy, potent peppers are typically bright red or deep green, and end in a sharp point. Finely sliced Thai peppers can be mixed with the hot oil in a stir-fry or used to heat up coconut soups and noodle dishes.
Scotch bonnet: 100,000 – 325,000 : Probably the cultivar of chile that Columbus sampled. Serves the bastard right. They are tam-shaped and found in Caribbean. They are also called booney peppers, bonney peppers, and goat peppers on various islands. They are usually red or yellow at maturity
Habanero chile: 100,000 – 350,000 : Sibling to the Scotch Bonnet, it’s widely recognized as the hottest chile cultivar. Grown mainly on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, its coloring is yellow-orange, orange or bright red, depending upon when it’s harvested. Average Size 1 â€“ 2 1/2″ long, 1 â€“ 2″ diameter and tam-shaped.
Red Savina Habanero: 350,000 – 580,000 : Reportedly the hottest chile pepper on record.