What If I Don’t Like Jalapenos? – 5 Great Jalapeno Alternatives

Jalapenos – one of the most division foods on the market. Some people love the spice kick that they give tacos and salads, whereas others really can’t stand over overwhelmingly hot they are.

But whatever you think about them, you’ll always have a need for alternatives. If you are at the supermarket, shopping cart filled with inredients for you tacos and you find they are out of jalapenos, you’ll need to find something else fast!

Well, this is where we come in. We’ve scoured all four corners of the internet to find out where you can get jalapeno alternatives. We’ve even narrowed it down to the bets 5 so that you can see which ones appeal to you the most.

What If I Don’t Like Jalapenos - 5 Great Jalapeno Alternatives

Why Eat Jalapenos?

These types of pepper (see also ‘5 Substitutes For Sports Peppers‘) are related to the nightshade family, which is what accounts for their insane spiciness.

This comes with spices that are usually found in the Chile seed. The spiciness of the seed all depends on the sunlight and the soil content of where you are growing your jalapenos.

This is usually associated with Mexican cuisine, which is why you’ll find it in tacos and Mexican salads.

The reason why this is so popular is that it’s a very extreme food. Some people love it for the fact that it adds that nice heat to the sour cream and beans (see also our favorite alternatives for ranch-style beans), other people find it too much for the same reason.

But what are the best alternatives for Jalapenos? This food is quite popular and more than likely you’ll go to the section of the supermarket where you might be likely to find this food and find that they are all out.

5 Of The Best Jalapeno Substitutes

1. Serrano Peppers

Serrano Peppers

This pepper is much the same as jalapenos in that they come with the same level of spice punch, which makes them perfect for putting in your Mexican dish.

This also has much the same shape as a jalapeno, coming in a moon-shaped crescent. This also comes with teh same texture and is really easy to chop.

The skin surrounding the serrano is much thinner than the jalapeno, which means that they might not last as long in your cupboards, although you can store them for much longer if you dry them out.

However, if you like you food hot, then you can be sure of having plenty with serrano pepper, which is much hotter than the jalapeno.

The serrano pepper (see also ‘9 Alternatives To Serrano Peppers‘)  contains anywhere between 5,000 to 15,000 Scoville heat units, whereas a traditional jalapeno only has between 2,500 and 8,000.

You’ll also be able to save yourself a lot more of the serrano, as you will only need around 1/10 of the amount of serrano that you would need for a jalapeno.

2. Fresno Chili peppers

 Fresno Chili peppers

If you want the closest thing to a jalapeno without having to get a jalapeno, then you’ll definitely want to seek out the Fresno Chili pepper. It is basically a jalapeno in all but name.

The fresno only has a slightly higher Scoville rating than the jalapeno, reaching a maximum Schoville height of around 10,000.

The great thing about Fresno is its versatility. You can get these in both raw and ground form, the latter coming in the form of a powder.

The Fresno is much thinner than the jalapeno, which means that it will be much harder to grind this pepper from scratch. However, if you go to the right markets, you can find some freshly ground Fresno.

In terms of raw flavor and texture, this one is a lot more crispy than jalapeno. If you like an extra crunch when you eat your hot pepper, then the Fresno is a good call.

This also comes with a smoky texture, which makes it perfect for pairing with sour cream.

If you are looking to replace your jalapeno with a Fresno, then you can switch it out 1:1. This is great if you are counting your jalapenos because you are following a strict recipe.

3. Anaheim Peppers

Anaheim Peppers

Now, if you are not a fan of spicy peppers, then we would certainly nudge you in the direction of the Anaheim pepper.

This pepper is very mild, only ranking around between 500 and 2,000 on the Scoville scale.

However, if you want to cook an Anaheim pepper, then this one is slightly more receptive. If you grill these, then you can just serve them on a plate and not have to worry about it hurting the roof of your mouth.

The other difference between jalapenos and Anaheim peppers is the size. These are so big that you can stuff them with rice. This is what makes them a popular choice for stuffed peppers.

You can also cook these pepper into a wide range of dishes. You can make soups, sauces and chilis from these peppers. This is a great source of fiber too.

You can heap up your Anaheim peppers onto your plate and not have to worry about them being too overwhelming. A lot of people like to add these to a salad, as this is a great way of beefing it up without making it too hot.

4. Cayenne Pepper Powder

Cayenne Pepper Powder

Sometimes there won’t be any whole peppers available and you’ll have to reach for the pepper powder. If so, then we can think of no better jalapeno pepper powder alternative than the Cayenne pepper powder.

This is a lot stronger than jalapenos, measuring at a whopping 50,000 on the Scoville scale. You should take care when you are adding this to your taco sauce recipe.

This comes in a powder form, so if you are hoping to make stuffed peppers or chop them up and use them in raw form, then you might want to try one of our options above.

You’ll also have to factor this in when you are working on a recipe. If it states jalapenos, then you’ll have to work out the ratio of Cayenne powder to raw jalapenos.

We would suggest that you only use one-quarter of a teapooon of cayenne pepper powder per one whole raw jalapeno.

This is great if you just need to add spice but you don’t have any of the raw ingredients to hand. This is also very versatile and will save you the time of having to grind it yourself.

If you want this powder in its most raw form, then you can get it ground freshly at certain Asian food markets.

5. Smoked Paprkia Powder

Smoked Paprkia Powder

Finally, we have something that might not match the raw hot power of the jalapeno, but it will certainly provide you with some of the more muted flavors of it.

This has a much lower Scoville level than the jalapeno, coming in at around 500 to 2,000. So if you are a spice addict, then you might want to try one of the options that we’ve listed above.

However, if you have no other option, this widely available smoked paprika spice will be perfect for you. All you neeed to do is heda to the seasoning section at your local supermarket.

You can use this in most Tandoory recipes as it will add that authentic Asian flavor to your dish. It will also turn your dishes that cool red color that is often associated with hot food.

You can apply this spice to almost any dish, whether it be Tandoori chicken, salsa, salads and smoked chicken. The versatility is what has lead us to putting this spice on our list for great jalapeno substitutes.


We hope that our list of alternatives for jalapenos has given you a better idea of what to expect in terms of spice so that you can make an informed decision when you are next in your local supermarket and you see an empty space where the jalapenos should be.

What If I Don’t Like Jalapenos? - 5 Great Jalapeno Alternatives

What If I Don’t Like Jalapenos? – 5 Great Jalapeno Alternatives

Recipe by Jenna

What happens if you hate jalapenos but you need something spicy for your recipe? Well, check out out top 5 jalapeno substitutes for inspiration.

Course: Substitutes
5 from 1 vote


  • Serrano Peppers

  • Fresno Chili peppers

  • Anaheim Peppers

  • Cayenne Pepper Powder

  • Smoked Paprkia Powder


  • Decided on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

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