Peppers are a great way to add color, hints of spice, or sweetness to a meal.
While you may already be familiar with the tabasco pepper, have you ever heard of the rocoto pepper?
Not to worry! This guide will be exploring these peppers and everything in between to give you an idea of the different ways you can incorporate peppers into your diet.
From all the different shaped, colored, and flavored peppers – read this list to learn all there is to know about the most popular peppers, then give them a try for yourself!!
Whether you prefer mild salsa or like to test your spice tolerance, there’s sure to be a pepper on this list that you can appreciate and enjoy.
With this in mind, let’s get straight into looking at 22 types of peppers you can cook with.
Types Of Peppers
Below, you will find everything you need to know about all the different types of peppers you can incorporate into your favorite meals.
1. Bell Pepper
Out of all the different types of peppers, bell peppers are among the calmest, providing hints of sweetness without any spice.
These peppers come in orange, red, yellow, and green variations – each color producing a slightly different flavor.
While the red peppers produce a sweeter taste, the green peppers are, on the other hand, considered earthier. However, both peppers can be used interchangeably within recipes.
In many kitchens, bell peppers are a staple ingredient. Whether you’re making a vibrant stir-fry packed with peppers or looking for a needed crunch alongside your favorite hummus.
2. Anaheim Pepper
Anaheim peppers are considered the same as California chilis, Magdalenas, and New Mexico peppers.
These peppers are known to be thin and can grow up to 6 inches long – starting out as a green color which eventually turns into a deep red shade over time.
These peppers are considered mild, so while they contain some heat; it’s not too spicy that the average person can’t handle.
Anaheim peppers are packed with vitamins A and C. In addition to this, they also contain vitamins B6 and K.
Jalapenos are a popular pepper usually found in Mexican dishes such as tacos and nachos.
They feature a sharp heat that can get your mouth watering, bringing flavors both spicy and sweet to your palette.
These are great peppers to add to your meals since they provide a manageable amount of heat while delivering an excellent flavor.
The beauty of jalapenos is that they are incredibly versatile, whether you’re adding them to soups, dips, or burgers – you’ll be in for a kick of heat.
On top of this, jalapenos are packed with nutrients such as fiber, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.
4. Cayenne Pepper
Typically consumed in a powder form, cayenne peppers make for an excellent seasoning with added to your meals – from taco meat to chili beans, it adds the perfect kick.
When in pepper form, cayenne peppers are thin and can range from three to four inches long.
When talking about hot peppers, these are typically among the first peppers you think of.
These peppers are known to contain a compound called ‘capsaicin’, which research shows can help protect you from various types of cancer.
Whether you blend these peppers into guacamole, soups, or hot sauces, they add a much-needed kick to your meals.
These peppers are usually mistaken for jalapenos since they both share similar flavors and appearances.
However, one notable distinction between the pair is that the poblano pepper is approximately three times the size of the regular jalapeno pepper. In addition, poblano pepper is much less spicy.
These peppers come from Mexico, and when dried, they are referred to as ancho chiles.
Whether you stuff them with meat or rice and bake or deep-fry these peppers, you’ll be left with delicious meals every time.
6. Habanero Pepper
These Habanero peppers are another pepper known for their spicy kick and are a popular ingredient in many hot sauces and even margaritas!
These peppers have quite the kick, so if you’re not good with spice, then you might want to avoid these.
Compared to the typical long and thin chilis, these habanero peppers are short and stout.
However, while small, you shouldn’t underestimate their kick, with the same amount of spice as jalapenos.
Coming in shades of red and orange, these spicy but delicious peppers will add vibrant color to your meals.
Again, serranos are another pepper that is commonly mistaken for a jalapeno.
These are small, green peppers that provide a decent kick. Although, they aren’t too strong and won’t have you bent forward coughing and reaching for water!
These peppers start off green, which is the color most people include in their foods; however, over time, as they ripen they will turn a deep red color.
Whether you enjoy these raw or sauteed, they make excellent toppings by adding some color to the dish.
8. Piquillo Pepper
The general rule of thumb is the smaller the pepper, the more heat it will contain. So, while these peppers are generally small, they don’t contain any heat!
Their fiery red color can sometimes throw people off. However, once you taste them, you’ll experience a burst of sweet flavorings.
Piquillo peppers also work great when stuffed with other ingredients and then fried. Alternatively, you can bake them until soft.
These are small peppers and can be enjoyed pickled.
Most of the time, you’ll find these delicious peppers topped on your pizza.
While these shishito peppers contain small amounts of heat, they aren’t too spicy for the average person to handle.
In countries such as Greece or Spain – which are known for their delicious and small plates – these peppers make for a popular appetizer,
When sauteed with olive oil, these peppers make for a fabulous appetizer.
Originating in Japan, you can find these peppers included in many sushi dishes.
10. Scotch Bonnet
If you’re looking to test your spice tolerance, then have a go at these scotch bonnet peppers (see also ‘5 Substitutes To Use Instead Of Scotch Bonnet Pepper‘)!
These are super spicy peppers that can be found in all the popular hot sauces.
Originating in West Africa, they provide a wave of heat, despite being so small.
Unlike traditional peppers, these have a funky apple appearance and come in shades of orange, yellow, and even bright red.
So, while these peppers may be small, they are definitely mighty.
11. Rocoto Pepper
Most people aren’t familiar with these types of peppers. However, be warned, they are exceptionally spicy!
These rocoto peppers share a similar appearance to mini tomatoes; however, they contain widely different flavors!
As opposed to typical spicy peppers, these are on the larger side, and can sometimes even be mistaken for bell peppers – this makes for a spicy surprise!
12. Banana Pepper
Despite their name, these peppers don’t taste like bananas. Instead, they contain a slight kick without any overwhelming spiciness.
This makes them a popular ingredient for pizza toppings and sandwiches.
Unlike their other pepper counterparts, these consist of a tangy and unique taste that sets them apart.
While they may not be referred to as ‘banana’ peppers for their taste, their appearance, on the other hand, is a bright neon color with a long shape, resembling that of a… you’ve guessed it: banana!
More people should know of the unique-looking and yummy peppers! While Chilaca peppers may be considered a lesser-known pepper, they shouldn’t be overlooked!
Offering a milder taste, these mild peppers provide some heat without being overpowering – making them a great addition to nachos or salsa.
Their dark green coloring makes these peppers exceptionally memorable. Likewise, they can sometimes appear near-black, which can sometimes put people off of these peppers.
However, when combined with the right foods, these peppers contribute a tasty flavor to a meal.
14. Ghost Pepper
If you’re a fan of spicy, then you’ve probably heard of ghost pepper before. These red, wrinkly little peppers are, in fact, classified as the hottest peppers available in existence.
Although, recently, this spot was taken by the Carolina Reaper.
If you thought tabasco peppers were hot, then you may want to avoid this pepper since it is over 100 times hotter!
Ghost peppers put a shame on tabasco peppers in the world of spice.
Their name describes these peppers perfectly. They feature a small and wrinkled appearance which can scare people into their graves, but not literally, of course.
15. Piri Piri
While Piri Piri peppers may not be the most popular peppers in existence, they share a similar taste to that of cayenne peppers with approximately the amount of heat.
These are great chiles to add a kick to your curries; however, they aren’t strong enough to leave your dashing for water.
Although, having said that, these peppers aren’t for the faint of heart. So, if you’re not good with spice, you may want to tread carefully.
Since you’ll be surprised at how strong these peppers can be – in no time, they’ll leave your eyes watering!
16. Basque Fryer
Basque fryer peppers are typically on the chunkier and smaller end of the pepper spectrum, containing little spice.
When added to meals, they provide a hint of spice; although, this mostly helps to bring out the delicious flavors in dishes.
Typically, you’ll find this pepper in a powdered spice form, whereby it is dried and then ground down to be used as a seasoning in cooking.
17. Bird’s Eye
While these bird’s eye peppers are small and adorable, don’t let their appearance fool you!
These peppers are extremely spicy and are ranked alongside some of the spiciest peppers such as scotch bonnets and cayenne peppers.
You can find bird’s eyes in the colors green and red, with an appearance of skinny or even plump; shaped in a perfect sphere.
You’ll often find these peppers incorporated into Thai meals.
18. Cherry Peppers
While these peppers may not taste like cherries, they definitely look like them, hence their name.
These are another charming type of small pepper with a bright red, plump appearance with a thick green stem.
While these peppers don’t contain much spice, you’ll get a slight kick from them when eaten raw.
Cherry peppers provide a slightly sweet and savory flavor that many people love to eat as a simple snack.
As their name would suggest, it’s no surprise that these chilies were first developed in Fresno, California.
Similar to jalapeno peppers; however, these peppers contain a different taste.
They provide a sweet, yet smoky flavor that offers bursts of heat; however, don’t let this put you off the pepper since the spice doesn’t last long!
Whether you add them to your favorite guacamole or add them as a topping on your pizza – you won’t be disappointed.
20. Mirasol Chili
These Mirasol chilies can be found in the classic Mexican sauce known as Mole.
While Mole can contain a variety of different peppers, Mirasol is the most popular pepper used since it brings out all the unique and bold flavors of Mexico.
These peppers fall in the middle of the Scoville spectrum, meaning they are moderately spicy.
If you’re looking to build up your spice tolerance, then these chiles are a great way to do so!
Pimento, otherwise known as pimientos, is best known for its presence in pickled olives.
Generally, these are popular peppers when eaten as a simple snack; however, people also enjoy eating them when pickled in vinegar and then used as a garnish.
Therefore, if you love the burst of flavors you get from a pepper, but can’t handle the heat, then these peppers would be a great option for you.
22. Tabasco Pepper
Thanks to tabasco sauce, tabasco peppers are one of the best-known peppers in the world.
And, in case you already didn’t know, these peppers can be pretty spicy. While they’re not as spicy as the extreme ghost peppers, they do pack a punch!
Although, for some, these peppers are spicy enough!
Frequently Asked Questions
Below, you will find some frequently asked questions concerning peppers.
Are Peppers Nutritious?
While the exact nutrition of different types of peppers varies depending on the variety, generally speaking, most peppers are a great source of vitamin C.
Likewise, many peppers also provide healthy amounts of vitamin A.
Moreover, the main element in peppers that makes them spicy, also known as capsaicin, has been known to be used medically for decades.
However, having said that, peppers also belong to the nightshade family which is commonly associated with inflammation.
Therefore, those suffering from autoimmune conditions may want to avoid them. If you’re concerned, the best thing to do is speak with your doctor.
How To Use Peppers In Cooking?
If you’re looking for an added kick to your meals, then incorporating peppers into your dishes is a great way to do so.
Peppers can be used in everything from condiments and sauces to powders and spices.
They are a common ingredient found in recipes such as jellies, dips, chili, soups, stews, salsa, stir-fries, and much more – the possibilities are endless with peppers!
Moreover, some peppers can be stuffed or charred and served as appetizers.
While, on the other hand, you can mince peppers up so fine that you won’t even realize they’re there – great for getting nutrition found in peppers into your meals.
How Are Dried Peppers Used In Cooking?
As its name suggests, dried peppers are peppers that are dried, which are then ground up to form a powder, then turned into spices and seasonings.
Similarly, you can purchase whole, dried pepper which adds a stronger heat and flavor to purees, marinades, and sauces, than pre-ground spices would offer.
Why Are Chilis Hot?
Depending on the chilis, with one bite, you can experience a wave of heat that leaves you rushing for the nearest faucet. But, have you ever wondered where this heat comes from?
Well, essentially, the heat found in chilis comes from the oil known as capsaicin which is located in chilis.
Typically, it is found in the seeds of the chilis, as well as the ‘rips’ of the peppers. For this reason, you will notice that a lot of recipes call for the removal of seeds!
Capsaicin can be found on the same nerves – located in the skin and the tongue – that provides a sensation of heat.
When eaten, it releases a chemical known as ‘substance p’ into the blood which sends signs to your brain, informing you that you have just eaten something hot.
Peppers come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and spiciness. While some peppers can be intolerably spicy, such as the infamous ghost pepper, or even contain no spice at all, such as the humble bell peppers.
Whatever your heat preference, there is sure to be a pepper variety to accommodate it. Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about peppers.