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19 Best Jalapeno Substitutes That Will Turn Up The Heat In Your Dishes The Right Way

Jalapeno peppers are adorable green peppers with a fantastic spicy taste and are usually part of many delicious dishes. These peppers originated from Mexico, and they are about 3 inches long and quite spicy, much to the delight of pepper fans. 

Generally, jalapeno peppers are green, but when left on the plant stalk for a while, they turn red, and the red ones tend to have this sweeter flavor. Jalapeno peppers are used the same way, whether green or red. 

However, sometimes you might find jalapeno peppers too hot, or you might be craving something hotter or just different. It could also be that you can’t get a hold of any jalapeno peppers and would love to know what other options you have to deliver that hot spiciness.  

Various jalapeno alternatives range from milder options when you don’t feel like having that searing chili heat or hotter than jalapenos options that will have you savoring the hot flavor in delight.  

Nutritional Table

SubstitutesCalories (Per 100Gm)
Banana Peppers27
Cubanelle Peppers20
Bell Peppers20
Green Chilies40
Anaheim Peppers146
Smoked Paprika Powder289
Red Pepper Flakes360
Fresno Peppers20
Serrano Peppers32
Cayenne Pepper318
Habanero Pepper40
Hot Sauce11
Pickled Jalapenos38
Poblano Peppers281
Cayenne Pepper Powder318
Fresh Cayenne Chili318
Chili Powder282
Sichuan Pepper90

Substitutes For Jalapeno Peppers

Some hotter-than-jalapenos and milder options that you can try in your dishes are as follows

1. Banana Pepper

Banana Pepper

This is an excellent jalapeno substitute, and don’t let their yellow color fool you into thinking they are mild peppers. Banana peppers are bright yellow, but they have been known to change their color to red, green, or orange when they ripen.  

These peppers come packed with enough spicy flavor to give your dish that hot zest required. These peppers have this sweet and tangy flavor. 

They also have high levels of Vitamin B6 and if you are looking for an jalapeno alternative that gives off a similar texture but is a bit toned down on the spicy side. 

How To Substitute

These yellow peppers are often used to create an attractive appearance of food. Do you know those dishes you want to take pictures of before eating? One with banana peppers is a winner.

You can serve banana peppers as pickled peppers alongside steak and sausage. Because of the tangy flavor of this pepper, they are a perfect jalapeno substitute when preparing salsa or salads. Also, you can opt to stuff or pickle these peppers because of their size.

2. Cubanelle Peppers 

Cubanelle Peppers

This is another wonderful and less spicy substitute for the jalapeno pepper. It has a SHU of between 100-1000 and contains this sweet and mildly tangy flavor

They are nutrient-rich with vitamin C and folate, which are excellent for blood formation and development. You will love using them in a dish, and they will significantly improve the taste. 

How To Substitute

Cubanelle peppers are thinner than jalapenos and work wonderfully when used in stir-fries, stews, salads, and poultry dishes. When using them in your stir-fry recipe, combine the cubanelle peppers with olive oil for the best results.

3. Bell Peppers 

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are ranked as one of the best non-spicy jalapeno substitutes especially if you don’t want food that is not spicy. However, if you are looking for the perfect flavor substitutes, the bell peppers are not it because they have zero as the Scoville heat unit.  

Still, they will effectively bring forth that sweet and mild taste in your meal which is why they are considered great substitutes for jalapeno peppers. 

If you are looking at texture, these bell peppers win hands down. They have a similar texture to jalapenos and rest assured of that special crunch effect in your meal.

Nutritionwise, bell peppers are a rich source of vitamins A and C. They also keep your immune system active and your sight in perfect condition. 

How To Substitute

You can use these bell peppers when preparing pizza, stuffed meals, salad, stews of meats, and so on.

You can stir-fry them alongside other ingredients when cooking and in the place of jalapeno peppers. As you use them in your dishes, ensure they are crisper and flashy for the best results.

4. Pepperoncini


Pepperoncini is this mild and sweet jalapeno that has  SHU of between 100 and 600. It has this spiciness but is not as intense as the jalapeno pepper. 

Pepperoncini is a rich source of calcium and fiber. They are also helpful in the digestion and development of strong teeth and bones. 

How To Substitute

When cooking with peperoncini peppers, consider using them in pizzas, hamburgers, salsa, sandwiches, and so on. You can use pickled pepperoncini when making your deviled eggs. Remember that pepperoncini will decompose when wet, so you should always avoid washing them. Wash these peppers only when you are ready to use them.

5. Green Chilies 

Green Chilies

Green chilies are a fantastic substitute for fresh jalapeno pepper. Both peppers are green and with similar flavors. But nutrients like vitamins A, B6, and C can be obtained from green chilies. Calcium, zinc, and iron are other nutrients that are richly found in green peppers. 

How To Substitute

Use green chilies when preparing stews, curries, and other dishes that require jalapenos, but green chilies will also work in stews. Combine the diced tomatoes with chilies, beef broth, and chile pepper. Stir in garlic, salt, and cumin, and some cubed potatoes in there too, and you will have the most delicious green chilies stew.

6. Anaheim Peppers  

Anaheim Peppers

These are not too hot and not too mild peppers with a SHU of between 500-2500. They are a fantastic option as a jalapeno substitute. Regarding flavor, spice, and color, anaheim peppers check all boxes. 

The beauty of their taste is that they also have this sweet undertone that will make every dish you use on a win.

Talk of tantalizing your taste buds, the anaheim peppers do precisely that. They have high water content and low calories, making them a great diet option, and they also contain Vitamins C and A.

How To Substitute

To enhance their flavor when cooking them in soup, grill the anaheim peppers first for best results. You can then go ahead and make that chili paste using anaheim peppers.

Another way is to heat these chilies in a small saucepan with water and let them simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes and cool. Then, puree the mixture using a blender until it is smooth and ready to make tamales or any other dish you would like.

7. Smoked Paprika Powder

Smoked Paprika Powder

This is another wonderful jalapeno substitute with SHU of between 500 to 1000. This is an excellent option if you want your dish to have this fantastic red color with less heat. 

The lovely thing about paprika is its smoky flavor and mouth-watering aroma. As a spice, it does live up to its name and delivers that beautiful flavor. 

How To Substitute

When using the smoked paprika powder, you can use it in your sauce or salsa. Also, consider sprinkling it on seafood and fried food to boost their flavor.

Ensure you do it right when storing it because poor storage conditions make it lose color and flavor. Airtight containers and cool surroundings are ideal for storage.

8. Red Pepper Flakes

Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes as substitutes for jalapeno peppers are a win. Red pepper flakes are prepared from dried, crushed red chili peppers and have SHU that ranges from 30,000 to 50,000, which is very hot.

Use them in the right amounts lest you overdo the hotness and your dish cannot be eaten. Red pepper flakes bring this spice and flavor balance to your meals. 

How To Substitute

You can use this substitute if you want a very hot spice for your dish. For example, you can use them in spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, stew, soup, fried chicken, barbecue, etc. Red pepper flakes never disappoint.

9. Fresno Peppers

Fresno Peppers

These are pretty similar to jalapeno peppers but are a bit different. Fresno peppers are on another level of hot with a SHU of 2500 to 10000. There is no doubt that the spice in Fresno peppers is an upgraded version of jalapeno spice. Now that is something to look forward to. 

Fresno peppers have high vitamin B and C levels, which are necessary to boost the immune system and create red blood cells. 

You will love Fresno peppers if you love enhanced spice in your dishes. 

How To Substitute

Use these peppers when making hot sauce, soup, salsa, pasta, and stews if you want a spicier dish than what a jalapeno can offer.

Mix your ingredients with the Fresno peppers to make that sauce, stew, soup, or salsa. Make sure you use the correct quantity of Fresno peppers because you don’t want to make it too spicy for comfort.

10. Serrano Peppers

Serrano Peppers

Serrano peppers are an excellent substitute for jalapeno peppers, especially pickled or sauteed. Their spice scale is SHU 5000 to 15000. Serrano peppers lack that thick texture that jalapeno is famous for. 

Still, it works beautifully as a spicy substitute and when mixed with other spices in your dish. In addition, they are a rich source of vitamin B6, which is known to improve heart health.

However, the serrano peppers are hot and so hot that the heat from them can burn your skin and it is, therefore, advisable to wear gloves when handling them. 

How To Substitute

For the best result, Serrano peppers should be mixed with the ingredients, whether you are making that healthy serrano rice or Serrano hot sauce. The flavor of serrano peppers is unmistakable, especially when served hot.

11. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper

If you are not bold and a serious lover of fiery peppers, steer clear of this pepper because this is not for the inexperienced with flavors and its hot spiciness is on another level. 

This pepper has SHU of 30,000 to 50,000, and this will make your taste buds react intensely depending on how experienced you are with peppers. 

It is a perfect pepper for cold winter cooking because it will undoubtedly warm your food and body up during cold days. 

In addition, cayenne pepper is rich in vitamin A and helps improve eyesight development. Besides, the red color of cayenne pepper will add that pleasant look and flavor to your meal. 

How To Substitute

Use cayenne peppers when preparing soups, pizza, chicken chips, pepper sauce, and any dried food. You will love how quickly your meals will be transformed and improved into this delicious awesomeness.

12. Habanero Pepper

Jalapeno Substitutes - Habanero Pepper

Well, if you are looking for the most fiery peppers of them all, then you have found the habanero pepper, which has SHU of 100,000 to 350,000. You should steer clear of this pepper if you don’t want anything fiery or prefer a milder pepper than a jalapeno pepper. 

It is an excellent substitute for jalapeno, especially if you want to make your dish spicier. However, before you use this pepper in your dishes, ensure that you do a taste test to establish if you can handle the fiery nature of the pepper. 

The pepper is a rich source of vitamin C, similar to jalapeno peppers, and therefore one of the great reasons it is the ideal substitute. 

How To Substitute

With their fruity, super hot taste, it is best to eat this pepper when used as jam, sauce, or paste and paired with other dishes. Eating it raw is simply setting your taste buds on fire.

Instead, you can create a spicy but sweet sensation for your dish using habanero pepper combined with mango sauce and serve it alongside grilled fish or chicken.

You can always use this pepper in any recipe that requires peppers as ingredients but be careful and use it in moderation to avoid turning your food too spicy and fiery hot to be enjoyed.

13. Hot Sauce 

Jalapeno Substitutes - Hot Sauce 

You are probably wondering what this hot sauce is doing on this list. Well, hot sauce is a great substitute for jalapeno peppers because it will offer that spice to your meal as you intend. 

However, you should first check out the constituents of the hot sauce to establish that the sauce will give you the heat level you intend to have. 

How To Substitute

You can mix hot sauce with other milder peppers, such as Anaheim peppers or bell peppers, to create that hotter taste compared to jalapenos.

Use your hot sauce on your salad, chicken, omelet, or any other meal that requires that hot spiciness to be complete.

14. Pickled Jalapenos

Jalapeno Substitutes - Pickled Jalapenos

When fresh jalapenos are hard to come by, consider pickled jalapenos for the best results. Choosing these jalapenos will save you a lot of prepping time and guesswork as you prepare your dish. 

The best thing is that the processing of pickled jalapenos gives them a sharper taste compared to fresh jalapenos. 

Pickled jalapenos have this vinegary flavor on top of the tangy one because they are preserved in a vinegar solution. 

Should you use pickled jalapenos, don’t expect your peppers to be fiery because they are diced and preserved in vinegar which has no doubt dissolved the capsaicin in the pepper. On the Scoville scale, pickled jalapenos are between 2500 and 5000 nits. 

How To Substitute

You can add pickled jalapenos to your dish that requires spice but always be careful about the salt amount you use in your recipe to avoid spoiling the taste.

The pickled jalapenos work best with nachos, salads, salsa, homemade tacos, sandwiches, and as pizza toppings for that delicious experience.

15. Poblano Peppers

Jalapeno Substitutes - Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers are a staple in Mexican cuisine and are the perfect substitute for jalapeno peppers when creating various dishes. They are mild peppers with SHU of 1000 to 1500 units. 

Choose this option if you intend to use milder peppers than jalapenos for your dishes. Their deep green color makes your dishes attractive, and their unique mild flavor is something you can always look up to.  

How To Substitute

Thanks to their thick skin, you can use poblano peppers by grilling, stuffing, frying, grilling, or charring. These peppers can handle high temperatures and extensive cooking, which is why they work best with dishes that stay too long in cooking. Use them in stuffed meats for the best results.

16. Cayenne Pepper Powder

Jalapeno Substitutes - Cayenne Pepper Powder

You will love the cayenne pepper powder if you want a jalapeno pepper substitute that adds more heat to your recipes minus the texture. 

This is a wonderful option if you want to avoid feeling the crunch or texture of fresh jalapenos. It is a hotter option than jalapeno peppers with a SHU of 30,000 to 50,000, which is way hotter than jalapenos. 

How To Substitute

A single teaspoon of this pepper powder is enough to give you the spice you need in your dish, and you can increase it to the desired levels. You can still get the texture by combining the cayenne pepper powder with bell peppers.

Use the cayenne pepper powder in your stews, sauce, or other dishes that will improve with some fiery hotness.

17. Fresh Cayenne Chili

Jalapeno Substitutes - Fresh Cayenne Chili

Replace the jalapeno with fresh cayenne chili. You may use it for soups, beans, and many other dishes.

Jalapeno peppers are usually mild, but you can make your chili spicier by using fresh cayenne peppers instead. Cayenne peppers are red chili peppers but have a fruity, citrusy flavor.

To substitute jalapenos for cayennes, cut off the stems, seeds, and white membrane before adding the peppers to your chili.

How To Substitute

Substitute an equal amount of jalapeno for fresh cayenne chili in a similar amount.

18. Chili Powder

Jalapeno Substitutes - Chili Powder

The jalapeno pepper is a chili pepper typically harvested from the Jalapa region of Mexico. It has a fruity taste but can be pretty spicy. Jalapeno peppers can be chopped and mixed into sauces, soups, and dips to add a spicy flavor.

You may use chili powder to replace it and make a heating and spicy addition to your recipe while preparing various dishes.

However, they are not suitable for adding salads or anything that requires jalapeno as the topping.

How To Substitute

Use chili powder in your recipe in half quantity that your recipe calls for jalapenos.

19. Sichuan Pepper

Jalapeno Substitutes - Sichuan Pepper

The Sichuan pepper, also known as the Chinese red pepper, is a member of the pepper family native to China. It is often used in stir-fried dishes and other Chinese cuisines.

It has a unique, slightly numbing flavor and makes a perfect substitute to fulfill the shortening of jalapenos.

The jalapeno pepper, on the other hand, is a variety of chili pepper native to Mexico. It is used in many Mexican dishes, such as enchiladas and salsa. Sichuan pepper will make a perfect substitute for these dishes.

How To Substitute

Use an equal amount of Sichuan pepper in your recipe to replace jalapenos for the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Choose The Best Jalapeno Substitute For Your Dishes?

Various jalapeno alternatives offer different things, from texture, level of heat, the crunch, flavor, and so on. Each alternative has something to offer that is different from jalapeno peppers, but the end goal is the same, having a tasty dish at the end. 

Your choice will also depend on the type of dish you are making. For example, does the dish require you to cook your peppers for an extended period, eat them raw or mix them with other ingredients to bring out that unique taste? 

Choose your jalapeno peppers alternatives depending on the pepper needs of your dish. The options are versatile, try each of the above or experiment with several at once to see what your dishes taste like. 

Are There Things I Should Look For When Choosing Peppers In The Market? 

When choosing your peppers in the market, consider the firm, glossy types of peppers with bright colors and feeling heavy. Avoid the ones with soft spots or wrinkling. 

If you are buying red peppers only, store them in a fridge for a week before use and loosely wrap them in plastic for better preservation. 

What Pepper Has The Most Flavor?

According to various pepper and cooking enthusiasts, the Habanero peppers have been universally considered to be one of the highly ranked as the best-tasting of peppers. In addition, their flesh is firm and absorbs smoking perfectly, making them ideal for extensive cooking. 

19 Best Jalapeno Substitutes For Your Recipes

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Cooking Time


Total Time



The best jalapeno substitute to make your dish complete and fabulous as the original recipes.


  • Banana Peppers

  • Cubanelle Peppers

  • Bell Peppers

  • Pepperoncini

  • Green Chilies

  • Anaheim Peppers

  • Smoked Paprika Powder

  • Red Pepper Flakes

  • Fresno Peppers

  • Serrano Peppers

  • Cayenne Pepper

  • Habanero Pepper

  • Hot Sauce

  • Pickled Jalapenos

  • Poblano Peppers

  • Cayenne Pepper Powder

  • Fresh Cayenne Chili

  • Chili Powder

  • Sichuan Pepper


  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith

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Saturday 23rd of March 2024

Can you be more specific about the content of your article? After reading it, I still have some doubts. Hope you can help me.

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Sunday 16th of April 2023

Thanks for sharing. I read many of your blog posts, cool, your blog is very good.


Saturday 25th of February 2023

Reading your article helped me a lot and I agree with you. But I still have some doubts, can you clarify for me? I'll keep an eye out for your answers.