It goes by many names, including Fresno pepper, red jalapeno, or even Italian pepperoncini. But what is it? How does it taste? And what to do when you are out of them? We have discussed 10 different options that offer varying levels of heat so make sure to check their Scoville ratings before adding them to your dish! Let's explore this special pepper and its possible substitutes.
- What is a Fresno Pepper?
- The Fresno Pepper's Heat Level
- Substitutes for Fresno Peppers
- 1. Aleppo Pepper, SHU 10,000
- 2. Anaheim Pepper, SHU 500 – 2,500
- 3. Cayenne Peppers, SHU 30,000-50,000
- 4. Chipotle Pepper, SHU 2,500-10,000
- 5. Guajillo Pepper, SHU 2,500-5,000
- 6. Jalapeno Peppers, SHU 2,500-8,000
- 7. Kashmiri Chili, SHU 1,500-2,500
- 8. Pasilla Pepper, SHU 1,000-2,500
- 9. Poblano Pepper, SHU 1,000-1,500
- 10. Serrano Pepper, SHU 10,000-23,000
- People Also Ask [FAQs]
- Wrap Up: Fresno Pepper Substitutes
What is a Fresno Pepper?
Fresno peppers are small chili peppers with a mild heat that range from 2-3 inches long and 0.5-1 inch wide. They are usually bright green when young and turn red as they mature.
This versatile chile was developed in 1952 by Clarence Brown Hamlin, who named it after his hometown of Fresno, California. These red peppers have thick walls and firm flesh which makes them great for stuffing with cheese and baking or frying like poppers.
The Fresno Pepper's Heat Level
- On the Scoville Heat Unit scale, the average jalapeno pepper rates at around 8,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units) whereas a typical Fresno red pepper can range from 2,500 up to 10,000 SHU.
- This means that while jalapenos offer a moderate amount of heat, Fresnos have an extra kick when it comes to spiciness!
- Additionally, the shape and color of these two chile peppers are very similar; both are typically deep red or green when ripe and have curved shapes.
- The two peppers look very similar and both can be used interchangeably in recipes because they have a similar level of heat and flavor profile.
Substitutes for Fresno Peppers
- If your local grocery store doesn't carry Fresnos or if they just aren't available during certain times of the year, there are several alternatives that can bring comparable levels of heat to your dishes.
- Popular Fresno pepper substitutes include Aleppo peppers, Anaheim peppers, cayenne peppers, chipotle peppers, guajillo peppers, jalapeños, and Kashmiri chilies.
- With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to pick the right chili pepper for your dish. To help you out, we've compiled a list of different peppers along with their Scoville ratings. That way, you can find the perfect level of heat for your meal!
Let’s take a look at some popular pepper substitutes and how they measure up in terms of taste, heat level, replacement measures, and possible food pairings.
1. Aleppo Pepper, SHU 10,000
- This mildly spicy pepper hails from Syria and has a fruity taste with a hint of smokiness.
- It’s usually used as a seasoning rather than an ingredient because it doesn’t have much heat—only around 10,000 on the Scoville scale—and is often added to dishes after they are cooked.
- Aleppo pepper pairs well with chicken, fish, salads, and soups.
2. Anaheim Pepper, SHU 500 – 2,500
- This mild pepper originated in New Mexico but is now grown in California as well.
- It has a slightly sweet flavor and is great for roasting or stuffing.
- Anaheim peppers measure between 500-2,500 on the Scoville scale and can be used as a Fresno chili substitute because its sweetness will balance out the spiciness of other ingredients.
- They are great when paired with eggs or Mexican dishes like tacos or burritos.
3. Cayenne Peppers, SHU 30,000-50,000
- Cayenne peppers are one of the hottest peppers around—they measure 30,000-50,000 on the Scoville scale!
- These fiery little beauties are red when ripe and have a sharp flavor that pairs nicely with seafood dishes like ceviche or shrimp cocktail.
- When substituting cayenne for Fresno red peppers you should start slow—just add a small amount at first to gauge your preferred level of spiciness before adding more!
4. Chipotle Pepper, SHU 2,500-10,000
- Chipotles are smoked jalapenos that pack quite a punch when it comes to heat levels—they range between 2,500-10,000 on the Scoville scale!
- Chipotles offer smoky undertones that pair nicely with meats like pork or beef as well as chili or stew recipes.
- As an alternative to red Fresno peppers, you can use chipotles if you want to add an extra kick without too much heat.
5. Guajillo Pepper, SHU 2,500-5,000
- This mildly hot pepper has a leathery skin that ranges from yellow-green to reddish brown when ripe.
- Guajillos have smooth flesh and earthy undertones that make them great for salsas or sauces where their subtle flavor can really shine through.
- Guajillo peppers measure between 2,500-5,000 on the Scoville scale so they don't bring too much heat but still offer enough warmth to liven up your dish if you need it!
6. Jalapeno Peppers, SHU 2,500-8,000
- Jalapenos are probably one of the most popular chili peppers around thanks to their mildness—they only measure between 2,500-8,000 on the Scoville scale!
- They have thick walls so they work well for stuffed dishes like poppers or quesadillas but can also be chopped and added raw into salads or salsas where their bright flavor will really stand out.
- As a replacement for Fresno peppers jalapenos are perfect if you need just enough spice without overwhelming your dish!
7. Kashmiri Chili, SHU 1,500-2,500
- Kashmiri chilies are bright red and have a mild heat that makes them perfect for traditional Indian dishes like curries.
- These peppers fall between 1,500-2,500 on the Scoville scale and their sweet flavor balances out the savory spices in many curry recipes.
- If you’re looking for a Fresno chili substitute then try Kashmiri chilies—they won’t overpower the other flavors in your dish but will still add a hint of warmth.
8. Pasilla Pepper, SHU 1,000-2,500
- Pasillas are dark and wrinkly peppers with a mild heat that measure between 1,000-2,500 on the Scoville scale.
- Pasillas have an earthy, smoky flavor and are usually dried before being used in recipes like salsas or sauces.
- As a substitute for Fresno peppers, pasillas can be used if you want a milder pepper with notes of sweetness that won’t overwhelm the other flavors in your dish.
9. Poblano Pepper, SHU 1,000-1,500
- These bright green peppers are named after their place of origin—Puebla, Mexico.
- They have a mild heat and range between 1,000-1,500 on the Scoville scale.
- Poblanos have a slightly sweet flavor and their thick walls make them great for stuffing or roasting.
- As a replacement for Fresno peppers, poblanos offer just enough heat without overpowering the other flavors in your dish.
10. Serrano Pepper, SHU 10,000-23,000
- For those that like it hot, serranos are the way to go! These bright green peppers measure between 10,000-23,000 on the Scoville scale and have a bright flavor that pairs well with sauces or salsas.
- As an alternative to Fresno peppers, Serranos offer a kick without being too overwhelming—just make sure you start slow when adding them to your dish, as their heat can creep up on you!
People Also Ask [FAQs]
A Fresno chili looks remarkably similar to a jalapeño, with its bright green color and tapered shape.
The spiciness level depends on how long the peppers are left on the bush before harvesting, though generally, they rate around 4,000–10,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
Wrap Up: Fresno Pepper Substitutes
- It is an incredibly versatile chile with a great balance between flavor and spice.
- With all these different types of peppers available it's easy to get overwhelmed trying to figure out which one is right for your dish - luckily we've gone over some popular substitutes that can help make things easier!
- From mild anaheim pepper all the way up through fiery cayenne peppers there's something here for everyone no matter what kind of spice level you're looking for!
- These are just a few of the alternatives for Fresno peppers—whether you’re looking for more heat or something milder, there’s an option that will work for whatever recipe you’re making. Remember to start small and taste as you go—you never know how much heat a pepper might bring until you’ve given it a try!
10 Best Substitutes for Fresno Pepper
- 1 Poblano Pepper SHU 1,000-1,500
- 1 Anaheim Pepper SHU 500 – 2,500
- 1 Pasilla Chile SHU 1,000-2,500
- 1 Kashmiri Chili SHU 1,500-2,500
- 1 Guajillo Pepper SHU 2,500-5,000
- 1 Jalapeno Peppers SHU 2,500-8,000
- 1 Chipotle Pepper SHU 2,500-10,000
- 1 Aleppo Pepper SHU 10,000
- 1 Serrano Pepper SHU 10,000-23,000
- 1 Cayenne Peppers SHU 30,000-50,000
- Best Substitute for Fresno Pepper
- Jalapeno Peppers, SHU 2,500-8,000
- Mild Pepper Substitutes under 2,500 SHU
- Anaheim Pepper, SHU 500 – 2,500
- Pasilla Pepper, SHU 1,000-2,500
- Kashmiri Chili, SHU 1,500-2,500
- Medium Hot Pepper Substitutes 2,500 to 10,000 SHU
- Guajillo Pepper, SHU 2,500-5,000
- Jalapeno Peppers, SHU 2,500-8,000
- Chipotle Pepper, SHU 2,500-10,000
- Aleppo Pepper, SHU 10,000
- Hot Pepper Substitutes 10,000+ SHU
- Serrano Pepper, SHU 10,000-23,000
- Cayenne Peppers, SHU 30,000-50,000
- When substituting Fresno peppers, it's important to consider the level of heat you want in your dish.
- For milder flavors, try Anaheim or Pasilla peppers, which range from 500-2,500 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
- For a slightly spicier option, Guajillo peppers range from 2,500-5,000 SHU.
- For something with more heat, try Serrano or Cayenne peppers that have a SHU range of 10,000-50,000!
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