Jalapeno is both ubiquitous and most popular among all the chilies. In fact, most people might hardly need a jalapeno substitute, but if you are looking for a flavor change or difference in heat, I’ve got a list of alternatives.
What Is Jalapeno Pepper?
The jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper pod type cultivar of the species Capsicum annuum. It measures around 5-10 cm long and 25-38 mm wide when fully matured. According to the geographical location of cultivation, its pungency can range 3,500 t0 8,000 Scoville heat units.
Jalapeno is a mildly spicy pepper available in most vegetable markets across the world.
Fresh jalapeno peppers are bright and very green vegetables with a mild level of heat. When roasted, jalapenos taste slightly smoky and earthy with a higher heat level.
This pepper works well in any dishes that need to be moderately spicy and hot. About 1 to 3 jalapenos are good enough to make your meal spicy. Used in numerous recipes like tacos, pizzas, sandwiches, stews, soups, sauces, and more.
What is the best substitute for jalapeno peppers?
Finding a jalapeno substitute is easy as there are few other peppers that match its flavor and heat profile. Choosing the right alternative depends on the desired flavor, hotness, and appearance of the dish.
Here are the best replacements for jalapeno worthy giving a try:
1. Serrano peppers
Serrano pepper is a good jalapeno substitute that you can use in most of your jalapeno recipes. Serranos are, of course, much hotter (about 9 times more) than jalapenos but they have a similar appearance and texture. They are a bit smaller than jalapenos with thinner walls.
Unfortunately, it is a less popular chili than jalapeno thus in some places serranos are scarce.
If you are fond of something spicier than a jalapeno, then go for serrano.
2. Fresno pepper
Fresno is quite identical to jalapeno because of their similar appearance. They both fall under the same heat range with Fresno peppers are being slightly hotter.
Their similar taste profile makes them difficult to distinguish one from the other. Fresno peppers have a smoky and fruity flavor like the roasted jalapeno, and the ripe, red Fresno peppers have a bright grassy taste.
They work well for stuffings and for in salsa as well. Also, it’s a good alternative to jalapeno poppers.
3. Cayenne pepper powder
There is no doubt that cayenne pepper is several times hotter than Jalapenos. But when you are in a pinch and left with not many choices, Cayenne pepper powder is a useful alternative to try. To your advantage, almost every kitchen does have cayenne pepper powder in the kitchen-rack for sure.
For a big difference, cayenne pepper powder’s heat can go up to 50,000 SHU that is far spicier than jalapenos. Secondly, it’s a powder in red color thus it may not suit every jalapeno recipe.
You may use cayenne pepper powder instead of jalapenos only for the sake of adding heat. Just half a teaspoon of cayenne powder can mean a lot of heat, so use it accordingly while substituting.
4. Smoked paprika powder
It’s simply amazing to include smoked paprika in some of your dishes for its wonderful flavor and aroma. This powder is a mixture of smoked, dried, and finely ground chili peppers. Mostly, it includes sweeter, milder peppers at low levels of heat. In fact, paprika isn’t as spicy as jalapenos, but it provides a pleasant sweet red pepper flavor, making it an effective stand-in ingredient for the jalapeno.
The smoked paprika tastes absolutely good in several recipes like hot sauce or homemade salsa. This chili pepper mix may not be stocked in every kitchen, but if you have it, use it as a jalapeno replacement in pinch.
5. Anaheim pepper
Many cannot tolerate even the moderately hot jalapenos. If you want a pepper substitute milder than a jalapeno, then Anaheim pepper is an excellent substitute option to consider. This pepper gives a mild kick, about 16 times milder than jalapenos. However, using Anaheim in bigger quantities can kick up the heat to near equal strength.
Raw Anaheim chile peppers have crunchy consistency with a bright, fruity flavor. When cooked, the pepper develops a tangy, smoky, and sweet flavor.
Despite the mild sweetness, Anaheim has crispiness that makes it an effective alternative. In dishes like salsa, it works well instead of Jalapeno.
The bottom line
You might require a Jalapeno alternative when you prefer to have another pepper at a different level of spiciness, either lower or higher level of heat. But if you want another pepper with a similar flavor, then Serrano or Fresno pepper is the best substitute for jalapeno.
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