12 Best Substitutes For Jalapenos

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There are plenty of delicious substitutes for jalapenos that can add a similar level of spice and flavor to your favorite dishes. Whether you’re a fan of Tex-Mex cuisine or enjoy experimenting with different flavors, there’s a substitute out there for every taste preference.

One great substitute for jalapenos is the serrano pepper. With a similar heat level to jalapenos, serranos have a bright, fresh flavor that is perfect for salsas, marinades, and hot sauces. They are also great for adding a spicy kick to soups, stews, and stir-fries. Another tasty alternative is the poblano pepper. While milder in heat, poblanos have a rich, smoky flavor that is perfect for stuffing or roasting. They can also be used in sauces or diced and added to soups and casseroles for a touch of spice. So don’t be afraid to get creative with these substitutes and add some heat to your meals!

What Are Jalapenos?

Jalapeños are a type of chili pepper that originates from Mexico, and they are a popular ingredient in many cuisines around the world. 

Whether you enjoy them raw or cooked, pickled or smoked, jalapeños are a versatile ingredient that can add a delicious kick to your favorite foods. From nachos to tacos, soups to stews, there are countless ways to incorporate jalapeños into your meals.  So why not spice up your next meal with some jalapeños? They’re a fun and flavorful way to add some zest to your cooking!

Best Jalapeno Substitutes

1. Serrano Peppers

Serrano Peppers

Serrano and jalapeños peppers both have a comparable flavor profile and are frequently used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, with serranos being slightly spicier than jalapeños.

The number of serranos needed to substitute for jalapenos will depend on the recipe and your personal preference for heat. As a general rule of thumb, you can use about 1 to 2 serranos for every jalapeno called for in a recipe. However, you may need to adjust this based on your own taste.

2. Poblano Peppers

Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers are a type of chili pepper that originated in the state of Puebla, Mexico. They are large, dark green peppers with a mild to medium level of heat.

Compared to poblano chiles, jalapenos are smaller and hotter. Poblano peppers typically rate between 1,000 and 1,500 Scoville units, while jalapenos typically range from 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville units on the Scoville scale, which rates the spiciness of peppers.

Poblano peppers can be used in most recipes that call for jalapenos. They can be roasted, diced, chopped, or sliced, and added to salsas, sauces, stews, and other dishes. They are also commonly used to make chiles rellenos, a popular Mexican dish where the peppers are stuffed with cheese or meat.

3. Anaheim Peppers

Anaheim Peppers

Anaheim peppers are a type of chili pepper that is milder than jalapeños but can still add a slight kick of heat to dishes. They are named after the city of Anaheim, California, where they were first grown commercially in the early 1900s.

They can be used fresh or roasted, and are often used in dishes such as salsa, guacamole, and chili. Using Anaheim peppers as a jalapeños substitute can be a great way to add some flavor and heat to your dishes while still maintaining a mild level of spiciness.

4. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper belongs to the nightshade family, which also contains tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants, and was given the name Cayenne after the city of the same name in French Guiana. The red, spicily hot chile peppers of the Capsicum annuum plant are dried and ground to make cayenne pepper.

Cayenne peppers are a popular substitutes for jalapenos in many dishes. Cayenne peppers can be used in many of the same dishes as jalapenos, such as salsas, chili, and hot sauces. They can also be used in dry rubs for meats or sprinkled over roasted vegetables for added heat.

5. Chipotle Peppers

Chipotle Peppers

Jalapenos are smoked and dried to create chipotle peppers, which have a smoky, slightly sweet taste. As a result, they make a fantastic jalapenos substitute in dishes that ask for a smoky or barbecue-like flavor.

Chipotle peppers can be used in many of the same dishes as jalapenos, such as guacamole, salsas, and chili. They can also be used in sauces, marinades and rubs for meats, as well as in soups and stews. 

6. Habanero Peppers

Habanero Peppers

Habanero peppers are a type of chili pepper that is much hotter than jalapeno peppers. They are often used as a substitute for jalapenos when a spicier flavor is desired. Habanero peppers can be used as a substitute for jalapeños when a fruitier, spicier taste is preferred. However, it’s crucial to modify the amount of peppers used, remove the seeds and membranes to lessen heat, be knowledgeable about the distinctive flavor profile of habaneros, and use them in the right dishes like spicy sauces, marinades, and salsas. 

When using habaneros as a substitute, start with a small amount and gradually increase until you achieve the desired level of heat and flavor. Handling habaneros requires caution due to their high heat level, so wear gloves and avoid touching your face when working with them.

7. Cubanelle Pepper

Cubanelle Pepper

When a milder taste is preferred, cubanelle peppers can be used in place of jalapenos. You will need to adjust the quantity used in your recipe because Cubanelle peppers are less spicy than jalapenos. 

They can be substituted in equal amounts, but if you’re looking for a spicier flavor, you may need to use more cubanelle peppers or add additional spice. To enhance the flavor, cubanelle peppers can be roasted or grilled before using them in a recipe. They can be used in recipes such as salsa, chili, and other dishes that call for jalapeños. 

8. Banana Peppers

Banana Peppers

Compared to jalapenos, banana peppers are milder. Banana peppers have a Scoville Hot Unit (SHU) range of 0 to 500, whereas jalapenos have a SHU range of 2,500 to 8,000.

Banana peppers can be used in a variety of culinary applications, such as stuffing, pickling, grilling, roasting, and chopping into salsas, salads, and sandwiches. They are also a popular topping for pizza.

Jalapenos have a unique earthy and spicy flavor, while banana peppers have a sweet, slightly tangy flavor. Banana peppers can still give foods a pleasing taste and texture even though they may not be as spicy as other peppers. 

9. Aleppo Peppers

Aleppo Peppers

These peppers are popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. They are known for their mild to moderate heat, fruity flavor, and slightly smoky aroma. 

Aleppo peppers can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, marinades, and sauces. They can also be used as a spice rub for meat, or sprinkled on top of pizzas, salads, and roasted vegetables.

10. Bell Peppers

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers and jalapenos are both members of the same family of plants, Capsicum annuum, but they have different heat levels and flavor profiles. Jalapeños are known for their spicy kick, while bell peppers are mild and sweet.

Keep in mind that it’s important to consider the texture when using bell peppers as substitutes for jalapenos. Jalapenos are usually chopped or diced, while bell peppers are often sliced into larger pieces or strips. You may need to adjust the size and shape of your bell peppers to match the jalapeños in the recipe.

Bell peppers can be a great substitute for jalapeños if you want a milder flavor. To determine how much heat you want, you should choose the right variety of bell pepper. Green bell peppers are the least sweet and most bitter, while red bell peppers are the sweetest. The size of the bell pepper also matters. Jalapeños are small and narrow, while bell peppers are larger and more rounded. 

11. Fresno Pepper

Fresno Pepper

They are a type of chili pepper that is often used as a jalapenos substitute, particularly in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine. Fresno peppers are slightly hotter than jalapenos, with a Scoville heat rating of 2,500 to 10,000 compared to the jalapeno’s rating of 2,500 to 8,000.

Fresno peppers can be used in a variety of dishes, including salsas, hot sauces, and marinades. Fresno peppers can also be roasted, grilled, or sautéed and used as a topping for tacos, burgers, or other dishes.

12. Green Chillies

Green Chillies

Green chilies are typically longer and narrower than jalapenos, with a slightly curved shape. They are usually pale green when fresh and can mature to a bright red or yellow color.

Although the heat level of green chilies can vary based on the variety, they are typically less hot than jalapenos. The most popular type, the Anaheim chili, is much milder than the jalapeno, which has a Scoville heat level of 2,500 to 8,000.

Green chilies are commonly used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, where they can be added to salsas, stews, enchiladas, and other dishes. They can be used fresh, roasted, or canned. 


Whether you want to add some heat to your favorite recipe or you simply can’t locate jalapenos at your neighborhood grocery shop, there are many substitutes for jalapeños to pick from.  Whether you opt for Fresno peppers for a slightly sweeter and hotter flavor or green chilies for a milder taste, these substitutes can help you achieve the perfect balance of spice in your dish. In order to discover the pepper that best suits your palate, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of peppers. You can give any meal a flavor boost and personalize it with these substitutes. Happy cooking!

About Cynthia

Cynthia Odenu-Odenu is the founder of Cyanne Eats. She is an avid baker and cook of delicious delicacies. She uses this blog to share her love for different cuisines.

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