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22 Common Types of Peppers & Their Flavor

Learn about different peppers you can eat, from mild to spicy.

There are many types of peppers, so even their biggest fans might not know all of them.

Colorful chilli peppers stall, asian market

From the well-known tabasco pepper to the lesser-known rocoto pepper, we compiled all of the most popular and distinct peppers onto one list.

To learn about each of these colorful vegetables’ shape, color, flavor, and spiciness, read the following list and try them out for yourself!

Whether you’re a spice fiend or always opt for mild salsa, there’s a type of pepper on this list that everyone can enjoy and appreciate.

Types of Peppers

Learn about the different types of peppers and what foods they pair well with!

Bell Pepper

Bell peppers are the calmest of all the peppers and aren’t spicy.

Bell peppers can be red, green, yellow, or orange. Notably, each color has a slightly different flavor.

The green ones are earthier, and the red ones are sweeter, but they are often interchangeable.

Bell peppers are a staple in many kitchens, from stir-fry to stuffed peppers to a crunchy snack with ranch dressing.


Anaheim Pepper

Anaheim peppers are the same as New Mexico peppers, California chilis, and Magdalenas.

These thin peppers are about six inches long and start as green and then turn into a deep red.

They are considered mild pepper, so they have some heat but nothing that the average person couldn’t handle. 


Jalapeno

The jalapeno is a well-known pepper featured in Mexican dishes like nachos and tacos.

They have a sharp heat that gets your mouthwatering and brings a combination of sweet and spicy to your palette.

Many people enjoy pickled jalapenos because the heat is less intense, but the flavor is still excellent. 


Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is most commonly consumed in powder form, as cayenne pepper makes for an excellent seasoning when cooking.

From bean chilis to taco meat, cayenne pepper is an excellent addition. When still in pepper form, these are super thin and about three to four inches long.

They are what many people picture when you talk about hot peppers. 


Poblano

Poblano peppers are often compared to jalapenos as they have a similar look and a similar flavor.

However, poblano peppers are about three times the size of the jalapeno peppers and have much less heat.

These peppers hail from Mexico, and when dried, they’re known as ancho chiles. They’re super tasty when stuffed with rice or meat and baked or deep-fried. 


Habañero Pepper

Habañero peppers are another pepper known for their spicy kick. People love to use habanero in hot sauces or even spice up a margarita or other cocktail.

Habaneros have quite the kick and can be orange or red.

They’re short and stout compared with other chilis that are thin and long. But they pack about the same amount of spice that jalapenos do. 


Serrano

Serranos are another pepper often confused with jalapenos. These little green peppers have a decent kick but nothing that will have you coughing and begging for water.

They start green, which is when most people use them in food. But over time, they will turn red as they ripen.

You can enjoy them raw or sauteed, and they make a beautiful topping to add some color to a dish. 


Piquillo pepper

Piquillo peppers have no heat even though they’re pretty small.

They’re a fiery red color that can throw people off when they taste the super sweet flavor they have to offer.

This pepper also works well when stuffed with ingredients and then fried or baked until soft. They’re pretty tiny, and many people love them pickled. They’re often the roasted red peppers you may find on a pizza. 


Shishito 

Shishito peppers have a little bit of heat, but they aren’t too spicy for most people.

They’re a popular appetizer in countries like Spain or Greece, which are known for their small and delicious plates.

You can saute them with some oil, and they turn out fabulous. These peppers originated in Japan and are used for some sushi dishes.


Scotch Bonnet

Scotch Bonnets are a super spicy pepper that is popular in hot sauces.

It goes well with slightly sweet flavors, like ginger or mango.

They came from West Africa and a wallop of heat even though they’re a tiny pepper.

They have a funky apple shape and are typically yellow or orange but can also be a bright red. 


Rocoto Pepper

Rocoto peppers are a super spicy variety of pepper that most people aren’t familiar with.

Before they’re sliced open, they look like mini tomatoes but have a wildly different flavor.

The peppers are much larger than most hot peppers. They can sometimes even be mistaken for bell peppers, making for a spicy surprise. 


Banana Pepper

Banana peppers are a popular topping for pizza and sandwiches because they have a very slight kick but are not considered a very spicy pepper.

It has a tangy and unique taste that sets it apart from its other pepper cousins.

Plus, it’s a neon yellow color with a long shape, which sort of looks like, that’s right, a banana!


Chilaca

Chilaca peppers are lesser-known pepper but have a unique look and yummy flavor.

They are considered mild pepper, so they offer some heat but not very much. They’re commonly used in salsas or on nachos.

The most memorable aspect of these peppers is the super dark green color.

They almost look black, which can scare people off, but they’re tasty with the right flavors. 


Ghost Pepper

This wrinkly red little pepper has been classified as the hottest pepper in existence.

But recently, the Carolina Reaper knocked it off its top spot. It is over 100 times hotter than tabasco peppers, putting them to shame in the world of spice.

Ghost peppers encompass their eerie name as they are small and wrinkled but can put people in their graves, but not literally!


Piri Piri

Piri Piri isn’t the most popular pepper, but it tastes similar to cayenne and has about the same amount of heat.

It is a yummy addition to chilis or curries to add some heat, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

Tread carefully, as these peppers can surprise you with how strong they are and will have your eyes watering in no time. 


Basque Fryer

Basque fryer peppers are small and chunky red peppers that fall on the lower end of the spicy spectrum.

They can add a little bit of heat, but they mostly bring a delicious flavor to dishes.

The pepper is often dried and ground down into a spice for seasoning when cooking. 


Bird’s Eye

Bird’s eye peppers are small and adorable, but don’t let that fool you.

These peppers are insanely spicy and are right up there with cayenne and scotch bonnets.

Bird’s eyes are typically green or red and can be rather skinny but are often plump and almost a perfect sphere. They’re often used in thai dishes.


Cherry Pepper

Cherry peppers are another charming little pepper, and yes, they look like cherries!

They’re bright red and plump with a thick green stem. These peppers are not very spicy, but they have a slight kick when they’re raw.

Cherry peppers have a sweet and savory flavor that many people love as a simple snack. 


Fresno

Fresno chilies were first developed in Fresno, California, hence their name.

They are similar to jalapeno peppers, but they have quite a different taste.

They offer a sweet but smoky flavor with a burst of heat that doesn’t linger on your palette for too long.

They taste great in guacamole or as a pickled topping for pizza. 


Mirasol Chili

Mirasol chilis are in the classic Mexican sauce called Mole.

Mole can be a variety of peppers, but Mirasol brings a unique and bold flavor popular in Mexico.

They’re moderately spicy, falling almost dead-center on the Scoville spectrum, making them excellent for someone working up their spice tolerance. 


Pimento

Also known as pimientos, these peppers are best known for their presence inside pickled olives.

Sometimes people munch on them as a snack, but they are most popular when pickled in vinegar and used as a garnish.

If you love the flavor of peppers but not the heat, these peppers are a great option. 


Tabasco Pepper

The tabasco pepper is one of the most well-known peppers in the world, thanks to tabasco sauce.

In case you didn’t know, tabasco peppers are pretty spicy. They aren’t the spiciest ever, as that’s the ghost pepper.

But for many people, they are the spiciest pepper they want to eat. 


Types of Peppers

  1. Bell Pepper
  2. Anaheim Pepper
  3. Jalapeno
  4. Cayenne Pepper
  5. Poblano
  6. Habañero Pepper
  7. Serrano
  8. Piquillo pepper
  9. Shishito 
  10. Scotch Bonnet
  11. Rocoto Pepper
  12. Banana Pepper
  13. Chilaca
  14. Ghost Pepper
  15. Piri Piri
  16. Basque Fryer
  17. Bird’s Eye
  18. Cherry Pepper
  19. Fresno
  20. Mirasol Chili
  21. Pimento
  22. Tabasco Pepper

Final Thoughts

Whether you love the heat or consider yourself to have a spice aversion, there’s a type of pepper for you to enjoy. As you can see by the listed peppers, they offer a broad range of flavors, from the classic bell pepper to the fiery ghost pepper and everything in between.

When in doubt, remember that you can always check the Scoville level of peppers to help you understand just how spicy the pepper is that you’re about to bite into. 

If you want to learn more about food, check out the different types of shrimp to increase your culinary know-how.

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.