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What Can You Substitute for Fresno Chili Pepper? 13 Options

Fresno chilies are being used in more recipes than ever before.

However, what choices would you have if your neighborhood grocery didn’t have them in stock?

Well, to help you out, we have put together 13 Fresno Chili Substitutes to rescue your culinary works.

Let’s get started.

Facts About Fresno Chili

Fresh Fresno chili peppers are vivid red, measuring typically 2 inches in length, 1 inch wide at the top, and tapering to a rounded end.

They have a vivid spicy and sweet flavor. Until you taste one, they are simple to confuse with red jalapenos.

If you adjust the heat level by adding or eliminating the seeds and white seed-bearing tissue, this chili is a good all-purpose replacement.

What Can You Substitute for Fresno Chili Pepper

1. Jalapenos


It goes without saying that we would include jalapenos on this list given their comparable appearance and nearly identical level of spice to Fresno!

Furthermore, supermarkets commonly stock these and they are very simple to find.

How to Substitute

Since jalapenos are milder in flavor than Fresno chili, you can increase the amount in your recipe to increase the level of heat.

Further reading: 13 Green & Red Jalapeño Pepper Substitutes

2. Chipotle Pepper

chipotle peppers

The chipotle pepper is a variety of chili pepper that is typically smoke-dried.

While chipotle peppers are frequently used in Mexican cuisine, Fresno peppers are mainly utilized in hot sauces.

Although the heat level of both types of peppers is comparable, the chipotle pepper has a smokier flavor.

It’s critical to keep in mind that the smokier flavor of the chipotle pepper will come through in the meal when using it in place of Fresno peppers.

How to Substitute

You might want to use less chipotle pepper than Fresno pepper if you don’t want the dish to taste overly smoky.

Further reading: 8 Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce Substitutes

3. Serrano Chilies

serrano chiles

Because serrano chilies and jalapenos both have a bright, crisp flavor, the decision to switch to serrano truly comes down to availability and personal heat tolerance.

The Scoville heat index of serrano chilies ranges from 10,000 to 23,000.

By moving to the serrano, you might potentially increase the heat of your dish by twofold because ripe red Fresno peppers have a maximum SHU of 10,000.

So, if you’re a spice lover, Serrano chilies are an ideal choice.

4. Bell Pepper

bell pepper

If you want mildly spiced dishes, this is a wonderful Fresno chili replacement. Bell peppers contain no SHU because it lacks capsaicin.

They come in various colors that can pleasantly color your dishes, which is why we adore utilizing them.

They are also quite adaptable; before including them in your dish, you can pan-sear, bake, or grill them. These peppers are widely accessible all year long and are typically sold fresh.

Bell peppers are great for soups, salads, stews, and other similar recipes.

Further reading: What to Serve with Stuffed Bell Peppers?

5. Holland Chili

holland chili

Another fantastic option for Fresno peppers in a variety of recipes is Dutch or Holland chili, especially in soups, salads, baking, or roasting.

They come in a variety of hues, including red, green, and yellow.

These peppers are sweet, fruity, and somewhat acidic with a faint spiciness. Its 5,000–10,000 SHU range, which is comparable to that of the Fresno chili, is something we like.

You get a lovely flavor when you combine all of that with the other ingredients in your dish.

6. Red Chili Peppers

red chili pepper

Fresno peppers can easily be replaced with red chili peppers. They share a similar flavor profile that includes some sweetness and spice.

They are ideal for recipes that call for Fresno peppers because they are the same size and shape.

Red chili peppers can help you make a wonderful dinner that is similar to the original, albeit they are not an exact duplicate.

So don’t be hesitant to give red chili peppers a try if you’re looking for a pepper that will provide you with the same texture and flavor as a Fresno chili pepper.

7. Cayenne Peppers

Cayenne Pepper

These peppers have thin walls, and a flavor that is comparable to Fresnos, but they are hotter.

With a curved, sharp end, this chili pepper has the recognizable “finger” shape of a chili. The level of spiciness, which can be mild to strong, truly relies on the pepper’s type and the growing environment.

If whole Cayenne peppers are unavailable, use dried peppers instead, or simply smash them to make red pepper flakes. If you want to use a whole dried chili pepper instead, do not use it excessively.

How to Substitute

You can start by adding a tiny quantity, and if more is required, you can always do so.

You May Like: What Can You Substitute for Cayenne Pepper?

8. Thai Luang Peppers

thai luang peppers

Thai Luang peppers are available in pink, yellow, and orange. These peppers can also become quite hot, with a heat rating between 50,000 and 100,000 SHU.

We adore how these peppers add a great touch to any dish with their fruity and earthy flavor.

How to Substitute

To avoid an extremely spicy meal, it is preferable to use these peppers in lesser amounts because they are up to ten times hotter than Fresno chili.

9. Tien Tsin Pepper

tien tsin pepper

Tien Tsin Pepper gets its name from the province where it is harvested in China.

Especially for lemon rice, soups, chicken curry, stews, and infused oils, this is a fantastic addition. The flavor and spiciness of your food will both be enhanced by these chilies.

Although this is hotter than Fresno chili, it can still be used in a variety of recipes that call for Fresno. There is a 50,000–75,000 SHU heat index.

10. Habanero

what is habanero pepper

Unlike other peppers discussed here, the Habanero is a distinctive substitute for Fresno chili.

It has high spice levels (ranging from 100,000 to 350,000 SHU), and is spicy, crunchy, and sweet.

Watch out for their spiciness as they have a crusty flavor and provide a distinctive touch to any cuisine.

11. Thai Jinda Chili

thai jinda chili

Another Thai chili that works well as a red or green Fresno pepper alternative is this one.

Regardless of color, these chilies have a heat rating between 50,000 and 100,000 SHU, making them highly hot. The heat increases as the pepper size decreases!

12. Scotch Bonnet

scotch bonnet plant

These peppers enhance any meal with their fiery, sweet, and spicy flavor. Depending on where they are grown, they can range in heat intensity from 100,000 to 350,000 SHU.

If you add too many of these peppers since they are so hot, your dish will be exceedingly spicy.

For soups and other similar recipes that call for Fresno chili, we suggest using this substitution. But, start small and add according to your taste.

Further reading: Habanero Vs. Scotch Bonnet: Any Difference?

13. Ancho Chili

ancho chili

Ancho chili is another great Fresno chili substitute. The smoky flavor of ancho chili is the same as that of roasted poblanos as they are dried poblano chilis.

In most grocery stores, you can buy the whole thing in a jar or grind it into ancho chili powder.

Ancho chilis are used in Mexican cooking to give sweetness and depth of flavor to dishes like salsa verde, mole sauce, and chili con carne, a fiery stew that is typically cooked with meat.

FAQs About Fresno Chili

What Does a Fresno Pepper Look Like?

Fresno peppers grow from green to intense red and get hotter as they develop, yet they are frequently plucked and sold in their green state.

The mature red Fresno is significantly hotter than the green peppers, which range from mild to medium heat.

They grow typically 2 inches in length, 1 inch wide at the top and narrow to a rounded end.

What Do Fresno Peppers Taste Like?

The Fresno pepper resembles the jalapeno, the most well-known chili pepper in the world, in terms of appearance and flavor, although it can be a little hotter.

It can be somewhat spicier for certain people because at its fiercest it has the same heat level as a mild Serrano pepper.

Is Fresno Pepper Hotter Than Jalapeno?

Red Fresno peppers have a similar appearance to jalapeño peppers, but they taste different and are a little bit spicier.

They range in strength from 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

What Are Dried Fresno Peppers Called?

Dried Fresno peppers are called Fresno chili. Typically, this kind of chili is used in dishes like salsa or chili con carne.

Where to Buy Fresno Chili Peppers

You can check your neighborhood grocery store or online to buy Fresno chili peppers.

To Sum It Up

There’s no need to seek any further if a recipe you have calls for Fresno chili but you don’t have any on hand or can’t find them at the store.

All of the above peppers can be used in place of Fresno peppers in any dish due to their similar flavor and heat level.

Remember, always start adding in small quantities and add more according to your heat preference.

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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