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13 Green & Red Jalapeño Pepper Substitutes

“She was always calm under pressure, always the cucumber when everything else was jalapenos.”_ Alice Clayton.

We agree with Alice’s contrast between a cool cucumber and a spicy jalapeno. But what you can substitute for jalapeno peppers if they’re not on hand? What should we know about them?

This post, will talk about what jalapenos are and their perfect substitutes.

15-Second Summary 

Jalapeno peppers are green peppers with a reasonably spicy taste that are part of various dishes. You can be substitute jalapeno with cayenne peppers, green chili, bell pepper, Fresno peppers, and more in your recipe.

When substituting with red pepper flakes, do so sparingly.

Zero Spicy

Less Spicy

Moderately Spicy

Very Spicy

Bell pepper

Banana pepper, Cubanelle pepper, Pepperoncini, Paprika powder

Green chili, Anaheim pepper

Red pepper flake, Fresno pepper, Serrano pepper, Cayenne pepper, Habanero pepper

What is Jalapeno Pepper?

Jalapeno (Jalapeño) peppers are popular green chile peppers that originated from Mexico. They are usually 3 inches long and are pretty spicy.

Usually, jalapeno peppers are green, but when left on the plant stalk for a long time, they turn red. This red variant, however, has a sweeter flavor.

pepper jalapeno

Jalapeno peppers have an average mid-heat level of about 5000 Scoville heat units on the Scoville scale.

Scoville scale is a unit of measurement of the heat and spiciness of peppers.

It does this by the amount of capsaicin [1] diluted by sugar water. Its unit is SHU. The higher the SHU, the spicier the pepper.

However, some jalapeno can have a heat level of 2500-8000 heat units- hold on, they aren’t blazing hot; when compared with other peppers, they are mild.

Jalapeno peppers are delicious peppers used in soups, salads, grills, etc. They set your taste buds aglow with flavor when used in a combination of Cheddar Cheese and biscuits.

Don’t get your taste buds dripping yet; what if you don’t have jalapeno?

Here is a list of substitutes for jalapeno peppers in your recipe; we know you would love it.

You may like: Can You Freeze Whole/Sliced/Stuffed Jalapeno?

What Can You Substitute for Jalapeño Peppers?

The choice you make depends on whether you want a milder jalapeno substitute or a spicier one. We have curated a list of both spicy and mild options- just for you!

1. Banana Pepper

banana pepper

Yes, we recommend banana peppers. Although they are yellow, these peppers possess enough spicy flavor to give your meal the zest it needs. They are also rich in Vitamin B6.

They have a SHU of about 500, making it a perfect less spicy jalapeno substitute.

Banana peppers give your meal an appealing appearance, use it in stuffed meals, tacos, sandwiches, or salads. You can also serve them as pickled peppers alongside sausage or steak.

2. Cubanelle Pepper

cubanelle pepper

Cubanelle pepper is a great less spicy substitute for jalapeno. With a SHU of about 100-1000, this pepper has a sweet and mildly tangy flavor.

They are excellent vitamin C and folate sources, which are good for development and blood formation.

Thinner than jalapenos, the cubanelle pepper works perfectly in stir-fries, salads, stews, and poultry dishes.

In your stir-fry recipe, pair olive oil with cubanelle peppers.

3. Bell Pepper

bell peppers

Bell peppers are your best non-spicy substitute for jalapeno if you have a strict “no-spice” policy.

These are not perfect flavor substitutes, as they have a Scoville heat unit of zero. Still, they give a sweet and mild taste to your meal, making bell pepper an excellent substitute for red jalapeno pepper.

When it comes to texture, they win the game! Bell Peppers have the same thick structure as jalapeno. So you can be sure of that “crunch effect” in your meal.

Bell Peppers are excellent sources of vitamins A and C. They keep your immune system active and protect your eyes from night blindness.

Use bell Peppers in skewers, pizza, salad, stuffed meals, etc. The crisper and fleshy bell pepper turns out to be the better option in some recipes.

4. Pepperoncini


Pepperoncini is a mild and sweet substitute for jalapeno. It has a SHU of 100 to 600, so it has a spicy feel but is on the low side.

Pepperoncini is an excellent source of fiber and calcium. They are necessary for digestion and building strong bones and teeth.

Cooks can use fresh pepperoncini in salads, pizzas, sandwiches, salsa, and hamburgers. Pickled pepperoncini can be used in your deviled egg recipe.

Pepperoncini decomposes when it’s wet. So, only wash them when you are ready to use them.

5. Green Chilies

green chilies

Green chilies are a superb substitute for fresh jalapeno pepper. They check the color box, as both peppers are green. They also have similar flavors.

Nutrients like vitamins A, B6, and C are from green chilies. Green chilies are also excellent sources of calcium, iron, and zinc.

Use green chilies in curries, stews, roti, etc.

6. Anaheim Peppers

anaheim pepper

With a SHU of 500-2500, Anaheim peppers are moderately spicy. This makes them an excellent choice for a jalapeno substitute.

They check all the boxes, flavor, color, and spice. It also had a sweet undertone to it. Suppose you would like to replace stuffed jalapeno with a substitute, we recommend this one. It’ll leave your tastebuds begging for more.

Anaheim peppers have low calories and high water content. They are great for dieting. Plus, they contain vitamins C and A.

To enhance the flavor of anaheim peppers in your soup, grill them first.

7. Smoked Paprika Powder


Paprika powder, another less hot jalapeno substitute with a SHU of about 500 to 1000. It gives your dish an appealing red color with less heat.

The beautiful thing about paprika is its smoky flavor and a pleasant aroma. Since it’s a spice, we don’t expect anything less.

Feel free to use it in your salsas or sauce. You can also sprinkle it on seafood and fried rice to boost their flavor.

Store your Paprika Powder properly. They tend to lose color and flavor under poor storage conditions. An airtight container in cool conditions is perfect.

8. Red Pepper Flakes

red pepper flakes

You can also substitute red pepper flakes for jalapeno. Red pepper flakes are made from dried, crushed red chili peppers.

The peppers that make up this spice have SHU ranging from 30,000 to 50,000. Which is pretty hot, so you might want to be careful when you use them.

Red pepper flakes give a balanced flavor and spice to your meal. So feel free to use them in pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, soup, stew, barbecue, fried chicken, etc.

Futher reading: Red Pepper Flakes Vs. Chili Flakes: What’s the Difference?

9. Fresno Peppers

green fresno pepper

Fresno peppers are very similar to Jalapeno peppers, but they’re different. Fresno peppers are a hot alternative to jalapeno peppers. They have a SHU of 2,500 to 10,000.

They also have more texture and add a fruitier flavor to meals. So, with Fresno peppers, you get jalapeno spice with an upgraded flavor. Pretty cool!

Fresno peppers contain vitamins B and C necessary to boost the immune system and form red blood cells.

If you are a lover of everything spice, please incorporate Fresno peppers as a substitute for jalapeno pepper in salsa, soup, hot sauce, pasta, etc.

10. Serrano Peppers

serrano peppers

Can you substitute Serrano for jalapeno? Of course yes!

Serrano peppers can substitute for jalapeno peppers in sautéed or pickled form. They level up the spice scale, with a SHU of 5,000 to 15,000.

They do not have the same thick texture as jalapeno, so they aren’t a good fit for stuffed recipes. Nonetheless, they are excellent when mixed with other spices in your meal.

Serrano peppers are excellent sources of vitamin B6 that improves your heart health.

The heat from serrano peppers can burn your skin; we recommend using gloves while handling them.

11. Cayenne pepper

cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is not for the “fainthearted .”This is a whole spice level- we mean fiery flavor, so be careful.

With a SHU of 30,000 to 50,000, your taste buds are in for a spice kick. A meal containing cayenne peppers will work wonders to warm you up on a cold day.

Cayenne peppers contain vitamins A. It’s necessary for proper eyesight development. It also includes a significant quantity of capsaicin required for heat production.

The red color of cayenne pepper gives your meal a pleasant shade and flavor. Feel free to use it in your pepper sauce, soups, chicken chips, pizza, or fried foods.

12. Habanero Pepper

habanero peppers

If you thought cayenne peppers were fiery, you might want to steer away from habanero pepper.

With a SHU of 100,000 to 350,000, you do not want to mess with this pepper. Ensure you carry out a taste test [2] to be sure you can handle it.

Habanero peppers have a fruity, super hot taste. It’s best to eat this pepper when used as jam, paste, or sauce and paired with other dishes. Never eat it raw!

This pepper contains capsaicin and vitamin C, just like jalapeno and cayenne peppers, so it’s an excellent substitute.

Suppose you want to jazz things up by creating a spicy yet sweet sensation for your palate. Then use habanero pepper in mango sauce pair it up with grilled fish or chicken.

Feel free to use this pepper in any recipe that calls for peppers but use it moderately. You do not want your guests eating with smoke coming out of their ears.

You may like: Habanero Vs. Scotch Bonnet: Which Is Hotter?

13. Hot Sauce

hot sauce

Did you raise your eyebrow in disagreement? Relax, you can use hot sauce.

If you need something spicy in your meal, hot sauce can serve that purpose. Ensure you check the constituents that they can give you the heat level you want.

You can use hot sauce in your omelet, salad, chicken wings, or any meal.

stuffed jalapeno peppers

Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

Yield: 32 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

The easiest recipe for stuffed jalapeno peppers.


  • 12 ounces of jalapeno peppers sliced in half
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 pack of shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 12 ounces of softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of bacon bits
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 quarts of frying oil
  • 1 cup of dry breadcrumbs


    1. After cleaning your jalapeno peppers, mix the cream and Cheddar Cheese with bacon bits in a bowl.

    2. After that, put this mixture into the sliced jalapeno.

    3. Pour milk and flour into separate bowls. Dip your stuffed jalapeno into the milk first, then dip into flour. Ensure the peppers are well coated by both ingredients, allow to dry for about 10minutes.

    4. Once that is done, dip the coated pepper into milk again and then roll in breadcrumbs. Make sure the entire pepper is fully covered.

    5. Heat oil in a skillet to about 365°F. Deep fry the coated jalapeno for about 3 minutes until they turn golden-brown peppers. Place on paper towels to drain.

    6. Once cool enough to eat, serve.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 32 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 571Total Fat: 60gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 51gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 69mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g


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Now that you have your substitute choices and mouth-watering recipe. Let’s answer some questions you might have regarding these jalapeno substitutes.

FAQs About Jalapeno Pepper

peppers spices

How much cayenne pepper to substitute for jalapeno pepper?

To substitute cayenne for jalapeno pepper, use the ratio ½: 1. That is to replace half cayenne pepper for one jalapeno pepper.

What Spice Can I Substitute For Jalapeno?

Smoked Paprika Powder is a great spice to substitute for jalapeno. Chili powder is a terrific substitute as well.

How Much Red Pepper Flakes Equals One Jalapeno?

½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes equals one jalapeno.

Red pepper flakes are spicier than jalapeno. Use them sparingly, add to your recipe, and taste to determine the heat level.

How Much Diced Jalapeno Equals One Jalapeno?

One teaspoon of pickled, diced jalapeno equals one medium-sized jalapeno.

Final Words

The beautiful thing about peppers is that they can replace the other and still bring their flavor to the table.

While choosing a suitable jalapeno replacement, remember to consider the heat tolerance level of your guests’ palate.

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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