a closeup photo of red and green chilis

Arapaho (Cheyenne) Peppers: A Mega Mild Cayenne

Have you heard of Arapaho peppers? You might know them by another name — Cheyenne peppers. These mild to medium peppers are a hybrid variety that produces high yields of attractive, flavorful fruit.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about Arapaho peppers, including how hot they are, how to use them in cooking, how to grow them, and more!

Facts about
Arapaho Pepper

Heat level:
2,000 - 4,000
Capsicum annuum
North America

What are Arapaho peppers?

Arapaho peppers are a mild to medium pepper variety of the Capsicum annuum classification that are early-maturing and high-yielding. They produce fruits that average 8-9 inches long with thick walls, moderate heat, and sweet undertones. These peppers are great for frying or making salsa, and they dry well for homemade chili powder.

How spicy are Arapaho peppers?

2,000-4,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) — with some conflicting information

Arapaho peppers are said to have a Scoville rating of 2,000-4,000 SHU, but there’s some dispute. Most cayenne peppers range from 30,000-50,000 SHU, so it seems suspect that these hybrids would be so much milder.

To put it into perspective, cayenne peppers are normally as much as 20x hotter than jalapeños — but an Arapaho pepper of 2,000 SHU would be milder than even the mildest of jalapeños.

Nevertheless, even at 2,000-4,000 SHU, the Arapaho will have a noticeable heat.

If you’ve grown Arapaho peppers, please reach out and let us know how hot they are!

Where did they get their name?

Arapaho peppers were formerly known as Cheyenne peppers in the United States. These peppers are named after the Arapaho Native American tribe. There is another variety of pepper popular in the UK that is significantly different, which may have been the driving factor behind the name change.

Are Cheyenne (Arapaho) peppers the same as cayenne?

Arapaho (Cheyenne) peppers are a variety of cayenne peppers, but significantly different than what you probably think of when you think of a cayenne.

Physically, the Arapaho pepper grows to be much bigger — up to 9 inches long, while the regular cayenne tends to be 2-6 inches long. Aside from size, they are similar in coloring and shape. It is also a high-yield variety, so each plant produces more fruit. It is also earlier to mature than most cayennes.

Another notable difference is the apparent heat level. The Arapaho pepper supposedly is only up to 4,000 SHU, while regular cayennes can be as hot as 50,000 SHU.

How are Arapaho peppers used?

Arapaho peppers have subtle heat and sweetness that make them great for salsas and frying. Because they are relatively mild, you can use them raw in salads or cook them into sauces and chilis. The large fruit size and thick walls also make them a popular option for drying and powdering into a spice.

Tips for growing Arapaho peppers

Arapaho peppers are moderately difficult to grow compared to other peppers, but your hard work will pay off! They are early to mature and have an extremely high yield.

They are not bred to be disease or pest-resistant, so you may experience some of the more common issues that peppers sometimes face: blossom end rot, wilt, and cutworms, to name a few. These peppers are heavy feeders and may need to be fertilized with phosphorus and calcium to produce optimally. Because they have large and abundant fruit, it’s best to provide support (like a Florida weave).

When to pick Arapaho peppers

It’s common to wait until the Arapaho peppers have matured into a deep, dark red before picking them: they should be around 8 inches long. The more you allow your peppers to mature, the sweeter they will become, but if you pick the peppers when they are green it will allow the plant to produce more fruit.

Fruit that sets too late (usually August or September, depending on your climate) may not fully ripen naturally, but you can hang them indoors to allow them to mature.