a small bowl of red habanero chilis

Caribbean Red Habaneros: Everything You Need to Know

If you can’t get enough of the delicious heat of habaneros, you’ll love the Caribbean Red variety. Bred for heat and flavor, these peppers are truly unique (and delicious!)

Facts about
Caribbean Red Habaneros

Heat level:
Extremely hot
300,000 – 445,000
Capsicum annuum
North America

What is a Caribbean red habanero?

Caribbean Red Habanero is a cultivar of the habanero pepper with a citrusy, slightly smoky flavor, originating from Mexico. It is a relatively spicy pepper with a Scoville score that ranges from 300,000 to 445,000 SHU. It grows into a 1-2 inch long lantern-shaped fruit, maturing from green to bright red.

How spicy are they?

The Caribbean red habanero clocks in at 300,000 -445,000 SHU, making it a solidly spicy pepper. Compared to the common jalapeño, which ranges from 2,500 – 10,000 SHU, Caribbean red habaneros are as much as 178x hotter.

Caribbean red vs. regular habanero

The Caribbean red is similar to most habaneros but significantly spicier. While regular habaneros range from 100,000-350,000, the mildest Caribbean red you’ll find starts at 300,000. As the name implies, it is a red pepper, where “regular” habaneros are normally orange but can vary in color.

Caribbean reds are slightly milder than most chocolate habaneros, which are similar fruits that are brown in color but which range up to 577,000 SHU.

What do they taste like?

If you love the citrusy, slightly smoky, and sweet flavor of common orange habaneros, then you’ll love Caribbean red habaneros as well. They share a similar flavor profile, just with the extra spiciness to boot. Due to their extreme heat, they are commonly used to make super-hot sauces and salsas, particularly in sweet, citrusy, and smoky salsas and hot sauces.

Where can you buy Caribbean red habaneros?

Caribbean Red Habaneros are less common than orange habaneros, so don’t expect to see them at your typical supermarket. Look to farmers’ markets and specialty stores. If you’re looking to grow them yourself, you can buy both Caribbean red habanero seeds and plants online. You can also find a wealth of Caribbean red hot sauces and salsas at spicy food specialty stores, both online and brick-and-mortar.

Growing Caribbean red habaneros

Caribbean red habaneros are similar to most pepper plants: they like heat, full sun, and good drainage. This plant has been shown to be susceptible to galling (Kokalis-Burelle, Bausher, & Rosskopf, 2009) and may also be susceptible to spider mites and aphids.

Common ways to cook with them

As the name implies, Caribbean red habaneros are an excellent addition to Caribbean (and Mexican-Caribbean) foods. Add them to salsas, marinades, and hot sauces. It is a super-hot pepper with a citrusy, slightly smoky flavor that can add an extra punch to your spicy foods. Because they are so hot, remember to use gloves, and consider wearing goggles and a face mask to avoid chili burn. And if the heat is too much to handle, keep some milk handy.