Roasted red and green peppers

Italian Long Hot Peppers: A Popular Northeast Pick

If you’re looking for a versatile chili pepper mild in spice, look no further than the Italian long hot pepper.

Italian long hots get their name for obvious reasons: they are long peppers common in Italian-American cuisine. However, while the name implies a decent heat level, long hots tend to be mild.

Keep reading to learn more about what this pepper looks like, what it’s used for, and even a quick recipe!

Facts about
Italian Long Hots

Heat level:
Mild
SHU:
100 - 1,000
Classification:
Capsicum annuum
Origin:
South America
Flavor:
Tangy

What are Italian long hots?

Italian Long Hots are a type of chili pepper with a mild, sweet flavor that is different from most chili peppers. They belong to the Capsicum annuum species of peppers, which is the same species as jalapeños and bell peppers.

While the name implies Italian origins, they were actually brought to Europe from Central and South America by colonizers around the 15th century. Italian immigrants then brought these peppers to the United States in the 20th century, where they gained popularity amongst Italian Americans, especially in cities like New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

Roasted red and green peppers

Easy Recipe for Italian Long Hots Peppers

This is an extremely basic recipe easy to whip up on a weeknight or any time. Adjust the quantities of each ingredient as needed.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 8 Italian long hot peppers Raw
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F
  • Wash and dry the Italian Long Hots, then place them on a baking sheet.
  • Drizzle the peppers with olive oil and sprinkle them with garlic powder and salt
  • Roast the peppers for about 15 minutes, or until they are soft and slightly charred
  • Remove the peppers from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes
  • Serve the peppers whole, with the skin and seeds intact

What do they look like?

Italian Long Hots grow to around 6-8 inches long and .75-2 inches in diameter, with a body that curves slightly at the end. They have smooth, glossy, and waxy skin with folds and creases. The flesh of the pepper is thin and crisp and is usually eaten when it is pale green. The peppers begin with a bright green color but mature into a deep red.

How spicy are they?

100-1,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) — or occasionally a little bit hotter

Most peppers known for spice are popular because they are extremely hot. The opposite is true for Italian long hots: they are popular because they are particularly mild compared to most chili peppers.

Italian long hots typically have a rating ranging between 100 to 1,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) on the Scoville Scale, although they can reach up to 5,000 SHU depending on the exact soil and growing conditions. This makes them a great addition to dishes for those who want to add a little bit of spice without overwhelming their taste buds.

Culinary uses

Because of their mild heat level, Italian long hots are very versatile peppers, making them a popular choice for chefs and home cooks alike. These peppers can be used at different maturity levels when they are green or red to add flavor and very mild heat. They can be used raw in salads and side dishes or added to sauces, soups, and pasta. They are also a popular topping to pizzas, sandwiches, and hoagies and can be roasted at a high heat and eaten whole.

Roasting and frying Italian long hots enhances their flavor, bringing out a new level of sweetness.

What do Italian long hots taste like?

Italian long hots have a distinct flavor unlike any other pepper. They can be compared to bell peppers, but with more heat and complexity and much thinner walls. They are slightly tangy with a great depth of flavor that can be enhanced by cooking them at high heat. They also range drastically in heat level, so you may have a different experience depending on where you bought the peppers.

Where to buy Italian long hots

Italian long hots are popular in the Northeast United States and can sometimes be found in grocery stores in areas with high populations of Italian Americans. Italian delis and specialty grocers are great places to check if you can’t find them at your local supermarket.

Long hot substitutes

If you can’t find Italian long hots, there are several peppers you can substitute depending on the characteristics you want to match. If you’re looking for an extremely mild pepper, bell peppers (0 SHU) or banana peppers (0 to 500 SHU) can be a good substitute. Anaheim, cowhorn, cubanelle, mesilla, and poblano peppers also share some characteristics with long hots at varying heat levels within the mild pepper spectrum.