a bunch of small red rocotillo peppers

Rocotillo Chili

Rocotillo chili peppers originated in Peru, and are currently grown across the southern United States, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. They are very popular in Puerto Rican and Caribbean cuisines, and can be eaten green, or matured into a variety of colors: yellow, red, and brown. They are much milder than jalapeños, making them perfect to eat raw or cooked.

Rocotillo peppers are short and round, growing only 1″ long and looking similar to habanero or scotch bonnet peppers.

Facts about
Rocotillo Chili

Heat level:
1,500 - 2,500
Capsicum baccatum
South America


Rocotillo peppers are mild and taste delicious so they are great to eat raw as a snacking pepper, diced and sauteed, grilled, or in sauces. They are commonly added to jerk dishes like jerk chicken. If you are not a fan of super spicy foods, they are a great replacement for scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, providing a similar flavor but with significantly less heat.

Products that use rocotillo peppers

Because rocotillo peppers are not spicy, they are not a common ingredient in mass-manufactured hot sauces or chili powders.

Rocotillo pepper seeds

Rocotillos are hard to find fresh in the grocery store, so growing them at home is the best option for most people. There are two types of rocotillo, one being a capsicum baccatum and the other being capsicum chinense. This article refers to the Peruvian version of the pepper, which is capsicum baccatum. You can purchase capsicum baccatum seeds through Pepper Joe’s website. Beware — most of the seeds available on Amazon are capsicum chinense (which is also a great pepper, but not exactly what we’re talking about here).

Main image credit: licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license by Glane23. This image was not modified.