The Sandia hot pepper, also known as NuMex Sandia Select, is a hybrid plant developed by New Mexico State University. It is similar in appearance to the Anaheim pepper but is significantly spicier (similar in heat to some jalapeños.) It can range widely in level of spiciness depending on the specific plant and pepper, ranging from 5,000-30,000 SHU, but usually falls around 7,000 SHU.

Originally, the Sandia pepper was popular to dehydrate and process into flakes because it had a thin fruit wall, making it easy to dry. The NuMex Sandia pepper was developed and bred to have a thick-walled pod, 40% higher yield, and relatively high heat to make it an improved option for commercial processing.

How hot?

5,000-30,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

Scientific name

Capsicum annuum

Taste

The Sandia is similar in taste to Anaheim chilis but spicier like a jalapeño rather than mild.

Uses

Hot Sandia peppers have traditionally been used to dry and grind into flakes or powders. The NuMex variety has thicker flesh, making it great for roasting and skinning, and enjoying similarly to a spicy version of the Anaheim pepper. They are also commonly used in posole, a popular Mexican soup, and carne adovada, a New Mexican stewed pork dish.

Where to get Sandia peppers

Sandia peppers are most often found in New Mexico, where you may find them at a roadside produce stand. They are not used in a wide variety of commercial products, but Flatiron Pepper Co sells a pepper flake blend using Sandia peppers (linked below). You can also find seeds available on Amazon to grow your own which claim to be the NuMex variety, although we can’t guarantee authenticity so purchase with caution.

Products using Sandia peppers

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