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 5,000-7,000 SHU, and sometimes hotter.
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.
Facts about Sandia NewMex
5,000 - 7,000
The Sandia is similar in taste to Anaheim chilis but spicier like a jalapeño rather than mild. They are lightly sweet with a medium level of heat.
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 similar 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 various commercial products, but Flatiron Pepper Co sells a pepper flake blend using Sandia peppers. 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.