two green anaheim peppers on a white background

Sonora Peppers: A mild Anaheim perfect for stuffing

Anaheim peppers are extremely popular in the United States and are easy to find in most grocery stores. But you may have yet to hear of Sonora peppers, a specific type of Anaheim with mild heat and thick flesh.

Read on to learn what makes this pepper unique, how to use them, and which peppers to substitute if you’re still looking for them.

Facts about
Sonora Peppers

Heat level:
300 - 600
Capsicum annuum
North America

What are Sonora peppers?

Sonora peppers are a type of Anaheim pepper that is known for their mild flavor and thick walls. They grow to be around 10 inches in length and 1 1/2 inches in width, and they are most commonly used when green before they mature into a deep red color. These peppers are often used for making chiles rellenos, as their sturdy skin is perfect for stuffing. They have a slightly sweet flavor

Sonora peppers are also great for drying and are often used in salsas, salads, and pickling.

How hot are they?

300 – 600 Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

Sonora peppers range from 300 to 600 SHU, which will be barely detectible to most people. Even those with low heat tolerance should be able to withstand this spice level.

If you’re looking for a pepper with a little more kick but the same basic characteristics, you may opt for a standard Anaheim pepper, which ranges from 500-2,500 SHU. These can be used for the same purposes, including stuffing for dishes like chiles rellenos.

Sonora peppers vs. other Anaheims

Sonora peppers are a hybrid type of Anaheim pepper, but they are not the same as the “Anaheim” peppers you’ll find on your local grocery store shelf.

Sonora peppers have a thicker flesh than other Anaheim varieties, which makes them even better for stuffing. Plus, they are significantly milder (as much as 8x milder), so they may be preferable for those who don’t like spicy food.

Culinary uses

Sonora peppers can be used in many ways, but the most popular preparation is stuffing due to their large size and mild flavor. Their thick skin also makes them great for drying, as they can be used as a spice rub on meats or added to soups and stews for extra flavor without much heat.

You can also use them instead of bell peppers sliced raw in salads or mild salsas.

Substitutes for Sonora peppers

Depending on your reasons for choosing Sonora peppers, you can try a few similar substitutions. A regular Anaheim pepper is the closest match if you’re looking for a large, mild pepper to stuff and bake or fry. You can also try poblano peppers, which have a different flavor profile but a similar size. However, a bell pepper might be more suitable if you want something closer to zero spice.

Try a jalapeño or serrano for peppers similar in flavor but with significantly higher heat — but these peppers are structurally very different.

Growing Sonora peppers

Sonora peppers belong to the Capsicum annuum classification and grow similarly to the other peppers belonging to that species. They are heat-loving plants that thrive during the summer and prefer rich, well-draining soil. The plants grow to be up to 30″ tall, maturing in 75 days from the transplant date. They are also TMV-resistant (tobacco mosaic virus).

You’ll love the Sonora Anaheim chili if you’re looking for a mild pepper with thick flesh. They are perfect for stuffing, drying, or use anywhere you want a chili flavor without the heat.