19 most popular types of red peppers (from mild to HOT)


Peppers come in countless varieties, each boasting a distinct appearance and flavor profile. As they mature, many peppers transform from green to eye-catching shades of orange, yellow, or red. This guide focuses on the most popular red pepper types, offering a range of tastes from mild to hot, catering to various preferences.

Types of sweet red peppers

These peppers are an excellent option for individuals who prefer milder flavors and are sensitive to spiciness. Their pleasant sweetness adds a delightful touch to dishes, making them an appealing choice for a range of culinary preferences.

Bell peppers

a red bell pepper on a white background

Easily recognizable on grocery store shelves, red bell peppers are a staple in the US and boast a delightful sweetness without any heat (0 SHU). Enjoy them in various ways – whether raw, stuffed, or cooked – as they add a burst of flavor to your dishes.

Aji dulce

Hailing from the Caribbean, aji dulce peppers resemble habaneros but possess a barely noticeable heat ranging from 0 to 1,000 SHUs. These peppers find their place in sofrito, salads, stir-fries, and Caribbean cuisine, contributing a unique flavor profile without overwhelming spiciness.

Marconi giant peppers

a pile of marconi red peppers on a wooden background

Renowned for their disease resistance and prolific yield, Marconi giant peppers produce elongated pods up to 8 inches long. With a pleasing sweetness and no heat (0 SHU), they prove perfect for grilling and roasting, offering a delectable addition to your culinary endeavors.

Mild and medium red peppers

Mild-to-medium red peppers offer a balanced heat that provides a notable kick without becoming overpowering – a treat for those who appreciate a touch of spiciness in their meals. 


jalapenos ranging in color

While Jalapeños are better known as a green chili, they undergo a transformation as they mature into a rich, red hue, accompanied by a sweeter and deeper flavor. The iconic Huy Fong Sriracha sauce utilizes red jalapeños for its renowned taste. With a heat range of 2,500 to 8,000+ SHUs, most individuals can comfortably embrace the zesty warmth these peppers offer, making them a versatile choice for enhancing various dishes.

Cherry peppers

three red cherry peppers on a white background

Characterized by their compact, round shape, cherry peppers deliver a medium-low heat, measuring between 5,000 and 15,000 SHUs. Their diminutive size makes them ideal candidates for stuffing and pickling, offering a unique culinary experience. Many unexpectedly cultivated cherry peppers in 2023 due to the widespread PepperGate mix-up.

Fresno peppers

fresno peppers on a linnen background

Named after the city of Fresno, California, these smooth, conical-shaped peppers span approximately 2 inches in length. Displaying a gentle sweetness and mildness akin to jalapeños, they register at 2,500 to 10,000 SHUs. Fresno peppers provide a subtle kick, making them a delightful addition to diverse culinary creations.


tabasco chilis next to a bottle of tabasco sauce

Tabasco peppers, made famous by the Tabasco hot sauce, boast a storied heritage. Although the plants can tower at heights of up to 4 feet, the peppers themselves remain slender and petite. Transitioning through vibrant hues of green, orange, and red, Tabascos pack a punch with their heat ranging from 30,000 to 70,000 SHUs, securing their position on the spicier spectrum of medium peppers.


chili peppers in a rectangular box circled by more peppers

Recognizable for their elongated, slender form, cayenne peppers are some of the most iconic red chili peppers. Packing a punch with a heat level of 30,000 to 50,000 SHUs, they are often transformed into pepper flakes and powders, making them a staple for adding a touch of heat to dishes. Additionally, cayenne peppers find their place in fresh and cooked preparations, showcasing their versatility.

Hot red peppers

Hot red peppers are beloved for their heat and captivating range of flavor profiles, encompassing fruity, smoky, floral, and beyond. Frequently used in cooking and hot sauces, their intense heat adds a dynamic touch to dishes.

Red scotch bonnets

red and yellow scotch bonnets on a white background

Scotch bonnets, available in a spectrum of colors including orange, yellow, and red, boast a compact, rounded pod structure. Exuding both intense heat and robust flavor, these peppers command attention in the culinary world. With a heat range of 100,000 to 350,000 SHUs, they contribute a significant kick to your dishes, making them a versatile choice for those who relish bold flavors.

Thai hot peppers

a background of a pile of many red thai chili peppers

While they grow on compact bushes, Thai hot peppers produce many tiny, pointed pods. They infuse a vibrant, fruity heat into any culinary creation, offering a dynamic range of 50,000 to 100,000 SHUs. A beloved ingredient in Thai and Southeast Asian cuisines, they bring an authentic and refreshing touch to various dishes.

Rocoto peppers

rocoto pepper3

One of the few popular Capsicum Pubescens peppers in the US, the rocoto pepper resembles a small apple with its bright red hue and round shape. Originating from Peru, rocoto peppers range from 30,000 to 100,000 SHU, captivating with their juicy, citrusy essence. 

Caribbean red habaneros

a small bowl of red habanero chilis

Caribbean red habaneros pack a fiery punch, boasting nearly twice the heat of their orange counterparts at 350,000 to 450,000 SHUs. Their citrusy and fruity undertones contribute to their distinctive flavor profile, making them a sought-after choice for sauces or as a zesty seasoning when powdered.

King naga peppers 

Hailing from Northeast India and Bangladesh regions, King naga peppers showcase a bumpy, conical fruit measuring around 2 inches in length. With an impressive heat level of 700,000 to 800,000 SHUs, these peppers are characterized by their dominant fruity and floral notes. Embark on a bold flavor journey with King naga peppers, adding an unforgettable essence to your dishes.

Ultra-hot red peppers

A word of caution is essential when it comes to ultra-hot red peppers. These peppers are frequently employed in creating fiery hot sauces and chili powders, delivering a level of heat that goes beyond the norm. For many, the intensity is too much to handle comfortably. 

Carolina reapers

Carolina Reaper pepper isolated on a white background

The Carolina Reaper earned its fiery reputation as the world’s hottest pepper, according to the Guinness Book of World Records in 2013. Packing an astonishing 1,569,300+ SHUs, these peppers go beyond scorching, offering a surprising dimension of fruity sweetness accompanied by hints of chocolate and cherry. The Carolina Reaper’s heat is a force to be reckoned with, making it a daring choice for those seeking an intense culinary adventure.

Dragon’s breath

While Dragon’s Breath peppers are speculated to surpass even the Carolina Reaper in spiciness, confirmation awaits. Preliminary tests, however, have recorded searing levels exceeding 2,400,000+ SHUs, signifying an unmatched heat intensity that commands respect. 

Jigsaw peppers

The Jigsaw pepper emerges as a fascinating cross between the Moruga Scorpion and Naga Morich, resulting in a captivating fusion of flavors. Among the larger super-hot peppers, Jigsaw peppers grow up to 3 inches long and weigh around 4 ounces. Unlike their counterparts, these peppers’ smoky sweetness sets them apart. Sporting a formidable heat level ranging from 1,500,000 to 2,200,000 SHUs, Jigsaw peppers demand attention with their distinct taste and fiery intensity.


A result of the union between two ultra-hot peppers, the Primotalii is a remarkable hybrid of the 7 Pot Primo and Fatalii varieties. Boasting an impressive heat level of 1,000,000 SHU, this pepper commands attention with its extreme spiciness and symphony of fruity and floral notes, delivering a unique and compelling flavor profile.

Trinidad scorpion peppers

red scorpion pepper on white background

Once heralded as the world’s hottest peppers, Trinidad scorpion peppers reached an average of over 1,200,000 SHU. Their round shape, culminating in a pointed tip, closely resembles the form of a scorpion’s tail, adding an intriguing visual aspect to their potent spiciness.

7 pot Jonah peppers

a 7 pot jonah pepper on white background

Closely related to Trinidad scorpions, 7 pot Jonah peppers are a force to be reckoned with, boasting a formidable heat level of 800,000+ SHU. Sporting round pods of approximately 2 inches in length, these peppers contribute a fruity flavor that complements their intense spiciness.

From the mild sweetness of bell peppers to the intense spiciness of ultra-hot varieties like the Carolina Reaper and Dragon’s Breath, each red pepper brings its own unique character to the table.

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