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Types of Chili Peppers

We've been receiving a great many questions on chili peppers recently so we thought an article explaining the types of chiles might be useful for our readers.

Some people choose to use fresh peppers in their chilis and others prefer chili powders, but either way, there are a great many types of peppers to choose from.

Chiles can be classified in two ways.  The first is by shape and the second is by heat.  Some of the smaller types of chiles are the hottest on the heat scale.

Below are a few of the most common chilis used for cooking.  You can find these chilis at most farmers' markets and specialty food stores.

1.  Asian chiles/Thai chilis

There are several different kinds of Thai and Asain chiles.  The most popular is prig kee nu.  It is very hot when eaten and is a short pepper (about 1 inch long).  These peppers can be red or green.

2.  Cayenne peppers

These are hot peppers ranging in size from 4 to 12 inches.  Cayenne chili peppers can be deep green, yellow, orange or red.

3.  Anaheim/New Mexico/Paprika/Pasillo(Pablano)

This group of chiles are mild, deep green and range in size from 6 to 8 inches long.  They are the mildest peppers as far as heat scales go, and a lot of people use these in place of bell peppers in chili recipes.

4.  Habanero Peppers

Habanero chili peppers are the hottest commercially grown pepper today.  The plants are very hardy and can survive very hot summers.  Habaneros are green, red, orange or yellow and are short small chiles.

5.  Hot Cherry

These peppers are medium hot when eaten and are bright red in color.  Their name comes from the cherry shape of the peppers.  Hot Cherry peppers contain a lot of seeds and mostly pickled by cooks before use.

6.  Hungarian Wax Peppers/Banana

Most of these peppers are green but sometimes can be found in yellow and red.  The heat in these peppers actually range from mild to somewhat hot.  Salads and sandwiches are the most common places you find these types of chili peppers.

7. Jalapeno chiles

Jalapeno chiles are hot chiles and range in color from dark green to red.  These chilis are easy to clean and cook which make them very popular for many cooking dishes.  People call them chipoltes when they are smoke dried.

8. Serrano Chiles

These are very hot chiles!  Serrano chiles are known to be almost twice as hot as jalapeno chili peppers.  They can be red or green in color.

Written By Danna Vach

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