Jalapeno Pepper Substitute

Save for later!

The jalapeno pepper is a medium-sized chili pepper with smooth and firm flesh. Jalapeno peppers range from 2,500 to 8,000 on Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) scale and are fairly mild compared to other peppers.

Popular and readily available, jalapeno peppers are easily found in most stores. However, sometimes they sell out. If this is the case, you might be wondering what can you substitute for jalapeno peppers.

So, what is the best jalapeno pepper substitute? Fresno pepper is the best substitute for jalapeno pepper. Fresno peppers are of similar size and shape as jalapeno peppers and have a similar level of heat, ranging from 2,500 to 10,000 SHU. If you can’t find Fresno peppers, use serrano pepper, poblano pepper, or Anaheim pepper instead. 

Many different varieties of peppers can be used instead of jalapeno peppers in recipes. Keep reading to find the best jalapeno substitute. 

10 Best Jalapeno Pepper Substitutes

Jalapeno pepper is a part of many recipes and adds vegetal flavor and mild heat to dishes. Whether you want to lower or amp up the heat level in recipes, there are several peppers you can use to substitute jalapeno pepper.

Take a look at the best substitutes for jalapeno pepper:

1. Fresno Pepper

The Fresno pepper is often confused with jalapeno pepper and makes an excellent substitute. Fresno peppers pack a similar level of heat as jalapeno peppers and score 2,500 to 10,000 on Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) scale.

These peppers also have a similar size and shape as a jalapeno. Unlike jalapeno peppers, Fresno peppers are red in color and have thinner walls, but can still be used instead of jalapeno peppers in popper recipes. 

2. Serrano Pepper 

Serrano pepper is a common substitute for jalapeno pepper. This is mainly because these two peppers have the same shape and color. 

Serrano peppers are hotter than jalapeno peppers and are listed at 10,000 to 23,000 SHU. Use Serrano peppers as a ½:1 substitute for jalapeno peppers in recipes that call for chopped peppers.

3. Bell Pepper 

Green bell peppers taste the same as jalapeno peppers minus the heat and are a great choice for a substitution. Bell peppers rate zero on the Scoville scale and are a great option for people who don’t like spicy food.

Green bell peppers have the same vegetal and grassy flavor as jalapeno peppers and a similar texture. 

4. Anaheim Pepper

The Anaheim pepper is a versatile medium-sized chili pepper that has a similar shape and color as the jalapeno pepper. Anaheim peppers grow a few inches longer than jalapeno peppers, have a more wrinkled flesh, and fold near the stem.

These peppers aren’t as spicy as jalapeno peppers, ranking at 500 to 2,500 SHU. Use Anaheim peppers as a substitute for jalapeno peppers when making poppers, salsas, or as a garnish for tacos. 

5. Poblano Pepper

The poblano is a mild chili pepper that makes an excellent substitute for jalapeno peppers. Green poblano peppers have a rich, somewhat earthy flavor that adds depth to cooked dishes.

On the Scoville scale, poblano peppers are rated as mild at 1,000 to 2,000 SHU. This pepper is less spicey than jalapeno so consider adding a pinch of cayenne pepper when using poblano pepper as a substitute in recipes. 

6. Banana Pepper

The banana pepper is a medium-sized pepper with a mild and tangy flavor. Banana peppers are typically yellow in color, but they can also become red, green, or orange as they ripen.

This pepper is spicier than a jalapeno pepper, ranking at 5,000 to 10,000 on the Scoville scale. Fresh banana peppers might be hard to find, but they are almost always available in the pickled form. 

7. Cayenne Pepper Powder

Cayenne pepper powder lacks the crunchy texture of jalapeno peppers, but it is an excellent choice for recipes that need extra heat. You can also use fresh cayenne peppers as a substitute for jalapeno peppers, but the powder is usually much easier to find. 

Cayenne powder is significantly spicier than jalapeno peppers ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. Substitute ¼ tablespoon of cayenne pepper powder for one fresh jalapeno pepper. 

8. Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes are a commonly used condiment made from dried and crushed red chili peppers. The peppers that make this spice rank from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU on the Scoville scale, so even a pinch can bring on the heat.

Use red pepper flakes as a replacement for jalapeno peppers when making pizza and spaghetti sauces, soups, stews, or barbecue. 

9. Smoked Paprika Powder 

Smoked paprika powder is a spice made from dried and ground red peppers. Paprika powder has an earthy and smokey flavor that adds depth to recipes and less heat.

This colorful spice is listed at 500 to 1,000 SHU, meaning it’s less spicy than a fresh jalapeno pepper. Use smoked paprika powder as a substitute for jalapeno peppers when making salsas and sauces.  

10. Habanero Pepper

The habanero pepper is a small, hot variety of chili pepper that makes a good substitute for a jalapeno pepper if you want to increase the heat of recipes. These orange, bell pepper-shaped peppers are very hot, listed at 100,000 to 400,000 SHU. 

Although intensely hot, habanero peppers have the same crunchy texture as jalapeno peppers and a fruity, floral flavor.

Can I use Bell Pepper instead of Jalapeno?

Yes, you can use bell pepper as a substitute for jalapeno pepper. Green bell peppers have the same crunchy texture and vegetal flavor as jalapeno peppers. Bell peppers are an excellent replacement for jalapeno peppers if you don’t like spicy food.


The popular jalapeno pepper is used in many different ways, from being diced and added to salsas, stuffed with cheese or meat, or cooked in various dishes. Jalapeno peppers are readily available in grocery stores around the world.

Whether you want to decrease or increase the heat of your recipes, there are several ingredients you can use instead of jalapeno peppers. The Fresno pepper packs a similar heat level as the jalapeno pepper and is an excellent substitute for many recipes. 

If you can find Fresno peppers, use serrano peppers, bell peppers, Anaheim peppers, or poblano peppers instead. 

Related Articles:

Save for later!

Leave a Comment