FoodLink - Purdue Extension

hot pepper

Capsicum annuum, Capsicum frutescens, Capsicum chinense
Other Name(s): pepper, chili pepper, chile, chillie
Available from July to September


There are many kinds of hot peppers, each with a different flavor and heat level (heat is measured using the Scoville scale). Jalapeños, cubanelles, green chiles, and poblanos tend to be milder. Hungarian hot wax, Thai chiles, and habaneros are hotter.

It is important to know the heat level of your peppers before adding too many to a dish! Always wear latex or vinyl gloves when preparing any kind of hot pepper. The seeds and pith (the white spongy tissue holding the seeds) are the spiciest part of the pepper. 

Mild: ancho, banana, long wax

Medium: pepperoncini

Hot: cayenne, habanero, Indian green chillie, jalapeño, serrano, tabasco, Thai

Very Hot: Scotch bonnet


You can eat hot peppers raw, or you can grill, roast, or steam them.

Learn more about cutting hot peppers.

Rinse peppers in cold stream of water before using.

Raw: You can consume any hot pepper raw. To mince, cut the pepper from tip to stem to create 2 halves. Remove the stem, and (if desired) remove the seeds and pith. Use a sharp knife to cut the pepper lengthwise into very thin strips, then cut the strips across to create small squares. Add minced hot peppers to salsa, soups, beans, eggs, stews, taco meat, or any other dish (raw or cooked) that you would like to spice up. 

Grilled, Flame-roasted: This preparation mehotd works best with thicker skinned hot peppers such as poblanos or green chiles. First, lay the whole pepper on a hot grill, over an open stove flame, or on a cookie sheet under the broiler. Use tongs to turn and rotate the peppers until all sides are completely black and charred. If you begin to see white areas, then you’ve over grilled them. This process will take about 5 minutes depending on the heat of the flame, grill, etc. Set the grilled peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and wait 10 minutes. Then, wipe off the black skin using a gloved hand. After you remove the skin, cut the pepper in half from stem to tip and remove seeds and pith.  The pepper is now ready to chop or mince and add to a salsa, soup, or any other recipe.

Roast: Heat oven to 425°F. Place a cut or whole hot pepper on a baking sheet and coat the pepper with cooking spray or olive oil. Cook about 20-25 minutes. The skins should be charred on both sides and dark and bubbly. After cooling, you can easily remove the skins with bare hands.

Steam: Boil about 1 inch of water in a steamer. Place steamer basket on top of steamer, making sure the basket does not touch the water. Cut peppers into rings or slices. Place them in the basket and cover with a lid. Cook peppers for about 10-15 minutes. Serve.


Short-Term Storage

You can store hot peppers on the countertop for up to 5 days, or in the refrigerator crisper for more than a week.

Long-Term Storage

Hot peppers can be frozen or dried.

Freezing: Large hot peppers with thick flesh (like poblanos) can be frozen. Use the method above for preparing Grilled, Fire-roasted peppers, and then freeze the peppers in zip-top bag for up to 9 months.  

Drying: Small thin-skinned peppers (like Thai chiles) can be dried. Thread a sewing needle and tie a large not on the end. Then, string the peppers by pushing the needle through the green stem. Tie off the thread once you have strung together 2 to 3 dozen peppers. Hang the peppers in a dry place away from moisture or freezing temperatures. Discard any hot peppers that begin to mold. You can add dried peppers whole to cooked dishes, or you can crush or grind them.

Learn more about freezing hot peppers.

Learn how to can cayenne pepper sauce.

Learn more about drying vegetables.

Quick Fact

The serrano pepper is said to be about 5 times hotter than the jalapeño and is one of the hottest chilies commonly available in the United States

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1/2 cup, chopped or diced (75g)

 Hot, red, chili, raw






% Daily Value

Total Calories









Dietary Fiber



Total Sugars



Total Fat



Saturated Fat













 10 mg






 8 mg








Vitamin A

 36 ug


Vitamin C

 108 mg








Food Safety Tips

Always keep fresh produce away from raw meat and raw meat juices to avoid cross-contamination.

Follow the safe food guidelines for all fresh produce.

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