Beyond Fresno Peppers: Exciting Substitutes to Spice Up Your Cooking

There are times when Fresno chili is just unavailable. Perhaps you forgot to carry your preferred pepper since you are out of town. Or perhaps the supermarket is sold out and you need to make a last-minute substitute.

It can be pretty frustrating to run out of Fresno chili just when you need it.  You won’t have to stop preparing your favorite foods with the help of these replacements. So, here are several great substitutes that can replace the Fresno pepper in your dish.

The list of amazing Fresno pepper substitutes includes Holland chili, Jalapeno chili, Red chili peppers, Cayenne peppers, Habanero chili, Thai Jinda chili, Chipotle peppers, Scotch bonnet, Thai Lunga chilies, Tien Tsin,  Jinda Chilli, and Serrano chili.

Briefly About Fresno Peppers

Fresno Peppers are chili pepper species that first has been planted and cultivated in Mexico in 152. The creator of those peppers is Clarence Brown Hamlin. They are named after the city of Fresno, which is located in California.

As they grow and turn red, Fresno peppers begin to taste fruity and smoky overall. When they are green, they have a bright, grassy flavor that is thought to be comparable to that of a jalapeno.

When fully grown, Fresno peppers have a bright red appearance and have a maximum spice point between 2,500 and 10,000 SHU. They start off as green before changing to orange, then red, as they mature. The Fresno pepper has a conical form like many chilis. They have a total length of around 2 inches and a diameter of about 1 inch.

Best Fresno Pepper Substitutes

 SubstituteBest For
1.JalapenoSalsa, Seviche, Rice, Beans, Stews, Chilli
2.Chipotle PeppersMarinades, Dips, Sauces, Stews, and Savory dishes, relish
3. Cayenne peppersCeviches, Marinades, Dips, Relishes, Casseroles, Soups, Stews
4.SerranoChilli, Salsas, Stews, Chutneys, Sauces
5.Holland ChilliesSoups, Roasts, Baked goods, Salads, ceviches, relishes
6.Scotch BonnetChicken, Curries, Shrimp, Soups, Dips, Stews, Savory Dishes
7.Habanero PeppersSauces, Curries, Salsa, Stews, Chilli, Dips
8.Thai Luang PeppersCeviches, Soups, Salsa, Curries, Chillis, marinades
9. Tien TsinCurries, Soups, Stews, Rice, Chicken, Salsa, Casseroles, dips
10.Red Chili PeppersDips, Stews, Sauces, Savory dishes, Baked goods, Chutneys, and Relishes
11.Jinda Chilli PeppersSauces, Stews, Soups, Savory dishes, Dips, Salsa

The Fresno pepper is a favorite chili among food lovers because of its mildly smoky flavor and fairly palatable medium heat. This chili is used in more dishes than before. What choices would you have, though, if your neighborhood grocery didn’t have them in stock? What can you use instead of Fresno pepper to rescue your culinary masterpiece? Don’t worry, we’ve included the best possible Fresno pepper replacement below.

1. Jalapeno


When they are fresh and green, Fresnos and jalapenos both have a similar bright, crisp flavor and modest heat. Green jalapenos have a flavor that is quite similar to young Fresnos.  As they become red, Fresno peppers often get a little bit spicier, fruitier, and smokier. While the jalapeno is your best substitute, it isn’t always ideal because some recipes call for such flavors.

 The tastes are close enough to cover if time is of importance. However, keep in mind that compared to Fresno peppers, jalapenos are often smaller. Typically, you’ll need to use more jalapenos if you’re using them as a 1:1 substitution.

2. Chipotle Peppers

Chipotle Pepper

Chipotle peppers are widely used in Mexican cuisine. Jalapeno chilis that are ripe are used to make chipotle peppers, which are then dried after being smoked. Both leaving them whole and grinding them into flakes or powder are options. Making Chipotle peppers was initially done as a means of preserving the abundant Jalapeo crop yield.

The rich, smoky, and spicy flavor of chipotle chiles makes them a fantastic addition to marinades for meat and are used to produce dipping sauces. Additionally, they may be added to other foods in place of Fresno Peppers.

3. Serrano


Serrano is a fiery chile that originates in Mexico’s mountainous areas. Serrano peppers have a 10,000–20,000 SHU heat index, making them up to five times hotter than Fresno chili. For people with a low tolerance for spicy, this is not the ideal Fresno chili replacement.

With a maximum SHU of 10,000, ripe, red Fresno peppers may compete with Serrano’s basement. Nevertheless, if you don’t have any other better alternatives like Jalapeno or Chipotle, Fresno might be an option.

To balance the heat when replacing, use Serrano just in the third of the Fresno that is really needed for the dish. Chilies naturally lose some of their heat when they are added to sweet foods, meals with dairy ingredients, dishes with coconut milk, or dishes with sour cream.

4. Holland Chilies

These Dutch or Holland chilies may be substituted for Fresno chiles in many recipes. Due to their milder flavor, they work well in salads, soups, roasting, and baking. They are available in a range of hues, including red, yellow, and green.

Their fruity, sweet, and slightly acidic flavor will complement the other ingredients in your recipe and produce a delicious dish. On the scale, they fall between 5,000 and 10,000 SHU.

The Holland chili, commonly referred to as the Dutch chili, was developed from an Indonesian Cayenne pepper variety. They normally reach a maximum length of 5 to 6 inches, have a tapered tip, and are available in a range of red, yellow, and green hues. They are a fantastic alternative to Fresno peppers, although having a lesser heat level.

5. Scotch Bonnet

Scotch Bonnet

These bonnet-shaped peppers are an alternative to Fresno peppers in cooking, as their name would imply. They have a flavor that will enhance your food because it is fiery, sweet, and spicy. Their level of heat varies depending on where they are cultivated. Between 100,000 and 350,000 SHU are possible.

They are therefore quite hot, so be careful to use the appropriate quantity. Your dish will be extra hot if you don’t. It’s perfect for soups, shrimp, chicken, and other curries.

6. Habanero Peppers

pile of spicy habanero peppers

Possibly one of the hottest types of chili peppers are habanero peppers. The Scoville heat scale rates this Amazonian chili between 100,000 to 350,000, making it more than ten times hotter than Fresco peppers.

Given this heat level, it is a common component in very spicy meals and hot sauces. The Habanero pepper is your “guy” if you’re seeking a spicier option for Fresno peppers.

Although it is really hot, the flowery flavor and scent are to die for. A lemony taste with notes of smoke accompanies the spice. Most supermarket shops have it on their shelves. To avoid stinging chili burns, use gloves while handling this hot, spicy pepper.

7. Thai Luang Peppers

Thai Pepper

Thai Luang peppers are available in a variety of hues, including pink, yellow, orange, and most frequently red. They are a great alternative to Fresno peppers and are highly hot. This pepper encompasses fruity and earthy aromas in addition to a spicy flavor that uplifts your cuisine. Thai Luang peppers are hotter than Fresno peppers, with a Scoville rating of 50,000 to 100,000 SHU.

8. Tien Tsin Chili

tianjin Chili

Another chili pepper named after the region of China where it is grown is the Tien Tsin variety. In most East Asian dishes, including soups and stews, this type of pepper can be substituted to add a little spiciness and improve the taste.

Although this chili is spicier than Fresno chilies, many of the same recipes may utilize it. The Tien Tsin chile has a 50,000–75,000 SHU heat rating. They are typically served with lemon rice and chicken curry. They may be utilized to create fragrant oils as well.

9. Red Cilli Peppers

Red Cilli Pepper

Fresno peppers may easily be replaced with red chili peppers. They have a similar taste profile that includes some sweetness and spice. They are ideal for recipes that call for Fresno peppers because they are the same size and shape.

Red chili peppers can help you make a wonderful dinner that is similar to the original, albeit they are not identical duplicates. So don’t be hesitant to give red chili peppers a try if you’re seeking a pepper that will provide you with the same flavor and texture as a Fresno pepper. The outcomes can pleasantly surprise you.

10. Cayenne Peppers

Cayenne Pepper

Fresno pepper and Cayenne peppers’ taste profiles are what distinguish them most from one another. Cayenne peppers are somewhat sweeter than Fresno peppers, so if you’re substituting cayenne, you might want to add a little sugar to the dish.

Fresno peppers have a somewhat crunchier texture than cayenne peppers, thus once again, you might want to reduce the frying time slightly.

11. Jinda Chilli Peppers

Jinda Chilli Pepper

The Jinda Chilli pepper may also be used in place of Fresno peppers. These peppers come in red or green varieties. They are both really spicy. As we continue, the spice level rises, therefore you must be extremely cautious while adding ingredients to your food. Those Thai peppers will give your next dish a good kick of spice and whet your appetite, leaving you wanting more.

Remember that they range from 50,000 to 100,000 SHU on the scale. In actuality, a pepper’s heat increases with its size.

Bottom Line

Mild peppers known as Fresno peppers come from Mexico. They pack a punch in terms of spice and flavor and become hotter as they develop. Fresno peppers have a significant role in Mexican cooking. And if you don’t have Fresno peppers on hand, you can finish your dish with any of these superb alternatives.

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