Substitutes For Fresno Peppers
Medium spice with a hint of sweet, smoky goodness, Fresno peppers are a popular chili variety perfect for your ceviche, salsa, and salad recipes—or when you simply want to add some excitement and sprinkle some heat to your everyday dishes.
In case you don’t have any Fresno peppers in your kitchen, you can substitute them with
- Serrano peppers
- Poblano Peppers
- Jalapeno Peppers
- Habanero Peppers
- Chipotle peppers
- Thai Jinda Chillies
- Thai Luang Peppers
- Anaheim Peppers
- Bell Peppers
- Red chili peppers
- Scotch bonnet
11 Best Fresno Pepper Substitutes in 2023
All these peppers differ in spice and sweetness levels, so you better choose one that is within your tolerance to create the perfect dish without sacrificing flavor and quality.
Here are the best substitutes for Fresno peppers:
If you love the peppery heat of Fresno peppers and think you can handle more, you can try replacing them with Serrano peppers. They have a crisper flavor that comes with a higher level of spice to amp up your dishes.
Serrano peppers are best mixed into salsas, guacamole, or pico de gallo but are also excellent ingredients in soups and chilis. They give a mellow flavor but can pack quite a punch with its heat.
Take note that Serrano peppers exceed the threshold of 10,000 Scoville heat units of Fresno peppers. Proceed with caution as you are doubling the spiciness of your meals with this substitute!
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Offers a mild heat and a bold, slightly sweeter flavor than Fresno peppers. Make no mistake, however, because it could give a quick but sharp spicy kick.
Poblano peppers are perfect when you’re in the mood for low spice. Due to its flavorful texture and mild spiciness, it is considered the best beginner’s chili pepper. They are commonly used as stuffings for chile Rellenos but can also be used in family friendly enchilada sauces, salsas, and guacamole.
So, when you don’t want to distress anyone’s taste buds, Poblano peppers are the ideal ingredient for your meals.
You can never go wrong with these classic peppers. Its taste is similar to Fresno peppers with its modest heat and bright zesty flavor. However, Fresno peppers tend to taste a little spicier, fruitier, and smokier as they turn red.
Adding Jalapeño peppers into your Mexican dishes, salsas, guacamoles, or salad dressings makes for an exquisite eating experience. When you’re up for some alcohol, It is also great for margaritas and bloody marys—talk about versatility!
Jalapeño peppers are also readily available almost anywhere. When you’re in a tight pinch, they are the best substitute for you.
Try something unique by replacing Fresno peppers with this notoriously spicy pepper—if you can tolerate its raging fiery heat and burn, that is.
Habanero peppers range from 100,000 to 350,000 SHU, requiring you to carefully adjust their amounts when cooking. Once you get past the heat, you can actually pick up a sweet, citrusy flavor, unlike any other pepper.
From stews and chilis to hot sauces and salsas, and even cocktails, there’s a wide variety of mouthwateringly spicy cuisines that Habanero peppers can offer you. Make sure you don’t go over the recommended amount to not offset your meals.
These musky, fire-roasted alternatives have a more condensed smoky flavor than Fresno peppers. They enliven your chicken and meat dishes and are brilliant ingredients for savory sauces, salsas, guacamoles, and pico de gallos.
Chipotles are essentially smoked Jalapenos, with their own brand of sweetness. They have a similar heat profile as Fresno peppers, making them the most ideal substitute in terms of spice.
The smokiness may prove a little bit too much so when using in your recipes, it’s better if you put in half the typical amount, then add more according to your preference to create the perfect balance.
Thai Luang Peppers
Coming in shades of reds, oranges, yellows, and greens, Thai Luang peppers give a visually vibrant flare to your recipes, accompanied by an earthy flavor.
Thai Luang peppers are commonly used to add in noodles, make stir fries, and mix into ground meat to achieve a zesty flavor.
When you’re going for a spicy kick in your food, this is the best choice for you. The spice level varies as it depends on the strain of chilies you’ve purchased, however, they have a typical range of 50,000 to 100,000 SHU, so you might want to reduce the amount you put in.
Thai Jinda Chillies
Another variation of the Thai peppers, and a great substitute for Fresno peppers, is the Thai Jinda pepper. With its spice index and zesty, slightly citrusy flavor, adding these to your dish will make you end up wanting more.
Thai Jinda chilies don’t have hard seeds compared to other pepper varieties which makes your meal more enjoyable and hassle-free.
Like its sister pepper, the Thai Luang, this may prove too spicy for you so be wary of how much you put in your recipe.
One of the mildest peppers with only 500 to 1,000 SHU, Anaheim peppers are filled with more flavor than your average Jalapeño—perfect for a less spicy substitute for Fresno peppers.
With a sweet earthy and tangy flavor, Anaheim peppers are great for your Mexican favorites such as tacos, nachos, or burritos and can make for complementary ingredients to stews and egg and vegetable dishes.
If you’re looking for a fresh burst to your meal but with a mild spicy kick, Anaheim peppers will definitely satisfy your cravings,
Despite having little or no spicy attributes, it does not lessen its value in substituting for Fresno peppers. Baked, grilled, or pan-seared, the possibilities are endless with bell peppers.
Bell peppers vary in taste depending on color. Green and purple peppers are slightly bitter with a grassy flavor. On the other hand, orange, red, and yellow bells are sweeter and fruitier while red is the sweetest variant.
When combined with hot chilies, bell peppers act as a heat tenderizer and increase the flavor of your recipes. You can create unique recipes by coming up with soups, stuffings, muffins, and even cornbread.
Red Chili Peppers
Prominent in South American, Indian, and Asian cuisines, Red Chili peppers are consistent in heat and flavor even as they mature, unlike Fresno peppers that lose some of their flavors over time.
Red Chili peppers are packed with scorching heat, varying from 100,000 to 125,000 SHU. Don’t worry because once you get past that, you’re treated to savory-sweet nutrition.
Great for noodles, stir-fries, meat, and chicken dishes, and sauces, Red Chili peppers will make your recipes more deliciously intense. Don’t forget to caution yourself when adding them as ingredients!
You better gear up and prepare yourself for these fiery heat bombs. With a 100,000 to 350,000 spiciness on the Scoville scale, you can make an exotic and appealing flare to your meals by adding a Scotch Bonnet.
Don’t let its heat index scare you from using them as Fresno pepper replacements. Scotch peppers are actually filled with complex amounts of spiciness, sweetness, and acidic fruitiness all in one!
Scotch Bonnet peppers are prominent in Caribbean cuisine. They are great for livening up your chili, fritter, and steak recipes and can even serve as seasoning for game and flavoring fish stews.
Are Fresno peppers and Jalapeños the same?
No, but it is totally understandable that supermarkets and grocery stores mix them up. They are similar in appearance—having the same 2-3 inch length with a slightly curved shape. They also mature from shades of green to red. In terms of flavor, both have a fruity taste but Fresno peppers are slightly spicier and smokier.