Ancient indigenous people of central Mexico, discovered that peppers could be preserved with the aid of smoke. 

Below are the most common 12 peppers found in markets in central America in order of heat using the *Scoville heat index.

NAME

HEAT*

DESCRIPTION

Anaheim Pepper
Anaheim Peppers


500 – 2,500

With the lowest heat on the list, Anaheim peppers are about as family friendly as a hot pepper gets and very versatile. With a slightly sweet flavor, they are delicious chopped fresh in salsas and their thick walls and large cavity make Anaheim peppers perfect for stuffed pepper recipes. They make an excellent bell pepper substitute for when you want just a little bit more.

Poblano Pepper
Poblano Pepper

 


1,000 – 1,500

Speaking of alternatives to the bell, the poblano is probably the most popular of them all. It’s mild (with a lower ceiling than even the Anaheim) with an earthy flavor, and its thick walls provide a meatiness that you don’t often get with chilies.

Ancho PEPPER
Ancho Chiles Peppers

 


1,000 – 2.000

When dried the poblano is known as ancho, and in this form its arguably more of a Mexican cuisine staple. The earthiness takes a smoky turn, perfect for mole sauces and BBQ. The most widely available dried chiles. Different peppers from the same plant have been reported to vary substantially in heat intensity.

Cascabel Pepper
Cascabel Pepper

 


1,000 – 3,000

Cascabels
are typically ground into a powder or flakes for culinary use. They have a delicious earthy nuttiness to them that make them a favorite for sauces and marinades. But the flavor is only half the story. These chilies are a very popular ornamental pepper with their apple-like shape, long stem, and rattle. Yes, rattle. Cascabels keep their rounded shape when dried (unusual for chilies) and the seeds become loose in the cavity, creating a rattle like experience.

PASILLA Pepper
Pasilla Pepper


250 – 4,000

Pasilla
or “little raisin” refers to the dried chilaca pepper. Sometimes miss labeled as Ancho chiles. The Pasilla chile is normally 8 -10 inches long and much narrower than the Ancho.
Pasillas have a smoky, fruity, earthy flavor that is often compared to berries and dried fruits (like raisins).
Pasilla peppers are similar in flavor to ancho chiles but are less sweet.

Great with fruits, duck, seafood, lamb, mushrooms, garlic, fennel, honey or oregano.

Guajillo Pepper
Guajillo Pepper


2,500 – 5,000
 

If you like your chilies on the slightly sweeter side, then the guajillo pepper (the dried form of the mirasol chili) is one that should make your shortlist. With hints of tangy cranberry and the crispness of tea, its flavors make the guajillo one of the most popular dried chilies in Mexico, second only to the famous ancho pepper.And like the ancho, the guajillo is one of the holy trinity of chilies that are commonly used in authentic Mexican mole sauces. Its unique sweetness, too, makes it a fun chili to experiment with around the kitchen. It has a surprising range and a heat most everyone can enjoy.

A popular chili for mole sauces, guajillo peppers have a sweet fruitiness to them There’s a little cranberry here and a tea-like undertone. As a dried chili, it’s typically used crushed into flakes or powders, but it can also be rehydrated for use in stews and soups. It takes a close second to the ancho in terms of popularity in Mexican cuisine, though outside of Mexico they can be a little harder to source.

Jalapeño Pepper
JALAPENO Pepper Jalapeño


2,500 – 8,000

Jalapeños
really have a space all their own among chilies. It’s the most popular chili, not only in Mexico but also around the world. There’s a bright bite, perfect for fresh salsas and just spicy enough. The chili has thick walls and enough cavity space to be perfect for stuffing. The jalapeño when dried and smoked becomes the delicious chipotle pepper. Chipotles are known for their deep smokiness, making them delicious in BBQ rubs and marinades.

Chipotle
(MORITA)
Pepper
Chipotle Morita Pepper


2,500 – 8,000

Morita
is a smoke-dried jalapeno, commonly referred to as a chipolte.
Rich slightly fruity flavor.In Chihuahua, the region of Mexico where most chipotle peppers come from, it is the morita jalapeño, an eggplant-colored pepper, that abounds. Chipotle can also be made from mature red jalapeños. The smoking process takes a few days. Jalapeño peppers are placed on metal grills in smoking chambers or gas dryers, where they are shuffled around every couple of hours to ensure even smoking. Once this process is done, finished chipotle peppers will be shriveled and darkened, and possess the rich flavors of smoke and spice, with a hint of fruitiness.Chipotle is a key ingredient in many traditional Mexican recipes, and is perhaps most famously used in a meat marinade called adobo. 

PUYA CHILE PEPPER
Puya peppers

 


5,000 – 8,000

PUYA CHILE
is very similar to the Guajillo, but smaller and hotter.  It may be soaked in water to pull out the flavor. It is often used more for its fruity flavor, rather than its flesh.
Good pureed, mashed or diced, and then made into a sauce. It can be soaked in water to pull out the flavor, and then the water can be used in your dish.The Puya may be used as a pizza topping, or with meat dishes, such as pork, veal, fish and chicken.

Serrano Pepper
Serano Pepper


10,000 – 23,000
Similar bright grassy flavor to Jalapeños , but serrano chilies take the heat factor up to another level. The can double in  heat (and even more), so if you’re ready for a next step pepper, the serrano is an excellent culinary choice. They work very well in salsas. And while serranos are thinner than jalapeños, they still work well for popper recipes.They are meaty peppers and are not the best choice for drying. Serrano peppers originated in the mountainous regions.  Puebla and Hidalgo. The name of the pepper, serrano, actually is a reference to the mountains (sierras) of those areas.

They are commonly red, brown, orange, or yellow, though you are likely to find them in their more common green color.

Serrano peppers are perfect for salsas, sauces, relishes, garnishes, making hot sauce  and more. They are usually best when roasted.

Chile de Àrbol
Chile de Àrbol


15,000 – 30,000

Chile de àrbol
are popular for both culinary uses and as ornamental chilies. Like other dried Mexican peppers, they are typically used for cooking in flake and powder form. They have an earthy flavor, slightly smoky, and they pack a surprising punch. The can reach up to a cayenne pepper level of spiciness. The chilies long and thin shape (and the fact that it keeps its beautiful red color when dried). Not only is this pepper terrific as chili powder or in hot sauces, but it’s also skinny and tiny enough to flavor foods, olive oil, and beverages as a whole dried pod.  The Chile de àrbol adds some serious wow factor in a bottle or as a garnish to a meal or spicy cocktail.

Habanero Peppers
Habanero Pepper


100,000 – 350,000
 

One of the world’s hottest chili pepper, but don’t let the fact that certain chilies have passed it by fool you into underestimating it. The habanero is a seriously hot pepper. And unlike many of the hotter chilies, there’s quite a bit of flavor to go along with the extra-hot kick. it has a unique, citrus-like taste with a subtle hint of smoke that makes it very popular in hot sauces, powders, and rubs. If you can handle the heat, this is a fun culinary chili to play with in the kitchen. Unripe habaneros are green, and they color as they mature. The most common color variants are orange and red, but the fruit may also be white, brown, yellow, green, or purple. Typically habaneros are 1-2 inches /  2–6 centimetres long.-