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6 Substitutes For Serrano Peppers

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

Serrano peppers are originally found in the Mexican states called Hidalgo and Puebla. Its name “Serrano” comes from the mountains surrounding the area.

6 Substitutes For Serrano Peppers

Typically, they come in a green color. That said, you can find brown, red, yellow, and orange serrano peppers, too.

In addition to this, they tend to be quite small, approximately around 1–4 inches long. They are a great accompaniment to your salsas, sauces, and garnishes. 

Regardless of whether they are roasted or fresh, they feature a nice, unique taste. If you enjoy hot and spicy food, then they can be cooked and baked into a range of dishes. 

That said, serrano peppers aren’t typically dried since they tend to be very meaty. 

Besides this, if you have never tried serrano peppers before, you may be wondering how hot they are. Well, to measure the hotness we can look at the Scoville Heat Units (SHU) which range between 10000-20000 SHU. 

This means that they are very hot, especially if you aren’t used to eating spicy foods. To give you a perspective, jalapeño peppers tend to be around 5000 SHU. 

Since Serrano peppers are incredibly easy to grow, you can find them in tons of grocery stores at an affordable price. 

However, if you can’t find them or don’t like the taste of these peppers, then there are plenty of different options to choose from. 

Depending on the dish you’re whipping up and your spice preferences, you can replace Serrano peppers with cayenne peppers, jalapeño peppers, bell peppers, and much more. 

With this in mind, this article will explore all the different substitutes for Serrano peppers. 

Let’s get started. 

What Are Serrano Peppers?

Serrano peppers are a common variety of chili pepper that is available in various countries. They tend to be hotter than jalapeños and a lot smaller, too. 

You can use Serrano peppers in a range of dishes, including garnishes, salsas, relishes, and sauces. Although, some people can find these peppers to be too spicy. 

While they add a lot of flavor and taste to a dish, the heat can sometimes be too much for some people. 

If you don’t like a lot of spice or can’t find Serrano peppers in your location, then there is a range of substitutes you can choose from. 

Serrano Pepper Substitutes

1. Jalapeño Peppers

Jalapeño peppers are no doubt one of the best substitutes for Serrano peppers. They are easy to find and contain a similar flavor.

Just keep in mind that jalapeños tend to be larger and have thicker skin. Although, the flavor of these two peppers is incredibly similar. 

That said, jalapeños contain less heat. If you’re looking to keep the same amount of heat, simply add more jalapeño peppers to your dish. 

For the best results, use triple the amount. 

2. Cayenne Pepper Powder

For just a pinch of heat, consider adding cayenne pepper powder to your dish. The spice itself is very common and adds a nice amount of heat without impacting the flavors. 

However, the only drawback is the lack of texture. If your dish relies on physical peppers for substance, then powdered peppers may not work. 

That said, if you’re looking for heat, then you can’t go wrong with cayenne pepper powder. 

3. Crushed Red Pepper

While this option may seem like a last resort, most crushed red pepper is made using red cayenne peppers. Therefore, the result has the same impact on your dish. 

That said, if the recipe calls for fresh chili, then this substitute won’t make for a viable replacement.

This is a better option for recipes that require Serrano peppers to supply spiciness as opposed to substance. 

You should also keep in mind that there will be a “peppered” look added to your dish thanks to the chili flakes. 

If the presentation is a concern for you, then you may want to opt for fresh chilies instead. 

4. Bell Peppers (Green or Red)

Bell peppers are a very popular type of pepper that can be found in a range of cuisines. 

While they are typically associated with vegetables, bell peppers are actually fruits. They come in a variety of colors, including red, green, orange, and yellow. 

The most common type of bell pepper is green – containing a slightly bitter taste. 

Red bell peppers tend to be more popular thanks to their mellow and sweet flavor. 

The sweetest of all are yellow and orange bell peppers. All of which can be eaten raw or cooked. 

In addition to this, they can be topped on salads or pizzas and used in sauces and stir-fries, too. 

5. Hungarian Wax Peppers

Another great substitution for Serrano peppers is Hungarian wax peppers. They range between 1,000 to 15,000 Scoville Heat Units, which is similar to Serrano peppers. 

Wax peppers have a similar tangy and bright sweetness, with an additional mild heat layered on top. 

That said, the yellowish-green color of the wax peppers isn’t a great match to the Serrano pepper’s bright green color. 

If you’re using wax peppers instead of Serrano peppers, simply use more of them to spice up your dish. 

6. Hot Sauce

Did you know that you can use hot sauce as a substitute for Serrano peppers? Well, you can! There are a ton of flavorful hot sauces available on the market. 

If you’re looking for a dish that contains spicy flavors, then you can opt for ones that provide both flavor and spice to the dish. 

While there are a ton of hot sauces available, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the best one for your dish. 

Some people opt for very spicy hot sauces, while others prefer milder ones. Therefore, before undertaking any recipe, make sure your hot sauce is adding both flavor and spice to the dish. 

You should keep in mind that hot sauces are made using a range of different ingredients – some of which contain a milder or stronger flavor. 

Therefore, make sure to read the label of the hot sauce you intend to use before purchasing. 

Final Thoughts

Serrano peppers have the ability to add a depth of flavor and spice to your recipe. However, when you can’t find these peppers in-store, what is your next best option? 

Well, this is where this guide comes in handy. Here, we have outlined all the best subsidies for Serrano peppers. This ranges from mild bell peppers to very spicy wax peppers. 

Hopefully, this guide has informed you about the best Serrano pepper substitutes. 

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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