Which is hottest: jalapeño, serrano, Thai, or habanero peppers?
TELL ME MORE: Hot Chile Peppers
Navigating how hot chile peppers are can be confusing. Here’s a quick overview of a few common ones. Remember, most of the heat comes from the seeds and ribs, and it’s a good idea to wear gloves when working with chiles, especially the “hot” ones.
Jalapeño [hah-lah-PEH-nyoh] chiles are on the lower end of the heat (Scoville) scale and one of the most popular. Their color changes from dark green to scarlet as they ripen.
Serrano [seh-RRAH-noh] chiles are smaller and hotter than jalapeños. Their color changes from bright green to scarlet to yellow. THAI [TI] chiles are small and somewhat exotic but pack a lot of heat, which doesn’t dissipate with cooking. When ripe, their color changes from green to red.
Habanero [ah-bah-NEH-roh] chiles are among some of the hottest. Shaped like small lanterns, they range in color from pale green to bright orange when ripe
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