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There are almost as many types of peppers as there are people in the world. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but there certainly are a lot of pepper varieties.
How Many Types of Peppers Are There?
When you are thinking about the different types of peppers, first, you can break them into two general pepper types: hot and sweet. Both hot peppers and sweet peppers can be delicious, it will really depend on what you are using them for as to which general type of pepper you will want to use.
Then, within, each of those general types of peppers you have specific pepper varieties. A quick look online will tell you that there are upwards of 50,000 different pepper varieties!
That means we get a LOT of peppers. We usually freeze peppers so that we can use them all year round.
With at least 50,000 types of peppers to choose from, it may seem a little overwhelming when you try to decide which peppers would be best to add to your garden. We always try to add a few sweet peppers and a few hot peppers since they are used in different foods.
Most of the types of peppers that we usually plant are pretty common – that way they can be used in multiple ways and multiple dishes over the year.
Scoville Heat Unit
The most common way to rank the heat or spiciness of peppers is through the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) method. SHU measures the level of capsaicinoids, the chemical that burns in peppers. The SHU ranking goes from 0 (bell peppers) to over 3,000,000 (military grade pepper spray).
The Big List Of Peppers
You should consider adding one or multiple of these types of peppers to your garden plans this season.
|Name||Type||Scoville Heat Unit|
|Chocolate Bell Pepper||Sweet||0 SHU|
|Shishito Peppers||Sweet||50 to 100 SHU|
|Banana Peppers||Sweet||0 to 500 SHU|
|Pepperoncini||Sweet||100 to 500 SHU|
|Cherry Peppers||Sweet||100 to 500 SHU|
|Piquillo Peppers||Sweet||500 to 1,000 SHU|
|Cubanelle Peppers||Sweet||1,000 SHU|
|Anaheim Peppers||Hot||500 to 2,500 SHU|
|Poblano Peppers||Hot||1,000 to 1,500 SHU|
|Pasilla Peppers||Hot||1,000 to 2,500 SHU|
|Jalapeño Peppers||Hot||2,500 to 8,000 SHU|
|Fresno Peppers||Hot||2,500 to 10,000 SHU|
|Yellow Chili Peppers||Hot||10,000 to 15,000 SHU|
|Serrano Peppers||Hot||8,000 to 22,000 SHU|
|Guajillo Peppers||Hot||2,500 to 30,000 SHU|
|Cayenne Peppers||Hot||30,000 to 50,000 SHU|
|Tabasco Peppers||Hot||30,000 to 60,000 SHU|
|Rocoto Peppers||Hot||30,000 to 100,000 SHU|
|Bird’s Eye Peppers||Hot||50,000 to 100,000 SHU|
|Piri Piri Peppers||Hot||50,000 to 175,000 SHU|
|Habañero Peppers||Hot||150,000 to 350,000 SHU|
|Scotch Bonnet||Hot||80,000 to 400,000 SHU|
|Ghost Peppers||HOT!!!||1,000,000 SHU|
|Naga Viper Peppers||HOT!!!||1,382,118 SHU|
|Trinidad Scorpion Butch T Peppers||HOT!!!||1,463,700 SHU|
|Komodo Dragon Peppers||HOT!!!||1,400,000 to 2,200,000 SHU|
|Carolina Reaper||HOT!!!||1,000,000 to 2,000,000 SHU|
|Dragon’s Breath||HOT!!!||2,480,000 SHU (unofficial)|
|Pepper X||HOT!!!||3,180,00 SHU|
Chocolate Bell Peppers
Chocolate bell peppers are one of the more unusual vegetables you can grow. They are a type of sweet pepper. They are, as the name would suggest, a bell pepper variation. Chocolate bell peppers will turn a beautiful chocolate color upon ripening.
Despite behind categorized as a sweet pepper, they, unfortunately, do not actually taste like chocolate. They are however, delicious in their own right and will make a fun and colorful addition to any garden.
Scoville heat units: 0
Scoville heat units: 50 to 100
Here is my personal favorite of all the peppers; the banana pepper.
Banana peppers are considered to be a sweet type of pepper. They are called banana peppers because they are long and yellow and look, well, kind of like little bananas.
Banana peppers have a mild flavor so they make great toppings for things like sandwiches, salads, or pizza. Again, like poblanos, banana peppers are one of the most versatile types of peppers.
One common use for banana peppers is to pickle them. So, that makes these a great pepper to grow a bumper crop of and then preserve for later.
Pickled banana peppers are even great just to snack on. You can eat them alone or with a cheese and cracker platter – which makes a great, cheap and easy snack tray if you have guests over.
You can also add banana peppers into things like salsa to give it just a little hint of sweet. YUM!
Scoville heat units: 0 to 500
You probably recognize Pepperoncinis from your salad at Olive Garden. They are pretty similar to banana peppers in shape and color but can be a tad bit spicier at times. They are also a little smaller than banana peppers.
Scoville heat units: 100 to 500
These peppers are also known as pimento peppers.
Scoville heat units: 100 to 500
Scoville heat units: 500 to 1,000
Scoville heat units: 1,000
Anaheims are some of our favorite types of peppers. They are comparable to poblano peppers in size, shape, and flavor. They can have a little more kick depending on the strain you find.
They are typically harvested when green but are still good once they’ve turned red. They are best around 6 inches long.
Scoville heat units: 500 to 2,500
Poblano peppers are considered to be hot peppers, but are on the lower end of the spiciness scale. Therefore, they are good for those of us who aren’t into the super spicy peppers. They provide a little spicy kick to your food without burning your mouth off.
Poblano peppers are a decent sized pepper; only slightly smaller than a bell pepper. We like to use them to make stuffed peppers.
They are spicy enough to add a little flavor, but not so spicy that they overwhelm a dish if they are a main ingredient. Given this, poblano peppers are really one of the more versatile types of peppers.
Poblano peppers can be frozen whole (just wash and chop off the top) for use later. Or, if you are planning to make stuffed peppers like we do, you can go ahead and make them and then freeze the stuffed peppers for an easy ready made meal later on.
Since we use these as the main part of a dish, we usually plant several poblano pepper plants. This allows us to make stuffed peppers several times over the course of the year.
Scoville heat units: 1,000 to 1,500
Scoville heat units: 1,000 to 1,500
Scoville heat units: 1,000 to 2,500
Jalapeño peppers may well be one of the most popular types of peppers. When most people think of peppers, the jalapeño is THE pepper they think of.
Jalapeño peppers are also in the family of hot peppers. They are also super easy to grow. We planted them one year and then forgot about them. Despite the neglect, they flourished and we brought in a TON of Jalapeño peppers to spice up our meals.
You can get quite a few peppers off of a single plant, and as you pick, they will keep on producing. These are great to grow for use in salsa and they also freeze well. Since they can be used in several different foods, we usually plant several Jalapeño pepper plants.
Scoville heat units: 2,500 to 8,000
Yellow Chili Peppers
Scoville heat units: up to 15,000
Scoville heat units: 8,000 to 22,000
Scoville heat units: 2,500 to 30,000
For a small pepper, cayenne can pack quite the punch. You will usually find them in the 2 to 5 inch range and ranging in color from green to red. Most people are familiar with cayenne peppers in their selection of spices. It is not uncommon for people to use dried cayenne pepper as a spice for certain recipes or as a pizza topping.
Scoville heat units: 30,000 to 50,000
If for nothing else, you’ve likely heard of Tabasco peppers from the hot sauce. They are a very small pepper, usually growing no longer than 2 inches. You can find them growing in multiple colors from yellow, green, orange, and red.
Scoville heat units: 30,000 to 60,000
Scoville heat units: 30,000 to 100,000
Bird’s Eye Peppers
Scoville heat units: 50,000 to 100,000
Piri Piri Peppers
Scoville heat units: 50,000 to 100,000
Scoville heat units: 150,000 to 350,000
Scotch Bonnet Peppers
Scoville heat units: 80,000 to 400,000
These are a type of hot pepper. And hot they are! In fact, hot may be considered an under statement when it comes to ghost peppers. They are actually on record as one of the hottest types of peppers in the world. So, don’t grow these unless you REALLY, REALLY like hot peppers.
Justin is a big fan of super hot, but a little goes a long way when it comes to ghost peppers. So, we usually only plant one plant worth for this type of pepper.
They can be used fresh, dry, as a food or spice so they’re really are versatile….as long as you can handle the heat.
Scoville heat units: 1,000,000
Naga Viper Peppers
The Naga Viper pepper is a hybrid pepper. It was crossed with three of the hottest peppers available at it’s time of creation; the Naga Morich, Bhut jolokia, and the Trinidad Scorpion.
Scoville heat units: 1,382,118
Trinidad Scorpion Butch T Peppers
Was once considered by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the hottest pepper in the world with an official SHU of 1,463,700! This pepper gets it’s name because of it’s shape. It is said to have a point like a scorpion tail.
Scoville heat units: 1,463,700
Komodo Dragon Peppers
The Komodo Dragon pepper, while not as hot as some of later chilis on this list, packs a sneaky punch. It takes about 10 seconds for the full heat to sink in. This evil pepper will lull you into a false sense of security and then utterly destroy your hopes and dreams.
Scoville heat units: 1,400,000 to 2,200,000
If these peppers are comic book villains, then the super villain lair is a place called (I’m not kidding) PuckerButt Pepper Company and is run by super villain and pepper breeder himself, “Smokin'” Ed Currie. This lair…er…farm is located in Rock Hill, South Carolina, hence the name.
This pepper is bright red, has a bumpy texture, and practically screams, “Eat me and you will die.” While no clinical tests have been performed, there has been speculation that this pepper can be dangerous to eat. It is suspected, at the very least, your body can have a stress response to the heat and cause headaches.
By the way, this pepper was certified in 2017 as the hottest pepper in the world with a SHU of 1,641,183 by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Scoville heat units: 1,000,000 to 2,000,000
The Dragon’s Breath pepper has the ability to numb skin upon contact. This phenomenon has led researchers to believe it’s oils could be used as an alternative anaesthetic for those that may be intolerant to traditional anaesthetics.
While this pepper has not officially been tested for entry as a world record it claims to have 2.48 million scoville heat units. Sadly, we may never get an official ruling on it’s SHU due to our next entry.
Scoville heat units: 2,480,000 SHU (unofficial)
As if the Carolina Reaper wasn’t enough, Ed Currie took 10 years to create this monstrosity of a hot pepper. This pepper is claimed to be twice as hot as the Carolina Reaper measuring with a SHU over 3 million (3.18, to be exact)!
Scoville heat units: 3,180,000 SHU (unofficial)
As you can see, there is a huge variety of peppers out there. This is just a small list of them ranging from sweet and mild to “possibly end up in the ER” hot.