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.
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 checmical that burns in peppers. The SHU ranking goes from 0 (bell peppers) to over 3,000,000 (military grade pepper spray).
Here are 10 types of peppers that you should add in to your garden plans.
1. 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
2. Banana Peppers
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
Anaheims are one 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
5. Poblano Peppers
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
6. Jalapeno Peppers
Jalapeno peppers may well be one of the most popular types of peppers. When most people think of peppers, the jalapeno is THE pepper they think of.
Jalapeno 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 jalapeno 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 jalapeno pepper plants.
Scoville heat units: 2,500 to 8,000
7. Cayenne Pepper
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
8. Tabasco Pepper
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
9. Habañero Pepper
Scoville heat units: 150,000 to 350,000
10. Ghost Peppers
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
These are our 5 favorite types of peppers to grow here on our homestead. Do you have a favorite pepper variety that we didn’t mention? Let us know what it is in the comments below!