What's your favorite chili pepper?

Joined Sep 5, 2008
I love chili pepper, and I must have tasted about a dozen different varieties, but only seriously used about 4 or 5 varieties in my cooking. I know there are loads of them out there.....Guajillo, Ancho, Arbol, Pequin, Tien Tsin, Habanero, Scotch Bonnet... which ones do you use, for what - and what do you like about them?
Joined Aug 25, 2009
French Fries,

Good thread.
I was introduced to chiltepins (50,000-100,000 units, not alot compared to some) years ago and I must say it is just about as much hot as my mouth can take and at that ,small doses.
Enjoy serrano peppers for hot sauces and salsa . I have come to like Sciracha alot especially with Thai food.
My brother finds a reason to eat it with just about everything. He says it gives him a "rush".
This week I went back to my Thai restaurant and had my soup and added the chili sauce. I realized after the first sip of soup I had put too much. I waited a bit and kept tasting it and within five minutes I did not feel the heat and actually loved it. So to answer your question, the chili pepper. I like it the most without needing a band-aid on my tongue.

There was a very good article that came out this year in the "Smithsonian" magazine , april edition. It speaks about the hottest pepper in the world....good read. I found it on the net for you if you like reading about peppers.

Joined Feb 1, 2007
Can't say as I have a favorite, because it depends on what I'm making.

I'm not interested in heat for its own sake. I want a chili that has an underlying flavor of its own. For instance, take the heat away from the C. chinense (i.e., Habanero, etc.) and you're left with a smoky, tropical-fruit flavor. Bacatums (Aji flor, Aji Colorado, etc.)on the other hand, are citrusy. Etc.

I rarely use jalapenos for that reason. If you take the heat out of a jalepeno you're left with a sort of green taste, is all. In recipes calling for jalapenos I usually sub serranos---a case where I'm increasing the heat in order to get better flavor.

If I had to pick one chili as my favorite it would be Sinahuisa, which has about the same SHU level as Serrano, but with more flavor. I also like the Yellow Squash, as much for its historical value as its flavor.
Joined Mar 21, 2008
I agree KY, the chili used depends on what I am using it with. Chipotle is good in bbq sauce etc where the smokey flavor adds to the overall flavor, ancho is my go to for a sweeter flavor with not much heat, etc.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I'm no heat freak so i enjoy the milder ones though i'll use what a dish requires.

As to favorites, an Anaheim or the New Mexico Green chiles.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
i like the greens most i guess, ancho, anaheim, banana peppers and jalapenos, fresh or pickled on a sandwich and roasted in my food. the habernero is a fun one for the heat and to surprise people that you can kill it with a little sweet so that it's flavor comes out and doesn't just sear your tongue.
Joined Aug 18, 2007
A timely thread for me, as i am researching suppliers of fresh Kashmiri chillis. Im looking forward to a taste sensation. Both my Indian friends are so enthusiastic about their unique flavour, that i have to try them. I also want to surprise my friends with a wee new years prezzie.
Problem is, they are very expensive and often faked by unscrupulous spice dealers.
I'd be happy to buy dried, or powder, so long as i knew for sure it was authentic. So if any of you knows a reputable supplier, do tell.

As far as my preference for chillies...I have to say, for the most part, I am totally ingnorant of the type i use. I buy them at a local Indian or chinese grocer, and they arnt labeled. They're 4" long mostly and medium heat. For Thai food i do buy birds eye tho.

I love using generic dried chilli flakes. Just a sprinkle over roast whole fish or baked chicken legs... Yum
Joined Nov 5, 2007
Wow, where to begin? Or more importantly, where to stop!

For basic general use I like poblanos. They have a bit of bite, not too much. Being fairly thick walled they are best when the skin is blistered off with high heat. Anaheims are a bit too bland for my tastes, though I do use them sometimes for dishes my wife, she of tender palate, is going to eat.

Red Fresno and green jalapenos are nice in salsas, diced up in burritos and enchiladas. A jalapeno plucked right off the bush and thrown on the grill for a minute or two is quite a treat.

Dried chile de arbol is always on hand. Chipotles are a favorite with their smokey heat. Habaneros have quite a distinctive, tropical fruity flavor but it is so easy to go overboard on the heat I don't use them that often. It is about time for a batch of my habenero chicken chili, though.

Speaking of heat I do use Thai bird chilies, sparingly, in some stir fry dishes. My heat tolerance has diminished a bit as the years go by.

Mouth on fire? Butter and vodka. Or gin. The hot stuff is not water soluble - swilling down water will only make the burn worse, spreading it around to brutalize more of your taste buds. But fat or alcohol will absorb the active ingredient and diminish the pain suffered by fools who rush in. I've heard sugar helps as well. And keep in mind that entry and exit can both be interesting experiences.

Joined Feb 26, 2007
Jalapeno generally for me, seeds in. I'm not fussy on chillis, what I'm making dictates how many go in. We don't get a great variety here. There is a pale green chilli about 4 to 5 inches long, very mild, which I use for flavour, not heat. If I can find the name I'll post it. They're not always available. But jalapenos do for me, or chilli powder. Cayenne is a decent substitute if I run out of chilli powder. Really don't like the texture of dried chilli flakes - that's just me.
Joined Jan 6, 2010
I love using dried tien tsin. One package has seriously already lasted me a year and a half (you really can't use more than 2 or 3 per recipe). I put it in everything from soup stock, to fried rice, to pickling liquid. You can get a lot of heat from these little guys without directly eating it. If you throw a few into your sauté pan with the rest of your ingredients, you will pick up some nice residual spice.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Sodium girl - why not make yourself some chilli oil? Great to have on hand for those times you haven't got the fresh chillis :) Lots of recipes, Google it.
Joined Jan 8, 2010
I prefer the Thai Dragon pepper because it works best for me.

I live in Ohio and this pepper can be started in the house in March, put outside in a bucket once the nights are over 50 degrees, and harvested until cold weather hits. They dry easily in a home food dehydrator or on a screen in the sun.

One plant will grow about 2 ft tall and produce at least 200 3-inch long peppers if you keep picking. This is enough for my family of 3 to make it through the winter.

They are hot around 75K on the heat scale, but not as hot as a habanero.
Joined Sep 5, 2008
Well thanks to all for sharing your insight! What's surprising is that even though when I go to the markets around here and discover dozens of new chili peppers I've never tasted or used, you guys still come up with even more that are not the same as the ones I find around here.

So definitely there are a LOT of varieties out there, and I will have to just go ahead and try a few.

Chipotle I've used a lot - I used to alway rub my rib eye steaks with crushed chipotle before grilling them to get that chili - smoked flavor. Love it - once in a while.

DC Sunshine, I see that big pale green pepper everywhere around here. Don't know the name either. I've never tried it. Does it taste kinda like a sweet bell pepper? Or does it have a little bit of heat to it? I love the texture of dried chili flakes - I often use a bit while heating the olive oil at the beginning of many dishes (risotto, pasta sauce, etc..) just to give it a slight kick.

I think maybe I should start experimenting with making chili - just as an excuse to experiment with different chili peppers!
Joined Dec 4, 2009
So many peppers, so little time.

As pretty much everyone else, my preferred pepper depends on the planned purpose and plate. In order of heat:

I like paprika peppers -- sweet (technically not a "chili" culinarily), semi-sweet, zippy-do and smoked. Seasoning all kinds of Mediterranean things.

I like frigitelli -- what Americans call "peperoncini". Chopped in sandwiches mostly but great in pasta sauces.

I like piquillos, pickled or stuffed.

I like pasillas/poblanos for rellenos. I use "Anaheim" types (those paler green long peppers that have a hint of zip) for casseroles and gringo rellenos. I use "Fresno" and "New Mexico" types for medium rellenos (although some NM's are fiery).

I like freshly minced chili serrano for spicing up anything Latin. Could be my most-used pepper.

I never did care for Jalapenos of any type (the underlying flavor is, as KYH said, no more than "green") nor "Chipotle" (which isn't a kind of pepper; it's a smoked Jalapeno, or, in Mexico, any smoked pepper -- and I don't like Adobo sauce, which is about the only way you can find "chipotle").

For Asian cuisine, I like the little Chinese red peppers (such as tien tsin) and the long Thai types, dried, for flavoring my wok oil.

Joined Feb 1, 2007
and I don't like Adobo sauce, which is about the only way you can find "chipotle").

At least not in most regular markets, Joe. But they are available. My local health-food co-op carries them in bulk, for instance. And Mejiers (a midwestern supermarket chain) has them prepackaged with their other dried chilies.

which isn't a kind of pepper; it's a smoked Jalapeno

With the growing interest in bolder flavors, you'd think the confusion over chilies would be getting less. But such doesn't seem to be the case.

Referring to them as chipotle peppers is, at best, redundent. And, as you note, confuses people who think they're a separate variety. But you hear it all the time.

Even more widespread is the misuse of the words "ancho" and "poblano." As you know, these are not synonyms. Anchos are the dried form of the poblano. Yet you see "ancho pepper plants" on sale all the time.

Another source of confusion is color. I've all but given up trying to explain to people that green bell peppers and red ones are not (necessarily) different varieties. And that red and green jalapenos come from the same plant.

Aji Flor is one of several chilies that ripen from green to flame to scarlet. I sometimes wonder if they were put in separate baskets how many people would insist they were three different chilies?
Joined Sep 5, 2008
Actually I've never tried chipotle in Adobo sauce. I've used crushed dried chipotle. Here in socal you can find the full dried chipotle, or flaked dried chipotle, in pretty much any supermarket. I've also seen places where they sell powdered dried chipotle.
Joined Nov 6, 2004
Hi French Fries :)

I don't eat chili's like I used to. Which is why I don't have much of a heat tolerance anymore. This is excluding the fact that I have...well...I have some "other" problems that could be associated with hot peppers :blush:. Ouch!

There's alot of different peppers I like and cook with. But over the years I can appreciate the balance of heat in a dish than going for the raw heat like I used to like. Jalapeños I usually reserve for salsa type dishes. But their heat is so unreliable I often opt for serrano peppers.

Even with the reliability factor that I have with jalapeños, I prefer the habanero type heat better. To my buds the jalapeño type heat is a cumulative effect that builds and builds while your eating it. Never really stepping aside until you take a small break. While the habanero type heat smacks you upside the head as hard as it can and then steps aside and let's the flavors of the food bloom (so to speak) behind the heat.

(for me) The right flavors with the right heat can almost be a bit euphoric. Now, if you want to talk about something more sadistic you would be talking about horseradish. I've got no idea why I like it like I do, but I do. But I do.

I thank you
Joined Aug 25, 2009
What is it about horseradish (or wasabi) that it is so ......well, it makes your eyes tear up, you gasp, clutch the table, beads of perspiration, say words you would not normally say, swear never again , then all of a sudden you hear those words coming out of your mouth, " Well maybe this last time".
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