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Are Jalapeños Hotter When They Turn Red? What to Do with Jalapeños When They Turn Red?

Many love Jalapeños but are scared of eating too spicy! You should know whether Jalapeños get hotter when they turn red if you are among them.

Generally, Jalapeños are typically hotter when they turn red because they accumulate more capsaicin compound, adding more heat to the flavor while changing color from green to fiery red.

However, be mindful of eating red Jalapeños, which have only a numbered lifespan.

Continue reading to find out what to do with Jalapeños once they turn red and whether they are safe to eat.

Are Green or Red Jalapeños Hotter?

Did you know Jalapeños top the list of mild pepper varieties worldwide, measuring 2500-8000 on the Scoville scale?

However, the heat level of Jalapeños can vary, even within the same plant, depending on many factors, but the color determines their heat.

Yes, you assumed it right! Red ones are spicier than green ones. The Jalapenos pepper turns from green to red as they ripen, releasing more heat and less sweetness.

Pepper hotness chart
Jalapeños has an average SHU range in the list.

As Jalapeños peppers ripen and turn red, they accumulate more capsaicin, the compound responsible for their spiciness.

Here is a brief comparison between green and red Jalapeños in general.

CharacteristicGreen JalapeñosRed Jalapeños
ColorBright greenDeep red
Heat LevelModerately spicyHotter than green jalapeños
TasteCrisp and slightly grassySlightly sweeter, fruitier flavor
Capsaicin ContentLower (1.12 mg/g)Higher (>1.12 mg/g)
Culinary UseWidely used in various dishesAdds intense heat and flavor
RipenessImmatureFully ripe
Nutritional ContentRich in vitamins A and CSimilar nutritional profile
Drying PotentialCan be dried to make chipotleIdeal for drying and pickling

Red Jalapeño chile peppers found in the Xalapa region of Mexico can measure up to 10,000 SHU as they mature and turn reddish.

Are Jalapeños Hotter Once They Turn Red?

Yes, Jalapeños are usually hotter once they turn red!

As they mature and ripen, they develop a higher concentration of capsaicin, typically found in every pepper or chilly variety.

You can leave Jalapeños to ripen on the vine or pick them early and let them out for a few days; however, the pepper quality does not necessarily upgrade as they turn red.

The preference for red or green Jalapeños is subjective and depends on your taste.

Remember, red Jalapeños indicate a ripened pepper that may soon become inedible. Therefore, you might want to store them using an air-tight container or refrigerate them to use them longer.

What to Do with Jalapeños When They Turn Red?

Every Jalapeños variety will turn red as they ripen but do not worry because they are safe to eat.

Common Jalapeño varieties include Goliath, Jalafuego, Jedi, TAM, El Jefe, and Jaloro, which will turn from green to red.

Don’t be confused when the seller refers to red Jalapenos as Huachinango, which means ripe red Jalapeño.

Here are a few things you can do with red Jalapeños.

1. Culinary Use

Diners specializing in Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Southwestern cuisines often use red Jalapeños to add intense heat to salsas and sauces.

Eat them early or leave them for a few days to ripen for personal use. Red Jalapeños are often preferred by those who enjoy a more intense heat in their meals.

However, you can always temper the pepper by removing the seeds and inner membranes if you are not up for consuming red Jalapeños.

2. Harvest and Store

Let the Jalapeños ripen on the plant and turn red. Harvest them carefully and test a small piece to gauge their heat level.

If you are satisfied with the taste, you can store them by drying, picking, or freezing.

  • Make Chipotle Peppers: Smoke-dry Jalapeños to create chipotle peppers. Hang them in a dry, well-ventilated place until they become leathery and dark-colored.
jalapenos hotter when they turn red
Let the green jalapenos ripen for a few days before harvesting to get red ones.
  • Pickling Red Jalapeños: Slice fresh Jalapeños into picking brine by combining vinegar, water, salt, and sugar.
  • Freezing Red Jalapeños: The simplest method is to freeze them until use. Remember to wash and dry them beforehand. Lay the peppers on a baking sheet and freeze. Then, transfer them into a freezer-safe bag.

3. Make Homemade Sauce or Powder

Prepare a homemade Jalapeños sauce by grinding or blending the Jalapeños peppers with vinegar and salt.

Alternatively, grind the dried produce into a fine powder using a spice grinder, but deal with caution to prevent ingesting the dust, which may cause nausea.

From Editorial Team


Green Jalapeños are always preferred for their milder heat and soothing color, while red Jalapeños are favored for their intense hotness.

Nonetheless, you should avoid throwing away ripened Jalapeños. Instead, store them safely to use later.

You can always use them in various amounts to flavor bland meals like soups, stews, salads, and chill.