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Habanero Pepper Substitute – Know Peppers from Hot to Mild Ones!

Habanero Pepper Substitute

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Habanero pepper is notoriously hot, spicy, and intense chili primarily used in the hottest savory recipes. All spicy food lovers carry this pepper on hand to satisfy their craving for hot food items. And if you get short on these hot chiles, you will obviously seek for great habanero pepper substitute.

You will find habanero pepper on the Scoville heat scale quite higher than jalapeno, poblano, and guajillo peppers, which you might think are hotter chiles.

The Scoville heat unit of habanero ranges between 100,000 – 350,000. Thereby, peppers having SHU similar to habanero are good replacements to try. Here are some hottest peppers to try instead of habanero chili.

Habanero Pepper Substitute

If you’re habitual of using habanero peppers for their spicy kick, you will have them on hand every time. But, if your recipe calls for hot and spicy oomph and you don’t have habanero anymore, you can try the following alternatives.

Habanero chili powder, Scotch Bonnet, Goat, Aji Chombo, Guyana, Rocoto, And Serrano are the best peppers for use in place of habanero. All these peppers are 5-10 times hotter than jalapenos.

1. Habanero Chili Powder

Habanero Chili Powder

Habanero chili powder can replace habanero in all savory recipes that call for habanero chiles. The only difference is that habanero powder is less spicy and flavorful. But the difference is not quite pronounced or even noticeable.

The whole habanero gives a fiery kick to the recipe, while habanero powder lacks this astringency. Habanero powder is a good alternative candidate for habanero pepper in casseroles, curries, and stews.

2. Scotch Bonnet Pepper

Scotch Bonnet Pepper

Scotch bonnet pepper could be your first and best choice in place of habanero pepper. Both are not similar chiles but stand side by side on the Scoville heat scale.

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Scotch bonnet peppers are 12-14 times hotter than jalapenos and add a hot spicy sensation to the dishes, similar to habanero. They replace habanero in hot sauces, salsas, side dishes, bold marinades, and other Caribbean foods.

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3. Guyana Pepper

Guyana Pepper

Guyana or wiri wiri peppers are little chiles, which are extensively used in Guyanese cuisines, have similar heat units like habanero. Their tomato-like tanginess and the pungent flavor seem perfect for substituting habanero pepper.

If available to you, add them to your hottest food dishes, soups, and casseroles in place of habanero.

4. Aji Chombo

Aji Chombo

Aji Chombo is another reasonable pepper of choice that complements well with your hottest savory cuisines. Its fruity flavor, heat unit, and spiciness resemble habanero such that both are even used interchangeably and alternatively.

If you’re interested in giving a unique fruity, fiery kick to your casual food dishes, hire aji Chombo for this purpose. It will substitute habanero in hot sauces, salsas, and cooking gravy very well.

5. Goat Pepper

Goat Pepper

Don’t consider goat pepper milder or sweeter because it will surprise you with its hotter sensation, just like scotch bonnet and habanero. Its too much heat enlists it higher than jalapenos and closer to habanero.

The tropical fruity flavor of goat peppers makes them a perfect combination for roasted meat dishes, spicy salsas, and stews.

6. Rocoto Pepper

Rocoto Pepper

In terms of Scoville heat units, Rocoto pepper resembles habanero the most. Its flavor profile is a combination of tomato-like juiciness or tanginess and habanero-like hot fiery kick.

The one exceptional thing is the meat and fleshy pulp of the Rocoto pepper. Thereby, it can replace habanero in stews, soups, and hot dips where its spicy pulp really matters a lot.

7. Serrano


If the upper-listed ideas seem unsuitable, give a single try to serrano pepper. Although it’s not too hot and intense when compared to habanero, but still adds enough heat to the recipes.

Serrano peppers are 9-10 times hotter than jalapenos and thus go incredibly great in Mexican cuisines and casseroles. Besides, serrano is also a good substitution for habanero pepper in most of the savory hot dishes.

8. Jalapeno


Finally, jalapeno that is easily available all over the world, comes around to replace habanero pepper. Jalapeno is not as hottest as habanero but still works in various culinary dishes. Remember, pickled jalapenos are even used as kimchi substitute.

Jalapenos come in a lot more varieties with different heat units and flavor tones. As a habanero pepper alternative, jalapeno with high heat units is the best candidate.

Habanero Pepper Substitute


Best substitute For

Habanero Chili Powder

Gravies, curries, and savory condiments

Scotch Bonnet Pepper

Side condiments for seafood

Guyana Pepper

Hot sauces, stews, and salsas

Aji Chombo

Savory hot dishes and marinades

Goat Pepper

Dips, stews, and soups

Rocoto Pepper

Spicy condiments for roasted dishes


Spicy garnishes and relishes


Hot and spicy cuisines or pickles

Milder Habanero Pepper Substitute

In some cases, one wants to make savory recipes but with mild hot chiles rather than habanero. It’s time to use some milder alternatives for habanero pepper that complement great in accordance with your food dishes.

Ancho Peppers, Poblano, Guajillo, and Rocotillo are mild chilies as compared to habanero and even jalapenos. Remember, all these peppers are good kashmiri chili powder substitutes. Still, they can give the same flavor profile rather than spiciness to your recipes.

1. Ancho Peppers

Ancho Peppers

Ancho peppers are dried versions of poblano peppers and are most commonly used in Mexican culinary recipes. They are 5-8 times less hot and spicy than jalapenos and meet you at the initial stage of the Scoville heat scale.

It pairs well with light chili sauces, savory jellies, and chili pastes. Therefore, ancho pepper may be your best choice if you’re not a huge fan of terrific hot chiles.

2. Mulato


Mulato peppers are quite similar to ancho peppers in both terms of texture and heat units. The one thing that makes the difference is the darker hue of Mulato peppers.

Mulato gives a darker color to sauces, marinades, and side dishes for roasted meat and pork. Besides, it’s also a good milder substitution for habanero pepper.

3. Guajillo


Guajillo chili is also a popular spicy ingredient in Mexican cuisines like ancho peppers. Although its heat is less than jalapenos hot kick, but it’s quite higher than ancho chili.

Being so popular and easily available widely, guajillo may be your next choice as a milder replacement for habanero pepper.

4. Rocotillo Chili

Rocotillo Chili

Rocotillo pepper resembles habanero and scotch bonnet in a way having the same shape and texture. But it’s not terrifically hot and spicy like a habanero but a milder chili even when compared to jalapenos.

Rocotillo is a substitute for habanero pepper in all recipes where less heat and spice are the first preferences.

Milder Habanero Replacements


Substitute For

Ancho Pepper

Mole sauces and stews

Mulato Pepper

Marinades and savory condiments


Salsas, dips, and Mexican cuisines


Sauces for meat dishes

In other words, there are lot more replacements for habanero chili ranges from terribly hot to less hot and even milder. So, you can use any of the above-listed substitutes by following your taste, heat, and recipe preferences.


Hey, I’m Ayesha Khalid, the main writer of Substitutesfor.com. I love to write about food ingredients, cooking guides, and helping tips and tricks to upgrade your cooking experience. The aim of writing is to provide you with a collection of substitutions and novel ideas to try so that you can find all the needed information at once. Here, you can get ideas according to your diet restrictions, taste preferences, and health conditions.

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