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 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 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.
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 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 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
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
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.
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.
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
Hot sauces, stews, and salsas
Savory hot dishes and marinades
Dips, stews, and soups
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 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.
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.
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 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
Mole sauces and stews
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.