How to Tell if a Jalapeño will be Spicy or Mild

You either like it hot or you like it mild! Everyone has an opinion about spicy food. The worst thing is when you get a level of spicy that you’re not expecting. Or when you are looking for some heat and it just falls flat!

Jalapenos and other middle spicy peppers can vary A LOT. Sometimes they have an insane amount of burn. Other times they are totally mild.

Here’s our list of easy tips on How to Pick a Spicy Jalapeno and How to Pick a Mild Jalapeno too.


jalapenos how to pick a spicy pepper_web

For a Spicy Jalapeno

Color: Older mature peppers take on a red color. The red color can signify both sweet and extra spicy flavors which makes for a great combination in your pepper!

Size: Smaller peppers can often be spicier.

Striations: The more tiny brown striations the better! This shows that you that the jalapeno plant wasn’t getting enough water while it was growing – hence a hotter pepper. Jalapenos can also develop more striations as they mature. As a pepper ages, it gets spicier too.

Location: The hottest peppers come from the hottest regions. Pick your pepper based on the region for an extra kick!

Seeds: Of course leaving the seeds in is an easy way to keep your spice intact.

Cooking: Raw peppers will keep the full impact of the capsaicin. Eat your peppers raw or cook them lightly for full impact.

how to pick a spicy jalapeno _web food blog

For a Milder & Less Spicy Jalapeno

Color: Pick a pepper with a smooth bright green surface. These are younger peppers and are usually milder. Avoid any reds or yellows – a sign of an older pepper.

Size: Pick one that’s large and even in size. This will also give you a milder burn. Avoid ones that are small or curved.

Striations: Look for a jalapeno that is smooth without those small white or brown striations. This shows that your pepper is milder, younger, and received plenty of water while it was growing.

Location: If you can find peppers grown in the USA, they have a chance of being milder.

Seeds: Always be sure to remove ALL the seeds. After I remove the seeds, I give it a quick rinse under cool water which takes away a lot of the burn.

Cooking: Pickling and cooking will give some instant relief to the jalapeno burn. Also think strategically. Dairy helps cool the spiciness so try a recipe that includes dairy for an easier time with your jalapenos.

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