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Scotch Bonnet Vs Habanero (Key Differences)

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Peppers are hot, but some are hotter than others. There are many people out there who love using hot pepper for their recipes, and due to geographical differences, you may not find a particular type of pepper in certain regions.

Scotch Bonnet and Habanero are among the hottest peppers in the world. You can substitute them with each other in any recipe. However, you may want to know the difference(s) between these two peppers.

There are things to consider; the comparison of scotch bonnet vs Habanero is more like a tale of two hot peppers. But what are the major differences between scotch bonnet pepper and habanero pepper?

Basically, scotch bonnet and Habanero belong to the same plant genus and family. Scotch bonnet is native to Jamaica, while the Habanero is endemic to Mexico. And from a distance, they both have the same shape, but in actual sense, the Scotch Bonnet has a squat, globelike structure, while Habanero looks more like a teardrop.

They also differ in several other ways, which we shall discuss below.

What are Scotch Bonnets?

Scotch bonnet pepper is a variety of the species, Capsicum Chinense commonly seen and used in West African and countries in the Caribbean region. Other common names of this pepper include Bonney peppers and Caribbean red peppers.

Well, this is a “Very Hot” pepper with a heat rating of 100,000–350,000 Scoville units. Basically, you don’t need to put too much pepper in your recipe; just one may be enough for small-scale baking and cooking.

Bonney peppers closely look like habaneros, and that is why they are being compared in this article.

What is Habaneros?

Habaneros is also a “Very Hot” chili, a species of Capsicum Chinense. It has a heat rating of 100,000–350,000 Scoville units, which is exactly the same as scotch bonnets.

Well, habaneros are not ubiquitous in the Caribbean and W. Africa, but you can still find them in these places.

This pepper grows up to 6 inches. The leaves appear green when the plant is yet unripe. As it matures, the color changes to various colors such as orange, white, red, and others.

There are a lot of similarities between this variant of chill and scotch bonnets, starting from the appearance.

Scotch Bonnet Vs Habanero

Scotch Bonnet Vs Habanero

To better understand the difference between these two chilies, let’s compare them based on various factors.

1. Origin and Family

Both Scotch Bonnet and Habanero are from the same plant genus and family. The former is native to the Caribbean, Jamaica precisely, while the latter is endemic to South America, Mexico precisely. Actually, these varieties of chilies are plant cousins.

2. Hotness and Appearance

Scotch bonnet and Habanero share the same hotness rating, 100,000 – 350,000 SHU. But when it comes to appearance, they slightly differ.

From a dead-end, you’d think these two varieties have the same shape, but in actual sense, the Scotch Bonnet has a squat, globelike structure, while Habanero looks more like a teardrop.

3. Taste, Flavor, and Aroma

Apparently, both chilies add the same fruity aroma to meals. They taste alike because they are cousins from the same chili family.

However, the Caribbeans believe that scotch bonnet has a sweeter taste than habaneros; well, maybe because it originated there.

4. Size and Colors

Typically, ripe habaneros can reach up to 6 centimeters in length. However, the variable length of habaneros is 2 – 6cm. On the other hand, ripe scotch bonnets can grow up to 7 centimeters.

So, both chilies grow almost the same length when they mature. Regarding the colors, habaneros can appear in orange, red, white, yellow, brown, purple, or green.

Also, scotch bonnets can appear in green, yellow, scarlet red, orange, peach, yellow, or chocolate brown.

5. Use and Substitutes

Both of these chilies are used globally in preparing hot sauces and many other spicy cuisines. Scotch bonnets are used primarily in W. African and Caribbean dishes such as rice and beans, rondón, and beef patties.

Habanero is also used in various recipes. You can substitute these chilies with each other; I.e., you can use Habanero in place of scotch bonnet and verse versa.

Since habanero and bonnet peppers are varieties of the same species, they are almost the same in many aspects.

Where to Buy Scotch Bonnet and Habanero?

Well, these chilies are popular and cultivated globally. There are chances you’d find them in veggie stores and general supermarkets.

However, they are more prevalent in regions where they’re endemic; Bonney peppers (Mexico) and habaneros (the Caribbean).

You can plant them in your garden; they are not difficult to care for. Alternatively, you can go for other hot chilies with high SHU ratings.


So, in today’s comparison of scotch bonnet vs. Habanero, the finals words are thus; both are cousins (varieties) of the same chili pepper species, Capsicum Chinense. They are almost the same in many aspects, such as taste, structure, and hotness.

You can use either of these two chilies to substitute the other in any recipe. Furthermore, they both have sub-varieties; some have a 100,000 SHU rating, and some have a 350,000 SHU rating.

If you love hot sauces, these chilies are best to use in your recipe. Well, you may not easily find them if you live in Asia and outside the American continent.

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