Jalapenos measure between 2500 and 8000 units on the Scoville scale. Still, aside from the insane heat it packs, jalapenos have a brighter flavor and earthy taste compared to other peppers, which enables them to be served fresh.
There are green and red jalapenos, and their extreme versatility means they can be used for basically anything. They can be stuffed, grilled, picked, or oven-roasted. Jalapeno peppers are pretty common and easily sourced.
However, if you are halfway through your cooking only to find out you are out of jalapeños or simply want to swap it out for a milder alternative, there are some substitutes for jalapeno seasoning that will come in handy.
You can substitute jalapeno peppers with serrano, Fresno, bell peppers, Anaheim peppers, poblano pepper, cayenne pepper, etc.
There are different alternatives that mimic the taste and flavor of jalapeño seasoning perfectly well.
What Is Jalapeno Pepper?
Jalapeno peppers are commonly grown in Mexico and US; it has thick and leathery skin and can be dark green or red with a kick of heat.
Jalapeno peppers are packed with flavor and thick-fleshed; it has a mildly spicy white membrane and hot yellow-colored seeds.
Jalapenos add a ton of rich flavor to dishes and have a mild heat level. If you are out of stock, here are some substitutes for jalapeno seasoning.
Best Substitutes For Jalapeno Seasoning
1. Bell Peppers
If you want to tone down the spiciness of a dish without altering its texture, bell peppers make an excellent jalapeno substitute.
They have a rating of 0 units on the Scoville scale, making them the mildest jalapeno pepper substitute available.
Bell peppers are great for those who can’t tolerate spicy food or if you are preparing a dish for your kids.
Bell peppers can be stuffed, roasted, or grilled, and they provide the same crunchy texture as jalapeno peppers; they also have thick skins which can withstand extended cooking times. They can be added as toppings on a pizza or in sandwiches.
However, the taste and flavor of bell peppers and jalapeños differ, so they won’t make the best alternative in a salad or salsa.
2. Banana Peppers
Banana peppers have sweet and tangy flavors with a score between 0 and 500 units on the Scoville scale.
This makes banana peppers the perfect jalapeno alternative if you want a substitute that replicates a similar texture without adding too much heat to your recipe.
Banana peppers have a bright yellow color, which changes to green, red, or even orange when they ripen.
The tangy flavor of these peppers makes them pair perfectly well in salads and salsa, just like jalapeños. Banana peppers can be stuffed or pickled just the way you would jalapeño peppers.
3. Poblano Peppers
Poblano peppers are commonly used in Mexican cuisines, and it makes an excellent substitute for jalapeno seasoning.
These peppers are quite mild, and they score between 1000 and 1,500 units on the Scoville scale. Poblano peppers are a mild replacement option for jalapenos; they don’t add much heat and add deep green color to dishes.
Poblano peppers have a thick skin that can be cooked for a long time, so they can be stuffed, fried, grilled, or charred at high temperatures.
4. Anaheim peppers
Anaheim peppers score between 500 and 5000 units on the Scoville scale, making them suitable for those who don’t want their dishes too spicy.
They have thicker walls than jalapenos, so they can be used for basically any dish you use jalapeno peppers in like salsa or on top of your nachos; you can also stuff them or sauté them.
If you don’t want to add too much heat, you can swap anaheim peppers for jalapeños as they add just a little bit of heat to your dishes.
5. Pickled Jalapenos
If your recipe calls for fresh jalapenos and you do not have any at hand, you can use pickled ones.
Pickles jalapeños make a great substitute for fresh jalapenos and minimize prep time and guesswork while cooking; they also possess less earthy green flavor, which is replaced with a sharp taste.
Pickled jalapenos are kept in vinegar, and this gives them a tangy and vinegary flavor. When adding them to your dish, you may need to adjust the amount of salt you add to your recipe.
Pickled jalapenos also tend to be milder because the peppers are diced before added to the pickling solution, which dissolves the capsaicin. Pickled jalapeños score between 2,500 and 5,000 units on the Scoville scale.
When added to salsa, nachos, salads, pickled jalapeños, add a more savory flavor compared to the fresh version because of the other ingredients in the brine, like garlic and cumin. They can be added to sandwiches or as toppings on your pizza.
6. Smoked Paprika Powder
Smoked paprika powder packs a decent amount of heat which it adds to dishes, alongside a slightly sweet and smoky flavor. Paprika has a striking red color, but it is not always spicy.
There are different types of paprika powder, and some of them are quite mild, measuring about 250 units on the Scoville scale, while some other varieties may score up to about 1000 units.
This means you may need to do a little experiment to find the perfect substitute for your dish.
The paprika powder does not usually have a high heat level which works well if you want your dish to turn out mild or if you want to eliminate the crunchy taste of jalapenos from your recipe.
The smoked paprika powder can be combined with bell peppers, and it provides you with the needed crunchiness you get with jalapeños with different levels of heat you can adjust to your taste.
This substitute option has a distinctive flavor and is excellent for preparing salsa or soups.
7. Fresno Peppers
Fresno pepper is an excellent alternative for jalapeno that provides the same heat level but a slightly different flavor.
Fresno pepper has a crispy texture, smoky flavor, and a fruity aroma, so it is best used for dishes where the taste of jalapeno peppers can be altered without affecting the overall turnout of the recipe.
Mature Fresno is sometimes mistaken for red jalapeno peppers, although they tend to be slightly hotter. Green Fresno peppers are less spicy with a more earthy and fresh flavor.
These peppers have thinner walls which affect their crunch and crispiness. However, Fresno peppers make a great addition to salsa if you want it to be spicy because of their high heat levels.
8. Serrano Peppers
This is another substitute for jalapeno that adds more heat without altering your dish’s overall taste. Serrano peppers are easier to digest because of their thin skin and have a flavor similar to jalapenos, so they can be added to salsa and salads.
However, serrano peppers are hotter than jalapeños and score between 10,000 and 30,000 units on the Scoville scale.
So when making a substitution, you need to be careful of the number of serrano peppers you add to your dish, so you do not make it too spicy.
9. Fresh Cayenne Chili
Red cayenne chili packs a lot of heat which it adds to a recipe and also helps to enhance other flavors. The hotness of this spicy pepper is even more enhanced when cooked, so you need to be careful about the amount you use in your recipe.
Aside from being insanely hot, red cayenne chili pepper has a slightly sweet, smoky flavor, with thin skin that adds a subtle crunch to your dish when served fresh.
10. Cayenne Pepper Powder
If you want a jalapeno seasoning substitute that adds spiciness and heat to your dish without adding texture, then cayenne pepper powder is the right substitute option for you.
It is an extremely hot seasoning with a score between 30,000 and 50,000 on the Scoville scale. This is about 12 times the heat of jalapeno peppers.
You don’t need much of this pepper powder in your sauce to replicate the heat of jalapeno; a little goes a long way.
11. Hot Sauce
There are a variety of hot sauces available on the market, and you can use almost any type as a substitute for jalapeños.
Hot sauce measures about 50,000 units on the Scoville score and are pretty spicy. However, they can be used to add the needed heat to dishes if you don’t like the texture of jalapenos.
Hot sauce can also be combined with other milder peppers like bell peppers or Anaheim peppers; this delivers a hotter taste than jalapenos.
12. Habanero Peppers
Habanero peppers have a score ranging between 300,000 to 445,000 Scoville units with a tropical and fruity flavor.
It has a range of colors from bright green to orange and is a great replacement for jalapeno pepper in nachos, salsa, and fruit-based sauces.
Habanero pepper is super spicy; in fact, it’s more than 70 times hotter than jalapeno peppers; this is why you need to be careful when adding it to your dish.
You can take out the seeds and membranes as they make the peppers spicier.