16 Best Substitutes for Jalapeno Peppers

Best Substitutes For Jalapeno Peppers
Photo by ajcespedes

If you love spicy food, one of the best ways to really get your fix is by using jalapeno peppers in your dishes.

However, if you don’t have any or are out of them, there are some great substitutes for jalapeno peppers you can turn to achieve that level of spice and heat that you enjoy so much. 

Here are some of the best substitutes for jalapeno peppers when you’re out of them.

1. Banana Pepper

The first on our list of best substitutes for jalapeno pepper is banana pepper. Banana peppers are a great substitute for jalapenos because they offer the same heat and flavor, with a sweeter taste that is perfect for Mexican dishes like enchiladas or tacos. 

Also they can also be sliced up and pickled to add some tangy zip to sandwiches, salads, or cheese plates. If you need some fire without the spice (think kids), try substituting it with banana pepper rings.

These sweet and mild pepper rings are relatively inexpensive and come pre-cut into easy-to-grab slices.

2. Poblano peppers

They are another good option when it comes to substitutes for jalapeno peppers. Because they have a similar taste and texture to jalapenos, but with a much milder level of heat, poblanos can be roasted, grilled, or eaten fresh in salads and salsas.

3. Cubanelle Pepper

Cubanelle peppers are a good substitute for jalapeños, as the two can be used interchangeably in many recipes. They are usually a little milder than the fiery heat of jalapeño pepper.

Still, some cubanelle peppers can be very spicy and hot, so it is always better to taste them before adding them to any dish! 

4. Red Bell Pepper

If you don’t have any fresh or canned jalapeno peppers on hand, another option is to use bell pepper as a substitute.

Bell pepper is one of the most popular substitutes for jalapeno peppers, and they are great in salads, as a side dish, or as an ingredient in many dishes like fajitas and stir-fries. 

In addition, Bell peppers add a similar level of spiciness to your food without adding any heat, making it a great option to use if you don’t want your food to be too spicy but still want the flavor. 

Also, you can use other types of bell pepper, such as red, orange, or yellow, if green isn’t available at your local grocery store or produce section.

These varieties will change the flavor slightly but will still provide that same level of spice that people expect from a jalapeño pepper.

5. Pepperoncini

This is the next on our list of substitutes for jalapeno peppers. A pepperoncini is a type of pickled pepper and is a good substitute if you don’t have any fresh jalapeños in the fridge.

They are spicy but not as hot as a regular jalapeño, so they can add some heat to dishes without being overpowering. 

Unlike fresh or canned peppers, these will be found in the refrigerator section rather than on the produce aisle.

The jar contains whole, pickled, and sliced green bell peppers that have been marinated in vinegar and water solution with garlic, oregano, bay leaves, and peppercorns to give it its flavor profile.

6. Green Chilies

Green chili is a pretty good substitute for jalapeno pepper, with a similar flavor and heat index. It’s also much cheaper than buying an entire jar of pickled jalapeños at the store! 

If you have hot green chilies on hand, they can be used as is in recipes. But if not, feel free to dice up some fresh chilies and fry them up in a pan with oil or butter before adding your ingredients to the pan.

The heat from the hot green chilies will help add that kick that you may be missing from using pickled or canned jalapeños instead of fresh ones.

7. Anaheim Peppers

Anaheim peppers are a great substitute because they have the same level of heat but a bit more sweetness. They are also slightly larger in size, making them perfect to use as a filling inside tacos or as an ingredient on top of pizza, burgers, and sandwiches!

8. Smoked Paprika Powder

Powdered smoked paprika is a great substitute for fresh or pickled jalapeños because it has the same heat level, but it also provides a smoky flavor which can really change the taste profile in recipes.

It’s pretty common to find smoked paprika on grocery store shelves, and it’s easy to use too: just add one teaspoon to whatever recipe calls for one tablespoon of chopped fresh or pickled jalapeño pepper.

9. Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes are one of the most common substitutions in recipes that call for diced fresh jalapenos. This is because they provide a similar heat level but without the intense capsaicin that can overwhelm some dishes. 

Therefore, you can use red pepper flakes in place of chopped fresh jalapenos in both cooked and raw recipes.

For example, try adding a dash to your favorite salsa recipe or substitute them for any finely chopped hot pepper in your next stir-fry dish!

10. Fresno Peppers

Fresno peppers are milder than jalapenos, but they still have a hint of heat. They are great in eggs and tacos or used to make pickles or salsas. Regarding substitutes for jalapeno peppers, Fresno peppers are a great option. 

11. Anaheim peppers

Some people also like to use Anaheim peppers as a substitute for jalapeno peppers. This is because they have a similar flavor and texture, with much less heat than a jalapeño. 

However, Anaheims don’t pack much flavor on their own, so it’s best to eat these fresh or in dishes where the other flavors will compliment the pepper well. 

12. Serrano Peppers

Serrano peppers are a good option for substitutes for jalapeno peppers. If you have one of these in your fridge and need to make a recipe that calls for the latter, then your ingredient is complete. They are a little spicier, so be mindful if that isn’t what you’re looking for! 

Also, they have a more acidic taste, but if you want the same flavor without all the spice, try using an Anaheim pepper. 

Serrano Pepper: These green chili peppers have a similar look and spice level as the more common red cayenne pepper, but some people prefer the taste more than others.

13. Habanero Pepper

There are many substitute options to help with the lack of fresh jalapenos in your kitchen, but not all of them will provide the same flavor and heat as a typical jalapeno pepper. 

Habanero pepper: This hot pepper has a fruity flavor and can be used in recipes that call for fresh or canned green chilies, serrano peppers, or jalapeño peppers. It is one of the great substitutes for jalapeno peppers.

14. Hot Sauce

You can use hot sauce, so calm down. Hot sauce can be used to add spice to your food if you require it. Make sure the ingredients can provide you with the desired level of heat. Hot sauce can be used in omelets, salads, chicken wings, and other dishes.

15. Tabasco sauce

This fiery hot sauce is perfect for people who love their food with a kick! It’s not quite as spicy as the jalapeño pepper, but it’ll do the trick if you can’t get your hands on one. Add it to any dish to add some flavor, or spice up your salsa by stirring it in at the end! 

16. Cayenne Pepper

This is the last of our list of substitutes for jalapeno peppers. Dried cayenne pepper is great to have around in case you don’t have a fresh jar on hand. Just add a pinch to any dish to give it that extra spice and heat that makes life worth living! 

Also, Cayenne can be sprinkled onto chips and other snacks like popcorn before baking them, so they’ll really pack a punch.

Cayenne is another option that many people like because it has more spice than a Fresno or Anaheim pepper but not as much heat as the typical jalapeño pepper.


Jalapenos are one of the most common spices used in Mexican cuisine, and they make food taste delicious! However, they can be hard to find in grocery stores, so people often substitute them with other chili peppers to get their kick instead.

Here are some of the best substitutes for jalapeno peppers when you’re out of them. Enjoy!

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