Cayenne pepper vs. jalapeno: What’s the main difference between these hot chili pepper types? Are these two peppers good to substitute with one another? Let’s discuss the details here.
Cayenne pepper vs. jalapeno. What's the difference? These two peppers belong to the same family. But these are highly different in their intensity of heat and with their unique flavors.
Let's see them in detail and also the best possible ways for substituting them.
Cayenne pepper versus jalapeño a detailed report.
The similarities: cayenne pepper vs. jalapeno
Both jalapeño and Cayenne peppers are moderately hot chili peppers that belong to the ‘Capsicum annuum’ family. Furthermore, these have rich flavors and are used across the globe to make the food spicy and tasty.
The encyclopedia says cayenne pepper was initially grown in Central and South America during the pre-Columbian era. Native Americans used this as medicine for stomach disorders about 7000 years ago.
Jalapenos originated from the lands of Mexico. And Wikipedia says jalapeno peppers have been used for thousands of years in Central, South America.
Cayenne peppers measure 5-10 inches long and 0.5-1 inch wide. While jalapeño pepper usually measures about 4 to 6 inches long and about 1 inch wide at the top.
Cayenne pepper tapers at the end and has pointed tips. Jalapeño pepper seamlessly tapers and has a rounded bottom.
Cayenne pepper looks green when young and turns deep red as it matures. Jalapeño pepper follows the same pattern as the Cayenne- young peppers are green and turn red when they ripen.
Cayenne tastes slightly fruity with the fiery heat and a smoky flavor. On the other hand, jalapeño has a bright, grassy flavor and an intense heat.
The palate senses the heat of the cayenne, which lasts longer than the heat of the jalapeno.
Body of the peppers
Jalapeno has a thick flesh when compared with cayenne pepper. The rib(the white membrane inside the pepper that holds the seeds) is also wider and prominently placed in the structure of the jalapeno.
The seeds of jalapeno are slightly larger than the cayenne.
Cayenne vs. Jalapeno Scoville scale
Do you know that Cayenne pepper is six times hotter than the jalapeno? Cayenne peppers are measured between 30,000 and 50,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. Jalapeno peppers measure between 3000-7000 SHU.
For your reference, some of the peppers between jalapeno and cayenne on the Scoville heat scale are Serrano peppers(usually measuring between 10000-23000 SHU) and Hungarian wax peppers(generally measuring between 5000-1000 SHU)
Jalapeno is widely used in the United States, Mexico, and South American countries.
Cayenne is very popular in the African continent, Indian subcontinent, and many other parts of the world.
Cayenne peppers are primarily used in the powder form. It is broadly called chili powder in India and other places.
The cayenne pepper in the United States is usually a blend of dehydrated peppers, including the cayenne pepper.
Jalapeno is widely used in the fresh form, primarily for making salsa, chili, hot sauces, or salad. Ripen red jalapenos make the trendy Sriracha sauce in the United States. Eater says that each year, approximately 100,000,000 pounds of jalapenos are used to make Sriracha sauce in a factory in Irwindale, California.
Cayenne powder is a spice blend to heat dishes like seafood, meat, sauces, and curries in northern America.
The essential United States tabletop condiment, crushed red peppers, is mainly made from roasted Cayenne peppers.
Jalapeno-infused salsa, sauce, and chili recipes are very popular worldwide. People also enjoy grilled or roasted.
Frequently asked questions
No, to say precisely, cayenne is hotter than the jalapeno. Cayenne has more concentrated capsaicin(a heat-causing agent present in the white membrane and the seeds) than the jalapeno.
An easy way to determine is by looking at the pepper's stem. If the branch is larger then the heat is lesser. And when the stem is thin and sturdy-proceed with caution-it could be a hot pepper.
Cayenne and jalapeno have different flavors and heat levels. Jalapeno adds earthy flavor and heat to a dish. At the same time, cayenne provides more heat than the taste.
Hence, jalapeno is not the same as cayenne but is a good substitute.