Serrano peppers belong to moderately hot chili pepper type that is aptly named after the region they are native to. Lets look into this in detail below.
This is a hotter version of the jalapenos.
These serrano have a luscious, smooth skin and have a cylindrical shape that tends to taper down at the end with the rounded tip. They look smaller and about half the size of jalapeños.
One of the popular and common peppers in Mexico, that’s widely used in making authentic Mexican recipes like salsas and relishes.
And now, many modern cuisines embrace serrano peppers for its depth of flavors and the intense heat. It’s used in many recipes, including, but not limited to the gourmet sauces, marinades. And it’s also often used to add a punch to the cocktails and drinks.
What are serrano peppers?
These are medium hot chili peppers, and native to Mexican mountain regions. In Spanish the word ‘serrano’ refers to the mountains/highlands(the region they belong to). And also a popular chili pepper that is commonly available in the grocery stores of the United States.
The fully grown matured peppers are about 2 inches long and 1 inch thick and have an elongated cylindrical shape.
The unripe peppers are green in color, while they mature they may turn into yellow and orange colors. Where the ripened peppers have vibrant red color and fruity flavors.
These are hotter than the jalapeno but not as hot as the habanero pepper. These do have a thin skin, firm, and thick flesh. Making them ideal for stir fries, roasting, and grilling.
Because of its thick wall, sun drying or air drying will not give optimum results. But performs well in the recipes that call for the texture and the heat.
An intro to serrano pepper
The fresh Serrano peppers are grown and harvested in the late summer and till the fall season. But my local Wegmans store carries these throughout the year, giving me a comfort of enjoying them in various recipes without worrying about its growing season.
The green, unripe pepper has a crisp texture and grassy taste. And it mellows down to tender with mild sweetness as it ripens. On the other hand, its heat and peppery flavors intensifies as it gets aged. Meaning, the ripe peppers are hot with bold flavors than the unripe, green ones.
The Scoville scale units of serrano pepper
Are serrano peppers hot? Yes, its heat ranges between 10,000 to 23,000 SHU units. Whereas jalapeno range between and green pepper measures at 0 SHU. The seeds are cream in color, and flat round in shape.
The seeds are clutched to the white membrane that's evenly distributed in its body. The white membrane that holds the seeds and contains the heat causing chemical ‘capsaicin’. And this capsaicin is found in the coatings of the seeds as well.
If you want to reduce the heat in a recipe, remove the pepper’s pith(the white membrane that’s responsible for 70% of the heat in a pepper) and tone down the heat to a considerable amount.
What are serrano peppers good for?
It works great on a chopped salad, guacamole, salsa, and making hot sauces. While cooking In curries and chilies, you may add them as a whole and discard it later infusing the dishes with rich zesty flavors with less heat.
Always handle with caution, you may also wear a pair of gloves to avoid any skin irritations.
Are serrano peppers hotter than habanero?
No serrano peppers are milder when compared with habanero and hotter when compared with jalapeno. But still serrano peppers are considerably hot to an average American palate.
What can I substitute for a serrano pepper?
Thai chili pepper, jalapeno, Fresno peppers are some of the closest peppers that are good to substitute.
I will have to look out for those now. Nice to know more about them.
Wow this is such good information about serrano peppers! I had no idea they are not very hot!!
Thank you Jacqueline Meldrum!
I love serranos! Thanks for putting this informative article together. 🙂
Thank you Kris!
I love cooking with Serrano peppers, especially in quesadillas! Such a delicious pepper, indeed!
Glad to hear it, Sara!
Oh wow! Such a detailed post on the Serrano pepper. I love all the information and beautiful photos too.
Thank you, Tara!
I have used serranos for years by adding them to my chicken soups. I usually put one whole Serrano along with one chopped Serrano with seeds onto my pot of chicken and vegetables. When finished chop some cilantro leaves on top, squeeze a little lime, and sprinkle with soft fresco cheese. So good. I’m American, but love to cook new cuisines at home. I can’t wait to try some of these delectable recipes from India.Thank you Suja for your food blog!
Thank you Jillian for your wonderful comment, and I too agree with your idea of infusing the serrano flavors with a punch. One whole pepper for the flavor and another chopped one for the heat. Come back and let's know your feedback for our recipes you have tried!
This is a great post to explain serrano peppers! There are soooo many peppers out there, and I'm sure this will become a handy guide for many! Thanks!
Hi Patricia! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
Very useful post on serrano peppers. Thanks for sharing.
Yeah! Thank You kushigalu!
Sisley White - Sew White
I hadn't heard of these before but I will check them out in future now I know more about them. I can't wait to use them in my cooking.
So glad you enjoyed it, Sisley!
Really appreciate all the information on serrano peppers. I will definitely need to be careful when using them.
Amazing, Andrea! So glad you have enjoy this recipe!
Thanks for all this great information. I love hot peppers and always forget which is which and how hot they are.
Thank you Lisa!