Cajun Belle Pepper: A Bolder Sweet

| Last Updated: January 23, 2020 |

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A mini-bell with jalapeño-like heat…

Cajun Belle pepper fast facts:

  • Scoville heat units (SHU): 500 – 4,000 SHU
  • Median heat: 2,250 SHU
  • Origin: United States
  • Capsicum species: Annuum
  • Jalapeño reference scale: 5 times milder to equal heat
  • Use: Culinary
  • Size: Approximately 2 to 3 inches long, bell pepper shaped
  • Flavor: Sweet

Normally sweet peppers are known for their delicious flavor, but not much to boast on the heat side of things, if anything at all. The Cajun Belle throws the normal playbook out the window. It has all the deliciousness of a sweet pepper, but with a heat that at minimum tickles the tongue and at its max provides a jalapeño-like punch. It’s a beauty in the garden, too, providing plenty of color, whether outdoors or in containers.

How hot is the Cajun Belle pepper?

There’s a pretty widespread of heat outcomes with the Cajun Belle, and a lot has to do with when they’re picked and eaten. Like with all hot peppers, the spiciness in this chili increases as the pepper ages on the vine, so a fully ripened red Cajun Belle will have much more heat than an unripened green one. This is critical since Cajun Belle’s are a type of bell pepper and are eaten, like other sweet peppers, throughout their maturation cycle (from green to red).

There’s also a dispute on the overall heat peak of this chili. While some say the Cajun Belle tops out at 1,000 Scoville heat units (poblano pepper level heat), many eaters experience a heat that’s more in line with our reference point, the jalapeño. We don’t see Cajun Belle’s reaching 8,000 SHU like a jalapeño can, but it certainly seems to be able to reach between 3,000 and 4,000 SHU which equals a mild or moderate heat jalapeño. Really, the Cajun Belle is often a mild chili, but it can cross over into the medium heat zone.

What does the Cajun Belle pepper look like and taste like?

It looks a lot like a mini bell pepper – two to three inches in length, with multiple lobes at the base. They age, too, following the common pepper color pattern – from green to a rich red hue.

Cajun belle pepper

The flavor behind the heat is much like a typical sweet pepper, fresh and sweet (and that sweetness increases with the time on the vine). The heat is layered atop this sweetness, and it creates a unique eating experience – part flavorful bell pepper, part jalapeño.

How can you use this chili?

Anywhere you can use bell pepper, a Cajun Belle can do the trick, with a little more pizazz. It’s a great salsa chili, especially with salsas that tend towards the sweeter side. The Cajun Belle is also useful as a stuffed pepper (though smaller than the typical bell), and its sweet heat is quite delicious paired with a simple salad. Try grilling them, too, for your summer BBQ. The sweet and spicy flavor is a great compliment to red meats.

Where can you buy Cajun Belles?

These chilies are growing in popularity, though they aren’t typically found at supermarkets. Check local chili farms to see if they are available. Or, if you garden, they are easy to grow yourself. Cajun Belle pepper seeds are widely available. If you’re looking for a bell pepper substitute that leans into spicy, this is a chili pepper you’ll want to grow.

Related

  • I have 2 Cajun Bell plants in my garden and just tried a fully ripened one. Holy smokes it’s hot! It was EASILY as hot as a jalapeño. I’ve had a good 5 minutes of fire mouth, even after a glass of milk. This bad boy brings the heat!

    • I have been told I’m dead inside because I prefer things TOO spicy and this little pretty threw me for a loop!
      It’s HOT 🔥🔥🔥🌶🌶🌶

  • I have to agree with Slade, these are smoking hot, fully vine ripened it definitely is not 5 times less than a jalapeño…

    • I hear you. Most I’ve tried equal jalapeño heat. But this one can be tricky. Some tend to be more bell than jalapeño. They are quite often as hot as a jalapeño (like your crop and Slade’s – especially when fully ripened) – but you can find them on both sides of mild/medium depending on when picked, soil, watering, weather, etc…

      Think of it this way – the median of its extremes is 2,250 SHU. Which puts it right on par with a milder jalapeño. Most will be right in that range with some edge cases.

  • My grandma planted these thinking they were regular belle peppers and since they were hot she sent home some with me and my brother. Fully ripened and everything, thinking I could eat these just like a regular belle pepper was a mistake. These things are definitely hotter than a jalapeño when fully ripened and fresh picked. I can eat a jalapeño with little issues, these I didn’t even want to finish one lol. Great flavor but will definitely be making a salsa out of these.

  • I grew some Cajun Belle peppers for the first time this year.the first dozen or so that I picked, I made little shrimp stuffed bacon wrapped poppers. Some of them were sweet, some had medium heat, and some were searingly hot! It was like pepper popper Russian Roulette, and they were all from the same plant!

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