Jalafuego Pepper: The Jalapeño Made Big

| October 9, 2017 (Last Updated: May 14, 2020)

Larger (and often hotter) than your normal jalapeño pepper…

Jalafuego pepper fast facts:

  • Scoville heat units (SHU): 4,000 – 6,000 SHU
  • Median heat: 5,000 SHU
  • Origin: Mexico
  • Capsicum species: Annuum
  • Jalapeño reference scale: Equal heat to two times hotter
  • Use: Culinary
  • Size: 4 to 5 inches long, conical
  • Flavor: Bright, Grassy

Like everything in your life super-sized? Meet the Jalafuego pepper. It’s everything you love about the popular jalapeño pepper, just more of it. This hybrid, often nearly doubling the size of a traditional jalapeño, makes one mean popper pepper – not only for its girth but also for its heat profile. The chili’s spiciness is a notch above what you’ll find from your everyday jalapeño. Jalafuego peppers also have a high level of disease resistance, making them terrific options for growing at home.

How hot is the jalafuego pepper?

The Jalafuego sits in the meaty middle (4,000 – 6,000 Scoville heat units) of the jalapeño pepper’s Scoville heat range (2,500 to 8,000 SHU). On average, the Jalafuego will taste hotter than most jalapeño peppers since it has the higher floor (and higher average heat). But traditional jalapeño peppers can surprise with a little extra oomph at the top of their Scoville range.

What do jalafuego peppers look like and taste like?

Imagine a jalapeño pepper all “hulked out” and you have the Jalafuego. It’s big, averaging four inches in length with the possibility of reaching up to six inches long. It’s meaty like a jalapeño and its size provides even more cavity space (perfect for poppers). While you may think this enlarged size would lead to cracking in the pepper’s skin, the Jalafuego tends to be quite smooth – few stretch marks or cracks. They present well on the plate.

Jalafuego pepper

Jalafuegos follow the typical aging pattern of the jalapeño – from green to red, gaining in spiciness the longer they stay on the vine. And as for taste, they are exactly like a jalapeño – a bright bite with a delicious fresh garden flavor.

How can you use them?

Anywhere you’d use a jalapeño pepper, a Jalafuego can step in…and more.

As mentioned, they very well may be the popper pepper perfected: super-long with a larger cavity for stuffing. They really are a perfect jalapeño popper option and a decent size for general stuffed pepper recipes as well. From salsas to salads, they’re a terrific everyday pepper for use fresh – that bright garden bite works well with other fresh vegetables. And since there’s more to each pepper, you need to prep fewer in the kitchen. Their size also makes them an excellent grilling chili.

Where can you buy jalafuego peppers?

As a jalapeño hybrid, you may have had a Jalafuego pepper and never known it. They sometimes are simply sold at farmer’s markets as “jalapeño peppers” (and you may have wondered at the size compared to what you’re used to seeing). If you have a green thumb, these are excellent home garden chili peppers, particularly for their disease resistance (they’re resistant to potato virus and bacterial leaf spots). You can buy Jalafuego pepper seeds easily online (Amazon). Your brick and mortar gardening center may also carry the seeds.

So if bigger is always better, the Jalafuego is your answer to the jalapeño. It delivers all that you love about the jalapeño with a little more and much more chili to love.

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