Cooking with fresh chili peppers adds big flavor (without calories) to all kinds of recipes – even dessert! Whether you’re a fan of mild peppers or four-alarm heat, we’re breaking down the different types of these tiny spice powerhouses. Then, light a fire in your kitchen with five hot dishes.
The mildest of the bunch, you can use dark green poblanos in place of green bell peppers. They’re exceptional for sautéeing, roasting, stuffing, or making sauces.
RECIPE: Chicken Pepian
Lesser-known Anaheim peppers have a little bit of heat and a sweet crunch. Roasting or grilling enhances their natural sugars. Follow these tips from the Food Network Kitchens for perfect roasted peppers, then make this salsa.
RECIPE: Roasted Pineapple and Pepper Salsa
Slender and bright green, serrano chilies are a good multipurpose pepper. They register in the middle of the heat scale, and taste great raw in guacamole, salsa or in a spicy sauce for seafood.
RECIPE: Grilled Shrimp in Lettuce Leaves with Serrano-Mint Sauce (pictured)
With slightly less heat than serranos, jalapenos are well suited for pickling, roasting or baking. Remove the seeds and inner membranes to tone down the heat.
RECIPE: Baked Jalapeno Poppers
These tiny peppers pack a super hot punch. Thousands of times hotter than other chilies, proceed with caution when using these babies – they’ll knock your socks off. Pair them up with tangy pineapple for a cool (and hot) sorbet.
RECIPE: Pineapple Habanero Sorbet
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »