If your taste buds are whispering, "Give me more spice and flavor" then you've salsa-danced into the right place! We're not talking about just any peppers; we're talking about the absolute best peppers for salsa from mild all the way to x-hot.
Whether you're a mild-mannered salsa lover or a thrill-seeker looking to set your mouth on fire, we've got something for everyone. Let's go!
Mild Peppers for Salsa:
Mild peppers are always a great place to start. They provide just enough flavor and kick without making your tongue curl up and beg for mercy.
If you're just getting into the salsa game, we recommend starting with these mild peppers for your next salsa:
Anaheim peppers are a mild, sweet pepper that bring some heat without being overpowering. They can be sliced and diced into salsa or left whole. Plus, their skin is nice and thick which makes them easier to handle for newbies.
On the Scoville Scale, they usually range from 500 to 2,500 SHU.
Bell peppers are definitely the mildest pepper on the block. They're actually not spicy at all, but they add a great flavor to your salsa. These peppers come in all sorts of colors and sizes. You can use red bell peppers for a sweeter taste or green bell peppers for a more savory kick. They're perfect for those looking for the mildest type of salsa.
On the Scoville Scale, they have 0 SHU.
Hatch Green Chile Peppers
These tend of be a milder pepper, but you can find spicy ones as well. They also have a unique flavor that can't be matched and are only grown in the Hatch Valley region of New Mexico. They have a very smoky, upfront flavor with just a hint of heat.
On the Scoville Scale, they usually range from 1000 to 8000 SHU or more depending on the variety.
Medium Peppers for Salsa:
Medium peppers are for the salsa lovers who want a bit more kick without going too crazy. All of these peppers are still mild enough to be enjoyed by everyone, but they definitely pack more heat!
Ah, the jalapeño pepper. This is probably the most common pepper in salsas around the world. It has a good amount of heat, but also a subtle sweetness that adds an extra layer of flavor. Plus, you can find them everywhere!
On the Scoville Scale, they range from 2,000 to 8,000 SHU.
Serrano peppers are the perfect middle ground between mild and hot peppers. They offer a bit more heat than jalapeños, but they're still mild enough to be enjoyed by most people (just make sure you don't rub your eyes after handling them!).
On the Scoville Scale, they range from 10,000 to 25,000 SHU.
Aji Limo Peppers
These are a unique type of chili pepper that can be found in Peru and other parts of South America. They have a nice, citrus flavor with just the right amount of heat. You'll definitely want to try these peppers if you're looking for something a bit different in your salsa!
On the Scoville Scale, they range from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU.
Hot Peppers for Salsa:
If you're an experienced salsa lover looking for something a little more adventurous, then these hot peppers are the perfect choice! They'll give your salsa some serious kick that will make your taste buds wake up and take notice.
Be prepared though, these are actually HOT.
Habanero peppers are one of the hottest peppers in existence. They have a unique flavor that's fruity, floral, and sweet... with serious heat. These peppers can be used fresh, dried, or even smoked for an extra special kick.
On the Scoville Scale, they range from 100,000 to 350,000 SHU.
Scotch Bonnet Peppers
These peppers are closely related to habaneros and have a similar flavor and heat profile. They can bit hotter than habaneros, but are in the same ball park... so you'll want to use them with caution. Scotch bonnets are commonly used in Caribbean cuisine and traditional jerk dishes.
On the Scoville Scale, they range from 100,000 to 350,000 SHU.
These small, but mighty peppers are a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine. They have an intense spiciness that will definitely make you stand up and take notice. Just like habaneros and scotch bonnets, they also have fruity and floral notes with the added bonus of an extra layer of heat.
On the Scoville Scale, they range from 50,000 to 100,000 SHU.
X-Hot Peppers for Salsa:
Last, but certainly not least, let's talk about some x-hot peppers you can use for salsa. These are no joke and are extremely hot and should be used with caution. If you want a salsa that will have you crying, these are the peppers to use!
7 Pot Primo Pepper
The 7 Pot Primo pepper is actually a hybrid of the infamous 7 Pot and Naga Viper chilis. It's said to be one of the hottest peppers in existence, so don't say we didn't warn you! This pepper has an intense floral aroma with fruity undertones.
On the Scoville Scale, they range from 1,400,000 to 1,800,000 SHU.
The ghost pepper (also known as the Bhut Jolokia) is one of the most notorious peppers ever grown. It's said to have an intense spiciness that will blow you away. But don't let its reputation scare you, it has a unique flavor that can add extra zing to your salsa!
On the Scoville Scale, they range from 855,000 to 1,050,000 SHU.
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper
The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper is also in the top contenders for the hottest peppers around. It has a floral, nutty, citrusy, and fruity flavor... and a mouth-numbing level of heat that will make your knees buckle. If you're looking for a salsa that's going to make you sweat, this is the pepper for you!
On the Scoville Scale, they range from 1,200,000 to 2,000,000 SHU.
Spicy Salsas to Try
If you're feeling adventurous and want to try some salsas made with these peppers, here are a few recommendations.
Mikey V's - Hatch Green Chile Salsa (Using fire-roasted, certified New Mexico-grown chiles for a delicious mild salsa)
SilverLeaf - Original Ghost Pepper Salsa (A that gives a nice slow burn from none other than the Bhut Jolokia pepper)
Mikey V's - 7 Pot Primo Salsa ( A salsa made with the 7 Pot Primo that will knock your socks off with its fresh taste and tantalizing heat)
SilverLeaf Scorpion Salsa (This salsa is made with one of the hottest peppers in the world, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper)
Now that you know all about salsa peppers and their heat levels on the Scoville Scale, it's time to start eating some salsa! Have fun experimenting with different types of peppers in your salsas and enjoy the ride. Just remember to start slow and work your way up as you get more comfortable with these peppers.