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The Ultimate Guide to The Jalapeños Scoville Rating

Updated: May 2, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Jalapeño Scoville Rating

Jalapeño peppers are a staple in many kitchens and cuisines around the world. However, not all jalapeños are created equal in terms of their heat level. The Scoville rating is a measurement used to determine the heat of various chili peppers, including the jalapeño.

With some basic understanding of the Scoville Scale, it can help you choose the right level of heat for your dishes and ensure that you're not caught off guard by a pepper that's hotter than you intended.

So we want to dive into the history of the Scoville rating, the factors that affect jalapeño heat, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage in the kitchen.

What is A Scoville Rating

The Scoville rating, developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912, is a measure of the concentration of capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the heat of chili peppers.

jalapeno peppers

The Scoville rating is determined by diluting a chili pepper extract with sugar water until the heat can no longer be detected by a panel of tasters. The number of dilutions required to reach this point is then translated into Scoville heat units (SHUs), with higher numbers indicating greater heat.

Simple enough!

Initially, the Scoville rating process was subjective and used human tasters to determine the heat. However, in recent years, technology has enabled a more accurate measurement of the concentration of capsaicin, resulting in a more objective and quantitative measure of pepper heat.

Today, the Scoville rating is still widely used by chili pepper enthusiasts, hot sauce makers, and food manufacturers.

The Jalapeño Pepper

Jalapeño peppers originated in Mexico, and are named after the city of Jalapa. They are a popular chili pepper used in a variety of dishes, known for their mild to moderately spicy heat and slightly sweet flavor.

green and red jalapenos peppers plant

Jalapeños are generally 2-3 inches long and range in color from green to red. The pepper's heat is primarily found in the pith and seeds, with the flesh having a milder flavor.

Jalapeños are often used in Mexican cuisines, such as salsas, guacamole, and nacho toppings, but they can also be used as a topping on various dishes, including pizza, burgers, and sandwiches.

The versatility of jalapeños, paired with their unique flavor profile, make them a popular choice when cooking with chili peppers!

Now let's dive into the heat of jalapeño and their Scoville rating.

The Heat of A Jalapeño Pepper

The spiciness of jalapeños is due to the presence of capsaicin, a chemical compound found in the pith and seeds of chili peppers. Capsaicin stimulates the pain receptors in our mouth, resulting in the sensation of heat.

The heat level of jalapeños can vary depending on a number of factors:

  • Growing conditions (such as humidity and rainfall)

  • The time of harvest

  • Individual plant genetics

  • The thickness of the inner placenta

  • The number of seeds and pith

These all can greatly affect just how the pepper is going to be.

In general, younger jalapeños tend to be spicier than more mature ones. Additionally, jalapeños that are exposed to stress during growth (such as high temperatures or drought) will often produce hotter peppers.

The heat level can also vary based on how the pepper is prepared. Removing the seeds and the pith of a jalapeño can reduce its overall heat by quite a lot due to the seeds carrying the majority of its heat. Cooking jalapeños can also reduce the heat level, although the degree to which it is reduced is dependent on the cooking method.

jalapeno poppers

The Scoville Rating of Jalapeños

Jalapeños have a Scoville rating that ranges from 2,500 to 8,000. While this may seem low compared to some of the hotter peppers like the 7 pot primo or Carolina reapers, jalapeños still pack a decent amount of heat.

To put it into perspective, here is the Scoville rating of the jalapeño pepper alongside some other well-known peppers:

  • Bell pepper: 0 SHU

  • Anaheim pepper: 500-1,000 SHU

  • Jalapeño pepper: 2,500-8,000 SHU

  • Serrano pepper: 10,000-25,000 SHU

  • Tabasco pepper: 30,000-50,000 SHU

  • Scotch Bonnet: 100,000–350,000 SHU

  • Habanero pepper: 150,000-570,000 SHU

It's important to note that while the Scoville rating can be a good indicator of how hot a jalapeño pepper is, there is still a level of variance due to the many factors that can affect heat levels in peppers.

Additionally, the Scoville rating only measures a pepper's heat level based on capsaicin concentration and does not take into account other flavor components that can contribute to a pepper's overall spicy flavor profile.

Jalapeño Hot Sauces

sam sauce made with jalapeno peppers

Jalapeño hot sauces are a great way to add some heat and flavor to dishes without having to directly utilize the chili pepper. They are also a great way to control the level of spiciness, as hot sauce makers often blend jalapeños with other ingredients such as vinegar, salt, garlic, and other herbs and spices in order to create unique flavors.

Most jalapeño hot sauces will have a Scoville rating between 1,500-10,000 SHUs depending on the specific recipe used. This can range from mild to quite spicy and allows for a wide range of flavor profiles that appeal to different palates.

With that being said, here are a few of our favorite and recommended jalapeño hot sauces.

Cooking and Consumption of Jalapeños

In 2019 here in the United States, we harvested over 10,00 acres of jalapeños. Which have been valued at around 63 million dollars. It's become an extremely popular pepper in the U.S. and many other counties because of how versatile it is.

Jalapeños can be cooked in a variety of ways to add flavor and heat to dishes.

Here are a few tips for cooking with jalapeños:

Roasting Jalapeños

Roasting jalapeños can add a smoky flavor to the peppers and reduce their heat level. To roast jalapeños, slice them in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and pith. Place the jalapeño halves cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until the skin is blistered and charred.

Deseeding and Dicing

If you want to reduce the heat of jalapeños, removing the seeds and pith is the most effective method. Simply slice the jalapeño in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and white membrane. You can then dice the jalapeño and add it to salsas, guacamole, or any other dish that calls for a bit of heat.

Pickling Jalapeños

Pickling jalapeños will reduce their heat level significantly, while also preserving their flavor. To pickle jalapeños, combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Add sliced jalapeños to the mixture and let cool before storing in the refrigerator.

Eating Raw Jalapeños

Eating raw jalapeños can be a flavorful and spicy addition to salads, sandwiches, or as a snack. However, eating raw jalapeños can be quite intense for those who aren't used to the heat.

pickled jalapenos in a jar

Utilizing Jalapeños As A Versatile Pepper

Jalapeños are a popular pepper that adds flavor and heat to dishes. The heat level of jalapeños can vary depending on the growing conditions, harvest time, genetics, and other factors.

In general, though, younger jalapeños tend to be spicier than older peppers. The Scoville rating of jalapeños ranges from 2,500 to 8,000. Depending on the preparation of the pepper, you can enjoy its full heat levels or reduce it to just the pepper's flavors.

With sweet earthy tones and versatile heat levels, the jalapeño is a fantastic pepper that can be used in many different and flavorful ways! The question is... How will you use it?

Leave a comment down below on some of your favorite ways to the pepper or how you plan on using it next.


Marge Teilhaber
Marge Teilhaber
Aug 29, 2023

Would love to hear from somebody re my question about seeded and deveined jalapeno vs green bell. I stay away from hot spicy and tried jalapeno once. After seeding and deveining, it tasted exactly the same as a green bell. I take it that's not correct?

Mikey V
Mikey V
Aug 29, 2023
Replying to

Hey great question here! You are correct! The ribs and seeds DO contain a majority of the Capsaicin which is what makes the Jalapeno (and all chili peppers) spicy. When you remove the seeds and ribs a majority of the spice is removed from the chili pepper. With that said, Capsaicin is very strong and will often leach into the flesh of the chili pepper leaving some residual heat. Removing the seeds and ribs will not turn a Jalapeno into a Green Bell Pepper as they are genetically different fruits. HOWEVER, you will get a closer flavor profile to a green bell pepper if you remove the seeds and ribs.

A word of caution though, Jalapeno Peppers have a WIDE…


Marge Teilhaber
Marge Teilhaber
Jul 23, 2023

If the ribs and seeds are totally removed, doesn't a jalapeno become a regular green bell? I hate a burning mouth! So my limited experience with jalapeno tells me that I should buy whatever is cheaper, and I predict the green bell is cheaper. Am I right about the comparison of seeded and deveined jalapeno with green bell?

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