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Fresno Chili Substitute – Top 12 Candidates Most Popular Of Consumers

Is looking for a Fresno chili substitute giving you a hard time? Don’t worry! Our article has covered everything you need! Check it out now to find out!

Fresno peppers have been a go-to choice for foodies who are looking for a twist on the norm. It delivers a slight spiciness to the food, stimulating your appetite to enjoy the meal eagerly. Plus, the sweetness and smokiness of the fruit pull all the different tastes of the dish together, making it impossible to stop devouring once you’ve dug in. 

However, sometimes they won’t be available when you need them due to limited seasonality. Don’t let your plan go to waste just because of this small issue. A Fresno chili substitute can get the job done in a pinch. There are tons of peppers that can bring out no less appealing flavor to replace the original ingredient. That’s also what you’re going to find in our article. 

Please keep reading to fill in the missing spot on your recipe with our best candidates for Fresno chili substitution!

The Best Fresno Chili Substitute

1. Jalapeno Pepper

Similar to Fresno pepper in the way it tastes and looks, Jalapenos rank first in the recommended substitutions list. It originates in Mexico and has become popular worldwide with its popular flavor.

Jalapeno Pepper

These two kinds are so alike that they are often mistaken for each other in terms of appearance. They both have a length of 2-3 inches with curved silhouettes, maturing from green to vibrant red. While the Fresno one ranges from 2500 to 10000 Scoville Heat Unit (SHU), the latter has a mild heat level of 5000 SHU. Therefore, dishes using this substitution are hot but not as spicy as the original version. 

One Jalapeno chili contains more vitamin C than an orange. The red Jalapenos have a hint of sweetness, so natives often pluck them down and eat them as snacks.

2. Chipotle Pepper

Chipotle chilies are dried and smoked Jalapenos. They also come from Mexico, particularly from the Xalapa town. Chipotles start out as ripened Jalapenos; then, they’re thoroughly smoked without cooking. It is this special process that gives it a smoky flavor, combined with the sweetness of ripe peppers to make an incomparable treat.

Chipotle Pepper

If you’re on the lookout for Fresno’s smokiness, Chipotles can be a great choice. They vary from 5000 to 10000 SHU, pretty much the same heat as Fresnos. 

When using this replacement, the only thing you need to keep in mind is that its smokiness is more condensed than the original ingredient. Thus, you should lessen the amount used when cooking in half lest the smoky taste gets too overwhelming.

For storage, you can either keep the can in the fridge or freeze them in measuring spoons to preserve Chipotle.

3. Serrano Peppers

Also growing in Mexico, Serranos ranks second in popularity, just behind Jalapenos. This variety also has the same bright color as Fresno chilies but is smaller with ½ inch wide. 

Serrano Peppers

When you bite into a Serrano pepper, it delivers the same slight sweetness. However, the Scoville Heat Units for it is from 10000 to 23000 SHU, which is far greater than many of its cousins. Therefore, if you have great heat tolerance, give this one a shot and experience the delicious heat rush it produces. 

With this Red Fresno chili pepper substitute, there are many recipes for you to pick from. Usually, it is eaten raw or mixed in salsa, pico de gallo, or guacamole. You can also put it in soups to add spikes of spiciness. 

4. Cayenne Pepper

This variety can effortlessly serve the basic function of chilies in cuisine with a stand-out heat profile – from 30000 to 50000 SHU. It is 2 to 5 inches long, skinny with a curved tip. 

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a staple in American, Mexican, and Creole cuisine, used to make sauce or as seasonings for ground Turkey. Once dried and grounded, it is also consumed as spice powder in Asian cuisines such as Korean and China.

This kind of chili offers many potential health benefits. It is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, essential to our immune system. Some people also use it as a remedy for coughs, congestion, and colds. Consuming a proper amount of this fruit might even help you lose weight by increasing your core body temperature.

5. Holland Chilies

This Fresno chili pepper substitute averages 3 to 4 inches and has a smooth, glossy and taut skin. It is milder than Fresnos (5000 to 10000 SHU) with a sweet and fruity flavor, making it an ideal option for salads, soups, or baking. 

Holland peppers can be harvested all year round, with peak seasons in summer and autumn. In other words, this fruit is always available for you to get. 

If you store these chilies whole and unwashed in a plastic bag in the fridge, they can last from 1 to 2 weeks.

6. Thai Luang Peppers

Look for a substitute with its shape akin to Fresnos? You can’t go wrong with Thai Luang chilies. They come in various colors, including green, red, yellow, and orange, despite what their name suggests (“Luang” in Thai means yellow). Thai chilies can lend your food a vibrant visual with that many color choices.

Thai Luang Peppers

The heat level can change from quite mild to pretty hot depending on the particular strain of chilies you picked up. This versatility allows the fruit to go well with both sweet and spicy recipes.

7. Thai Jinda Chilies

Thai Jinda is one of the most common peppers used in Thai cuisine. It can substitute for Fresno chili in many dishes thanks to the same fiery and fresh taste it produces. The fruit also treats you with an earthy profile and a hint of citrus to make any familiar dishes more appealing.

Thai Jinda Chilies

One more special thing about Thai Jinda is that the fruit doesn’t have hard seeds that might bother you while enjoying your meal like some other varieties.  

These tender peppers have a spice level of around 75000 SHU, which can be too hot if your spice tolerance is low. However, Thai people still love them since they can provide good heat, satisfying occasional spicy food cravings. 

Like many other peppers, Thai Jinda also loads with vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium, acting as natural seasonings to your recipe without being too overwhelming.

8. Tien Tsin Pepper

These peppers are named after a province in China where they originated. Tien Tsin has a long-form small body covered in a bright shade of red. However, don’t let this cute appearance fool you! Hiding behind that attractive cover is a heat profile of 50000-75000 SHU. 

Tien Tsin is often found in Kungbao chicken and Sichuan or Hunan dishes. In these cuisines, the chilies are dried and then used to spice a dish while cooking. 

If you are trying this Fresno chili substitute, crushing them into flakes or powder as a spicy condiment is a good place to start. This way, you can control the spiciness of your food through the amount of powder put in.

Unfortunately, Tien Tsin is not as easy to purchase as other varieties since you can’t find them in the mainstream supermarkets. Go to some specialty stores or online shops, and you can get both dried Tien Tsin and their seeds. 

9. Red Chili Pepper

This pepper earns its place on this list with the sweet and flavorful taste it delivers. Moreover, as the fruit matures, its heat and taste stay the same unlike Fresnos, which loses some of its flavors over time.

Red Chili Pepper

Red chili peppers can be consumed whole or ground. People often used the whole dried ones in cooking as well. These chilies do a good job of adding intensity and heat to the food, featured in many South American, Asian, and Indian countries. 

Compared to Tien Tsin, these peppers are more popular as you can get them in stores.

10. Black Pepper

As a spice world traveler, black pepper can wake up your taste buds in many dishes, including those needing Fresno chilies. This spice is native to the Malabar Coast of India and then spreads to tropical areas of Africa and the Hemisphere.

Black pepper has an aromatic and penetrating odor with hot and strong pungency. Sprinkle a little bit of it on your dish, and soon you’ll be mouth-watering at the mesmerizing smell.

Black Pepper

Black peppers can be stored whole or ground in a dry, cool area and last for three years.

This alternative is also very good for your health. They are a good source of alkaloid piperine, which has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, while too much salt can be bad for your diet, this ingredient can also be used in place of salt to spice up your meal.

11. Habanero

This is a unique approach to replacing Fresnos in your recipe. Consider giving this substitution a shot if you can tolerate the scorching, raging heat and burn.


Habanero ranges from 100000 to 350000 SHU, which at one point made it the world’s hottest chilies. Don’t let your guard down yet just because it doesn’t maintain the first place anymore. This one is a seriously hot pepper. You need to adjust the amount according to your heat tolerance carefully. 

The good thing is that there is also a bit of flavor besides the hot kick. You can pick up a hint of citrus and smoke, which can take your sandwich or meal to another level of pain and pleasure!

12. Scotch Bonnet

Like Hanabero, this pepper can make any bland meal more exotic and appealing with its excellent heat profile (100000 to 350000 SHU). It is named for its resemblance to a tam o shanter hat. You can find this fruit easily in West Africa and the Caribbean. 

Scotch Bonnet

Ripe Scotch bonnet is usually yellow or red. However, there are also other varieties that turn orange, pink, or even brown at maturity. 

One bite into the pepper, and you can feel the spiciness, the fruitiness, and the slight sweetness erupting. 

Handling a 100000 SHU Scotch Bonnet always requires care. You need to wear gloves and clean the cutting board thoroughly after cutting the chilies to avoid spreading capsaicin.

Fresno Red Chilies And Red Jalapeno

As mentioned above, these two varieties have almost identical appearances; both are medium-size green peppers that turn red when matured. However, there are still several differences between them so that you don’t mistake them for each other.

Fresno Red Chilies And Red Jalapeno

The first different feature lies in the thickness of the chilies’ skins. Jalapenos have a thicker wall than Fresnos’, which makes the latter more suitable for drying.

In the ripening process, Fresno develops a fruity and sweet taste while increasing in hotness at the same time. On the other hand, there are no changes in the taste and heat of Jalapenos while heading towards maturity. This difference also leads to ripe Frenos (2000 to 10000 SHU) being hotter than Jalapenos (5000 SHU). 

The recipes calling for Jalapeno and Fresno chili are also not the same. While Frenos are commonly seen in salsa, ceviche, and side dishes for rice, the first one is often used to make pickles and salsa. 

Similar to Fresno peppers, Jalapenos are also harvested in summer and fall. If, by chance, both of these varieties aren’t available when you need them, don’t worry because there are still other kinds to substitute for Jalapeno.


Can you substitute jalapeno for Fresno chili?

Yes, you can substitute jalapeño for Fresno chili peppers in most recipes. Jalapeños are slightly hotter than Fresno peppers, so you may want to use fewer of them or remove the seeds and ribs before using them. Serrano peppers would also be a good substitution for Fresno peppers.

What’s The Milder Substitute For Fresno Chilis?

If the 2000 to 10000 SHU heat profile is still too much for you, try these peppers below.

  • Mirasol is chili from Mexico with a moderate spice level of 3500. You can apply Mirasol on meat, salsa, marinades, or pastes.
  • The poblano pepper is also a good choice since its SHU ranges from 1000 to 2000, spicy enough to give a kick to your homemade dishes without being too hot.
  • Pimentos might be the friendliest one out of these three substitutions since they only register from 100 to 500 SHU. Compared to Fresnos, these cute chilies are 50 times milder.

Can I Use Dry Substitutes For Fresno Chilis?

The answer is yes. Dried peppers can still add heat and intensity to your dish like the fresh ones. If you buy chipotles, you also get to enjoy the sweet and smoky flavor along with the heat punch that only this variety can give.

Is Fresno pepper hotter than Jalapeno?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it can vary depending on the specific pepper and where it is grown. However, in general, Fresno peppers are considered to be slightly hotter than jalapeno peppers. According to the shares from many chefs, when they use Fresno chili for salads or sauces, the taste is a bit spicier than with jalapeno peppers.

Are Fresno peppers very hot?

No, Fresno peppers are not particularly hot. They rank at about a 4 on the Scoville heat scale, which means they are only slightly spicy. If you are looking for a more fiery pepper, try something like a jalapeño or serrano pepper instead.

How to store Fresno peppers?

Fresno peppers can be stored in a number of ways, depending on how you plan to use them. If you want to keep them fresh for eating raw, then the best way to store them is in the fridge, either in a plastic bag or container. If you’re planning on cooking with them, then you can store them in the freezer. Peppers can also be dried, which is a great way to store them for later use in cooking.

To dry Fresno peppers, simply slice them lengthwise and lay them out on a dehydrator tray. Dehydrate at a low temperature until the peppers are completely dry. Once they’re dry, you can store them in an airtight container in the pantry.

Dried Fresno chile peppers can also be ground into powder, which is a great way to add flavor to dishes. To preserve Fresno peppers in vinegar, simply place them in a jar and cover them with vinegar. Be sure to use mild vinegar, such as white vinegar, so that it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the peppers. Peppers preserved in vinegar will last for several months in the pantry.


The same familiar dishes you eat every day can be boring at some point, making it impossible to see the joy of culinary. Using Fresnos can shake things up while offering many health benefits. In case you can’t purchase any of this variety, let our Fresno chili substitute list assist you in keeping your plan going smoothly.

Thank you for reading!

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