Difference between Jalapenos and Green Chilies
By Rebecca Rodriguez - January 7, 2023

Peppers (Capsicum annuum) are classified into two types: sweet and hot peppers. Green chilies and jalapenos are hot peppers marked by thin walls and a fiery, savory flavor from the alkaloid capsaicin created in the fruit’s membranes. There is no distinction between jalapenos and chili peppers botanically or even on a cursory look at the exterior. However, they appear in different meals to obtain diverse tastes.

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hands touching jalepeno peppers



Jalapeno is a medium-sized chili pepper pod cultivar of the Capsicum annuum species. A mature jalapeno chile is 5-10 cm (2-4 in) long and hangs down with 25-38 mm (1-112 in) broad, round, firm, smooth flesh.

Green chilies are a type of hot green pepper that includes “Anaheim” (Capsicum annuum Anaheim), Jalapeno (Capsicum annuum), and Cayenne (Capsicum annuum “Cayenne”). The term, however, is more popularly used to refer to the large, mild New Mexico peppers such as Anaheim.

Jalapenos vs. Green Chilies

The heat level of green chilies and jalapenos differs significantly. The Scoville heat scale counts the number of capsaicinoids in a pepper, allowing for a scientific assessment of pepper heat. Green chilis contain between 2 500 and 8 000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units), whereas jalapenos have between 5,000 and 15,000 SHU. However, the precise units vary on the type of chili and other factors like weather and growth conditions.

Green chiles are so mild that they can be used in large quantities in recipes. Jalapenos are hotter and are often used as a garnish rather than the main ingredient.

Jalapenos are typically taken when they become green and are not allowed to mature or turn red. If this happens, the flavor it provides diminishes. Conversely, chilies are typically allowed to develop entirely and turn red while retaining acceptable qualities.