What Happens When Jalapenos Go Red?

Jalapeños are one of the most popular types of chili peppers used in cooking, with a moderate level of hotness that adds flavor to many dishes. They are usually green in color, but sometimes they turn red. So, what happens when jalapeños go red? Let’s find out.

What Causes Jalapeños to Turn Red?

Jalapeños turn red when they reach full maturity. The ripening process starts when the peppers are green and progresses to yellow, orange, and red. The color of the pepper changes as the chlorophyll breaks down, and the carotenoids, which give fruits and vegetables their bright colors, become more dominant. The ripening process can be influenced by various factors such as temperature, humidity, and light exposure.

Are Red Jalapeños Spicier than Green Jalapeños?

The level of spiciness in jalapeños, whether green or red, depends on several factors such as the plant variety, growing conditions, and harvesting time. However, most people tend to associate the red jalapeños with being spicier than the green ones, which is not entirely true. In fact, the spiciness of jalapeños tends to decrease as they ripen, and the red ones are usually less hot than the green ones due to the breakdown of capsaicin, the compound responsible for the chili’s heat.

Are Red Jalapeños Healthier than Green Jalapeños?

Both red and green jalapeños are highly nutritious and contain various health benefits. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that help boost the immune system, improve digestion, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. However, red jalapeños tend to be higher in certain antioxidants such as beta-carotene, which has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, and eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

What are Some Ways to Use Red Jalapeños in Cooking?

Red jalapeños can be used in various dishes to add flavor, color, and heat. Here are some ideas:

  • Mince them and add them to salsa, guacamole, or pico de gallo.
  • Use them as a garnish for soups, stews, or salads.
  • Make a spicy marinade or rub for meat or fish.
  • Add them to pasta dishes, stir-fries, or tacos.
  • Make a spicy jam or jelly to serve with cheese or crackers.

How to Store Red Jalapeños?

To store red jalapeños, place them in a plastic bag and refrigerate them for up to one week. You can also freeze them whole or sliced for up to three months. Alternatively, you can dry them and store them in an airtight container for up to six months.

What are Some Varieties of Red Jalapeños?

There are several varieties of red jalapeños, each with its unique flavor, heat level, and appearance. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Variety Heat Level Appearance
Fresno Red Medium Thicker, slightly curved, glossy and bright red
Early Jalapeño Mild to medium Small and stocky, tapering to a blunt end, bright red
Tam Jalapeño Medium Longer than other varieties, wrinkled, and deep red
Cherry Hot Jalapeño Hot Small and round, deep red

Are There Any Side Effects of Eating Red Jalapeños?

Eating red jalapeños in moderation is safe for most people and may even have health benefits. However, consuming too many or consuming them if you have an existing medical condition like acid reflux or ulcers may cause some side effects such as:

  • Stomach pain or discomfort
  • Heartburn or acid reflux
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Excessive sweating or flushing
  • Allergic reactions in some people


Red jalapeños are a tasty and nutritious ingredient that can add a kick of flavor and color to many dishes. They are usually less hot than their green counterparts and are rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene. Storing and using them is relatively straightforward, and there are many varieties to choose from. However, eating too many red jalapeños may cause some side effects, so it’s best to consume them in moderation and seek medical advice if you have any concerns.


Here are some common questions and answers about red jalapeños:

  • Can you eat red jalapeños raw? Yes, you can eat red jalapeños raw, but be aware that they may be less hot and more sweet than the green ones.
  • Can you substitute red jalapeños for green jalapeños in recipes? Yes, you can substitute red jalapeños for green jalapeños in most recipes, but be aware that the flavor and heat level may be different.
  • Can red jalapeños cause heartburn? Yes, eating too many red jalapeños may cause heartburn or acid reflux in some people, especially if they have an existing medical condition.
  • Are red jalapeños hotter than habaneros? No, habaneros are much hotter than red jalapeños, with a Scoville rating of 100,000 to 350,000 compared to jalapeños’ 2,500 to 8,000.
  • What are some recipes that use red jalapeños? Red jalapeños can be used in many recipes such as salsa, guacamole, tacos, stir-fries, and soups, among others.


[1] https://www.bonappetit.com/story/red-jalapenos-guide

[2] https://www.maangchi.com/ingredient/red-jalapeno-pepper

[3] https://www.organicauthority.com/energetic-health/the-health-benefits-of-eating-hot-peppers

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