Anaheim Pepper: Mild Southwestern Chili Pepper

anaheim peppers
Anaheim peppers are mild chili peppers named after the California city of Anaheim, where they were made famous by Emilio Ortega of the Ortega brand of Mexican foods. The pepper goes by other names, such as New Mexico peppers/chilis and Hatch chili peppers. The Anaheim chili is a versatile pepper that is delicious, easy to grow, and commonly used in various Mexican and Southwestern dishes.

What Are Anaheim Peppers?

The Anaheim pepper is a mild green chili named after the California city of Anaheim. It’s a highly versatile pepper that is delicious, easy to grow, and commonly used in various Mexican and Southwestern dishes.

However, the Anaheim pepper originates from New Mexico, where it’s still grown in different versions.

Anaheim peppers are an indispensable spice in Mexican and Southwestern cooking.

They taste tangy, sweet, and smoky, with a mild to medium heat level. The heat in Anaheim peppers does not linger like that of other spicy chilies.

Anaheim peppers are medium-sized and can grow up to 10 inches long with a curved body. They are typically harvested and used when green, but can be left to ripen to red.

red and green anaheim peppers
Red and green Anaheim peppers.

How Spicy Is An Anaheim Chili?

Anaheim chilis feature mild to medium spiciness. he low-heat chili falls in the 500-2,500 range of the Scoville scale.

Anaheims are considered quite mild compared to the jalapeno pepper, which is 2,500-8,000 SHUs.

Are Anaheim Peppers Hot Or Sweet?

Anaheim chile’s taste is described as tangy, sweet, and smoky with mild heat. While it does have some slight heat, it is not the kind that lingers like other hot peppers.

What Color Are Anaheim Peppers?

Anaheim peppers are typically harvested and used when green. However, they can be left on the plant to ripen to a vibrant red.

As with other peppers, the longer they’re left to ripen, and the deeper red they become, the spicier they are. So when we talk about Anaheim peppers at the upper end of the heat range, the red ones will be closer to 2,500 SHUs.

Are Anaheim Peppers The Same As Jalapenos?

No, Anaheim peppers and jalapenos are different peppers.

Anaheim peppers are about 5 – 16x milder than jalapenos. They’re just above the heat level of a pepperoncini.

While jalapenos are spicier, neither pepper will have you sweating buckets from eating them—even raw. Since Anaheims are milder, you can easily substitute them in recipes that call for jalapenos when you want less spice, especially in dishes with raw peppers like jalapeno cream cheese dip.

They’re both typically used green, but color is where their similarities in appearance end. Jalapenos max out at 2 – 4 inches, while Anaheim chilis can grow up to 10 inches. Both feature a distinct chili curve, although the Anaheim pepper features broader shoulders with a pointier bottom than the more round-shouldered jalapeno.

anaheim vs jalapeno
Anaheim vs. jalapeno peppers.

Although their sizes are different, both have thick walls ideal for stuffing.

When it comes to taste, the two are distinctly different. The jalapeno is a little bitter with a bright grassy bite, while the Anaheim is more similar to the bell pepper – boasting a slightly sweet taste with a kick. Even when left to ripen, red Anaheims are still about three times milder than a red jalapeno.

Varieties Of Anaheim Peppers

Some of the varieties of Anaheim peppers are;

  • “Seco Del Norte,” “Chile De La Tierra,” or “Verde Del Norte” – These are Anaheim peppers that are picked and dried when green.
  • California Red or Chili Colorado – These Anaheim peppers are harvested and dried when red. The red shade is a result of ripening.

How To Cook With Anaheim Peppers

In Mexican and Southwest cuisine, the Anaheim pepper is typical in cooked and raw dishes.

Some preparations include:

  • Charred or roasted and blended into a cream sauce
  • Stuffed with meats and cheeses then baked or grilled
  • Sauteed for fajitas, burritos, or pasta dishes
  • Soups and stews, especially chile Verde or chicken tortilla soup
  • Diced raw in salsas, especially fruit salsas with mango, pineapple, or peach
  • Chile Relleno style, stuffed, battered, and fried then topped with a ranchero or cream sauce
  • Salsa Verde, which is green salsa with tomatillos
  • Casseroles and breakfast bakes
  • Bacon-wrapped, cream cheese stuffed “popper” style
  • Healthy California chili – with zucchini, avocado, rice, corn, cheese, black beans, tomatoes, eggs, poultry, pork, coriander, and cumin
  • Baked into breads like cornbread and cheddar biscuits
  • Spicy cocktails like margaritas and Palomas where you would normally use a jalapeno

Anaheim Pepper Cooking Tips

Consider these cooking tips when using Anaheim peppers:


Matured red Anaheim peppers will have more heat and fruitiness, unlike fresh green Anaheim peppers, which will have a fresher, grassier flavor.

You can use these tastes to your advantage when cooking.

For instance, you can use a red Anaheim pepper for a sweet fruit salsa and a green Anaheim pepper for a traditional tomato-based salsa.


The heat range of Anaheim peppers can be surprising! One fruit might be super mild, while another might match the heat and spiciness of a mild jalapeno.

Always taste a small piece of Anaheim pepper before using it to give you an idea of its spiciness.


The capsaicin compound that determines a pepper’s spiciness is also present in Anaheim peppers. While Anaheims are milder, chili burns can still occur.

Using gloves while handling any hot peppers can protect your skin and eyes.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Anaheim Peppers?

If you aren’t a fan of chile peppers or hot peppers, you might be missing out on an array of health benefits. Anaheim peppers boast plenty of health benefits such as:

  • Rich in vitamins A, B6, K, and C
  • Rich in capsaicin (a potent anti-inflammatory compound that promotes heart health)
  • Low calorie and lots of flavor for those on weight loss diets
  • May reduce the risk of diabetes
  • May prevent different types of cancer
  • May stabilize blood pressure


ErIka didn’t grow up with gardening or peppers but she’s turned out to be a spicy foods enthusiast. Today, she not only loves super-hot chilies but also finds solace growing hot peppers. She grows different types of peppers using growing devices, automated indoor gardens, and containers. Keep it here for all matters peppers!

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