Aurora Pepper: Medium-Hot Heirloom Ornamental Peppers

aurora pepper plant
Aurora peppers are heirloom hot peppers grown for their stunning multi-color beauty and medium heat rather than their neutral peppery flavor. They have the same heat level as other hot peppers like cayenne, aji charapita, isot, and tabasco peppers.

What Are Aurora Peppers?

Aurora peppers are Capsicum annuum ornamental peppers that double as culinary peppers because of their medium heat. Like other ornamental peppers, the pods grow upright in clusters.

The name “aurora,” meaning “dawn” in Latin, is given to the peppers because of the variety of colors on its pods.

What Color Are Aurora Peppers?

Aurora peppers start green and ripen through lavender, deep purple, orange, and finally to red at full maturity. The peppers’ ornamental merit draws from their many fruit colors, usually present simultaneously on the same plant.

The green stems and leaves of aurora pepper plants are also showy since they have a purple hue. The plants produce showy white flowers.

How Big Do Aurora Peppers Get?

Aurora peppers reach 1.5 inches long and 0.75 inches wide at full maturity. They have broad shoulders and a tapering profile that ends in a blunt rounded end.

What Do Aurora Peppers Taste Like?

Ornamental peppers are more notable for their beauty rather than flavor, and aurora peppers are no exception. They have a neutral peppery flavor, much like rooster spur peppers—their decorative counterparts. 

purple aurora peppers
Aurora peppers ripen through many color stages as they mature.

What Is The Difference Between An Aurora Pepper And A Bell Pepper?

The shape and size of the two peppers differ. Bell peppers are larger and have a bell-like shape, while aurora peppers have broad shoulders and a tapering body that ends in a rounded blunt point.

Bell peppers grow hanging down from the plant, whereas aurora peppers grow upright, facing the sky.

The two peppers also differ in spiciness and flavor. While bell peppers are zero-heat sweet peppers with a grassy flavor when green, aurora peppers are hot chili peppers with a neutral flavor.

Are Aurora Peppers Edible?

Most people usually have concerns about eating ornamental peppers, opting to grow them only for their beauty rather than culinary applications. However, similar to ornamental peppers like black pearl and black cobra peppers, aurora peppers are edible.

How Hot Are Aurora Peppers?

 At 30,000-50,000 Scoville units on the Scoville Scale, aurora peppers have the same heat level as cayenne, rooster spur, Numex twilight, tabasco, aji charapita, isot, buena mulata, and filius blue peppers

Aurora peppers are much hotter than fresh jalapeno peppers, which score 2,500-8,000 SHUs.

How To Use Aurora Hot Peppers In Cooking

You can use aurora peppers to season colorful, spicy salads and salsas.

The peppers are ideal for making aurora hot chili sauce and seasoning other hot sauces.

You can dry and grind aurora peppers into chili powder and hot pepper flakes.

Pickling aurora peppers makes them an ideal snack or side for pizzas or salads. The vinegar alters the peppers’ neutral flavor and trades it for the tart flavor of the vinegar.

Where To Buy Aurora Peppers

Aurora peppers are rare and unavailable fresh in many areas. You may find them online as pickled peppers and chili powder.

How Do You Grow Aurora Peppers?

Growing aurora peppers from hot pepper seeds purchased online from Amazon and seed catalogs is easy.

The compact plants are bushy, wide, and short at only 12 inches high. They require basic pepper care and maintenance.

Sow aurora pepper seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost to germinate in 10-14 days.

When the frost danger passes, transplant the seedlings outdoors in garden beds, landscape projects, flowerbeds, and containers. Establish the seedlings in full sun with at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.

The open-pollinated aurora peppers mature in 60-75 days after transplanting.

Many growers and landscapers love these peppers as they grow well as perennials through several seasons in warmer climates.

Substitutes For Aurora Peppers

You can substitute aurora peppers with other ornamental and culinary peppers with matching heat.

The flavor won’t be as inspiring if you use other ornamental peppers, so try other hot peppers with bright flavors.

Ornamental pepper varieties like rooster spur, black cobrablack pearl, and count Dracula peppers are excellent alternatives for aurora peppers.

Hot peppers with the same heat level ideal for replacing aurora peppers include cayenne, Numex twilight, filius blue, tabascoaji charapita, and isot peppers.


Peppers have become the meeting point for three of Alex's greatest passions—gardening, cooking and writing. He is happiest watching small plants grow big and heavy with produce, and he can't wait to harvest self-grown fresh produce for his kitchen. When he is not taking care of his pepper plants, you'll find him busy cooking and sampling different peppers as he seeks the next hotter pepper.

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