Peruvian White Habanero: Spicy, Rare Creamy-White Hot Pepper

peruvian white habaneros
The Peruvian white habanero (a Capsicum chinense strain) is a variety of the habanero pepper with 100,000-350,000 SHUs (Scoville heat units). It can be used in cream sauces, salsas, and pepper powders.

What Are Peruvian White Habanero Peppers?

Peruvian white habaneros are rare chili peppers native to Peru. They are also called Peruvian white lightning habaneros and habanero white bullets.

The chilies are small, sometimes with a slightly elongated shape and sometimes lantern-shaped like other habaneros. They are up to two inches (five cm) long and 0.75 inches (1.9 cm) wide. They’re characterized by a creamy-white color, which is completely unique compared to their vibrantly colored relatives.

White habaneros have a fruity and smoky flavor. In contrast to other habaneros, these peppers are first green, then yellow. They turn white when they are ripe. Since Peruvian white habanero peppers are a plant variety and not genetically modified, this special color change happens naturally.

peruvian white habaneros
Peruvian white habaneros.

How Hot Is A White Habanero?

white habanero has 100,000-350,000 SHUs. It’s three to 10 times hotter than cayennes and four to 100 times hotter than an average jalapeno pepper.

How is a white habanero different from a regular habanero?

A Peruvian white habanero is three times hotter than a regular habanero. Here’s how it compares to a few other habanero peppers:

  • Habanada pepper. This is the only sweet habanero that’s not hot. It was genetically modified to achieve a distinct fruity flavor with zero heat.
  • Green habanero. This chili pepper has similar heat levels on average. Its flavor is fruity as well but also fiery and citrusy.
  • White jellybean habanero. With the same heat level and color, the main differences between the white jellybeans and the Peruvian white habaneros are their size and shape. White jellybean habaneros are smaller and rounder.
  • Peach habanero. While also fruity and similarly hot, these peppers are distinguished from white habaneros by their elongated shape and peachy-orange color.
  • Caribbean red habanero. With 300,000-500,000 SHUs, it’s two to four times hotter than an orange habanero. It has a strong smoky flavor and citrusy undertones.

Which Habanero Is The Hottest?

The Red savina habanero is considered the hottest habanero and one of the hottest chilies in the world. It has 350,000-577,000 SHUs.

From 1994 to 2006, the red savina held the Guinness title of the hottest pepper in the world.

What Food Can You Put White Habaneros In?

White habaneros pair well with:

  • Hot sauces
  • Salsas
  • Pepper powders
  • Marinades
  • Soups

An example of a delicious recipe with white habaneros and fresh fruit is a mango habanero salsa.

White habaneros are also good in cream-based dishes where you want to add a surprising shock of heat without red and orange specs of peppers.

Where To Buy White Habaneros

You may find bottled sauces with white habaneros at your local grocery shop, but these peppers are rare and usually not sold commercially. You’re more likely to find organic white habanero seeds at various heirloom seed online shops.

Substitutes For White Habanero Peppers

Since Peruvian white habaneros have 100,000-350,000 SHUs, the best substitute with the same heat level is the Caribbean scotch bonnet. The heat will hit you first with this chili, but it has a sweet and faint fruit undertone. It’s usually used in hot sauces and in the popular Jamaican jerk sauce.

Another alternative to white habaneros is the devil’s tongue. It comes in at 125,000-325,000 SHUs and has a similar flavor profile to a habanero pepper. Its base is fruity and citrusy with a tangy undertone.

If you’re up for a citrusy flavor without so much heat, you can try aji cito peppers. They have 80,000-100,000 SHUs and are an excellent addition to salads and salsas.

If habaneros are at the top of your heat threshold, stay away from ghost peppers, Trinidad scorpion Butch Ts, and of course, Carolina reapers, as they’re all much hotter than habaneros.

Can You Grow White Habaneros?

You can grow white habaneros from non-GMO, heirloom pepper seeds at home. White habanero pepper plants are prolific, so you won’t need many seeds to start a few plants.

The plants mature in about 90 days. Habanero pepper seeds need a consistent heat of 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 degrees Celsius) during germination.

Sow them 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) deep and keep them in bright light and moist soil for about seven to 21 days. Once they sprout, transfer them into pots. They’re ready for outside planting when each plant has six true leaves. Make sure to plant them at least 30 inches (76 cm) apart, and enjoy watching dozens of pods forming on your plants.


Alexandra is a passionate foodie who loves to cook and try out various spicy foods. Experimenting with chilies is her new way of pushing the limits in the kitchen. Here at PepperDodo, she shares her recipes and cooking tips.

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