Santa Fe Grande Pepper: Mild Yellow Hot Chili Pepper

Santa Fe Grande yellow hot chili pepper
Santa Fe Grande peppers are unique three-color cycle peppers that ripen from yellow to orange to fiery red. They are grown mainly in the American Southwest for their mild heat, color variation, tobamovirus resistance, and heavy yields.

What Is A Santa Fe Grande Pepper?

A Santa Fe Grande pepper is yellow hot chili pepper popular in the Southwestern United States as an ornamental pepper and versatile kitchen pepper. 

Santa Fe Grande peppers are also called guero chilis, yellow hot chili peppers, and Santa Fe Grande hot peppers.

The open-pollinated peppers are famed for their marked resistance to the tobacco mosaic virus.

santa fe grande peppers
Santa Fe Grande, also called guero, peppers.


Santa Fe Grande chiles are unique from most other peppers in that they start out yellow rather than green before ripening to bright orange and finally to fiery red.

The three colors of guero chiles are often seen on the same plant simultaneously when different pepper fruits are at various maturity and ripening stages.

Furthermore, the colors usually have transitions between the stages, so you can find guero chiles starting out as pale yellow or greenish-yellow and ripening to orange-red and eventually to fiery red.

The presence of the three colors on the same plant makes Santa Fe Grande peppers a favorite among pepper growers for their beauty in container gardens or direct-soil gardens.

Shape And Size

At 3-5 inches long and 1.5 inches wide, yellow hot chili peppers are one of the larger heirloom pepper varieties in the Capsicum annuum species.

The peppers are conical and taper to a rounded blunt point, much like Fresno chilis and Hungarian wax peppers. Unripe guero chiles resemble Hungarian wax peppers, which are also yellow when unripe and ripen to a bright red.


The skin of Santa Fe Grande peppers is dry, smooth, and glossy. The peppers have thick, firm flesh, which makes them crunchy and fun to eat raw or pickled.

How Hot Is A Santa Fe Grande Pepper?

Although they are called hot peppers, Santa Fe Grande peppers are mild at only 500-700 Scoville Heat Units. 

Like their heat level, the sweetness of Santa Fe Grande peppers is only mild. The chiles also have a slightly smoky flavor and citrusy tang.

What Are Santa Fe Grande Peppers Good For?

Like other mild-heat peppers with sweet notes, Santa Fe Grande peppers are good in dishes requiring mild spiciness and a sweet, smoky flavor.

You can eat the peppers raw or cooked in salads, sandwiches, and salsas.

When freshly picked, guero peppers are ideal for pickling. You can eat the pickled peppers as a snack or as a topping on your favorite Tex-Mex and Southwest dishes.

Fresh Santa Fe Grande peppers are also ideal for making mild-heat hot sauces, such as fermented Santa Fe Grande hot sauce. They also make excellent sauces when mixed with other spicier red peppers, like Fresno or serrano.

If you love stuffed peppers, the thick fruity walls of Santa Fe Grande peppers make it possible to stuff them for baking, grilling, oven-roasting, or frying. However, you’ll have to heat them longer to ensure they cook evenly.

Some Santa Fe Grande hot pepper recipes you could try include:

Can You Grow Guero Chili Peppers?

You can grow Guero chili peppers in pots or directly in a garden. They require full sun with 8-12 hours of sunshine daily and a cool shade in hot summers.

santa fe grande peppers
Santa Fe Grande pepper plant with unripe yellow peppers.

Guero peppers require well-drained loamy soils enriched with organic matter. The soil should be slightly acidic to neutral, with pH values ranging from 6.0 to 7.2.

Santa Fe Grande pepper seeds are available online or at local garden stores. However, being an heirloom pepper, the seeds may be hard to find in many localities outside the Southwest.

To grow the pepper, start the hot pepper seeds indoors in germination containers in the spring to early summer growing season before the warm night temperatures. This should be about two weeks after the last spring frost or 6-12 weeks before the last frost date.

Germination takes 7-21 days, while harvesting happens 75-80 days after transplanting the young pepper plants outdoors in the garden or containers.

You’ll know your Guero chili peppers are fully ripe when they turn fiery red. 

The yellow denotes the unripe stage, while the orange shows the peppers are mid-mature. However, the peppers can be harvested for consumption at any maturation stage in their three-color cycle.

Guero chile peppers typically exhibit heavy yields of 20-50 peppers per plant when raised in ideal conditions. An 18-24 inches plant-to-plant spacing is necessary for optimal growth and to minimize nutrient competition.

Where To Buy Santa Fe Grande Chilis

You can buy Santa Fe Grande peppers from specialty supermarkets and local farmers’ markets, especially if you live or frequent the American Southwest. The pepper seeds are also available for purchase online from stores like Amazon.

Substitutes For Santa Fe Grande Peppers

As mentioned, you may be unable to find Santa Fe Grande hot peppers since they are an heirloom variety mainly grown in the southwest.

You can substitute the peppers with bull’s horn peppers, albino sweet peppers, poblano peppers (slightly hotter), sweet bell peppers, gypsy peppers, and Italian sweet 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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