Satan’s Kiss Pepper: Italian Pepper That Loses Heat

satan's kiss peppers
Satan's kiss peppers are unlike other hot peppers—they lose some spiciness as they mature and when cooked. They are moderately hot Italian heirloom peppers with thick flesh and a sweet, peppery flavor. In Italy, they are traditionally stuffed with anchovies and mozzarella before grilling.

What Are Satan’s Kiss Peppers?

Satan’s kiss peppers are rare heirloom peppers from southern Italy grown for moderate heat, high yields, and ease of production. They are botanically classified as Capsicum annuum peppers. 

Satan’s kiss peppers join the ranks of other sweet and hot Italian peppers like Carmenapocalypse scorpion, and Calabrian chilis.

stuffed satans kiss peppers
Satan’s kiss peppers are traditionally stuffed with cheese and anchovies in Italy.

Other Names

The name ‘Satan’s kiss’ is used in the UK. The old heirloom peppers are also called devil’s kiss peppers.

In Italy, Satan’s kiss hot pepper is called Baccio ciliegia piccante, Baccio de Satana, cherry pepper, spicy cherry, or ciliegia piccante. It also goes by the names small red cherry, the Satana, or piccante calabrese.


Satan’s kiss peppers ripen from green to red at full maturity. You can harvest them green or red, depending on the recipe.

Size And Shape

The Satan’s kiss chili pepper are small peppers with a round or rounded-elongated (round-conical) shape like small tomatoes.

The peppers are about the size of a golf ball at 1-2 inches wide and 1-1.75 inches long when fully mature.


The skin of satan’s kiss peppers is smooth and glossy. The peppers are very fleshy.


Satan’s kiss peppers have a sweet, sharp peppery flavor. A similar strong but neutral peppery flavor is observed in ornamental peppers, such as black pearl and black cobra peppers.

How Hot Is A Satan’s Kiss Pepper?

At 40,000-50,000 Scoville Heat Units, Satan’s kiss peppers have moderate heat that rivals the heat level of cayenne and tabasco peppers, which hit 30,000-50,000 SHUs on the Scoville Scale. 

Given their eerie name, you would expect the peppers to be much hotter. But they are nowhere near the heat levels of hotter peppers like habaneros and superhot chilis, such as ghost peppers and Carolina reapers.

Devil’s kiss peppers are, however, much hotter than the typical jalapeno with its family-friendly heat of 2,500-8,000 Scoville units.

Satan’s kiss peppers are considered heat-losing peppers for two reasons. First, the peppers lose spiciness as they mature. This means that the green ones are hotter than the red ones.

Other hot peppers get spicier the longer they grow, so the mature ones are hotter than the younger ones.

Second, they lose about 60% of their spiciness when you cook them. Hot peppers generally get spicier when cooked and render their capsaicin to the dish.

The heat-loss phenomenon during cooking is not strange. Most peppers lose some capsaicin through steam when cooked for a long time. Roasting peppers also causes them to lose some of their heat.

Despite the heat loss, Satan’s kiss peppers are still excellent for spicing your dishes.

How To Use Satan’s Kiss Pepper In Cooking

The Satan’s kiss pepper is traditionally used in Italy as a stuffed pepper. Before grilling, the pepper is filled with cream cheese, mozzarella, or anchovies.

You can also pickle the peppers to preserve them as a snack.

If you find fresh Satan’s kiss peppers, you can chop, slice, or dice them into salsas and salads to add some spiciness.

The peppers are dried and crushed or ground for soups, stews, marinades, and rubs.

Pickled satan's kiss peppers .
Pickled satan’s kiss peppers .

Where To Buy Satan’s Kiss Pepper

You’ll hardly find Satan’s kiss pepper outside Italy. Your best source will be online retailers for dried or pickled peppers. Italian specialty stores may also carry the pepper.

Can You Grow Satan’s Kiss Pepper?

Since the peppers are rare, it’s best to grow your own Satan’s kiss crop. The peppers are easy to grow as they require little maintenance. You can even neglect your crop but still enjoy a bumper harvest.

Satan’s kiss pepper seeds are available on Amazon and other online seed catalogs. Establish the seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost. Germination happens in 10-21 days.

Once the seedlings have developed two pairs of true leaves, you can transplant them outdoors in full sun in the garden or large containers. Use a garden spacing of 18-24 inches between the pepper plants.

It will take 85-90 days or as much as 90-120 days after transplanting for you to harvest mature red peppers. The maturity time depends on the area where you grow the pepper.

The one downside of growing Satan’s kiss peppers is that you may not replicate their unique flavor as the peppers derive this from the climate and soil of southern Italy.

Substitutes For Satan’s Kiss Pepper

Satan’s kiss peppers’ sweet, peppery flavor can be replaced with the flavors of other close-heat peppers like tabascofilius blue, cayenne, and aji charapita. All these alternatives score 30,000-50,000 units on the Scoville Scale.

You can also replace the peppers with Calabrian chilis, their milder southern Italy counterparts with a score of 25,000-40,000 SHUs.


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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