Learn About Habanero Peppers

Author: Chef Toby

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What is a Habanero chile?

A Habanero is a South American pepper that originated from Peru; however, most people associate it with Mexican cuisine. Habaneros are small in size, about one to three inches wide, and come in a variety of different colors, like red, orange, green, and brown.

Learn About Habaneros

What do Habanero chiles taste like?

Habanero chiles have a very tropical fruity flavor, with a slight smokiness. These peppers are very spicy, registering at up to 350,000 Scoville units. That makes Habaneros up to 76 times as hot as a jalapeño. 

How can you eat Habanero chiles?

Because of their fruity flavor, Habanero peppers work well in recipes like salsas and sauces. They are also a favorite when it comes to adding heat to fruit jams, beverages, and hot sauces. A little goes a long way with this chile, so make sure to add the right amount of chile to a recipe according to your spice tolerance.

Where can you buy Habanero chiles?

Habaneros are very accessible and can be found at most grocery stores near the other fresh peppers in the produce section.

How do you store Habanero chiles?

Store Habaneros in a plastic bag inside of the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. They can stay fresh in the fridge for about a week.

Fun Fact about Habanero chiles:

In the old days, Habaneros used to be considered the spiciest pepper on the planet. The actual spiciest pepper in the world is called the Carolina Reaper, and it can register at over two million Scoville units.

Did you know?

Habaneros can be a very healthy part of your diet! Just one Habanero contains over 100% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C, which is excellent for helping maintain your bones, skin, hair, and overall immunity!

Recipes Using Habanero Chiles

Honey Habanero Chicken

This honey and habanero chicken is a great way to balance the heat from the habanero pepper. In a covered container, combine chicken drumsticks with lime juice, melted butter, honey, garlic, diced habanero pepper. Let the mixture marinate for at least 4 hours or up to a day in advance. Bake these drumsticks in the oven on a baking sheet until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is sticky.

Pineapple Habanero Pepper Jelly

This pineapple pepper jelly can be paired with goat cheese on a cheese plate or used as a glaze for grilled meats. In a small saucepan, combine chopped habanero peppers, orange bell pepper, fresh pineapple, pepper flakes, vinegar, and sugar. Then add in liquid pectin, which will help thicken the jam. Store the jam in glass jars in the refrigerator.

Habanero Garlic Rice

Add a kick to your standard rice recipe by adding sautéed habaneros and garlic before boiling. In a small saucepan, toast the rice until it turns opaque and add garlic and diced habaneros. Once the rice is toasted and habaneros have softened, add chicken stock, coriander seeds, butter, and salt. Put the rice on low heat and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Serve the rice alongside meat braises or chicken, and garnish with cilantro and lime for flavor.

Easy Mango Habanero Hot Sauce

Making your own hot sauce is easier than it seems and uses minimal ingredients! This hot sauce is spicy, sweet, and can add a kick to meats, fish, and veggies. In a blender combine habanero, mango, vinegar, and garlic and blitz until smooth. In a saucepan, combine water and sugar, and add the chile mango mixture. Simmer the hot sauce uncovered and season with salt and a splash of maple syrup.

Avocado Salsa

This sauce is a perfect topping for tacos or seafood, and the mildness of the avocado helps to quell the spiciness of the habanero and jalapeño peppers. In a small saucepan, boil habaneros and jalapeños until soft. In a blender, add the whole peppers, avocados, olive oil, lime juice, and salt. Add the water you boiled the peppers in to thin out the salsa. Blend the salsa for three minutes or until the ingredients are completely incorporated and the salsa is creamy.


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