Serrano peppers can be pretty mysterious. They might look like your average pepper, but what people don’t know is that these peppers can really pack a punch.
What Is A Serrano Pepper?
Serrano peppers are spicy peppers that can add a really nice level of heat to almost any dish. The serrano pepper is closely related to the poblano pepper, as both are from Puebla, a region of Mexico.
To give you an idea of what a serrano pepper tastes like, think about jalapeno peppers. Both have a kick that depends on their size: the smaller the pepper, the spicier it is. Serrano peppers have a medium to medium-hot spice level that can ignite your taste buds.
Looking to sample serrano peppers? Order the Cheese and Spicy Pepper Potato Ball from Porto’s Bake at Home selection. They’re frozen fresh and shipped directly to you—all you have to do is pop them in the oven, and you’re ready to enjoy a gooey, savory appetizer like nothing you’ve ever tasted before. It brings the perfect amount of heat to any event or pre-dinner snack.
How Hot Are Serrano Peppers?
Is a serrano pepper or jalapeno pepper hotter? Serrano peppers are much spicier than jalapeno peppers—up to five times hotter. So make sure you don’t accidentally pick up one of these bad boys and mistake it for something else.
Where do peppers get their spice from? Capsaicin is an active component of many chili peppers, including serrano peppers. While serrano peppers are hot, they aren’t at the top of the Scoville scale. The Scoville scale relates to the capsaicin concentration in each pepper. The closer the pepper to the top of the scale, the more concentrated the capsaicin is. Serrano peppers range between 10,000 and 23,000 SHU.
The Visual Appearance Of A Serrano Pepper
Before they reach the grocery store, serrano peppers grow on plants. This specific plant grows to be roughly two feet tall, and a plant of this height can produce around 20 serrano peppers. The serrano plant can actually grow up to five feet tall and produce around 50 serrano peppers—how’s that for a lot of spice?
Unripe serrano peppers are typically green, and they change or deepen in color as they ripen. Ripe serrano peppers can be red, yellow, orange, or green, with green being the most common. The color of the serrano pepper influences their taste, as a ripe red serrano pepper is hotter than a green serrano pepper.
In terms of size, serrano peppers are fairly small—approximately one to four inches long and half an inch wide. That said, they have been known to grow longer.
Where Do Serrano Peppers Grow?
Serrano translates to “from the mountains,” which gives us a clue about where these peppers thrive; they are often grown in mountainous regions. However, this translation can be misleading, as serrano peppers are not frost-resistant and require warm-to-hot climates to grow successfully. They won’t be growing on ice-capped mountains any time soon.
Serrano peppers are frequently grown in the regions of Puebla and Hidalgo in Mexico. One hundred eighty thousand tons of serrano peppers are grown annually in Mexico. In the US, serrano peppers are grown in warmer climates close to the US-Mexico border.
Foods With Serrano Peppers
This pepper is an excellent addition to many of your favorite meals or snacks and comes in numerous forms, making cooking easy.
Salsa is a fantastic place to start. Serrano peppers are a great addition to your salsa if you want to amp up the spiciness. Ingredients that pair perfectly with the peppers for salsa are tomatoes, garlic, red onion, and cilantro. Throw in some salt, pepper, cumin, lime juice, and tabasco sauce, and you’re good to go.
Pickle your serrano peppers. This allows you to munch on the peppers as an afternoon snack or add them to different meals for an interesting depth of flavor. Pickled serrano peppers work well on top of a burger or hotdog or as an addition to a veggie wrap.
Dice your serrano peppers and throw them on top of your tacos or huevos rancheros in the morning. Serrano peppers taste great with corn tortillas, avocado, and lime. This is a way to take taco Tuesdays to a whole new level.
Grilling serrano peppers adds another level of flavor, and this one is a smokey one. You can add your grilled serrano peppers to your sandwich or serve them on top of a salad.
Make a Sauce
If eating straight-up serranos seems a little out of your comfort zone, try blending them into a sauce. They’ll make the perfect spicy addition to an enchilada sauce or as an ingredient the next time you’re putting together a batch of wings.
However you choose to incorporate serranos, we’re sure you’ll grow to love these spicy little peppers.
Serrano peppers are so lovable because they are spicy and still enjoyable. When you eat a serrano pepper or a dish that includes one, the heat of the pepper stays concentrated in your mouth rather than traveling down your throat. This is an excellent advantage to the peppers as the hotness does not linger and is not too overpowering, allowing you to enjoy other foods.
Incorporating serrano peppers into your favorite foods is a great way to spice up your life. And if you’re serving a dish with serrano peppers at an event, just make sure that you have some less spicy food on hand, too, like our Ham Croquettes.