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19 Substitutes for Scotch Bonnet Peppers

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David Larsen
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Looking for a substitute for Scotch Bonnet peppers? You’re in luck! This blog post will provide you with 19 different pepper substitutes that will give your dish the heat it needs. From jalapeno peppers to habanero peppers, we’ve got you covered. So don’t let the lack of Scotch Bonnet peppers stop you from making your favorite dish – simply use one of the substitutes listed below!

What is Scotch Bonnet Pepper?

scotch bonnet peppers substitutes 1

Scotch Bonnet pepper is a variety of chili pepper. It is named after its resemblance to a tam o’shanter hat, also known as a bonnet worn by Scottish men.

This type of pepper is commonly used in Caribbean cuisine and it is one of the hottest peppers available. It has an intense fruity flavor with a fiery, spicy kick. It measures between 100,000- 350,000 on the Scoville heat scale depending on its variety and ripeness.

Scotch Bonnet peppers are most commonly used to add flavor and heat to dishes such as jerk chicken or fish, curries, soups, sauces, marinades and other stews. The peppers may also be dried and powdered for added flavor.

When handling Scotch Bonnet peppers, it’s important to wear gloves to protect your hands from the heat. To reduce some of the spiciness, you can remove the seeds and veins before cooking with them.

What Do Scotch Bonnet Peppers Taste Like?

Scotch Bonnet peppers have a very distinct flavor. They are extremely hot, with a “scorching” heat that is impossible to miss.

The taste of Scotch Bonnets can be described as smoky and sweet, but with a huge kick of heat that lingers on the tongue long after you eat them. The flavor is often compared to habanero peppers, with a slightly fruity or sweet taste.

The heat of Scotch Bonnets ranges from 100,000-350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). This means they are much hotter than jalapenos and bell peppers, but slightly milder than some of the more extreme chili peppers.

Scotch Bonnets are also used to make hot sauces, as their intense heat can pack a powerful punch when added to other ingredients.

Substitutes for Scotch Bonnet Peppers.

best scotch bonnet pepper substitutes

1. African bird’s eye peppers (Peri-Peri).

African bird’s eye peppers are a great substitute for Scotch bonnet peppers and can be used in many dishes.

The main difference is that African bird’s eye peppers have a slightly milder flavor, measuring between 100,000-225,000 Scoville heat units (SHU) on the Scoville scale as compared to Scotch bonnet peppers which measure between 100,000-350,000 SHU.

African bird’s eye peppers are smaller and more narrow than Scotch bonnets and have a pointed end instead of the broad, blunt shape that Scotch bonnets have.

While both varieties are rather spicy, the heat from African bird’s eye peppers is slightly more bearable and can add a bit of heat to dishes without overpowering them.

2. Aji Chiles.

Also known as the yellow hot, or Aji Amarillo, this pepper is a popular substitute for Scotch bonnets.

They have milder heat but still pack a punch at up to 50,000 Scoville units on the heat scale. The flavor of Aji Chiles are slightly fruity and citrusy and can be used in all types of dishes.

3. Anaheim Peppers.

Anaheim peppers are a mild variety of chili pepper that can be used as an effective substitute for Scotch bonnet peppers.

They have a similar shape and heat level. Many recipes will call for them to be seeded and diced, although the whole pepper can also be used in stews, soups, and other dishes.

With some seasoning added, Anaheim peppers can provide a similar flavor profile to Scotch bonnet peppers.

4. Cayenne Peppers.

Cayenne peppers are a great substitute for Scotch Bonnet peppers because they have a similar level of heat and peppery flavor.

Cayenne peppers can be found in most grocery stores, making them an easy to find replacement when Scotch Bonnet peppers are not available.

They pair well with many dishes and can be added to soups, sauces, and stews to give them a spicy kick. Cayenne peppers can also be used as a dry rub or seasoning for meats, vegetables, and more.

However, it is important to note that cayenne peppers are spicier than Scotch Bonnet peppers and will bring more heat to the dish than their more mild counterpart.

5. Chili Powder.

Chili powder is a great substitute for Scotch Bonnet peppers as it contains cayenne pepper, which provides the same type of heat. If you are looking to add some depth and complexity to your dish, look no further than chili powder.

It will provide a similar flavor profile as Scotch Bonnet peppers but won’t be as spicy. Additionally, depending on the type of chili powder you use, it may also provide a slight smoky flavor.

6. Chipotle Peppers.

Chipotle peppers are a great substitute for Scotch Bonnet peppers because they have similar levels of heat and smoky flavor.

Chipotles are actually smoked Jalapenos, so you get the same spiciness that you would with Scotch Bonnets but without the intense tropical fruit notes.

7. Fresno Pepper.

fresno peppers

The Fresno pepper is a type of chili pepper commonly used as an alternative for Scotch bonnet peppers.

It has a mild to medium heat level and can serve as a great substitute for dishes that require the sweet and spicy flavor of Scotch bonnets.

Its low price and availability make it a popular choice when Scotch bonnets are not available or too expensive.

8. Guajillo Peppers.

Guajillo peppers are a mild to medium-heat pepper, similar in heat level to the Scotch Bonnet. Native to Mexico, they have a deep red color and smoky flavor that works well as a substitute for Scotch Bonnets when cooking.

The guajillo is often used to make salsas, enchiladas, and stews. When substituting for Scotch Bonnets, the recipe should call for half as much guajillo pepper due to its milder heat level.

Additionally, be sure to deseed and devein the pepper before using in order to limit any added heat.

9. Habanero Peppers.

Habanero peppers are a great substitute for Scotch Bonnet Peppers, as they have the same level of spiciness and a similar flavor.

These peppers are much easier to find than Scotch Bonnets, so if you can’t get your hands on these peppers, habaneros may be the best option for you.

They work well in most recipes that call for Scotch Bonnets, and they can often be substituted in equal measure.

Just remember to use gloves when handling habaneros, as their spiciness can cause irritation if it comes into contact with skin.

10. Jalapeño Chili Pepper.

If you’re looking for a milder substitute for Scotch Bonnet peppers, Jalapeño Chili Peppers are an excellent option.

These mild to medium-heat peppers are most commonly used in Mexican cooking and are especially popular in salsas and hot sauces.

You can even find them pickled in many stores! The flavor of jalapeños is slightly smoky, but with much less heat than Scotch Bonnet peppers. Plus, you can easily find them in almost any grocery store or farmers’ market.

11. Paprika.

Paprika is a mild, sweet pepper that has been dried and ground into a powder. It can be used in place of Scotch Bonnet peppers if you would like a bit of added color but not too much heat.

Paprika can also be used as an addition to many dishes such as soups, stews, and sauces for added flavor and color.

12. Pequin Peppers.

Also known as Chiltepin or Bird’s Eye Chili, Pequin peppers are much smaller than Scotch Bonnet but they pack a lot of heat.

Because they have a high concentration of capsaicin, the chemical compound that gives chili peppers their heat, they are perfect for adding spice to dishes.

They can range from 2-8 times hotter than jalapenos, depending on the variety. They are often used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisines, and they can be found both dried and fresh.

13. Poblano Peppers.

Poblano peppers are a great substitute for Scotch Bonnet peppers. They have a mild heat to them, although they do pack some punch. This pepper is versatile and can be used in many dishes where you would use a Scotch Bonnet.

The flavor of poblano peppers also add depth to any dish it’s added to that you won’t get with Scotch Bonnet peppers. It’s a great pepper to add to your cooking rotation if you don’t want the extra heat of a Scotch Bonnet, but still want some kick in your food.

14. Red Cayenne Pepper Powder.

Red cayenne pepper powder can be used as a substitute for Scotch Bonnet peppers. It is widely available in most grocery stores and is much milder than the Scotch Bonnet.

Red cayenne pepper powder has a similar flavor to the Scotch Bonnet but without as much heat.

If you want to add extra spice, you can combine it with other spices like garlic and cumin. For a milder version, you can use half red cayenne pepper powder and half smoked paprika to get the flavor without too much heat.

15. Rocoto Chiles.

These chiles, also known as locotos, are native to South America and belong to the solanum species. They have a similar heat level to Scotch Bonnet peppers, ranging from 20,000-30,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

Rocotos are smaller than Scotch Bonnets and have a unique flavor with notes of nutmeg and blackberry. They are often used in Peruvian dishes, such as ceviche or aji de gallina.

16. Serrano Peppers.

Serrano peppers are a great substitute for Scotch Bonnet peppers. They are not as hot, but still have that nice spicy kick. Serranos can be used in any recipe calling for Scotch Bonnets, and provide a milder version of the same flavor without being too overpowering.

Another advantage is that they are more widely available than Scotch Bonnet peppers, so you won’t have to go searching for them at specialty stores. They are commonly found in most grocery stores, and can also be purchased online.

When cooking with Serrano peppers, it is best to use caution as they can still pack quite a punch of heat. Use them sparingly or remove the seeds before using if you are looking for a milder flavor.

17. Sriracha.

Sriracha is a popular alternative to Scotch Bonnet peppers. It has a similar flavor profile and heat level, but it comes in the form of a convenient sauce. It’s easy to use and you can adjust the amount depending on how much heat you want.

18. Tabasco Peppers.

Tabasco peppers are one of the most popular substitutions for Scotch Bonnet peppers, as they are extremely hot and have a similar flavor profile.

Tabasco peppers contain over four times as much heat as jalapeno peppers, making them a great alternative when you want to add some extra kick to your dishes.

They also have fruity undertones, which can help to add a unique depth of flavor that is characteristic of Scotch Bonnet peppers.

To substitute, simply use the same amount as you would for Scotch Bonnet peppers in your recipe and enjoy the extra spicy kick!

19. Thai Red Chili Paste.

Thai red chili paste is a great substitute for Scotch bonnet peppers as it has quite a bit of heat that can mimic the same flavor. It’s made from a blend of ground chilies, garlic, salt and other spices that are mashed together into a thick paste.

You can find Thai red chili paste in many Asian markets or online stores. Adding just a teaspoon or two can add a kick to your dishes.

Is there another name for Scotch bonnet peppers?

The Scotch bonnet pepper, a variety of chili pepper is also called the Caribbean Red Pepper, Congo pepper, Bahamian goat pepper and Scotbonnet. They are related to both habanero and jalapeno peppers.

These colorful peppers range from yellow to orange to red in color and can be found across the Caribbean Islands and other parts of the world, including the United States.

The Scotch bonnet pepper is even more pungent than a habanero and can range from 100,000 to 350,000 on the Scoville scale.

Can I use red chilli instead of scotch bonnet?

The answer is yes, you can use red chilli instead of scotch bonnet in certain dishes. Red chilli peppers have a milder flavor than Scotch bonnets, and are said to be slightly less spicy.

However, they still bring a good amount of heat to the dish, so if you’re looking for something more mild, you may want to consider using a different type of pepper.

The texture is also slightly different between the two peppers, so if your dish requires a specific texture, you may want to stick with Scotch bonnets.

Can I use cayenne pepper instead of scotch bonnet?

The answer is yes, you can use cayenne pepper instead of scotch bonnet. Though cayenne pepper may not have the same intense heat as a scotch bonnet, it still has a kick and will impart plenty of flavor to your dish.

Cayenne pepper also has many health benefits such as aiding in digestion, boosting your metabolism, and reducing inflammation. If you don’t have access to scotch bonnet peppers or if they are too hot for your taste, cayenne pepper is a great substitute.

Are Scotch bonnet peppers the same as habaneros?

No, Scotch bonnet peppers and habanero peppers are not the same. While both types of peppers belong to the same species (Capsicum chinense), they have distinct flavor profiles and different levels of heat.

The Scotch bonnet pepper has a fruity, sweet-hot taste, while the habanero pepper has a more citrusy, smoky flavor.

Additionally, the heat level of a Scotch bonnet can range from 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), and habanero peppers typically measure between 100,000 to 500,000 SHU.

How many habaneros equal a Scotch bonnet pepper?

The answer is not simple. While both are members of the same species, Capsicum chinense, they exhibit different levels of spiciness and heat.

Habanero peppers measure between 100,000-350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), while Scotch bonnet peppers measure between 100,000-325,000 SHU.

Can I use Habanero instead of scotch bonnet for jerk chicken?

Yes, you can use Habanero instead of scotch bonnet for jerk chicken. The habanero pepper is a type of chili pepper that is native to Mexico and Central America, and it’s known for its spicy heat.

It has a rich flavor profile with notes of citrus and tropical fruit, which makes it ideal for jerking chicken. Although it’s not as spicy as the scotch bonnet, it still packs a punch and adds an amazing flavor to your dish.

When using habanero instead of scotch bonnet for jerk chicken, you should adjust the quantity according to how spicy you want it to be.

Generally, one habanero pepper is equal to the heat of four scotch bonnet peppers. You may also use other types of chili peppers, such as jalapeno or serrano, to tone down the heat.

19 Substitutes for Scotch Bonnet Peppers

19 Substitutes for Scotch Bonnet Peppers

If you don’t have access to Scotch Bonnet peppers, it can be hard to find a suitable substitute for the intense heat and flavor of this fiery pepper. Fortunately, there are several options available to help create the same level of spiciness in your recipes.


  • African bird’s eye peppers
  • Aji Chiles
  • Anaheim Peppers
  • Cayenne Peppers
  • Chili Powder
  • Chipotle Peppers
  • Fresno Pepper
  • Guajillo Peppers
  • Habanero Peppers
  • Jalapeño Chili Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Pequin Peppers
  • Poblano Peppers
  • Red Cayenne Pepper Powder
  • Rocoto Chiles
  • Serrano Peppers
  • Sriracha
  • Tabasco Peppers
  • Thai Red Chili Paste


    The best way to substitute for Scotch Bonnet peppers is to use a combination of other peppers to replicate the heat and flavor. Start by adding milder peppers, such as Anaheim or poblano, using up to two tablespoons per recipe.

    Add in more intense peppers like serrano or habanero, if you want an even spicier dish. And use other ingredients such as chili powder, paprika and Sriracha to boost the flavor.

    Finally, if you want an even hotter result, consider adding in a few drops of Tabasco or Thai red chili paste. Experiment with different combinations until you reach your desired level of spiciness. Enjoy!

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Overall, the Scotch Bonnet Pepper is a flavorful and versatile ingredient that can be swapped for other peppers depending on individual taste preferences. Habanero peppers are the most common substitute for Scotch Bonnet peppers, but there are also alternatives like jalapeños, Serrano chiles, and cherry bombs.

It’s important to keep in mind the different levels of heat associated with these peppers when substituting them for Scotch Bonnet.

By understanding the nuances of taste and heat, you can easily find a suitable substitute for your recipe. With this knowledge, you can recreate dishes featuring the unique flavor of Scotch Bonnet Peppers without having to source them directly.

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