8 Sensational Scotch Bonnet Pepper Substitutes

If you want to give a dish a spicy and tangy taste, a scotch bonnet pepper can be an amazing addition. These peppers are renowned for their potent heat.

If you are following a recipe that requires scotch bonnets but have been unable to get your hands on these peppers, don’t despair.

Fortunately, there are plenty of suitable alternatives that you can use to give a spicy taste, including the habanero pepper. Here are some of the best options!

8 Sensational Scotch Bonnet Pepper Substitutes

Scotch Bonnet Pepper: What Is It?

The scotch bonnet is a type of pepper that has developed a passionate reputation thanks to intense heat.

On the Scoville scale, it has a rating of 100,000–350,000 SHU. This puts it on a similar level to the habanero chili pepper.

Scotch bonnet peppers are widely available in the Caribbean. However, they are used in cooking across the globe, such as in West African cooking.

These spicy peppers can be used to make an assortment of different dishes, including pepper sauces, jerk marinades, curries, and hot sauces.

Moreover, it can simply be used as a seasoning, as it works especially well when flavoring meat.

Aside from tasting spicy, scotch bonnet peppers are also slightly sweet with a taste that is reminiscent of fruit.

1. Habanero Pepper

Habanero peppers are perhaps the best replacements for scotch bonnets. With a Scoville rating of 100,000 – 350,000 SHU, the habanero is a very hot pepper that is of a similar spice level to the scotch bonnet pepper.

As a result, you can use these peppers in the same quantities to provide a similar level of heat.

Another reason why this is such a sensational substitute is that the habanero has a similar fruity taste to the scotch bonnet.

They have a sweet and smoky flavor that has floral undertones. However, the fruitiness of the habanero is slightly sweeter than that of the scotch bonnet pepper.

Additionally, habaneros and scotch bonnets share a similar texture, as the flesh of both peppers is rather waxy.

2. Cayenne Peppers

Next, the cayenne pepper is a relatively hot variety of pepper that is bursting with flavor. These peppers have a rather distinctive appearance, as they are typically thin with a red hue.

With a Scoville rating of 30,000–50,000 SHU, the cayenne pepper is not as spicy as the scotch bonnet pepper. Yet, if you don’t mind a slightly less intense eating experience, this can be a good replacement.

Cayenne pepper has a deep and complex flavor. It tends to taste sweet, which is why it has drawn comparisons to the scotch bonnet pepper. It has a fairly earthy and mildly hot taste.

If you are using cayenne pepper as a substitute for a scotch bonnet, it can be a good idea to increase the amount of pepper that you are using. This way, you are more likely to reach the intense heat of the scotch bonnet.

3. Jalapeño Pepper

Jalapeño peppers are extremely popular in cooking, Hence, they are quite easy to obtain, as most grocery stores will stock them.

They are spicy enough to provide a hot sensation without being overpowering, hence their popularity in American cuisine.

With a rating of 4,000 to 8,500 SHU, the jalapeño will be a milder substitute for a scotch bonnet pepper.

Yet, the jalapeño has a flavor that is comparable to the scotch bonnet pepper. These green peppers have a grassy and earthy taste with a hint of sweetness.

Though this type of pepper is quite different from the scotch bonnet pepper, it is a fantastic alternative if you are desperate.

4. Anaheim Peppers

The Anaheim pepper may not be a well-known variety, but this is nonetheless a delicious pepper. Named after the city of Anaheim in California, this type of pepper is surprisingly versatile.

The Anaheim pepper has been given a Scoville rating of between 500 and 2,500 SHU. Thus, it is significantly less pungent than a scotch bonnet pepper. Yet, the Anaheim pepper has a comparable flavor profile thanks to its shared sweetness.

Add more Anaheim pepper to whatever dish you are making if you devour spicy food.

5. Rocotillo Pepper

Earning a Scoville rating of 1,500 to 2,500 SHU, the rocotillo pepper is on the milder side. Yet, the rocotillo pepper is one of the closest to the scotch bonnet in terms of taste. It is sweet and fruity, just like the scotch bonnet pepper.

The downside of using a rocotillo pepper is that they are quite rare. However, if you live in a location where Caribbean cuisine is popular, you may be able to get your hands on this variety of pepper.

6. Serrano Peppers

The switch substitute that you can try is the serrano pepper. Originating from Mexico, the serrano pepper is named after the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range.

With a rating of 10,000–25,000 SHU, the serrano pepper is closer to the scotch bonnet in terms of heat than many other alternatives. It is hot without being too overwhelming.

Typically green in color, the serrano pepper has a grassier taste than the scotch bonnet pepper. Yet, they share a similar taste and are equally sharp.

7. Fresno Pepper

Named after a city in California, the Fresno chili pepper is often mixed up with the jalapeño.

However, the Fresno pepper is notably less spicy, thanks to its Scoville score of 2,500–10,000 SHU. It also has a thinner wall than a jalapeño pepper.

Thanks to the mildness of the Fresno pepper, it is not an ideal option for people who adore spicy dishes.

Instead, it is the fabulous fruitiness of Fresno peppers that makes them a good approximation for scotch bonnets.

With a subtly smoky taste, the Fresno chili pepper is overwhelmingly fruity. In addition, these peppers can also be grassy and earthy. To add to the spiciness of this substitute, be sure to use a larger portion of Fresno peppers.

8. Guajillo Peppers

Finally, the guajillo pepper is an underused pepper that packs a punch. This pepper is widely used in Mexican cooking, but the rest of the world has been slow to adopt it into its cuisine. The guajillo pepper is commonly used to produce salsa.

On the Scoville scale, it has earned a rating of 2,500–5,000 SHU. As a consequence, it is noticeably milder than a scotch bonnet pepper.

This may make it a disappointing substitute for people that love spicy food. However, if you don’t mind eating a slightly less spicy version, the guajillo pepper can be a decent replacement.

The main benefit of using guajillo pepper instead of a scotch bonnet is that they have nuanced flavors. The guajillo pepper tastes sweet and smoky.

Final Thoughts

The scotch bonnet is a great addition to lots of different dishes, as it can provide a distinctive spicy yet fruity flavor. It can be frustrating if you are unable to use this variety of pepper.

The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives that you can use, as demonstrated by this list. So why not use one of these sensational substitutes for scotch bonnet peppers?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is A Scotch Bonnet The Same As A Habanero?

No, these are two different types of peppers. Though the scotch bonnet and habanero have similar levels of heat and share a fruity taste, they are noticeably different.

For instance, a habanero is typically less fruity than a scotch bonnet. Moreover, the scotch bonnet pepper tends to be a little more bitter.

What Peppers Are Hotter Than A Scotch Bonnet?

If you love spicy food and are looking for a chili pepper that is hotter than the scotch bonnet, you might want to try some of these options:

– Carolina Reaper
– Ghost pepper
– Red Savina pepper
– Infinity Chili pepper

8 Sensational Scotch Bonnet Pepper Substitutes

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


Prep time


Cooking time






  • Habanero Pepper

  • Cayenne Peppers

  • Jalapeño Pepper

  • Anaheim Peppers

  • Rocotillo Pepper

  • Serrano Peppers

  • Fresno Pepper

  • Guajillo Peppers


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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