Difference Between Jalapeño and Serrano (With Table)

Jalapeño and serrano are peppers, and both have originated from Mexico. They are used to make food spicy and to add another pinch of flavour. They can be used as each other’s alternatives, but they are not identical. They have many differences.

Jalapeño vs Serrano

The difference between jalapeño and serrano is that jalapeños are moderately hot, while serrano is much hotter than jalapeños. Also, jalapeños are bigger and thicker than serranos. Serranos are thinner but very spicy. Their hotness ranges from 10,000 to 20,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

Jalapeños are not very big in size, and their heat is moderate too. It is not very spicy but adds a very unique flavour to the food. Its origin is in Mexico but later in became an important ingredient in the world. Its use in pizza is very popular.

Serrano comes from Hidalgo and Puebla of Mexico. This spicy chilli is not very widely available, and it is very spicy and thus makes perfect hot sauce and salsa. It needs high altitudes to grow, and so it is found in the mountains. Do not judge its hotness by its size because even though it is small, it contains 10,000 to 20,000 SHU of hotness.

Comparison Table Between Jalapeño and Serrano

Parameters of ComparisonJalapeñoSerrano
OriginJalapeños originated in Jalapa of Mexico. Serrano grows at high altitudes in the mountainous Mexican states of Hidalgo and Puebla.
HotnessJalapeño peppers’ hotness varies, its rating of hotness is 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Serrano peppers are much hotter than jalapeños. Their hotness rate is 10,000 to 20,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
ColourJalapeño is most popular as green. It turns red when ripe. Serrano peppers are eaten when they are green. These also become red when ripe. It can be consumed either.
SizeUsually, Jalapeño peppers are 2 to 3.5 inches long. Serrano peppers are commonly 1 to 2 inches long.
ShapeIt is bigger and thicker.It is longer and thinner.
AvailabilityIt can be bought easily.It is not widely available.

What is Jalapeño?

This is a very common chilli that is used to get the spicy flavour in food. These are not very hot, it has the mildest temperature despite its big size. Its origin can be found in Jalapa of Mexico. It is usually green, and it becomes red once it is ripe.

It can be prepared and consumed in many ways. It can be used raw in salads, salsas or chutneys. It can be used as an ingredient to cooked various dishes. One can use it as an ingredient of stuffing. It can work as a seasoning or element of garnishing. One can enjoy its pickle and can even enjoy in their smoothies. Its use in fusion cuisine is very popular in Africa, Asia and South America.

Not just taste, but it also adds nutrients to our body. It fulfils our requirement of vitamin C to some extent. It also possesses the goodness of vitamins A, K, and B6, as well as folate. Jalapeños also provide fibre and thus helps to keep our digestion uninterrupted. Minerals like magnesium, copper, potassium, manganese, and iron are also found in this chilli pepper. Its heat helps to increase our metabolism.

What is Serrano?

Serranos grow in the high altitudes of the mountainous this is why they can be found in Hidalgo and Puebla of Mexico. These peppers can be consumed in both green and red forms. These are very spicy and hot, its hotness rate is 10,000 to 20,000 SHU. These are usually thin and not very long in size.

Serrano is mainly used in food to make it spicy. If it can be cooked variously, one can roast it, pan cook it or even use it raw in the form of garnishing. Its hotness makes it perfect for salsas and sauces. It makes a great hot sauce. The stem of the serrano is supposed to be removed before cooking. The heat of the chilli is stored in the seeds, so the seeds can be removed, and only the peel and flesh can be used if one does not want to make the food extremely spicy.

Serrano is low in calories and high in heat, so it is a great food to increase metabolism and decrease cholesterol and fat. Every chilli is a great source of vitamin C and A, and so is this one. These are more popular in Mexican food than jalapeños. Serranos stay fresh for a long time if they are kept dry.

Main Differences Between Jalapeño and Serrano

  1. Both the peppers have their origins in Mexico. Jalapeños originated in Jalapa of Mexico and serrano’s origin is in Hidalgo and Puebla of Mexico.
  2. Jalapeño peppers are longer and thicker than serrano, it is 2 to 3.5 inches long usually whereas Serrano is only 1 to 2 inches long.
  3. Jalapeños are consumed when they are green in colour. When ripe, It turns red or yellow. Serrano peppers are eaten while green as well. These can be consumed when it is ripe as well.
  4. Jalapeño peppers are not very hot, its rating of hotness is 2,500 to 10,000 SHU. On the other hand, serrano peppers are nine times hotter than jalapeños. Their hotness is 10,000 to 20,000 SHU.
  5. Jalapeños are easily available, but serrano is not easily available in supermarkets.


Both the chillis have many similarities. Both of them are at their best when they are green, they are used as spices, but serrano is a lot hotter than jalapeño. Serranos are smaller but comprises more hotness than the bigger jalapeños. Using these two chillies as their substitutes are very common, their taste is not very different, but these are not indistinguishable.

Serrano is not widely available as jalapeños, and thus jalapeños work as an alternative option for cooking, these two have vivid differences in their appearance, but their taste and preparation instructions are almost the same. As a result, people often get confused between the two.


  1. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf103434u
  2. https://meridian.allenpress.com/jfp/article-abstract/73/11/1967/172844
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