Jalapeño vs Serrano: Difference and Comparison

Jalapeño and serrano are peppers, and both 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.

Key Takeaways

  1. Jalapeno peppers are larger, thicker, and less spicy than Serrano peppers.
  2. Serrano peppers are thinner, smaller, and hotter than Jalapeno peppers.
  3. Jalapeno peppers are commonly used in Mexican cuisine, while Serrano peppers are used in Mexican and Thai cuisine.

Jalapeño vs Serrano

Jalapeño is a kind of pepper larger in size and milder in heat compared to serrano peppers, which are smaller in size and hotter. Serrano peppers are used in dishes that require a spicier kick, while Jalapeños are used for their flavour rather than their heat. Both are used in Mexican cuisine.

Jalapeno vs Serrano

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

Serrano comes from Hidalgo and Puebla 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 size because even though it is small, it contains 10,000 to 20,000 SHU.

Comparison Table

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, and it has the mildest temperature despite their big size. Its origin can be found in Jalapa of Mexico. It is 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 cook various dishes.

One can use it as an ingredient in stuffing. It can work as a seasoning or element of garnishing. One can enjoy its pickle and can even enjoy its 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 bodies. 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. This chilli pepper also finds minerals like magnesium, copper, potassium, manganese, and iron. Its heat helps to increase our metabolism.


What is Serrano?

Serranos grow in the mountainous’s high altitudes; 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, and their hotness rate is 10,000 to 20,000 SHU. These are 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 vitamins 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 originated 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.
Difference Between Jalapeno and Serrano
  1. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf103434u
  2. https://meridian.allenpress.com/jfp/article-abstract/73/11/1967/172844

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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