Cayenne Pepper: The American Hot Chili Pepper

The star ingredient inside the pantry of any hot chili lover is cayenne pepper, which adds a spicy kick to several dishes from casseroles to omelets, and curries to hot sauces. Let’s dive into the article to learn about it a little more closely.

What is Cayenne Pepper?

Cayenne pepper belongs to the family Solanaceae of sweet bell peppers, capsicums, poblanos, serranos, jalapenos, and the famous ghost peppers. Although cayenne pepper is not as hot as ghost pepper, it is still recognized as a fiery spice and is known as one of the spiciest foods on the planet.

The ripe peppers are usually green or bright red, 2-5 inches long and about half an inch in diameter. 

Cayenne is a versatile pepper originating from Central and North America. Today, It is widely savored in fresh, dried, and powdered forms in India, East Africa, Mexico, and the United States. In North America, cayenne is an integral ingredient in many commercial hot sauces like Franks Redhot, Crystal, and Texas Pete. Intriguingly, the crushed red pepper available in the United States is more likely to come from cayenne or perhaps one of its cultivars. 

Image Credit: Jill Wellington from Pixabay 

What Does Cayenne Pepper Taste Like?

Cayenne adds a moderate amount of heat to your meals, being 30,000 to 50,000 SHU on the Scoville heat scale. However, most people define its flavor as too hot, which is why cayenne pepper should be used in smaller amounts while cooking unless you want to give a fiery blast to your taste buds. For comparison, jalapenos clock in between 2500 to 8000 SHU. 

Uses for Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper enhances the flavor of soups, sauces, curries, casseroles, meat dishes, and seafood. Cayenne pepper is widely used in Mexican cooking to make spicy sauces, flavorful meat marinades, and traditional dishes like enchiladas, tacos, and fajitas. Cayenne is commonly added to Indian curries and spicy Thai soups. 

It is also used in preparing a range of delicious sauces from tabasco to romesco, and berbere to the cayenne sauce. You can prepare a Homemade Cayenne Pepper Sauce that pairs so well with seafood, marinades, and just about anything. Besides this pepper is also leveraged into drinks like ginger ale, criollo cocktail, and cayenne pepper tea.

Looking for ways to spice up your everyday meals utilizing cayenne? Here are some of our savory recipes that you can try for yourself to add an extra kick. 

      Kansas City Ribs

●      Sausage with Southern Potato Salad

      Braised Tofu with Green Bell Peppers

●      Cheese Omelettes

Quite interestingly, cayenne pepper is also added to sweet dishes like cayenne brownies, spicy pumpkin pie, and Mexican Pot de Crème. You can make your own spicy-sweet dessert by adding a pinch of powdered cayenne pepper into our recipe for Chocolate Pot de Crème.

Feature Image: Jill Wellington from Pixabay 

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