14 Canned Peppers You Should Stock Your Pantry With

The pantry is where you stockpile your culinary arsenal. It's a trusty storage space for everyday ingredients, as well as long-forgotten ones that you only use once every blue moon. While there are many essential pantry foods, canned peppers may not be on your list as one. Spicy, savory, sweet, and smokey, if you're looking to spruce up a dish, they are the perfect flavorful flair. There are many varieties to experience as well, each of which has a unique taste. No matter where your palate falls on the Scoville meter, the perfect pepper exists.

Beyond boosting flavor, canned peppers are loaded with capsaicin, which is responsible for the heat sensation you experience when consuming them. Capsaicin is believed to improve heart health, reduce joint pain, and increase weight loss. For taste, temperature, and nutrients, peppers are easily the best option. What's more, canned peppers offer all those things and have a longer shelf life. They also require less preparation than fresh ones, which means less time in the kitchen. Here are canned peppers that we recommend stocking your pantry with.

Add piquant pizzazz with Hatch green chile peppers

Originating from New Mexico's Hatch Valley, Hatch chiles are a variety of green peppers grown in volcanic soil. They perfectly complement savory dishes and taste like a mix between green bell peppers and jalapeños, with an earthy flavor that's sweet, smokey, and subtly citrusy. Considered a milder chile, green peppers usually range from 1,000 to 8,000 on the Scoville meter, which is comparable to a poblano on the low end and jalapeño on the high end. While you can certainly find them fresh, a better alternative is to purchase them in the can.

Hatch green chile peppers are common ingredients in American Southwest and Northern Mexico cuisines but can elevate countless recipes. You can blend Mexican and Italian flavors by adding canned green chile to marinara. It not only kicks the heat up a notch, it makes the sauce more zesty and crave-worthy. Turn canned Hatch green chiles into a delicious sandwich spread as well. Hatch green chile jam is a sweet and spicy condiment made with apples, jalapeños, sugar, and vinegar. Those are but two of the many ways to use this piquant pepper. Try adding it to mac and cheese, soups, stews, dips, mashed potatoes, and more.

Chipotle peppers give dishes a smoky kick

There's something irresistible about smoky-flavored foods and when it comes to peppers, chipotles hold the crown. You may be surprised to hear that chipotle peppers are actually jalapeños that have been smoked and dried. While the spiciness is similar, chipotles have sweetness and increased depth of flavor due to the smoking process. The taste is mild and ranges between 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville units. Canned chipotle peppers are a surefire way to amp up the flavor of your favorite dishes.

Marinated in adobo sauce, the savory infusion further boosts flavor, making it a finger-licking addition to your cooking process. Adobo sauce is made using spicy red chili powder, sweet tomatoes, and tangy vinegar. It has a chunky consistency similar to a thick barbecue sauce, that is great for spicing chili up, giving fish tacos extra oomph, putting a fiery spin on mac and cheese, and creamy tomato pasta. Be warned though, as canned chipotle peppers are a bit spicy, especially when paired with adobo sauce. If you have a sensitive palate but still enjoy the chipotle flavor, you can remove them from the sauce and eat them separately.

Roasted red peppers can elevate endless recipes

Red peppers are one of the most versatile ingredients. From fresh cut and dried to pepper flakes and paprika, each form is tasty and useful. Red peppers are especially delicious when roasted. With a zestful smokiness, they can give your usual favorites a vibrant boost. Roasting them is straightforward, but you can avoid the cutting and seed removal with canned roasted red peppers. Besides being a necessary pantry staple, canned roasted red peppers can save you time.

There are a variety that grocery stores carry; whole peppers, sliced, and also peppers flavored with olive oil or garlic marinade. Its charred vegetal sweetness was made to pair with fresh deli sandwiches, tuna salad, and pastas, and can even be turned into a delicious Middle Eastern dip. In other words, there's no limit to using canned roasted peppers. Romesco sauce, which goes great on salads, grilled veggies, and pizza, can also be made from roasted red peppers.

Turn the heat way up with habanero peppers

For those with leather tongues and high heat tolerances, look no further than habanero peppers. Guaranteed to keep you warm and cozy, it's around 76 times more sweat-inducing than jalapeños peppers and ranges between 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units. The hottest variety of habanero is volcanic by comparison, reaching up to 140 times the heat of the mildest jalapeño. Flaming lips aside, these piquant peppers pack more than heat and offer a smokey citrus-like taste. The best way to taste test habaneros is by including them in recipes — alone, we recommend keeping a glass of milk nearby.

Habaneros are one of the best ways to add flavorful heat to dishes, and like others, can be found pre-canned or pickled. The latter variety has less of a kick, though offers a unique tangy flavor that goes great with other foods. Canned habanero peppers have a wide range of uses. Mango and habanero sauce is an easy way to liven up the palate. If pickling is your thing, celebrity chef Carla Hall created a spicy pickle-habanero brine that can be used to marinade roasts, flavor salads, and more.

Keep pickled jalapeños for spicy tangy potato salad

A classic dish is classic for a reason. That means that it's tried and deliciously true. Dependable taste aside, there's nothing wrong with switching things up here and there. You can put a new spin on an old-school classic by introducing different ingredients. Take potato salad for example, an American comfort staple that's ideal for flavorful reinterpretation. Give your everyday potato salad a tangy twist with canned pickled jalapeño peppers. The spicy pickle taste pairs well with the vinegary zest of traditional 'tate salad, giving it a spicy kick. Refreshingly creamy mayo balances the spicier notes too, adding more complexity to the overall recipe.

It's just one of a multitude of mouthwatering ways to use canned pickled jalapeño peppers. There are many ways to enjoy the pickle and cream duo as well. Spruce up your charcuterie board with pickled jalapeños and goat cheese spread. For a hearty excursion, try elevating white chili with this spicy creamy pair. Or, if you prefer hands to utensils, pickled jalapeño, and goat cheese cornbread will likely blow you away.

Roasted poblano peppers will amp up hearty dishes

When it comes to food that sticks to the ribs, nothing beats bread and potatoes. Beyond filling you up, both are neutral-flavored canvases that allow for all sorts of culinary painting. The kitchen is the best place to show off your creative side, and the artful use of canned peppers can turn a rough concept into a tasty masterpiece. To amp up your cornbread, look no further than canned poblano peppers. Similar in taste to green bell peppers, poblanos are its subtly spicy cousin. On the Scoville meter, they range between a mild 1,000 to 1,500 units.

Fire-roasted poblanos are perfect for adding smoky earthy flavor to this chorizo cornbread stuffing recipe. Stuffing is usually hit-or-miss, but with this peppery infusion, it'll be the talk of the table. You can express the same culinary creativity with scalloped potatoes. It's a one-note dish that can quickly bore the palate. Trust us, canned roasted poblano peppers will be the life of your scalloped potato party. The best part is that it's an easy addition that only adds a few minutes to the overall process.

Stock pickled banana peppers to flavor-ify future meals

Your future self will thank you after you take our advice to keep your pantry stocked with pickled banana peppers. With a mild spiciness balanced with subtly sweet and tangy tones, they are just the refreshing kick you need. Appearance-wise, they are often mistaken for pepperoncini and Hungarian wax peppers. Banana peppers have more flavor than spice though, only reaching a humble 500 Scoville units. That makes them an ideal go-to for getting your pepper fix. While the fresh variety is perfectly suitable for enlivening your entrees, we recommend going the canned route.

Pickled banana peppers are next-level toppings for sandwiches and salads. But that only scratches the capsaicin surface, these yellow beauties can be used for so much more. You can transform them into a crave-worthy hot pepper butter spread or introduce punch to your pasta, pizzas, freshly baked bread, or any recipe that could use a kick in the caboose.

Give Mississippi pot roast a zesty pepperoncini touch

The smell that emanates from the oven when cooking pot roast is the stuff dreams are made of. Savory, seasoned, and slow-cooked, it's a recipe that rewards patience with delicious satisfaction. A surefire way to make slow-cooking chefs salivate is with a Mississippi pot roast. Offering a complex array of flavors, the ingredients are simple and consist only of chuck roast, butter, gravy, buttermilk ranch mix, salt and pepper, and canned pepperoncini. Just make sure to put eight hours to the side, because that's what you'll need to tackle this delectable challenge.

Fortunately, there's a similar recipe that can shave the cooking time in half. If you opt for chicken in place of beef, you can make the poultry version. Mississippi chicken is a lighter, though equally appetizing option. The ingredients are literally the same, except for the protein. Like the original, Mississippi chicken can be served atop mashed potatoes, roasted veggies or potatoes, and rice just to name a few. The best part about pot roasts is the leftovers, which can last up to five days when properly stored.

Save Anaheim peppers for smoky, sweet, and subtle spiciness

Anaheim peppers are another recommended option for mild palates. Coming in low on the Scoville meter, they only clock between 500 to 2,500 units. That makes them a great flavor additive to your favorite eats. They are particularly common in Southwestern cuisine, used in salsas, chilis, stews, or simply stuffed with ingredients. Earthy and smoky, the taste is comparable to poblano and both can be used as substitutes for the other. There are two varieties of Anaheim peppers, the most common is green, and the other is the red-colored Chile Colorado (or California peppers), which get their red color from an extended ripening process.

There are many reasons to keep your pantry stocked with canned Anaheim peppers, namely the countless crave-able recipes that you can add them to. Home chefs with time on their hands will savor this slow-cooked carne picada recipe. For an enchanting experience, Anaheim peppers are the star ingredient in New Mexican green chili. You can even kick the day in gear with an Anaheim pepper-infused egg scramble.

Hungarian wax peppers give goulash a gratifying kick

Humble comfort foods are known to be filling, flavorful, and fairly easy to make. In Hungary, goulash (referred to as gulyás) is a dish you must try and it's one of the most comforting dishes around. Although it can vary from region to region, it's basically a thick soup consisting of meat, root veggies, and peppers — beef, pork, and lamb are the usual proteins. The dish is so popular that it inspired an American version, which is completely distinct, yet similarly stomach-stuffing.

One major difference between the Hungarian and American iterations is the type of peppers they use. Hungarian wax peppers are a regional variety that locals enjoy for their mild yet flavorful taste. They closely resemble banana peppers, but trump them on the Scoville meter with 1,000 to 15,000 units. Along with goulash, the sweet heat of Hungarian wax peppers is commonly incorporated into sauces, soups, and salads. You can also roast or pickle them for an additional boost of "mmm" goodness.

Rocoto peppers are ridiculously tasty for recipes

With thousands of pepper varieties in the world, why not break away from your regular go-to and try a lesser-known type? Rocoto peppers are orange-colored bulbous beauties bursting with spiciness. Their Scoville level is comparable to habanero and Scotch bonnet peppers, so if you can't take the tingle, you may want to save taste testing for a milder pepper. You can expect a whopping 30,000 to 100,000 units of tongue-blazing spice. That said, rocotos are pretty flavorful as well and bring to mind a combo of bell pepper, tomato, and habanero.

This necessary pantry item is perfect for canning too. In Peru, it's a popular pepper that's used to make rocoto rellenos (or stuffed peppers), Peruvian sauce, and many savory meat dishes. Unfortunately, finding them here in the States may present some challenges. You'll need to scour local farmer's markets, as grocery stores here don't carry them. A quick online search should produce some results, though.

Hot pepper jelly is a necessary flavor enhancer

One unlikely canned pepper option that we highly recommend stocking in your pantry is hot pepper jelly. A spicy jelly may seem counterintuitive, but after it touches your tongue, it just might be your new jam. Hot pepper jelly is made using a combination of peppers (usually jalapeños, poblanos, and red bells), blended with apple cider vinegar, pectin, sugar, and salt. Its sweet and spicy profile drizzled atop a block of cream cheese is a chef's kiss. And that's just one of the endless ways to incorporate it into your daily eats. With a long shelf life and a wide range of applications, you'll be smothering everything with hot pepper jelly.

In only 30 minutes, you can enjoy it with toast, blended into salad dressings, as a glaze for meats, or for adventurous palates, with vanilla ice cream. To make it all you need to do is blend the ingredients together then cook them in a skillet with sugar and salt until everything emulsifies. Once ready, empty the jelly into a mason jar and boil the jar in water for 15 minutes. Let it sit for 24 hours before opening to enjoy. Hot pepper jelly can last for up to a year if properly stored.

Serrano peppers are a spicy condiment for countless dishes

Another pantry must-have is serrano peppers. Widely available, they resemble smaller and thinner jalapeño peppers, yet are hotter, fruitier, and more complex flavor-wise. On the Scoville meter serranos range from 10,000 to 20,000 units and get hotter the smaller they are. While these Mexican-borne peppers have many similarities, serranos still offer a distinct experience. From marinades and salsas to delectable glazes, a pantry without canned serrano peppers might as well be an empty closet.

You should store these earthy delights for many reasons, but one especially delicious incentive is so that you can make homemade giardiniera. Giardiniera is a spicy pickled mixture of vegetables that's most commonly used as a topping for sub sandwiches. More specifically, it consists of cauliflower, red pepper, carrot, celery, garlic, and the star of the show, serrano peppers. Beyond sub sandwiches, giardiniera can elevate any of your favorite sammies.

For authentic Chicago-style hot dogs, use sport peppers

Chicagoans are intimately acquainted with peppers, as they are a prominent feature of the city's famous style of hot dogs. If you've yet to experience a Chicago-style dog, you're in for a world of flavor. Unlike typical ballpark franks, these dogs are loaded with peppers, pickle spears, tomato slices, chopped onions, sweet relish, yellow mustard, and celery salt. Another thing that makes them special is the type of pepper used: sport peppers. Similar to serranos but smaller and less spicy, their official name is the "Mississippi sport pepper."

These Midwestern delights are pickled in a vinegar brine and are widely available at grocery stores in Chicago. Sadly, you may have trouble locating them outside of the city's borders, but they can be ordered online. They fall in the medium range Scoville-wise, ranging between 10,000 to 23,000 units. Along with Chicago-style dogs, sport peppers are tasty toppers for sandwiches and pizza, too.