How hot is a Serrano Pepper Compared to a Jalapeno?

How hot is a Serrano Pepper Compared to a Jalapeno?

While shopping for veggies people often confuse between Serrano pepper and jalapeno pepper. Since their size and look are quite similar they can be substituted for one another. But while substituting Serrano or jalapeno you must keep one thing in mind that their hotness meter is quite different. Serrano is in fact, hotter than jalapeno. If you are interested in knowing the hotness meter of these peppers then keep reading this OneHowTo article, How hot is a Serrano pepper compared to Jalapeno.

Difference between Serrano and Jalapeno

Looking at Serrano and jalapeno peppers, it is quite difficult to differentiate between the two. But careful observation will reveal the differences to you. Serrano is a bit smaller than jalapeno. Both their flavors are quite similar. But the main thing that differentiates the two is their heat. Serrano is much hotter than its cousin jalapeno.

If you still can’t differentiate the two then simply ask your shopkeeper.

Hot Jalapeno and hotter Serrano

Adding a dash of Jalapeno sauce to any dish gives it a kick. But in the Scoville scale Serrano rules among the two. This is because Serrano measures 10,000 to 23,000 Scoville heat units while Jalapeno measures just 2,500 to 8,000 SHU in the Scoville scale. Basically, Serrano is three times hotter than jalapeno.

So, the next time you are thinking about substituting Jalapeno with Serrano take care about the amount of Serrano you add because the same amount will make your dish three to five times hotter.


If you still have any doubts about the difference in hotness between Serrano pepper and Jalapeno or you want to get a hands-on experience on their hotness then here is an experiment for you: make a salsa.

Not just one salsa, for this experiment you need to make two salsas in the exact same way and then taste them both.


  • 2 – 3 ounces of Serrano pepper
  • 2 – 3 ounces of Jalapeno pepper
  • Corn tortillas


  1. Take all the Serrano peppers and put them in a blender. Add 2 tbsp of water and then puree it until it becomes foamy. Pour into a bowl and keep aside.
  2. Next take all the Jalapeno peppers and put them in another blender (or else you can rinse the earlier one and use it again). Add 2 tbsp of water and then puree it till it becomes foamy. Then pour it into another bowl.
  3. Now dig in to your salsa (one at a time) with the corn tortillas and enjoy the heat.


Note: In case you are confused as to which salsa is from which pepper then use two different colored bowls.

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