Just the Facts: Chiles

There's a chile for every taste: Use Food Network Magazine's cheat sheet to pick your perfect pepper.

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Shishito

Blister these sweet Japanese chiles in a skillet with olive oil, then season with salt for a simple side dish. But watch out — every now and then you'll get a hot one. Scoville Units: 0 to 2,000

Poblano

Use these large mild peppers for chiles rellenos, the popular Mexican stuffed-and-fried chile dish. Poblanos are tough-skinned, so roast and peel them before using. Scoville Units: 1,000 to 2,000

New Mexico

Roast these earthy-tasting chiles, then chop and add them to stews or enchiladas. They're similar to California and Anaheim chiles but a little hotter. Scoville Units: 2,500

Jalapeno

These peppers are super versatile: Try the pickled ones as a burger or taco topping, and use the fresh ones to spice up curries or cocktails. Jalapenos range from mild to medium, depending on where they were grown. Scoville Units: 2,500 to 10,000

Serrano

If you're ready to graduate from jalapenos, try serranos in your salsa or cornbread. They're crisp and spicy with a slightly herbal flavor. Scoville Units: 15,000 to 25,000

Cayenne

You've probably used powdered cayenne for a hint of heat, but the fresh peppers pack an equally spicy punch. Mince and add them to a stir-fry. Scoville Units: 30,000 to 50,000

Thai

These green or red Asian peppers are incendiary: Slice them and mix with soy sauce, vinegar and sugar for a fiery dipping sauce. Scoville Units: 60,000

Habanero

Don't let the fruity aroma fool you: Habaneros are the hottest peppers you can buy at most stores. A single one can make a whole pot of chili sizzle. Scoville Units: 100,000 to 350,000

Mulato

If you've ever had mole sauce, you've probably tasted these sweet and mild chiles. They team up with anchos and pasillas to form the "holy trinity" of peppers used for the classic Mexican sauce. Scoville Units: 1,000

Ancho

These are dried poblanos. Their raisin-like flavor tastes great in tortilla soup or salsa, and they're essential for a good mole. Scoville Units: 1,000 to 2,000

Cascabel

The name of this smoky-tasting pepper means "rattle" in Spanish — the seeds make a racket when you shake the pod. Soak and puree them, then add to chili or taco meat. Scoville Units: 1,500 to 2,500

New Mexico

Dried red New Mexico chiles are the key ingredient in the state's famous red enchilada sauce. They're often sold in wreaths or on strings in the Southwest. Scoville Units: 2,500

Guajillo

Soak and puree these sharp chiles to make a smoky sauce for chilaquiles, a Mexican tortilla casserole. Scoville Units: 2,500 to 5,000

Pasilla

These long, thin chiles add a pleasantly bitter bite to mole. The name means "little raisin" in Spanish. Scoville Units: 4,000

Chipotle

These dried, smoked jalapenos taste like barbecue. You'll often find chipotles canned in adobo sauce. Use them to add heat and smoky flavor to a marinade or mayonnaise. Scoville Units: 10,000

De Arbol

Small but potent, de arbols are blazingly hot. Toss them whole into stir-fries or grind them into chili powder. Scoville Units: 50,000 to 65,000

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