Poblano vs Jalapeno: We take a close look at these two chiles and find out their strengths and weaknesses. Learn which chile is best for making salsa verde and other Mexican dishes.

Mexico is renowned for unique dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, mole sauces, and more. Mexicans use ingredients native to their region to make dishes more flavorful. One such ingredient is its chile.

There are many types of chilies that add to the flavor, texture, and appearance of Mexican dishes. A few examples are poblano, jalapeno, pasilla, serrano, etc

This article compares poblano vs jalapeno to find out which is hotter, so you know which one to add to your next Mexican recipe.

About Poblano

Poblano is a famous Mexican hot pepper that originates from Puebla, Mexico. This hot pepper gets its name from the residents of Puebla, who are called Poblanos.

However, dried poblanos become independent from their unripened version and are called chile ancho. The poblano plant is multi-stemmed and can grow up to 25 inches. 

Poblano is used in raw or roasted forms in various Mexican dishes. Their flavors and textures change significantly when exposed to heat. More on the taste of poblano later on.

Poblano peppers on a concrete surface.

Poblano Pepper Types

Following are the four main types of poblano peppers available.

  • Green poblano peppers: They are unripe with a much milder taste than the ripper versions.
  • Red poblano peppers: These poblano peppers are red-colored and spicier in flavor.
  • Ancho chilies: These are dried red poblano peppers with a smoky flavor used to make authentic dishes like birria.
  • Mulato chilies: These are similar to ancho chilies, except that they are fully ripe poblano peppers that are dried. Their taste consists of hints of licorice and chocolate.

About Jalapeno

Jalapenos are medium-sized chili peppers that are about 2 to 4 inches long. Jalapenos are also popular among Mexicans and originate from Xalapa in Veracruz.

They grow mostly in northern Veracruz, Chihuahua, Chiapas, Jalisco, Nayarit, Sonora, etc. Mexicans prefer to eat jalapenos, both whole and sliced.

Jalapenos are served stuffed, roasted, sauteed, and even pickled. They are also known as Chile Gordo.

A bunch of jalapeño peppers in a concrete surface.

Jalapeño Pepper Types

  • Green jalapeno peppers: They are fresh with an herbal taste.
  • Red jalapeno peppers: These are red-colored and spicier in flavor. Can be pickled or used for salsas.
  • Chipotle chiles: They are a smoked, dried kind of ripe jalapeño pepper. Can be found also packed in adobo sauce.
  • Morita chiles: Same as chipotle chilies but they are less smoked, which makes them more fruity and soft.

Which Is Hotter: Poblano Or Jalapeno?

Jalapenos are significantly hotter than poblano, and there’s no doubt about it. In addition, jalapenos scale higher than poblano in the Scoville scale; more on that later.

However, although jalapenos are hotter than poblano, that doesn’t rank it among the hottest types of chili. Jalapenos sit on the low-end of medium-heat peppers. Poblanos are in the range of mild peppers.

Placement In The Scoville Scale

The Scoville scale is a way to identify chili pepper’s heat in relation to other chili peppers. It is especially useful when you compare the heat of different types of chili. That way, you are warned about what to expect when eating a specific chili.

Following is a table of the Scoville Heat Units (SHU) of different chili pepper types.

Scoville hot pepper unit scale vector.

The above chart shows that jalapeno is several times higher in SHUs than poblano. Therefore, it proves that jalapenos are hotter than poblanos.

Poblano Vs. Jalapeno: The Difference In Flavor

Poblanos have an earthly flavor and are milder than most other types of chili. The taste is somewhat similar to green bell pepper, except much hotter.

Ripe poblanos are much hotter than the unripened version. Therefore, most recipes use roasted poblanos, which give a smoky flavor.

Jalapenos are much hotter than poblanos. Jalapenos taste similar to serrano but slightly hotter. It has a bit of a grassy flavor, ideal for salads or stuffed peppers.

In comparison, the flavor of jalapenos is much sharper than that of poblanos. In addition, jalapenos are eaten both raw and cooked, while poblanos are mostly roasted.

Poblano Vs. Jalapeno: The Difference In Appearance

Poblanos look similar to bell peppers, except not as round. Instead, they have an angular wedge shape but a good width that makes them suitable for stuffing. 

The walls of the poblano chili are also very thick in relation to most other types of chili. It also makes it easy to stuff this pepper without the walls breaking off.

Unripened poblanos are green, and ripe ones become dark red or brown. Roasted poblanos are very dark green.

Jalapenos are pod-like peppers that are generally long, about 2 – 3.5 inches. Some jalapenos are a bit stouter, while some are longer. However, their cavity is large enough for generous stuffing.

Unripe jalapenos are green in color. When ripped, they turn red in color.

Are Poblano And Jalapeno Easy To Find In Grocery Stores?

Jalapenos are easy to find and are widely available in almost every grocery store. You can find them in raw states or sauces and pickles. For example, the world-famous Sriracha sauce is made from red jalapeno peppers.

Poblanos are also easy to find in supermarkets, mainly in the southwest states of the US. Poblanos are available in their raw form and added to hot sauces and even soups.

Both jalapenos and poblanos can be found in online stores too.

Substituting Poblano For Jalapeno And Vice Versa

Substituting poblano for jalapeno and vice versa is not expected due to the vast difference in flavors and heat. Jalapenos are much hotter than poblano. 

Therefore, your dish will be much hotter if you use jalapeno instead of poblano. So if you don’t prefer the heat, you wouldn’t enjoy the dish.

You need to substitute jalapenos and poblanos, considering their SHUs.

Alternative Substitutes For Poblano And Jalapeno

A good substitute for poblano pepper is Anaheim chili when taking SHUs into account. Anaheim also has an earthy flavor similar to poblano. However, anaheim peppers are a bit milder in the heat than poblano. 

You can also substitute poblano with Italian peppers (frigitelli), or Moroccan green peppers.

A good substitute for jalapeno is serrano pepper. Serrano pepper has a grassy flavor similar to jalapeno. They also look a bit alike, but the walls of serrano pepper are a bit thinner than that of jalapeno.

However, serrano pepper is a bit higher up the Scoville scale.

Cooking With Poblanos

Poblanos are commonly used in dishes like chiles rellenos (Mexican stuffed peppers), mole sauces, enchiladas, and tacos. Their mild heat makes them suitable to serve in large gatherings without concern.

Although you can eat raw poblanos, their earthy taste comes to life when roasted or grilled. You can easily peel off the skin of a roasted poblano.

Raw poblanos can be served atop salads, sandwiches, and other sides.

Here are our favorite recipes that use roasted poblano peppers:

Poblano rajas con crema in a pan.

Cooking With Jalapeños

Jalapenos are moderately hot peppers, so use kitchen gloves when handling them. Also, if the exterior of the jalapenos is cracked, it’s an indication that these are slightly hotter than other jalapenos.

Leaving this membrane on will retain its heat. So, if you want slightly milder heat, remove the exterior of the jalapenos. Mexican cuisine makes use of jalapenos in various meals to give them a spicy and distinct flavor.

Take a look at our favorite recipes that use jalapeño peppers:

Beans served with pico de gallo salsa, slices of jalapeno, and cheese.

Poblano Vs Jalapeno: Nutrition Info

Below is the nutrition information for poblano and jalapeno.


Health Benefits Of Poblanos And Jalapenos

Below are the health benefits of poblano pepper and jalapeno pepper.


  • It helps fight inflammation.
  • It strengthens your immune system.
  • It has antioxidant properties which help get rid of free radicals.



Jalapenos are hotter than poblanos. They also vary greatly in flavor. Therefore, you cannot substitute one with the other. However, there are other chili options you can substitute for jalapeno and poblano.

Jalapenos and poblanos add a distinct flavor to Mexican dishes, especially salads, salsas, and sandwiches. They also taste great in sauces, salsas, pickles, etc.


Can I Substitute Poblano For Jalapeno In Recipes?

You cannot substitute poblano for jalapenos as the former has mild heat compared to the latter.

How Much Hotter Is Jalapeno Than Poblano?

Jalapenos are two to eight times hotter than poblanos.

Do Poblano Peppers Get Less Hot When Cooked?

No, poblano pepper doesn’t get less hot when cooked. Poblano pepper has a relatively mild heat.

What Is The Next Hottest Pepper After Jalapeno?

Serrano peppers are the next hot peppers after jalapeno.

Which Pepper Is The Hottest?

The Dragon’s Breath chili is the hottest pepper.

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One Comment

  1. Thankyou again Mari.

    Very well explained and really appreciated by those of us that are quite new to different Mexican chillies like I am.