Jalapeño Pepper vs Banana Pepper (Heat, Flavor, Size, & Nutrition!)

Jalapeño peppers and banana peppers are both fan favorites when pickled and used as toppings. But how do they stack up against each other?

Jalapeño peppers and banana peppers are both small peppers, ranging from 2-3 inches in size. Banana peppers barely have any spice to them, whereas jalapeños have a decent kick. They’re both popularly pickled. It’s more common to cook with raw jalapeños than it is to cook with raw banana peppers.

Read on for a side-by-side comparison, as well as an in-depth look at both peppers!

Comparison – Differences between jalapeño peppers and banana peppers

Of the hundreds of peppers out there, most people only regularly consume a couple of them. If you like peppers at all, chances are good you enjoy both jalapeños and banana peppers, but have you ever stopped to think about what they have in common – and what they don’t?

Jalapeños vs banana peppers (based on heat, flavor, size, shape, nutrition, and substitutions).

Let’s look at the similarities and differences between jalapeños and banana peppers based on the following criteria:

  • Jalepeño peppers vs banana peppers heat level
  • Jalepeño peppers vs banana peppers flavor
  • Jalepeño peppers vs banana peppers texture
  • Jalepeño peppers vs banana peppers size and shape
  • Jalepeño peppers vs banana peppers nutrition
  • Jalepeño peppers vs banana peppers cost and availability
  • Unique difficulties
  • Substitutions
CriteriaJalepeño PepperBanana Pepper
Heat level2,000-8,000 SHU0-500 SHU
FlavorSweet and brightSweet and tangy
TextureSmooth with a tough skinMostly smooth, may have slight wrinkles
Size2-3″ 2-3″
ShapeRounded conesSlender and cone-shaped
Nutrition (per 100g)29 Calories
144% DV Vitamin C
27 calories
92% DV Vitamin C
SubstitutionsSerrano pepperPepperoncini pepper
Table comparing jalepeños vs banana peppers based on heat level, flavor, texture, size, shape, basic nutrition, and common substitutions

Jalepeño peppers vs banana peppers heat level (in Scoville heat units)

Jalapeños range between 2,000-8,000 SHU.

Meanwhile, banana peppers only reach 0-500 SHU.

Jalapeños are generally considered the mildest of the "spicy" peppers, while banana peppers are more tangy than spicy.

The mildest jalapeño is 4 times hotter than the spiciest banana pepper, and the hottest jalapeño leaves this little pepper in the dust.

Jalepeño peppers vs banana peppers flavor

Both jalapeños and banana peppers are sweet.

Jalapeños have a spicy kick to them, whereas banana peppers have an enjoyable tanginess but no real bite.

Jalepeño peppers vs banana peppers texture

Banana peppers and jalapeños are both mostly smooth.

Jalepeño peppers vs banana peppers size and shape

Jalapeños and banana peppers both reach 2-3 inches in length.

Jalepeño peppers vs banana peppers nutrition

Jalapenos and banana peppers are low in calories and have high Vitamin C content.

Vitamin C is known for its potential anti-cancer properties due to its ability to battle free radicals in your body.

Cost and availability

Jalapeños are easy to find both pickled and raw.

It’s easier to find pickled banana peppers than it is to find raw banana peppers.

Both jalapeños and banana peppers are sold pickled.

Jalapeños and banana peppers are both fairly easy to find and on the less expensive side.

Unique difficulties

The main difficulty you’ll run into with jalapeños is safety precautions because of their spice level. It’s also difficult to tell how spicy your pepper will be, considering the wide SHU range.

Luckily, banana peppers don’t really have many difficulties!

Can you substitute jalapeño peppers for banana peppers or vice versa?

You can’t substitute jalapeño peppers for banana peppers or vice versa, unless you’re in desperate need of a pickled pepper.

Jalapeño peppers – a complete overview

Jalapeño peppers hail from Mexico and have taken the world by storm.

Jalapeños are incredibly popular due to their sweet heat.

Even if you’re not crazy about heat, you’ll probably find something to like in this popular pepper.


Jalapeños have an SHU rating between 2,000 and 8,000.

As jalapeños mature, they get hotter and hotter. This is because capsaicin increases as peppers grow. (Capsaicin is the compound that makes peppers hot!).

Graphic showing the relative comparison of select peppers based on their SHU.

You can’t really tell how hot a jalapeño is based on its size, unfortunately. You have to go based on color – or grow them yourself!


Jalapeños are spicy with a sweet undertone.

Size, shape, and texture

Jalapeños are smaller than most peppers, coming in at only 2-3 inches long.

They have a smooth exterior and look like round cones.

Nutritional content and potential health benefits

Some potential jalapeño health benefits are:

  • Ulcer prevention
  • Fighting infections
  • Weight loss aid
  • Helps heart health

One cup of raw jalapeños has:

  • 26 calories
  • 10% DV Dietary Fiber
  • 177% DV Vitamin C
  • 20% DV Vitamin B6

Want to see how jalapeños stand up to other peppers? Check my detailed comparison of poblano peppers vs. jalapeños.

Cooking with jalapeño peppers

Jalapeños are traditionally used in Mexican cooking but have been welcomed all over the world to add sweet spice to other cuisines!

Pickled jalapeños bring a little extra salt, sweetness, and spice to classic deviled eggs.

Pickled peppers are often used on sandwiches, but they have many uses. Looking to elevate your deviled eggs? Tap a bit of smoked paprika into your yolk mixture, then top the whole egg with a single slice of pickled pepper.

Substitutions for jalapeño peppers

A great substitute for jalapeño peppers is serrano peppers.

Mild serrano peppers have an SHU rating of 10,000 – roughly the same as a spicy jalapeño. They’re also both sweet in flavor.

Freezing, drying, and preserving jalapeño peppers

If you like pickled jalapeños, why not do it yourself?

You can also freeze, dry, or can your jalapeños to preserve them.

Banana peppers – a complete overview

Banana peppers are usually used as salad or sandwich toppings. So-named for their banana-like appearance, these peppers are slightly sweet, slightly tangy, and slightly salty (when pickled).

Keep reading to find out what else these little peppers have going for them.

Banana peppers are slightly sweet with a barely-there heat.


Banana peppers range from 0-500 SHU.

This will provide just the slightest hint of heat, tolerable for nearly everyone!


Banana peppers have an enjoyable tanginess and are quite sweet. They’re often pickled to complement these flavors even more.

Size, shape, and texture

Banana peppers are about 2-3 inches in size.

They look like skinny, slightly-dimpled cones.

Nutritional content and potential health benefits

One cup of raw banana peppers contains:

  • 32 calories
  • 4g protein
  • 16% DV Dietary Fiber
  • 172% DV Vitamin C

Pickled banana peppers also have a lot of sodium.

Potential health benefits of banana peppers include:

  • Aiding in controlling blood pressure
  • Preventing or fighting cancer
  • Increasing your metabolism

Cooking with banana peppers

Banana peppers are usually used as a pickled topping. Pro tip: try them on subs!

You can also cook with banana peppers any way you’d cook with other peppers – sauteing them. stuffing them, grilling them, blistering them, or roasting them.

Substitutions for banana peppers

Pepperoncini peppers are the best substitute for banana peppers. They have the same SHU rating and share a similar tanginess.

Bell peppers will also work because banana peppers are barely spicy, and bell peppers have no spice to them.

Find out more about pepperoncini peppers in this article.

Freezing, drying, and preserving banana peppers

The best way to preserve banana peppers is to pickle them yourself!

Banana peppers are typically pickled and used as a topping or garnish rather than served by themselves.

Of course, you can also freeze, dry, or can them.