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

Jalapeño peppers and serrano peppers are both loved for their delicious flavors and moderate spice levels, but are they really that alike?

Serrano peppers and jalapeño peppers are about the same size – just a few inches long. Serrano peppers have an SHU rating of 10,000-25,000, whereas jalapeños are relatively mild at just 2,000-8,000. Both peppers share a sweet flavor with a hefty kick of spice. You can use them interchangeably depending on how hot you want your dish to be!

Read on for a thorough comparison between these two beloved sweet, spicy peppers!

Comparison – Differences between jalapeño peppers and serrano peppers

Jalapeños are arguably one of the most popular peppers out there. Between their subtle sweetness and relatively low heat, they’re bound to please just about anyone who isn’t completely opposed to a little capsaicin. If you’re looking for something with a little more kick though, that’s where the lesser-known serrano pepper comes in.

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

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

  • Jalepeños vs serrano peppers heat level
  • Jalepeños vs serrano peppers flavor
  • Jalepeños vs serrano peppers texture
  • Jalepeños vs serrano peppers size and shape
  • Jalepeños vs serrano peppers nutrition
  • Jalepeños vs serrano peppers cost and availability
  • Unique difficulties
  • Substitutions
CriteriaJalepeño PepperSerrano Pepper
Heat level2,000-8,000 SHU10,000-25,000 SHU
FlavorSweet and brightSpicy and sweet
TextureVery smoothVery smooth
Size2-3″ 1-4″
ShapeRounded conesSkinny
Nutrition (per 100g)29 Calories
144% DV Vitamin C
32 Calories
50% DV Vitamin C
SubstitutionsSerrano pepperJalepeño pepper
Table comparing jalepeños vs serrano peppers based on heat level, flavor, texture, size, shape, basic nutrition, and common substitutions

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

Serrano peppers are spicier than jalapeños. 

Custom graphic comparing the SHU of Jalapenos and Serranos.

Jalapeños range from 2,000-8,000 SHU, but serranos have a range of 10,000-25,000 SHU.

Jalepeño peppers vs serrano peppers flavor

Jalapeños and serranos are both spicy and sweet.

Jalepeño peppers vs serrano peppers texture

Both jalapeños and serranos are super smooth.

Jalepeño peppers vs serrano peppers size and shape

Serranos and jalapeños share a cone shape, but jalapeños are more rounded and serranos are skinnier.

Jalapeños are 2-3 inches long, while serranos are 1-4 inches long.

Jalepeños vs serrano peppers nutritional content 

Jalapeños and serranos are both low in calories, high in Vitamin C, and high in capsaicin. They also have a decent amount of fiber.

Cost and availability

Jalapeños cost less than serranos because they’re easier to find.

Unique difficulties

You have to be careful when cooking with both jalapeños and serranos because you don’t want to get the spice in your eyes!

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

You can substitute jalapeño peppers for serrano peppers and vice versa. They are both sweet with similar spice levels.

Jalapeño peppers – a complete overview

Most people have at least tried a jalepeño in their lives, but have you ever give it much thought?

It’s not the spiciest pepper out there (that would be the terrifying Carolina Reaper), and it’s not even the most ubiquitous (even though they’re not spicy, bell peppers are still peppers!), but it may be one of the most popular.

Jalepeños are incredibly popular and accessible.


Jalapeños have an SHU rating between 2,000 and 8,000. That means one random jalapeño can be 4 times as spicy as another random one!

Custom graphic comparing the SHU (Scoville Heat Units) of peppers including Jalapenos and Serranos.

Red jalapeños are the spiciest because they’re more mature. Capsaicin increases as peppers mature, which makes them spicier.

Unfortunately, size won’t help you know how hot a jalapeño is. You have to go based off color – or grow them yourself!


Jalapeño peppers are both sweet and spicy.

Size, shape, and texture

Jalapeños are typically 2-3 inches long.

They have a rounded cone shape. Jalapeños are very smooth.

Nutritional content and potential health benefits

Some health benefits of jalapeños include:

  • May aid in weight loss
  • May relieve pain
  • May prevent or fight cancer
  • May prevent stomach ulcers
  • May boost heart health

Meanwhile, the nutritional content of one raw cup of jalapeño peppers is:

  • 26 calories
  • 10% DV dietary fiber
  • 177% DV Vitamin C
  • 20% DV Vitamin B6

Cooking with jalapeño peppers

One great way to cook with jalapeño peppers is to stuff them – if you can handle the spice!

They’re very common in Mexican cuisine, but they’re been adopted all around the world due to their pleasant spice.

Substitutions for jalapeño peppers

Serrano peppers are a great substitute for jalapeño peppers. Mild serrano peppers are about as hot as spicy jalapeños. 

Likewise, serranos and jalapeños are both enjoyably sweet.

Freezing, drying, and preserving jalapeño peppers

You can freeze, dry, can, or pickle jalapeño peppers.

If you enjoy pickled jalapeño peppers from the store, you should try making your own!

In addition, some people like to grind up their dried jalapeños to make chili powder.

Serrano peppers – a complete overview

Serrano peppers are hot without being overwhelmingly so and are sweet like jalepeños. They may not be as popular as their counterpart, but maybe we can change that!

Let’s take a deep dive into this spicy pepper!


Serrano peppers range from 10,000-25,000 SHU.


Serrano peppers are sweet with a spicy kick in the butt!

Size, shape, and texture

Serrano peppers can range anywhere from 1-4 inches long, depending on maturity.

They look like skinny tubes with pointed tips and are very smooth.

Like most peppers, the mature red peppers are likely to be spicier than the green version.

As with many peppers, the riper a serrano is, the more heat it’s likely to have. Red peppers are also likely to have a softer.

Nutritional content and potential health benefits

One cup of raw serrano peppers contains:

  • 34 calories
  • 52% DV vitamin C
  • 2g protein
  • 3.9g fiber

Some potential health benefits of serrano peppers include:

  • Decreased inflammation
  • Anti-cancer properties
  • Good for heart health

Cooking with serrano peppers

If you can handle the heat, serrano peppers are delicious stuffed.

Another great way to draw out their sweet and spicy flavor is to blister them!

Serrano peppers are great stuffed, blistered, or even just sliced and served on top your favorite taco soup!

You can also roast, grill, or saute serranos.

Substitutions for serrano peppers

Jalapeños are a good substitution for serrano peppers if you can get a jalapeño that’s on the spicier side. 

Freezing, drying, and preserving serrano peppers

You can freeze, dry, can, and pickle serrano peppers.

Just like jalapeños, you can grind up dried serranos to make delicious homemade chili powder. Yum!