Poblano Peppers vs Jalapenos (Heat, Flavor, Size, Nutrition, & Subs!)

If you’re trying to decide what to grow in your garden this year – or perhaps what to use in a dish – it’s useful to know the difference between your peppers! Today, we’re looking at jalapenos vs poblano peppers!

Poblano peppers measure between 1,000-2,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) and aren’t as spicy as jalapenos which measure between 2,500-8,000 SHU. Jalapenos have a bright flavor, whereas poblanos are deep and earthy. Both peppers originate from Mexico. Poblanos and jalapenos both have staggering amounts of vitamin C.

Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between these two fantastic peppers!

Comparison – Differences between poblano peppers and jalapeno peppers

First, let’s get a side-by-side comparison of poblanos and jalapenos based on the following criteria:

  • Jalapeño vs poblano heat level heat level
  • Jalapeño vs poblano flavor
  • Jalapeño vs poblano texture
  • Jalapeño vs poblano size and shape
  • Jalapeño vs poblano nutrition
  • Jalapeño vs poblano cost and availability
  • Unique difficulties
  • Substitutions
Poblano peppers vs jalapenos (based on heat, flavor, size, shape, nutrition, and substitutions).

Jalapeno vs poblano heat level (in Scoville heat units)

Poblano peppers range from 1,000 to 2,000 SHU. Jalapenos range from 2,000 to 8,000 SHU.

This means that the hottest poblano is only as hot as the mildest jalapeno.

Most people that don’t enjoy ‘spicy food’ will still be able to enjoy poblano peppers when they are used in food such as stuffed peppers or chili.

Cut up jalapeno peppers

Jalapeno vs poblano flavor

Poblanos have a deep, rich flavor with a trace of spice. 

Meanwhile, jalapenos are sweet, bright, and have a decently strong punch of spice.

Jalapeno vs poblano texture

Both poblanos and jalapenos have a tough exterior skin since they’re hot peppers. This makes them perfect for stuffing.

Jalapeno vs poblano size and shape

Poblanos look like flattened bell peppers and are 4-6 inches long.

Jalapenos are rounded cones and are 2-3 inches long.

Jalapeno vs poblano nutrition

Poblanos and jalapenos are both low in calories and incredibly high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals in your body.

Jalapeno vs poblano cost and availability

Jalapenos are slightly easier to get than poblanos. And if you can’t find fresh jalapenos, the store will definitely have pickled jalapenos.

Poblanos and jalapenos cost about the same per pound.

peppers for sale in the grocery store

Unique difficulties

The main difficulty you’ll encounter when working with poblanos is their tough outer skin. While some people don’t mind it, others always remove it.

Meanwhile, your main problem with jalapenos will likely be their wide SHU rating range! You can end up with a jalapeno 4 times as hot as you’re expecting if you reach the upper limits of the range.

In my personal experience, I’ve pulled off jalapenos from the SAME PLANT that had a noticeably different level of heat to them. Be careful!

Can you substitute poblano peppers for jalapenos or vice versa?

You can technically substitute poblanos and jalapenos for spice content, but their flavor profiles are very different.

Poblano peppers – a complete overview

Poblano peppers are a mildly spicy pepper from Puebla, Mexico. They’re often grilled or roasted and are a favorite among gardeners.

Time to get the facts!


The Scoville Scale rates peppers based on their heat level. Poblanos score a 1,000-2,000 SHU; jalapenos are 2,500-8,000.

Poblano peppers range from 1,000 to 2,000 SHU. In other words, they’re on the very mild side of spicy.

Mature poblano peppers are twice as spicy as immature poblanos. If you’re wondering how mature the pepper is, poblanos transform from a shiny dark green to a deep red- so pick accordingly! 

Capsaicin is the compound that makes peppers spicy, and it increases as peppers mature.


Poblano peppers are like an upgraded bell pepper. They have a more well-rounded flavor and a bit of spiciness.

They’re also quite deep and earthy, teetering on the edge of umami flavors. 

Size, shape, and texture

Immature poblano peppers are about 4 inches long and mature poblanos are about 6 inches long.

Poblano peppers are similar to bell peppers in shape, but flatter.

Poblanos have a tough skin and are very juicy.

poblano peppers are about 4-6 inches long

Nutritional content and potential health benefits

Some potential health benefits of poblano peppers include:

  • Lots of antioxidants
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Immune-boosting

The most notable nutritional facts about poblano peppers are that one cup (raw) has:

  • 30 calories
  • 14% DV of dietary fiber
  • 30% DV of Vitamin B6
  • 134% DV of Vitamin C

Cooking with poblano peppers

Poblano peppers are praised for their deep flavor and mild spiciness. 

They’re most popularly sauteed, grilled, or roasted. Poblano peppers are also excellent for stuffing because of their sturdiness.

Perhaps the best way to utilize poblano peppers is to blister them. Charring poblanos compliments their already-earthy flavor.

You won’t frequently find people using poblanos raw- they’re a bit tough for that.

stuffed poblano peppers with cheese and quinoa

Substitutions for poblano peppers

You can substitute bell peppers for poblano peppers, although they won’t be as flavorful and will lack the heat.

Freezing, drying, and preserving poblano peppers

There are plenty of ways to freeze, pickle, and dry poblano peppers.

Poblano peppers last great in storage so long as you do it correctly!

prepping and cutting up poblano peppers to preserve

Jalapeño peppers – a complete overview

Jalapeños are a well-known and well-loved pepper from Mexico that have made their way all the way around the world.

Let’s learn some more about jalapeños!


Jalapeño peppers range from 2,000 to 8,000 SHU. That’s quite the range! Their seeds are the spiciest part.

If you’ve only tried jalapeños once and they were too spicy for you, don’t lose hope. If you grow your own, you can pick them when they’re young and they won’t be as spicy. Likewise, opt for ones that aren’t fully red at the grocery store. 

(If you remember, capsaicin increases as peppers mature, which makes peppers hot.)

Unfortunately, size isn’t a good indication of how mature jalapeno peppers are. Truthfully, it’s a bit like Russian roulette.


Jalapeño peppers are spicy and sweet, with a pleasant kick to them.

jalapeno poppers made from fresh jalapenos

Size, shape, and texture

Jalapenos are only 2-3 inches long, with a round cone shape. 

Jalapenos aren’t as juicy as other peppers but they still burst in your mouth a little bit.

Nutritional content and potential health benefits

Some potential health benefits of jalapenos include:

  • May help with weight loss
  • Capsaicin might help fight cancer
  • May prevent ulcers
  • Might fight infections
  • Might boost heart health

Some notable nutritional contents of jalapeno peppers include, per 1 cup raw:

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

Cooking with jalapeños

Jalapeños are popular in foods like tacos, burritos, and nachos. 

Pickled jalapeños are sometimes put on salads- if you’re brave!

fresh jalapenos on nachos

Substitutions for jalapeños

Serrano peppers are the best substitution for jalapeños. Serranos have a much higher SHU rating – between 10,000 and 25,000 – but if you get one of the milder ones, it’ll be in the ballpark of a spicy jalapeño.

Besides SHU, they have a similar punch to their flavor, making them an excellent choice.

Freezing, drying, and preserving jalapeño peppers

One of the most popular ways to preserve jalapeños is to pickle them! In fact, many people will only eat pickled jalapeños because they can’t handle fresh ones.

Be sure to always wear gloves and wash your hands when working with hot peppers like jalapeños, and avoid touching your eyes at all costs!

Pickled jalapenos are a little less spicy than fresh jalapenos