If you want to make your favorite Mexican salsa without exposing your taste buds to the hot serrano chili, select a serrano chili substitute from the range below.
Serrano chili is appreciated for its tender, thin skin and heat, which ranges between 10000-23000 SHU. The heat of chili peppers is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU), which probably means that you won’t have to bite a chili before adding it to your shopping cart.
Serrano Chili Substitute
Jalapeño peppers are a reliable substitute for serrano chili in your recipe. They do not have the same level of heat (2500 – 8000 SHU), but there is a crisp and bright flavor that will keep your guacamole dip tasting the same. You can use 2.5 teaspoons of jalapeno peppers in place of 1 teaspoon serrano chili.
If you want to go up a notch in terms of heat, you can use fresh cayenne pepper, but it has comparatively more heat (30,000-50,000 SHU) and adds a forward flavor to your recipe. Use 1 teaspoon of dried cayenne pepper in place of 3 teaspoons of serrano chili.
With 500-700 SHU, guero chilies are best suited for dishes that need a yellow texture. As these are mild in taste, you can add 3 times more of the chilies than the serrano chilies in your dish.
Red Pepper Flakes
A dried form of cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes can be used in pasta and pizza sauces and seasonings. Use a 1/4th teaspoon of red pepper flakes per teaspoon of serrano chili to match the flavor.
Also, known as California chili, Anaheim is a great substitute for serrano chili in your chile relleno. Use it in lesser quantity than serrano as the heat varies depending on the variety.
Chopped Green Pepper
Many a time, green peppers come handy when you cannot find serrano chilies. They do not provide any significant hotness to your dish but are a great addition to curries and salsas.
Poblano peppers have 1000-1500 SHU and they can easily mimic the flavor of serrano chilies when used in slightly more quantity than the serrano. Moreover, they do not attack your stomach like the spicier chilies do so go ahead, add some spice to your dish!
Banana pepper is a mild chili pepper with 5000-10000 SHU. 1 teaspoon of serrano can be substituted with 2 teaspoons of banana pepper for a tangy, spicy flavor.
Ghost pepper is a very hot pepper with 855,000 – 1,050,000 SHU. Use these chilies in a moderate quantity for a tangier, spicier salsa and enjoy your tortillas without knowing that serrano pepper was missing from the spice stack!
With 1000-3999 SHU, pasilla chilies are a safe option for dishes that require a more mellow taste. Though they possess a mild heat, their rich flavor can enhance the taste of guacamole.
Bird’s eye chilies, another name of Thai chilies, are hotter than serrano peppers with 50000-100000 SHU. When your taste buds are craving for some spicy burst, add these chilies to your curries or dips and enjoy the appealing recipe.
Scotch bonnets belong to the same family as habaneros, with 80000-400000 SHU. Use them in extremely lesser quantities than serrano peppers to match up the flavor in your dip.
Note: Many of the chilies possess a very spicy flavor, so add them to your dish cautiously. Make sure you wear gloves and handle the chilies as they are strong and pungent and can harm your eyes.