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Why Do Jalapenos Turn Red? (All You Need to Know)

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Jalapenos are very versatile and can be added to many different recipes. It helps to not only elevate your recipes but also add a lovely kick of flavor. However, you might be wondering as to why they turn red and if it indicates anything bad. 

It is better to do your research before consuming them or adding them to your recipes. 

Why do Jalapenos turn red?

It is very common for jalapenos to turn red. The usual cause for it is because as it matures, it starts to ripen. When this takes place the entire process causes the jalapenos to change colors to bright red or orange. Alongside the color, it also causes them to vastly change flavors. 

Jalapenos suddenly changing colors, especially red, can be quite alarming. You might be wondering if there is anything wrong or if it is edible anymore. However, it is worth keeping in mind that there is a certain variety of jalapenos called the capsicum annuum. 

Most of this particular variety of jalapenos end up turning red. It is a sign of them maturing and ripening which also causes them to change flavors. 

You should also keep in mind that jalapenos that are not red in color can be both green and orange. Green jalapenos are actually unripe, however, it is perfectly fine to consume them as it is. The green jalapenos and red jalapenos have a very big difference in taste as well. 

Red jalapenos not only have a more deep and mature flavor, but it also tends to be hotter sometimes. On the other hand, green jalapenos tend to be a bit more on the sweeter side. 

It is best if you use them normally in recipes and try to figure out which flavor goes the best with your tastebuds.

What is a red jalapeno called? What makes jalapenos turn red?

Red jalapenos are called cuaresmeño. It simply translates to thick and red chili pepper. However, it is more commonly known as red pepper, red capsicum, or red jalapenos. 

There can be a lot of varieties even amongst the red ones, especially when it comes to the taste and flavor as well as the shape. Some tend to be smaller and pack a lot of flavors, it is also very hot to taste.  

When you first buy jalapenos from the store it tends to be young in age. This means that they were harvested way earlier in the age which gives them the green, unripe color. As the jalapenos start to mature and ripen they also start to change colors to orange and red

When it is fully ripe it usually is a bright red color. The simple ripening process changes the color and turns it to bright red. There is nothing to worry about as it is still completely safe and edible. 

The only change you should keep in mind is that as it matures and ripens, changing colors also change in flavor. Red jalapenos tend to be spicier to taste. 

Are jalapenos bad if they turn red?

No, jalapenos turning red does not mean that it is spoiled or bad. It is actually quite the opposite of that. When a jalapeno is green in color, it means that they are young and not ripe yet. 

Even though it is still completely edible and safe, all the oxidants still have not developed in it.

As you give it time to ripen and mature, it changes color to a beautiful bright red. This also means that it has gotten enough time to not only mature in flavor but also develop fully. 

A red jalapeno is much richer in capsaicin compared to unripe jalapenos. It also has a lot more fully developed vitamins and antioxidants which makes it more enriching. It will thus give a variety of health benefits that a green jalapeno cannot since it is not developed properly yet.  

However, do keep in mind that alongside all these red jalapenos also tends to be a lot spicier to taste. 

Do jalapenos turn red when ripe? 

It is not always that a jalapeno will turn red when it ripens. It is common for most jalapenos to turn bright red when it ages and starts ripening. However, this takes a long while and there are many jalapenos that do not turn fully red. 

There are some jalapenos that are green in color, to begin with even when they are ripened and mature. There are also varieties of jalapenos that are expected to turn red but instead, they turn dark green, orange, or a combined shade of red and green. 

This does not mean that the jalapenos are bad, but they will taste a bit different than usual and what you might be used to. It can end up having a complex blend of sweet, bitter, and spicy to taste. 

What happens to jalapenos when they turn red? What to do with jalapenos when they turn red? 

There is a reason for which jalapenos end up turning red and you should know what to do with them so that it does not go to any waste. 

Change Flavors:

Green jalapenos are basically unripe jalapenos. They are fully edible and many people prefer them over other jalapenos because of the slightly sweet flavor it has. When jalapenos turn red it usually means that it is maturing and ripening. 

This causes the jalapenos to vastly change the taste. It starts to get spicier and has a more in-depth flavor. 

Use it normally:

If your jalapenos turn red and you are unsure of what to do then use it normally in your recipes as you would with green jalapenos. This will give you an idea as to what it tastes like and if you like it or not. 

Storing jalapenos:

Many people actually prefer green jalapenos over red ones. This is because the red ones tend to be very spicy and thus not suitable for every recipe, especially stuffed jalapenos as it gets very spicy. 

In that case, if you buy too many green jalapenos then you can put them in an airtight plastic bag and freeze them. This will allow you to use them later on without them turning red.


If you have a lot of red jalapenos and you are not sure which recipe to go for then one common and simple recipe is to turn it into a hot sauce. It will not go to waste and you will be able to use it for a longer period of time. 

Is red jalapeno hotter than green? Are jalapenos hotter when they turn red? 

Usually, red jalapenos tend to be hotter than green jalapenos. This is because as they age, their flavor starts to deepen and mature. Their pungency also starts to deepen which helps make them a lot spicier than green jalapenos which tend to taste a bit sweeter in nature.  

However, the color of jalapenos as well as their age are not the only factors that determine the hotness level of a jalapeno. A green jalapeno can also be a lot spicier than red ones as it also depends on the particular variety. 

Other than that, the weather conditions and the environment in which the jalapenos are grown are also very important factors in determining the spiciness. 

If red jalapenos are not grown properly in the right environment then they can end up not being as spicy as you would naturally expect them to be. 

Even then many people avoid red jalapenos because on general terms unless you know about jalapenos in detail it is normal to expect red jalapenos to taste a lot spicier than green ones. Most red jalapenos do end up tasting very spicy because of their pungency. 

Which is better: green or red jalapenos?

This completely depends on your taste buds. Green jalapenos have a fresh and slightly sweet taste to them. It is usually not that spicy and is perfect to use in your everyday recipes. Red jalapenos on the other hand have a very mature and deepened flavor. 

It also tends to be very spicy. This does not make it suitable for regular recipes. It is used in more complex recipes or to simply make hot sauce. 

When it comes to health benefits, red jalapenos are better for you because they have been given enough time to mature properly. Not only does this let it develop its flavors, but it also allows the antioxidants, vitamins, and capsaicin to develop fully and properly. 

This overall makes it a lot better to consume as it has a lot of added health benefits. 

Final thoughts: 

Jalapenos turning red is very normal and it does not mean anything negative. It is best to test both green and red ones out to see which one goes with your recipe and tastes most. There is no right or wrong when consuming jalapenos as it is fully safe to consume both when it is ripe and unripe.

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