Chili pepper varieties range in flavor and spiciness, from the mild to moderate heat of cubanelle and banana peppers to the searing spiciness of Scotch bonnets and ghost peppers. Each chili pepper variety receives a rating on the Scoville Heat Index, which measures the hotness in units starting at zero for sweet bell peppers and going up to 16,000,000 for pure capsaicin.
Milder chili pepper varieties include Anaheims, cherry peppers, chili poblano, ancho chili and Rocotiillo chili peppers. Other mild peppers are Coronado, sangria, Pulla, Mulato, and Pasilla chilies. With ratings under 5,000 on the Scoville index, these chili peppers provide flavor and warmth without overt heat.
Moderately spicy chili pepper varieties include the more common jalapeño, Serrano, guajillo, yellow wax and Hidalgo varieties. Others include mirasol, chipotle, hot wax and manzano peppers. These peppers fall between 5,000 and 50,000 on the Scoville index, with a flavorful punch of noticeable heat.
Some of the spiciest chili peppers soar over the 50,000 mark, with milder options such as cayenne, santaka and jaloro. Thai bohemian, tabiche, and tepin chili peppers turn the heat up. Some of the hottest varieties include habanero, Jamaican hot peppers, fatali, Trinidad and Moruga scorpion peppers. Eating chili peppers in moderation can be healthful, with effects such as increased circulation and appetite stimulation, although exposure to overly spicy chili peppers may burn the skin and mucous membranes.