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Chili vs. Pepper: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sara Rehman || Published on January 26, 2024
Chili refers to hot, spicy fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, while pepper commonly denotes Piperaceae family fruits, used as spice or seasoning.

Key Differences

Chili, a fruit of plants from the Capsicum genus, is known for its heat and is used in spicy dishes. Pepper, typically from the Piperaceae family, includes varieties like black, white, and green pepper, used as a common spice.
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024
The heat in chili comes from capsaicin, a chemical compound, making them a staple in many cuisines for their spiciness. Pepper, often ground into a fine powder, is used to add a mild, distinctive flavor to dishes, without the intense heat of chili.
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024
Chilies vary greatly in size, color, and level of heat, used in both fresh and dried forms in cooking. Peppers, however, are usually dried and ground, or used as whole peppercorns, and are known for their pungent aroma and flavor.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 26, 2024
Chili is an integral ingredient in many Asian, Latin American, and Indian cuisines, used to add heat and flavor. Pepper, while used worldwide, is a staple in European and American kitchens, often paired with salt for seasoning.
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024
Both chili and pepper are used to enhance the flavor of food, chili brings a hot and spicy element, whereas pepper contributes a mild, pungent flavor and aroma.
Harlon Moss
Jan 26, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Botanical Family

Capsicum
Piperaceae
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024

Flavor Profile

Hot and spicy
Mild and pungent
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 26, 2024

Common Forms

Fresh, dried, powdered
Ground, whole peppercorns
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024

Primary Compound

Capsaicin
Piperine
Janet White
Jan 26, 2024

Culinary Uses

Adds heat to dishes
Common seasoning, adds flavor
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024
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Chili and Pepper Definitions

Chili

Chili is used in various cuisines for its heat and flavor.
The chili sauce gave the noodles a fiery taste.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

Pepper

Black, white, and green peppers are all derived from the same plant but processed differently.
The recipe required a mix of black and white pepper.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

Chili is a spicy fruit from the Capsicum plant family.
He added red chili to the curry for extra spice.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Pepper

Pepper is a pungent spice obtained from dried berries of the Piper nigrum vine.
Freshly ground black pepper was sprinkled over the salad.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

Chili is often used to make spicy sauces and condiments.
He loves adding green chili salsa to his tacos.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

Pepper

Pepper can be used whole, cracked, or ground.
The sauce included whole peppercorns for added texture.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

Chilies come in different varieties, each with a unique level of spiciness.
She grew several types of chili in her garden.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

Pepper

Pepper is used worldwide as a common seasoning in various dishes.
She seasoned the soup with salt and pepper.
Harlon Moss
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

Dried or powdered chili is a common ingredient in many spice blends.
The recipe called for a tablespoon of chili powder.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

Pepper

Ground pepper is a staple in many kitchens and restaurants.
He added a pinch of pepper to enhance the flavor.
Janet White
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

The pungent fresh or dried fruit of any of several cultivated varieties of capsicum, used especially as a flavoring in cooking. Also called chili pepper.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Pepper

A perennial climbing vine (Piper nigrum) native to India, widely cultivated for its long slender spikes of small fruit.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

A stew made of meat or beans (or both) and usually tomatoes, spiced with chili peppers or chili powder.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Pepper

A pungent black or white spice produced from the dried fruit of this plant, used as a condiment.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

(countable) The pungent, spicy fresh or dried fruit of any of several cultivated varieties of capsicum peppers, used in cooking.
Chili pepper
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

(uncountable) Powdered chili pepper, used as a spice or flavouring in cooking.
Chili powder
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

(Indian Chinese cuisine) A spicy stew of chicken or paneer, capsicum and onion, eaten as an appetizer.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

A dish made with chili peppers and other ingredients, such as beans and beef.
Chili con carne
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

(Cincinnati) Cincinnati chili.
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

A kind of red pepper. See Capsicum
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

Ground beef and chili peppers or chili powder often with tomatoes and kidney beans
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

Chili

Very hot and finely tapering pepper of special pungency
Sara Rehman
Dec 11, 2023

FAQs

Can I use chili in dessert recipes?

Yes, it's used in some desserts for a spicy kick.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 26, 2024

Is pepper good for health?

Yes, it has digestive and antibacterial properties.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 26, 2024

What's the difference between black and white pepper?

They come from the same plant but are processed differently.
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024

What is pepper?

Pepper is a pungent spice from the Piper nigrum vine.
Janet White
Jan 26, 2024

Can pepper be used in sweet dishes?

Yes, in small amounts for a subtle flavor.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 26, 2024

Does pepper come in different colors?

Yes, including black, white, green, and red.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 26, 2024

What is chili?

Chili is a hot, spicy fruit from plants in the Capsicum genus.
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024

What are the health benefits of chili?

Chili can boost metabolism and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 26, 2024

Are all chilies equally spicy?

No, the spiciness varies among different chili varieties.
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024

Are chili and bell peppers the same?

No, bell peppers are sweet, not spicy.
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024

Is pepper available in different grind sizes?

Yes, from fine to coarse grinds.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 26, 2024

Can I grow chili at home?

Yes, it can be grown in gardens or pots.
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024

Are chili and pepper used differently in cooking?

Yes, chili is used for heat, while pepper is used as a general seasoning.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 26, 2024

Can pepper lose its flavor over time?

Yes, especially when ground and exposed to air.
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024

What's the hottest type of chili?

The Carolina Reaper is currently known as the hottest.
Aimie Carlson
Jan 26, 2024

Can I substitute pepper for chili in recipes?

Only if you want a milder flavor without the heat.
Janet White
Jan 26, 2024

Do chili and pepper have the same flavor profile?

No, chili is hot and spicy, while pepper is more pungent and mild.
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024

Is chili powder made only from chilies?

Pure chili powder is, but some blends include other spices.
Janet White
Jan 26, 2024

How do I store chili for longer shelf life?

Keep it in a cool, dry place or refrigerate.
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024

What dishes are best with chili?

Spicy cuisines like Mexican, Indian, and Thai.
Sara Rehman
Jan 26, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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