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Jalapeño vs. Poblano: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on April 18, 2024
Jalapeños are small, spicy chili peppers, while poblanos are larger, milder peppers often used stuffed.

Key Differences

Jalapeños are a popular chili pepper known for their moderate heat and bright, sharp flavor, often used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines. Poblanos, on the other hand, are larger, darker green peppers with a milder flavor, commonly used in dishes like chiles rellenos. While jalapeños have a heat level that can vary from mild to hot, typically between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville units, poblanos are much milder, usually ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville units.
Jalapeños are often eaten raw, sliced in salsas or as toppings for nachos and tacos, providing a spicy kick to dishes. Poblanos are frequently roasted and peeled to enhance their flavor, used whole for stuffing or diced in sauces and stews. The versatility of jalapeños extends to pickling, a popular method for preserving and serving them, while poblanos are celebrated for their rich, deep flavor when dried, transforming into ancho chilies.
The small, green, and sometimes red jalapeños are a staple in spicy dishes, easily recognized by their distinct heat. Poblanos, with their larger size and heart-shaped appearance, are prized for their ability to hold fillings, making them ideal for stuffed pepper recipes. While the heat of a jalapeño can add excitement to a dish, the mildness of a poblano makes it suitable for those who prefer flavor without intense spiciness.
In culinary use, jalapeños can be found enhancing the flavor profile of a variety of dishes, from salsas to spicy chocolate, indicating their versatility in both savory and sweet applications. Poblanos, with their subtle heat and full-bodied taste, are often the chili of choice for more complex dishes, where they contribute depth without overwhelming heat, such as in mole sauces.

Comparison Chart

Scoville Heat Units

2,500 - 8,000
1,000 - 2,000


Small, 2-3 inches long
Large, 4-5 inches long


Bright, sharp, and spicy
Mild, rich, and slightly sweet

Common Uses

Raw in salsas, pickled, toppings
Roasted, stuffed, in sauces and stews


Green when unripe, red when ripe
Dark green, turns red or brown when ripe

Jalapeño and Poblano Definitions


Sometimes smoked and dried, known as chipotle.
The soup had a smoky flavor from the chipotle jalapeño.


When dried, it becomes an ancho chili, used in sauces and spice mixes.
The sauce's depth came from the ground ancho poblano chili.


Can be pickled and served as a condiment.
I always have a jar of pickled jalapeño in the fridge.


A mild chili pepper commonly used in Mexican cooking.
I stuffed the poblano peppers with cheese and rice for dinner.


A medium-sized chili pepper known for its spicy heat.
I added sliced jalapeño to the guacamole for an extra kick.


Often roasted to enhance its flavor and ease the removal of its skin.
The roasted poblano salad was a refreshing side dish.


Often used in Mexican cuisine to add spice and flavor to dishes.
The jalapeño poppers were a hit at the party.


Large and heart-shaped, ideal for stuffing with various fillings.
The roasted poblano added a mild heat to the enchiladas.


Used fresh, cooked, or as a garnish in various recipes.
The tacos were topped with fresh jalapeño slices.


Known for its mild but rich flavor, adding depth to dishes.
We added diced poblano to the stew for a subtle flavor.


A cultivar of the tropical pepper Capsicum annuum having a very pungent green or red fruit.


A cultivar of the tropical pepper Capsicum annuum, having a mild or fairly pungent dark green, thick-skinned fruit used in cooking.


The fruit of this plant.


A mild green chile pepper native to Mexico; when dried, the chilis are called anchos or wide chilis.


Alternative spelling of jalapeño


Plant bearing very hot and finely tapering long peppers; usually red


Hot green or red pepper of southwestern United States and Mexico


What is a poblano?

A poblano is a large, mild chili pepper often used in Mexican cuisine.

What is a jalapeño?

A jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper known for its spicy heat.

How spicy are jalapeños compared to poblanos?

Jalapeños are spicier than poblanos, with a higher Scoville heat unit range.

Is it necessary to roast poblanos before using them in recipes?

Roasting enhances their flavor and makes peeling easier, but it's not always necessary.

Can I substitute jalapeño for poblano in recipes?

Substitutions can be made, but expect a difference in heat and size.

Are jalapeños always green?

Jalapeños are green when unripe and can turn red when fully ripe.

What dishes are jalapeños commonly used in?

Jalapeños are used in salsas, as toppings, and in spicy dishes.

What are common uses for poblanos?

Poblanos are commonly roasted and used in stuffed pepper dishes, sauces, and stews.

Can jalapeños be eaten raw?

Yes, jalapeños can be eaten raw, often sliced in salsas or as toppings.

What is the best way to reduce the heat of a jalapeño?

Removing the seeds and membranes can help reduce the heat.

How do you roast a poblano pepper?

Poblanos can be roasted over an open flame or under a broiler until the skin is charred.

What is the texture of a cooked poblano?

Cooked poblanos are tender and slightly meaty in texture.

What does a poblano turn into when dried?

When dried, a poblano becomes an ancho chili.

Are jalapeño seeds spicy?

Yes, the seeds and membranes contain capsaicin, which adds to the heat.

How do you store jalapeños to keep them fresh?

Store jalapeños in a plastic bag in the refrigerator's crisper drawer.

What is the nutritional value of poblanos?

Poblanos are low in calories and a good source of vitamins A and C.

Do jalapeños become milder when cooked?

Cooking can slightly mellow the heat of jalapeños, but they remain spicy.

Are there different varieties of poblanos?

There are variations, but typically poblanos are fairly consistent in flavor and size.

Can poblanos be eaten raw?

Yes, poblanos can be eaten raw, though they are commonly cooked to enhance flavor.

Can jalapeños be frozen?

Yes, jalapeños can be frozen whole, sliced, or diced for later use.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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