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Heat Seekers’ Guide: 5 Top Substitutes for Fresno Peppers

Peppers spice up any dish like nothing else. Found yourself in a pinch because the recipe calls for Fresno peppers and you’ve got none?

No sweat. From sweet to fiery, the world of peppers offers a rainbow of flavors and heat that can easily step in for the Fresno variety in a pinch.

This guide is your quick fix to keeping those flavors bold and your kitchen experiments on track, no matter what your local store has in stock.

We’ll walk you through five fantastic pepper substitutes that bring the heat, the flavor, and a whole lot of zest to your dishes.

1 – Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeno peppers are the go-to swap when you’re out of Fresno peppers. They’re just about everywhere, and chances are, you’ve already got some in your fridge.

They bring a similar heat level – not too mild, not too hot. Jalapenos are great because they mix well in most dishes without overpowering other flavors.

You’ll want to use a one-to-one ratio; it’s as simple as swapping one Fresno for one Jalapeno. If you’re looking to mix things up or if Jalapenos are what you need to substitute next time, check out our guide on finding the perfect jalapeno stand-in.

2 – Chipotle Peppers

Chipotle peppers are smoked, dried jalapenos that pack a punch with their smoky flavor. They’re a superb Fresno pepper substitute when you want to add a bit of smoky heat to your dishes.

While they’re a bit spicier, they won’t knock your socks off. Chipotles fit perfectly in sauces, stews, and meats. Use half the amount you would for Fresnos since they’re more intense.

Swap out one Fresno for half a Chipotle to keep things balanced. Plus, they’re usually found canned in adobo sauce, adding extra richness to whatever you’re cooking up.

3 – Serrano Peppers

Serrano peppers are a solid pick if you need more Fresno peppers. They’re a bit spicier, but don’t worry; they won’t set your mouth on fire.

The cool thing about Serranos is their crisp freshness, making them a top choice for adding a kick to salsas and dips. You’ll want to use them more sparingly, though.

For every Fresno pepper your recipe needs, go for about three-quarters of a Serrano.

And hey, if you find yourself getting cozy with Serranos and need a backup for these guys, we’ve got a laid-back guide on swapping out Serranos right here when you need a substitute for Serrano peppers.

4 – Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers are your buddy, while Fresno peppers are MIA. They’re milder but still bring a nice, subtle warmth to the table.

Poblanos are awesome because they have a rich, earthy flavor that goes well in stuffed recipes or chili. You’ll need more of them, though, since they’re less hot.

Use about one and a half Poblanos for every Fresno you’re missing. And if Poblanos becomes your new fave but you run out, no worries.

We have a chill guide on what you can use instead right here when you need a sub for Poblano peppers.

5 – Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes are your secret weapon when Fresno peppers are nowhere to be found. They’re the go-to for adding that fiery kick without making things complicated.

The beauty of red pepper flakes lies in their versatility – a little goes a long way in pizzas, pasta, and pretty much anything that needs a spice boost.

You’ll need to go easy with these guys; use about half a teaspoon for each Fresno pepper your recipe calls for.

Plus, if red pepper flakes are all you’ve got and you’re fishing for more ideas, check out some cool swaps over here at our guide for red pepper flakes substitutes.