Caution, if you can't take the heat you may want to stop reading now because things are about to get fiery hot. Embracing the love of spicy food, we're about to dive into the fanatical world of the habanero chili pepper. Why habaneros? Because they pack a serious punch with a citrusy flavor.
Spicier than jalapenos and way less spicy than ghost peppers, habanero chili peppers are perfect for when you want to add some more heat to your favorite foods. They're at 150,000 to 575,000 Scoville Heat Unites, making them 100 times spicier than jalapeños! This spice level is comparable to the Fatalii and Scotch Bonnet peppers. This level of spice adds a delicious kick to any dish, but make sure you can handle it before taking a bite. You can find habaneros in many different colors depending on their level of ripeness. Unripe ones are green, while the most common colors are orange and red. They can also be white, brown, yellow, or purple.
Despite being incredibly spicy, habaneros are surprisingly versatile. If you're a fan of the heat, you can enjoy them in a wide range of different foods, and they'll make your favorite dishes far more flavorful and spicy. Burgers, tacos, and even your cocktails can all taste a little better with help from this pepper. If you're not sure what they taste like, habanero peppers are fruity, floral, and sweet, giving them a unique flavor to go with their intense spice. They're also deliciously crunchy, adding texture to any meal.
So in honor of its beloved Scoville units, we rounded up 11 fiery habanero pepper recipes for you to try at home. A quick-cooking tip though, you may want to handle these hot peppers with gloves because they are seriously super hot.
1. Roasted Tomatillo Habanero Salsa
I know the fiery heat of the habanero can be intimidating when it comes to making salsa, but this recipe balances out the flavors so well you won't want to use any other chili pepper for your Mexican salsa. It's got the tartness of roasted tomatillos, the smokiness of dried chilies, the wonderful citrus of orange and lime juice, a pungent kick from the garlic cloves, and of course the heat of the habanero to bring it all together. Make a big batch because you'll be scooping this spiciness up by the chip-full.
2. Shrimp Tacos with Mango Habanero Salsa
Taco Tuesday fans get ready because your taste buds are in for a ride. This recipe piles flour tortillas high with succulent crispy fried shrimp, quick pickled onions, Sriracha mayo, avocado slices, and a tropical sweet mango habanero salsa to tie it all together. Word to the wise, add diced habanero a little bit at a time to control the heat factor.
3. Caribbean- Style Mango Habanero Hot Sauce
Let's not kid ourselves. Possibly the best thing to do with habanero peppers is to make hot sauce, and we've got the recipe for you. The perfect marriage between fiery and sweet, this Caribbean-style habanero sauce is ideal for those that want the flavor to go along with the heat. Put it on some chicken wings, douse it on your burger, or pour it on some grilled salmon tacos. Your taste buds will thank you.
4. Fried Habanero Poppers
Move over jalapeño poppers, habanero poppers have come to town. Crunchy on the outside and oozing with cheesy goodness on the inside, you'll love how these pop in your mouth. A little bit of caution though, these guys are extremely hot so if you can't stand the heat best leave these to the pros.
Chef's Tip: Use gloves when handling habaneros.
5. Habanero Peach Jam
Not sure what to do with your surplus peach crop? Turn it into an addictive habanero-infused jam with this recipe. Bust out the cream cheese, layer on this jam, and serve it with some crackers for an appetizer your friends will savor till every last bite.
6. Vegan Potato Habanero White Pizza
How do you balance out a creamy, garlicky pizza sauce? Add habaneros. That mixed with the thinly sliced potatoes and red onion will have you devouring slice by slice until the pie is gone.
Chef's Tip: Use a mandolin to get the perfect thin topping slices.
7. Strawberry Bourbon Habanero BBQ Sauce
If you're debating about what to slather on your BBQ this grilling season, look no further because this recipe is it. A handful of sweet strawberries here, some minced garlic there, a splash of vinegar, a touch of brown sugar, a hefty dose of bourbon, and a habanero kick all blended into one sweet, spicy, boozy BBQ pepper sauce. This is the secret sauce you're ribs and pork chops have been waiting for.
8. Habanero, Rum, and Molasses Pulled Pork Sandwiches
This Mexican-American fusion recipe is bursting with flavor. Tender pulled pork is brined with molasses, spices, and spicy red habanero chili peppers, then douse with a rum molasses sauce. Sweet and spicy, this sandwich wouldn't be the same without those hot chili peppers.
9. Spicy Habanero Pickles
How do you make pickles taste even better than they already are? Add in some spicy habaneros. That with all the regular pickle ingredients of white vinegar, pickling cucumbers, sugar, and dill guarantee you'll have some tasty pickles on your hands.
10. Spicy Habanero Pineapple Margarita
And to drink? How about a spicy margarita. It has all the traditional margarita ingredients that you know and love with the added bonus of pineapple juice and habanero slices. How hot you make it is up to you, but we recommend adding a slice at a time. This is the refreshing cocktail you'll want to cheers to the glory of habanero chiles.
11. White Chocolate-Habanero Ice Cream
Love sweet and spicy? Then this ice cream recipe will be right up your alley. Chopped white chocolate is creamed together with de-seeded habanero peppers and left to chill until it gets a perfect consistency. It's hot, it's cold, and it's a delightful afternoon treat.
This post was originally published on February 12, 2021.
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