Know your Thai Peppers

  • Thai pepper, C. frutescens, is a type of tabasco pepper. It is a small pepper that is used widely throughout Asia and Mexico.

  • It is a tabasco type and is very hot. 

  • Begins as pale yellow-green, goes to yellow, then to orange and matures to red, finally ripening to a very dark red. 

  • Grown in Thailand and neighboring countries, the Thai pepper is a type of pepper that can be classified as “very hot”. 

  • It's used in many spicy Thai dishes at restaurants.

Buying Tips

  • Fresh Thai chile peppers may be difficult to find in grocery stores but can often be found in Asian specialty markets. 

  • Choose peppers with deep colours, avoiding those that look soft.


  • Thai peppers are small, seldom growing larger than 1 to 3 inches (2.5–7.6cm) long. They are usually less than 1/2 inch (1.2cm) wide, but provide plenty of heat. 

  • These slightly curvy, potent peppers are typically bright red or deep green, and end in a sharp point.

  • Thai peppers are extremely hot, though they can vary in their heat ratings from 75,000 to 150,000 Scoville heat units.

Kitchen Notes

  • Use caution when handling these chiles: Thai chiles are so hot that they can instantly irritate the skin on the hands and it can be excruciating if their juice comes in contact with the eyes. 
  • Wear thin disposable surgical gloves while working with hot chiles, and don’t touch your face until the gloves are removed. 

  • The seeds and membranes in chile peppers contain most of the capsaicin, the compound that lends them their mouth-searing qualities. 

  • Many recipes recommend that fresh Thai chiles be used without their seeds.

  • Finely sliced Thai peppers can be mixed with the hot oil in a stir-fry or used to heat up coconut soups and noodle dishes. 

  • Thai pepper is often found in hot sauces and is used decoratively in many Asian dishes.


  • Cover Thai peppers and store them in the refrigerator; use them within a week or ten days.

Nutrition Highlights

  • Thai pepper (raw), 1/2 cup (75g)
    • Calories: 15
    • Protein: 0.7g
    • Carbohydrate: 3.5g
    • Total Fat: 0.1g
    • Fibre: 0.6g