12 Types Of Chillies In South Africa (Differences & Usefulness) (2024)

There are several types of chillies in South Africa that are being utilised for different purposes. In this article, we will explore the various types as well as their usefulness.

Meals taste better when we cook with pepper. They enhance the taste, and also make us healthier by contributing certain important nutrients to the human body.

Types Of Chillies In South Africa And Their Differences/Usefulness

1. Peppadew

This pepper was discovered as far back as in the 90s, and it is actually indigenous (though it is now famous in various other places).

The pepper has a nice taste with hints of spice and sweetness, and it can be sliced and used on meals like pasta, salads and pizzas

2. Poblano

This pepper is a large one that emanated from the Puebla state in Mexico. It is another popular pepper in South Africa used to prepare several types of meals. It is much more potent when ripe and is known as an ancho chilli when dried.

3. Guajillo

Another popular one in the country is GUAJILLO, and it is usually used in soups and stews. In South Africa, it is usually the most preferably one as far as the preparation of salsa is concerned. It has thick skin and is usually soaked for a long time to be more effective.

4. Jalapeño

Jalapeños are famous types of chillies in South Africa and are rich in vitamin C and A. As far as this chilli is concerned, the redder it is, the hotter it gets. Remember that they are pretty tasty.

5. Chipotle

It means smoked chilli (it is smoke-dried jalapeños) and comes in two major and popular varieties: Chipotle Morita and Chipotle Meco. Chipotle can also be used in soups, stews and salsas.

6. Serrano

Serrano is from Mexico and is usually eaten raw (it has very thin skin). Here is a pretty hot pepper that appears like the popular jalapeños. Its average size is about 5 cm long. When you come across a green one, you know easily that it is still in a raw form. However, when it gets ripe, you see several colours – including red, brown, orange and yellow.

7. Red Cayenne Pepper

Many South Africans should easily relate to this one – it is familiar and popular in the market. It is also referred to as the red hot chilli pepper. In fact, for those that are planning to grow chilli in the country, it is advisable that they start from this one, as the plant grows beautifully well.

8. Piri Piri (African Bird’s Eye Or Peri Peri)

This is one of the original African types of Chillies in South Africa. It is ours here, and we love and value it very much. If you are very familiar with the Swahili language, you should know already that the basic translation is pepper-pepper.

Although unlike some others, it is pretty small and little, it is quite hot. It is being said that the Portuguese came from Goa years back, and it is now a lovely one here. It is used to add flavour to several types of meal and has become many people’s favourite.

9. Bird’s Eye

Another very popular chilli in South Africa is the Bird’s-eye. They are pretty small. One thing they are popularly known for is that the seeds are usually spread by birds. It has its origin in Guyana. In case you don’t know, the country is located in South America.

Just like the above, although they also come in small packages, these chillies too are so hot and have benefits. Bird’s-eye can either be red or green in colour and can help in controlling stomach pain. Other health benefits this pepper has includes arthritic pain and a cure for toothaches. In fact, it is said that the Indians are utilising it as an antibacterial agent to prevent infections. Since they are quite hot, then it makes a big difference.

Just as mentioned earlier, this chilli is from Guyana. Nevertheless, it is pretty popular and is used in different countries.

10. Habanero

Named after Havana in Cuba, HABANERO is another popular chilli in South Africa. It is very hot and comes in several colours. There are rumours that these peppers may be helpful in controlling insulin levels in diabetics (although it is not yet proved).

If you are not used to taking very hot pepper, you should avoid this then. The pepper is usually used to make salsa, and it is advisable that you add just a small quantity when making it.

11. Ghost Pepper

Ghost pepper another popular pepper is called by different names, and also a very hot one. It emanates from India. Even with lower potency, this pepper is still very hot. In fact, when it touches the flesh, it can cause skin burns. Therefore, one must be very careful with this.

12. Carolina Reaper

Finally on our list of Types Of Chillies In South Africa is the Carolina Reaper. It is a ‘man-made’ pepper and is very hot too. It was invented by a man years back (he brought it up via experiment – he crossed a ghost pepper and a red habanero).


In conclusion, here are some very popular chillies in South Africa that are being utilised to prepare different types of delicious meals. They won’t only add more flavour to your food, but they also have relevant nutrients that contribute to our general well-being as humans.