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Cayenne Pepper Vs. Thai Chili

Cayenne and Thai chili are chili peppers from different parts of the world that add distinct levels of heat and flavor to various cuisines.  

Cayenne can be found in Mexican, Cajun, Creole, and Southwestern American dishes, where it is commonly used in spicy sauces and rubs, while Thai chili is popularly used in Southeast Asian dishes, providing intense heat to curries, stir-fries, and sauces.  

Both cayenne and Thai chili peppers are available in various forms in grocery stores, including dried, powdered, and fresh.  

Choosing between cayenne and Thai chili depends on your desired level of heat and the specific flavor profile you seek.  

In this post, we’ll explore the different qualities of these peppers so that you can choose the one that is best for your recipes. 

Cayenne pepper description

Cayenne pepper is a thin, elongated chili with a length of 15 cm and a slight curve. 

Its color ranges from bright red to orange when ripe, and it measures 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), providing moderate heat to dishes.  

The flavor is slightly sweet, also contributing depth to dishes.  

Cayenne pepper is available in various forms, including powder, flakes, and fresh pepper. 

The pepper is added to a wide variety of dishes including sauces. 

Thai chili description 

Thai chili can popularly be found in Southeast Asian dishes.

It is a small, slender pepper with a length of about 1 to 2 inches. It comes in vibrant colors, ranging from green to red when mature.  

Thai chilies are notably hot, measuring around 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville Heat Units.  

The flavor is intense, combining heat with a slightly fruity undertone.  

Thai chili is available in various forms like fresh, dried, or as chili paste. 

 It adds spiciness to a wide range of dishes, including soups, curries, and stir-fries.  

Their heat profile and ability to enhance both savory and spicy flavors make them a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine

Difference between cayenne pepper and Thai chili  


Although both peppers have a similar elongated shape, Thai chilis are generally smaller compared to cayenne peppers. 

Thai chilis are typically smaller and slimmer, ranging from 1 to 3 inches in length, with a bright green to red color. Cayenne peppers are longer, usually around 4 to 6 inches, and they also transition from green to red as they mature.  

Heat level

While both are considered hot, Thai chilis generally have more heat compared to cayenne peppers.  

Thai chilis are known for their intense heat, measuring around 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville Heat Units, while cayenne pepper typically has a milder heat, ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU.