The Chile de Arbol pepper, Spanish for tree chili, is a small but spicy Mexican pepper that is a bright red color when mature. Although the Chile de Arbol pepper may not be as popular as its close cousin the Cayenne pepper, this slim pepper is very versatile. Chile de Arbol peppers can be used fresh, dried, or powdered. They are one of the peppers used to make Cholula Hot Sauce and many other delicious hot sauces. The Chile de Arbol pepper has a medium heat level as it ranges from 15,000 to 30,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), which is hotter than the Jalapeno pepper, but not quite as hot at the Thai pepper.
The taste of the Chile de Arbol is described as slightly nutty with a hint of smokiness. Because the Chile de Arbol pepper is not quite as spicy as the Cayenne pepper, these peppers can be enjoyed by those who are looking for a family-friendly pepper with a medium spice level. The nutty, smoky flavor provides a delicious flavor to hot sauces or salsas. They are slim and curved, only growing to two to three inches in length.