Is Cayenne Pepper The Same As Red Pepper?

Many people assume that red cayenne pepper is the same thing as red pepper. Those people are correct in their assumption. Famous for being a part of Indian and Mexican dishes, the red, spicy chili pepper is both Cayenne and red. There are a few manufacturers that use one of the names over the other one to tell the difference in the heat of the powder, but this isn’t done everywhere. Therefore, to clear up any confusion when cooking, understand that a recipe calling for Cayenne pepper also means red. If it calls for red pepper, it also means Cayenne pepper. There ARE no differences.

Red pepper and Cayenne pepper are the same products. Grown in portions of South and Central America, they’re also popular in Middle Eastern and Asian dishes. Known as capsicum minimum or baccatum, other members of the family include jalapeno and bell peppers and either of these can make a good cayenne pepper substitute. They are created through a process of dehydration stages. First, the peppers are dried, then ground and baked, and ground once again. They are then sifted into a fine powder form. The result is the dusty reddish orange powder spice that is called the more generic name of Red Pepper instead of Cayenne.

There are many different kinds of peppers used in the production of Cayenne, or red, pepper. These come in reds, oranges, and yellows, along with different sizes and hotness.  The reason for the different colors is the beta carotene amounts in the pepper. The lighter ones with more of an orange or yellow shade have higher levels of beta carotene. This doesn’t mean that the darker red or brown pepper powder lacks healthy benefits.

Chili peppers started in Central and South America, the West Indies, and Mexico. They didn’t make it to Europe and Asia until the 16th century when America was “discovered.”  They were taken to Europe and Asia. Peppers became a very important ingredient in Indian dishes.  Then it finally found its way through southern, eastern and central Asia to warmer climates.

Though Cayenne, or red, pepper has been used for thousands of years as a natural alternative medicine, it is mainly used for the purpose of cooking spicy, hot dishes. It provides the characteristic flavor found in Mexican, Cajun, Creole, Thai, Szechuan and Indian dishes. Some of the recommended ways to use Cayenne, or red, pepper is through pepper spiced roasted nuts, steak or barbecue sauce, stir fry or other rice dishes, and as an addition to chocolate. There are also many ways of cooking with cayenne pepper that you may want to investigate as it is a delicious addition to many dishes.

The bottom line is that no matter what you call it, Cayenne pepper and red pepper are one and the same.


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One Response to Is Cayenne Pepper The Same As Red Pepper?

  1. taffy says:

    Im just curious if red pepper or cayenne pepper are the same with chilli powder? Can i use chilli powder for a substitute?

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