Top 10 Heirloom Chili Pepper Varieties to Try

Chili pepper varieties

Growing heirloom chili peppers can be an exciting and rewarding experience. These unique varieties have been passed down through generations and offer distinctive flavors, colors, and heat levels.

Are you a chili pepper lover who wants to learn how to grow chili pepper plants at home? Look no further! Click below to find out which must-have books will guide you through the process of growing your own chili peppers...

Learn More...

In this article, we'll explore the top 10 heirloom chili pepper varieties that you should consider growing in your garden.

Table of Contents

1. Poblano (Ancho)

Poblano Chili Pepper
Poblano Chili Pepper - photo

The Poblano pepper is a popular mild chili pepper native to Mexico. When dried, it is referred to as an Ancho pepper. These versatile peppers have a rich flavor and are excellent for stuffing, roasting, or using in sauces. Learn more about how to grow chili from seeds to start cultivating your Poblano peppers.

2. Fish Pepper

Fish Peppers
Fish Peppers - photo

Fish peppers are an African-American heirloom variety with a fascinating history. They have a unique, ornamental appearance featuring variegated leaves and striped fruits. Fish peppers are medium-hot and are traditionally used in seafood dishes. To grow these plants, follow our guide on how to grow chilies from dry seeds.

3. Jimmy Nardello

Jimmy Nardello Peppers
Jimmy Nardello Peppers - photo

This sweet Italian frying pepper is an heirloom variety brought to the United States by the Nardello family in the late 19th century. Known for their sweet, fruity flavor, the Jimmy Nardello peppers are perfect for frying or roasting. To grow your own, find out what soil chili plants like to ensure they have the best growing conditions.

4. Aji Amarillo

Aji Amarillo Peppers
Aji Amarillo Peppers - photo

The Aji Amarillo is a Peruvian heirloom chili pepper that is a staple ingredient in Peruvian cuisine. With a fruity, berry-like flavor and a medium heat level, this chili is ideal for sauces, stews, and marinades. Discover what size pot your chili plant needs for successful growth.

5. Thai Bird's Eye

Thai Bird's Eye Chili
Thai Bird's Eye Chili Peppers - photo

Also known as Bird's Eye or Bird's Chili, this small, fiery chili pepper is a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine. Thai Bird's Eye peppers are small but pack a punch when it comes to heat. They're perfect for adding spice to stir-fries, curries, and sauces. Find out how much water chili plants should receive to keep them thriving.

6. Chocolate Habanero

Chocolate Habanero
Chocolate Habanero Peppers - photo

This heirloom variety from the Caribbean is a beautiful chocolate-colored habanero pepper. With a smoky, fruity flavor and intense heat, Chocolate Habaneros are a unique and flavorful addition to your chili garden. Use our guide on how to prune chili plants to encourage healthy growth and fruit production.

7. Bulgarian Carrot

Bulgarian Carrot Pepper
Bulgarian Carrot Pepper - photo

The Bulgarian Carrot pepper, also known as Shipka, is an heirloom variety from Bulgaria. These peppers are bright orange, resembling carrots, and have a fruity, medium-hot flavor. They are perfect for salsas, pickling, or adding to salads. Learn more about the impact of pH levels on chili plant growth and development to ensure a successful harvest.

8. Lemon Drop

Lemon Drop Peppers
Lemon Drop Peppers - photo

Lemon Drop peppers, also known as Aji Limo, are a bright yellow heirloom variety from Peru. They have a citrusy, tangy flavor and a medium heat level. These versatile peppers are excellent for salsas, hot sauces, and even pickling. To grow your own, follow our guide on how to grow chili peppers in a greenhouse for optimal results.

9. Pasilla Bajio

Pasilla Bajio Peppers
Pasilla Bajio Peppers - photo

Pasilla Bajio, also known as Chilaca, is a Mexican heirloom chili pepper variety. These long, slender peppers have a mild heat and a rich, smoky flavor. They are typically used in mole sauces and are perfect for drying. Learn more about how to hand-pollinate chili plants to ensure a bountiful harvest.

10. Aleppo

Aleppo Peppers
Aleppo Peppers - photo

Aleppo peppers are a Middle Eastern heirloom variety named after the city of Aleppo in Syria. With a moderate heat level and a fruity, raisin-like flavor, these peppers are popular for use in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. To grow Aleppo peppers, find out what the optimal temperature for growing chilies is to provide the perfect environment.


In conclusion, these top 10 heirloom chili pepper varieties offer a diverse range of flavors, heat levels, and culinary uses. By growing these unique varieties, you can expand your chili garden and explore new and exciting flavors in your cooking. For more tips and information on chili pepper cultivation, check out our collection of must-have chili pepper books and don't forget to learn about the best companion plants for peppers to improve your garden's overall health and productivity.

This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

You should also read: