Cayenne The most consumed chili in Spain

We have already talked about the cultivation of peppers, of chili peppers, but we cannot forget the hot pepper that is possibly the most consumed in Spain after the chilli in vinegar. The dried cayenne. The Spanish diet does not stand out for its spicy dishes such as Mexican or Indian cuisine, but we do use this little red chilli with which we add a spicy touch to our dishes. We cannot forget cayenne and its cultivation .


We always have the feeling (or at least I do) that when we talk about chili peppers or chili peppers, we are talking about very specific species of hot pepper from areas of South and Central America.

I particularly associate chili with jalapeño, which is one of the most famous varieties. However, saying chili, I think in the end is the same as saying chili or chilli.

That is why the chilli that we use very often in Spanish cuisine is in the same way, a chili or chili pepper (I am not an expert on chili peppers, correct me if I’m wrong). Cayenne is just another of the hundreds of types of hot peppers, chili peppers, chili peppers or chillies that exist.

Another question that arises is whether cayenne is a specific variety or is the use of cayenne widely used for any small red and dry chilli.

In Gardenprue we have tried to inquire about this but it has not been easy to discern this uncertainty.


The big problem that exists with the common names of plants is that in different places the same plant can be called differently and not know that it is the same, or just the opposite, the same common name to refer to two plants that have nothing to do with it.

The first reference found about cayenne tells us that it is a very specific variety of pepper: Capsicum annuum var. acuminatum (we cannot be sure if this is the variety) 

From what we have been able to find out, it originated in Thailand.

It is currently very widespread throughout the world.

Starting from this premise, we have approached a couple of supermarkets to buy a bottle of whole cayenne chilli to see what we could find.

Surprisingly we have found very different shapes as you can see in the photo. Are they the same variety? In view of the size and thickness of the skin, of course not. Of course, both are very itchy. That is when the great doubt arises. Even though cayenne is a variety of chilli, has it been widely used as a “small, extremely hot, dry red pepper”? 

It could be and we could have numerous varieties within what we now call cayenne. In any case, we will tell you a little about the needs to be able to cultivate it.

Two types of dried cayenne


Cayenne is not a chili that especially tastes surprising to meals. It just adds spice . A habanero pepper, a serrano or a jalapeño, in addition to the different levels of spiciness, have very aromatic flavors, especially when fresh or pickled. Chipotle, for example, is smoked and has a very special flavor.

In the case of cayenne, as it is dried, it loses part of its flavor and when fresh it is not a particularly tasty chili either. It is added in small quantities to meals to give them a spicy touch in many dishes of Spanish gastronomy without practically adding flavor.

It is very spicy, less than habanero, but its capsaicin level is highly concentrated when it dries. It is high in vitamins (A, B6, E) and is rich in potassium and manganese. Even so, we cannot consider it a source of these elements because the amounts ingested are so minimal that they represent a ridiculous percentage.

Its spiciness level according to the Scoville scale is about 50,000 capsaicin units. This means about 10 times more spicy than the jalapeño or twice as the serrano . These are all rough estimates and averages, but it gives an idea of ​​the level of spiciness. With just a cayenne or two like the ones in the photo above, a stew can be quite stinging.


In excess, for the digestive tract it can be harmful. Otherwise it is really very healthy. There are already several studies that link the consumption of spicy with a reduction in mortality from cardiovascular diseases. In the article on the habanero pepper we explain in more detail the article published in 2017.


One of the advantages of these nightshades is that they lend themselves very well to growing in pots, which is why their cultivation indoors is possible and is done often.

It goes without saying that if you want to plant in the garden, go ahead, but when temperatures and daylight hours allow it. Do not despair if you observe that they grow slowly. Give them their time.

They can be a bit slow in growth .


Both inside and outside, cayenas need light that can perfectly be direct and warm temperatures. So, good sun baths and warmth.

The advantage of the indoor pot is that the thermal conditions can be controlled to some extent, although you will have to take into account the daylight hours. As warm as they are in winter, they don’t have enough light to flourish.


The optimal soil or substrate for its growth must be fertile and well drained and aerated . They require nutrients in quantity, so a well-matured compost or mulch are beneficial incorporations into the substrate for its proper development.

The waterings of any pepper must be frequent and abundant . That is why we must provide a soil that does not puddle. The earth must assimilate and drain all that water so that the roots do not rot.


This is a point to pay attention to. After all the care during the plantation, if we are not careful with the environmental conditions we can lose the cayenne production. The most immediately dangerous thing to consider is humidity.

With very high ambient humidity, the appearance of fungi in the drying process is very likely. The ideal is to do it in summer. There are people who dry them in very cool and very well ventilated interiors. Others get mold and they do it outside in a patio for example where the sun shines on them.

If the temperatures are above 30 ºC and there is current, you will not give time for the development of fungi.

The best thing the first time, is not to play a card.

Try different places and ways to dry with a few and put most of them, where you think they can dry well. As the saying goes. Better not to put all your eggs in the same basket.

Cayenne growing conditions do not differ from any chili pepper. We had already talked about growing chili peppers in a pot . There you will find more information and a few varieties of chili peppers, chillies or ajís to plant specifically in pots.

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