Cheiro Roxa Guide: Heat, Flavor, Uses

What are cheiro roxa peppers?

Looking for an ornamental pepper with more to it than just looks? The cheiro roxa is a uniquely colored purple chili that many consider one of the prettiest peppers for landscaping. Plus, unlike most other ornamentals that lack flavor, the cheiro roxa delivers both an extra-hot spiciness (60,000 to 80,000 Scoville heat units – more than a cayenne, though less than a habanero) and a delicious fruity flavor.

Cheiro Roxa
Cheiro roxa pepper, on the vine – notice the squat shape

Table of Contents

Cheiro roxa fast facts

Scoville heat units (SHU)60,000 – 80,000
Median heat (SHU)70,000
Jalapeño reference point8 to 32 times hotter
Capsicum speciesChinense
SizeRoughly 1 inch long, squat
FlavorCitrusy, Fruity, Sweet

How hot are cheiro roxa peppers?

Weighing in at 60,000 to 80,000 Scoville heat units (or SHU), cheiro roxa sit at the lower end of extra-hot peppers. Compared to our jalapeño reference point, this chili is 8 to 32 times hotter than a jalapeño pepper, so there’s certainly a kick. It’s hotter than cayenne chilies (30,000 to 50,000 SHU), but the cheiro roxa sits well below the likes of the habanero (100,000 to 350,000 SHU.)

What do these chilies look like?

The peppers themselves grow to about one inch in length. There’s a squatness to them – sort of like the pepper was slightly pushed in from both sides, creating an exaggerated middle that tapers to a point. It’s reminiscent of the look of the scotch bonnet chili.

But where these chilies stand out is in their color. As they age, cheiro roxa chilies don’t play by the same color handbook as other chilies. Most peppers age from green to red. Cheiro roxa, instead, age from a dark purple to a creamy purple-red (almost pink). There’s a candy-like quality to the coloring because of the creaminess of the hue. It’s certainly a standout in a garden, and they work quite well as ornamental peppers. Plus, they make for very good eating too.

What do cheiro roxa taste like?

Many chilies known for their ornamental beauty tend to the upper reaches of the pepper scale. Most ornamentals are bred to emphasize their looks, sacrificing flavor and heat control. But the cheiro roxa delivers in the flavor department. These are surprisingly tasty chilies.

There’s a fruitiness akin to habanero pepper here. Cheiro roxa tend to be slightly sweeter than habanero, but there’s also the chance for a little more bitterness, too. If you want a unique habanero substitute for the edible garden (along with the desire for a little less heat), growing cheiro roxa is a terrific alternative.

How can you use cheiro roxa chilies?

You can use cheiro roxa either fresh or dried. Like the habanero, they tend to sweeten and grow in heat as they age, so consider that when choosing when to pick your peppers. Really, wherever you’d use a habanero or scotch bonnet, you can opt for a cheiro roxa instead. Salsas and sauces work especially well. And the color of this chili is really something unique, so it can add some style to the plate.

Where can you buy cheiro roxa?

Here’s where things get difficult. These are very hard chilies to find fresh or dried. You can buy cheiro roxa seeds online and grow them yourself for your garden or edible landscaping project. But finding them for sale is a much harder job. Consider local chili pepper farms and farmers’ markets as a start.

If you’re one for growing hot peppers and love edible landscaping, though, pick up those seeds and give this pepper the shot it deserves. They really are distinct among ornamental pepper options – uniquely colorful and surprisingly tasty.

  • The Hot Pepper List: Search our list of 150+ different chilies. Search them by name, heat level, flavor, and more.
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  • Ornamental Peppers Guide: Discover some of the most beautiful chilies you’ll find on the Scoville scale.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on May 4, 2023 to include new content.
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