Count Dracula Pepper Guide: Heat, Flavor, Uses

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What are Count Dracula peppers?

Some chili peppers do colorful against the grain. That’s the story for the Count Dracula pepper. It doesn’t do the bright greens, oranges, and yellows of many popular ornamental peppers. Instead, it sets a darkly dramatic, Gothic scene of blacks, purples, and reds. Dark leaves and purple flowers envelope jet black and crimson red fruits. And this ornamental pepper has plenty of bite to go along with the name and its looks, reaching up to cayenne pepper level heat (5,000 to 30,000 Scoville heat units.)

Count Dracula pepper
Count Dracula peppers on the vine, featuring black fruits and black foliage

Table of Contents

Count Dracula pepper fast facts

Scoville heat units (SHU)5,000 – 30,000
Median heat (SHU)17,500
Jalapeño reference pointEqual to 16 times hotter
SpeciesCapsicum Annuum
SizeUp to 2 inches long, conical
FlavorNeutral (peppery)

What do they look like?

If there ever was a Halloween pepper, this is the one. It’s the entire spooky package, from the perfect Halloween name to the overall look of the plant and pods themselves. The Count Dracula pepper plant doesn’t settle for green foliage like most other chilies. It features complementary black foliage with a green undertone. And it’s peppered with purple flowers, setting a truly dramatic stage for the uniquely colored fruits.

Those pods are conical in shape and grow to two inches in length – aging from black to red in maturity – much like the Black Pearl pepper. You’ll get a beautiful mix of red and black on one plant, creating a very distinct look. The entire package (plant and pods) has a real Goth sense about it.

What do Count Dracula peppers taste like?

These are ornamental peppers, so their look is the true standout experience. Read: they aren’t too complex in terms of flavor, beyond being spicy with a peppery taste. They are still very usable in the kitchen, but don’t expect to be wowed on the taste front.

How hot is the Count Dracula pepper?

There’s a bite here. Ok, maybe not vampire-like, but it’ still plenty hot. Count Dracula chilies range from 5,000 to 30,000 on the Scoville scale. It’s a wide spread of heat, which is not uncommon for ornamental peppers. They are grown to highlight their looks, not to develop a more nuanced taste and consistent level of spiciness. Against our jalapeño reference point, these chilies can be anything from equal heat to a jalapeño pepper to 16 times hotter. At their peak, they are equal to a low-level cayenne pepper.

How can you use them?

If you love darker, Gothic landscaping, the Count Dracula is a top performer in the garden or in containers. They are edible, like all ornamental peppers (though, as mentioned, not too much nuanced in terms of flavor.) So try these chilies for a darker take on salsas, sauces, or any other recipe where the chili is a heat source but not a flavor enhancer. They are especially fun when you’re aiming for a “look”, like a Halloween salsa.

Where can you buy Count Dracula peppers?

They are harder to find ornamental peppers than most. You can find them online via some seed sellers, but don’t expect to discover them at a local landscaping center. The look is beautiful, but unique, so it’s not an ornamental that’s a go-to for most edible landscaping artists. Still, if you are looking for a Gothic landscaping feel, the Country Dracula pepper is truly best of class and worthy of seeking out.

Grow Them Yourself
Count Dracula Hot Pepper Seeds (10 seeds)
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02/19/2024 02:39 am GMT
  • The Hot Pepper List: Search our list of over 150 chilies. Filter by name, heat level, flavor, and more.
  • Black Peppers Guide: Looking for a dramatic dark look with your landscaping? Discover more chilies with a sense of dark style.
  • The Black Cobra Pepper: Another chili with an ominous name and lots of style. Read our guide.

Photo by Perennial Summer

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on October 16, 2023 to include new content.
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