Hungarian Wax Pepper Guide: Heat, Flavor, Uses

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What are Hungarian wax peppers?

It may look like a mild banana pepper, but really the Hungarian wax pepper (a.k.a. hot wax pepper or the hot yellow pepper) has a lot more bite. In terms of spiciness, it’s a medium-heat pepper (5,000 to 10,000 Scoville heat units), more akin to a jalapeño, with a chance for even a bit more heat. This is a great chili for all sorts of cooking (including chiles rellenos) and a popular one to top off a salad or pickle to enhance its tangy bite.

Hungarian wax pepper

Table of Contents

Hungarian wax pepper fast facts

Scoville heat units (SHU)5,000 – 10,000
Median heat (SHU)7,500
Jalapeño reference pointEqual heat to 4 times hotter
Capsicum speciesAnnuum
SizeApproximately 5 to 6 inches long, slightly curved
FlavorSweet, Tangy

How hot are Hungarian wax peppers?

Yes, the Hungarian wax pepper typically falls between 5,000 and 10,000 Scoville heat units, which actually overlaps part of the typical heat rating of our reference point, the jalapeño (2,500 to 8,0000 SHU). There’s a good chance that you’ll be very comfortable with this chili’s heat, if you are used to the jalapeño, but know there’s a chance for more.

Typically, it doesn’t reach serrano pepper territory typically (10,000 to 23,000 SHU), but it can come close.

What do Hungarian wax peppers look like?

It couldn’t have a more fitting name. And we say that not only due to chase chilies originating in Hungary, but also due to the Hungarian wax pepper having a waxy texture to its skin.

Hot wax peppers change color as they ripen, from yellow to orange in hue, followed by red at full ripening. They’re also large chilies, topping out at 5 to 6 inches in length. And while they don’t have the girth of poblano pepper, they’re no super-slim cayenne pepper either. They’ve got a plumper pepper shape, actually quite like a banana.

In fact, the waxy texture and the yellow color (before ripening) make the Hungarian wax pepper look a lot like a banana pepper, and they can be confused for one another. But that’s about where the similarities stop. Banana peppers are very mild in heat, topping out at 500 Scoville heat units. So if you eat a Hungarian wax pepper when expecting a banana pepper, you’ll be in for quite a surprise.

What does the Hungarian wax pepper taste like?

These chilies have a sweet and tangy flavor that’s quite appealing. In fact, the flavor is also quite like a banana pepper, but with more spiciness. So, if the banana pepper is too mild for you but you love the flavor, look to the Hungarian wax as your next step up the Scoville scale.

Cooking with Hungarian wax peppers

These are excellent peppers to cook with, let’s say that first. They grow pretty easily in lots of climates and work in lots of dishes.

In salads, you’ll find these chilies sliced up into rings. Lots of people love to pickle wax peppers. And they actually make a decent roasting and stuffing pepper too. If you want a bit more heat in your chile rellenos, you could opt for a Hungarian wax pepper instead of a poblano − that’ll kick up the spiciness in the meal a notch. You can also work this pepper into marinades, hot sauces, sandwiches, stews, and stir fry, just to name a few options.

The waxy rind might not sound appetizing, but it’s actually quite tasty even when eaten raw. This is a good flexible and adaptable pepper, just like the jalapeño. It works all around.

More Hungarian wax cooking tips

  • Hungarian wax peppers make excellent popper chilies. They are longer, but their cavity is wide enough (and their skin is thick enough) to be stuffed just like a jalapeño. The flavor is different than the grassy, bright flavor of jalapeño, so Hungarian poppers could make for an excellent popper twist.
  • Don’t overlook the spiciness. We can’t stress this enough. Your eyes may see “mild banana pepper” when it sees a Hungarian wax, but these chilies hit harder than a jalapeño on average. Use gloves when cutting them to protect yourself from chili burn.
  • Learn how to combat chili burn prior to cooking with Hungarian wax peppers. Just like a jalapeño, you can get a significant burning sensation if you handle Hungarian wax chilies without gloves. Read our post on combating chili burn for your best possible solutions. Milk sits at top of the list, but you have other options.

Where can you buy Hungarian wax peppers?

Some supermarket chains may carry wax peppers, as they are relatively mild in heat and are sought after by lots of amateur chefs − but it’s no guarantee. You may need to go to a specialty grocer to find them fresh. You can also buy Hungarian wax pepper seeds and plants online. If you’ve got a green thumb and use these peppers often, wax peppers are easier to grow than many other hot peppers.

Grow Hungarian Wax Peppers
Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper Seeds

Hungarian wax peppers have a delicious sweet tang to them, matched with a jalapeño-like heat (5,000 to 10,000 Scoville heat units.) These are excellent culinary chilies: eat them fresh, pickle them, stuff them, you name it.

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02/18/2024 07:49 pm GMT

Don’t be fooled by the bottled sliced banana pepper rings that are so prevalent in grocery stores. They may look alike, but those peppers are very mild in comparison. If you’re looking for Hungarian wax peppers, you may need to take an additional step to get them, but the great flavor is well worth the effort.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on August 5, 2022 to include new content.
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Thank you for this post! I have a mystery pepper plant I bought two years ago from my local grocery store that was heavily discounted at the end of our gardening season. It already had 2 peppers on it, so I thought, “Meh. Why not?” I have been thinking that they must be hot banana peppers, but someone suggested they could be Hungarian hot wax – so here I am! I am still undecided, though, as I’m not sure I have ever eaten a Banana pepper or a Hungarian hot wax, so don’t really know how to compare them. My… Read more »