Satan’s Kiss Pepper Guide: Heat, Flavor, Uses

What are Satan’s Kiss peppers?

The Satan’s Kiss pepper (a.k.a. Baccio de Satana) has a playful look: small and round, cherry pepper-like. But its name should warn you that there’s something hidden behind its cute facade. Yes, this Italian heirloom pepper has a surprising punch for its size (40,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units), rivaling a cayenne pepper in heat. And while there’s not much nuance beyond the spiciness here, it’s normally served stuffed with mozzarella or anchovies where other flavors star aside the heat.

Satan’s Kiss Pepper

Table of Contents

Satan’s Kiss pepper fast facts

Scoville heat units (SHU)40,000 – 50,000
Median heat (SHU)45,000
Jalapeño reference point5 to 25 times hotter
Capsicum speciesAnnuum
OriginItaly
UseCulinary
Size2 inches wide, round
FlavorNeutral (peppery)

How hot are Satan’s Kiss peppers?

Outside of the name, this is a deceivingly hot chili. It looks unassuming (more on that soon), but the Satan’s Kiss delivers a cayenne pepper level heat (40,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units or SHU.) The cayenne (30,000 to 50,000 SHU) actually has a lower heat floor, so the experience of eating a Satan’s Kiss pepper tends to be hotter on average than a cayenne. A cayenne’s median heat is 40,000 SHU, while the Satan’s Kiss is 45,000 SHU.

Let’s break down its heat by comparing it to our jalapeño reference point. Compared to a jalapeño pepper (2,500 to 8,000 SHU), Satan’s Kiss is five to twenty-five times hotter. This a no-doubt level of pop, hotter than what’s comfortable for many eaters, particularly because you don’t expect it.

What does this chili look like?

Satan's kiss pepper

The look does belie what’s underneath. The Satan’s Kiss is also known as Ciliegia Piccante (Spicy Cherry), and it’s a very fitting name. It looks like a tiny tomato or cherry pepper, small and round. They’re about one to two inches wide (think the size of a golf ball) and mature from green to red, gaining in spiciness as they age.

It’s not a stretch to call these chilies “cute.” But, of course, upon the first bite, the Satan’s Kiss punches back, and not in a cute way.

What does the Satan’s Kiss pepper taste like?

There’s not much to the flavor of a Satan’s Kiss outside of a neutral peppery flavor. It’s the heat itself that’s the primary eating experience here.

Cooking with Satan’s Kiss peppers

The traditional use of the Satan’s Kiss is as a stuffed pepper. These chilies are typically stuffed with mozzarella, anchovies, or cream cheese. It’s the pairing of the Satan’s Kiss with another flavor that provides a real boost to the overall taste of the pepper (beyond the heat.)

Satan’s Kiss peppers can also be used like most fresh chilies to provide a pop of heat – sliced for salads, diced for soups, or chopped for salsas, just to name a few use cases. They are also delicious as a pickled pepper, But they are not quite as popular as another Italian pepper for pickling – the very mild pepperoncini.

When using this chili fresh, take care in the handling. Again, it looks unassuming, like a tomato. So the chili burn it can create on uncovered skin is not only uncomfortable but also surprising. Like with any chili, it’s highly recommended to use kitchen gloves while cutting them. And learn how to treat chili burn prior to handling.

Where can you buy Satan’s Kiss peppers?

While these chilies look like cherry peppers, they aren’t as easy to find outside of Italy. They aren’t as popular as pepperoncini which can typically be found in the pickled condiment aisle alongside pickled banana peppers. Instead, you’ll need to focus your search on specialty shops (brick-and-mortar or online) or grow your own. Satan’s Kiss pepper seeds are widely available, and if you have a green thumb, this chili’s small size provides plenty of fruits to enjoy.


UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on February 13, 2023 to include new content.
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