3 Canned Jalapenos Substitutes for Fresh Jalapenos

Jalapeno peppers are easily the most loved chilies in the world. They are known for their flavor, heat, and they add spice to any dish.. Fresh jalapenos are best for most dishes, but they are sometimes unavailable. In this case, we can substitute canned jalapenos for fresh ones!

San Marcos Whole Jalapenos, appear to be the best choice when looking to substitute fresh with canned ones; Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which have a unique smoky flavor and similar spiciness to real ones are a close second choice; and finally, Ortega’s Diced Jalapenos, are canned jalapenos that have strived to achieve a similar taste and heat to fresh ones.

Each type of jalapeno has a peculiar quality that it brings to the dish. The decision of which type of canned jalapeno to use as a substitute should be done with careful consideration and this article plans to help you with that!

The Best Canned Jalapenos to Substitute Fresh Jalapenos

Choosing a suitable canned substitute for fresh jalapenos will depend on what you want your jalapenos to contribute to the dish, their availability, and what they bring to the table uniquely. We’ve selected three of many options and have provided the necessary information to assist you in making an informed decision.

Rank #1: San Marcos Whole Jalapeno Peppers

San Marcos Whole Jalapenos, 6 Lb, 97 oz, Carefully handpicked Whole Jalapeños Peppers
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These are whole jalapeno peppers pickled in vinegar with sliced onions and carrots. These canned jalapenos have a crunch like fresh jalapenos, which is rare. It also imparts a nice salty and vinegary flavor to whatever dish you intend to prepare.

They are an excellent choice in terms of spiciness, flavor, and hotness when compared to fresh ones. It has been reviewed to be spicier and hotter than most canned jalapenos. So, if you want to keep the heat and spiciness of your dish, this can come in very handy.

The onions and carrots can be picked out of the can and subsequently used as desired. They’re cheap and widely available in stores and online.

It has also been called the best-tasting canned jalapeno option, and should be tried by all jalapeno enthusiasts. Imagine getting the best of jalapenos and more!

Another great thing is the wholeness of the jalapenos, which allows you to easily adhere to the recipes and gauge the hotness. The San Marcos Whole Jalapeno Peppers have also been said to be the best canned jalapeno in terms of taste.

Rank #2: La Costena’s Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

La Costeña Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, 12-Ounce Can (Pack of 3)
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Chipotle peppers are jalapenos that have undergone a slow smoking process. Unlike fresh jalapenos, these are picked when red. This might not make them hotter, but it does make them more spicy. The smoking process adds a smoky flavor to their naturally bright, grassy taste.

The smoked jalapeno flavor is made even more magical by the adobo sauce. It’s made with tomatoes, onions, and paprika, and it gives any dish a little more flavor and life. Chipotles in adobo sauce can be cooked and added just like fresh jalapenos.

It’s a great alternative to fresh ones because it’s cheap and widely available. It essentially replicates the flavor of fresh jalapenos. Since there are typically 8–10 whole chipotle peppers inside, it would be simple to replicate the fresh jalapeno recipe. Adobo sauce can add flavor to other foods, especially chicken.

Rank #3: Ortega’s Diced Jalapenos

Ortega Peppers, Diced Jalapenos, Hot, 4 Ounce (Pack of 24)
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The Ortega Diced jalapeno peppers are ready-to-use at all times and are quick to incorporate into any dish because they are skin-free, nicely roasted, and diced.

They may not be suitable for use in recipes because they are not whole, but they are a great substitute in situations where whole jalapenos cannot be found. 

These canned jalapenos are mildly flavored and have a great taste that is not overpowered by vinegar, making them a good choice for people who don’t like the taste of vinegar.

Notable Differences Between Fresh and Canned Jalapenos

When you choose to substitute canned jalapenos for fresh ones, you should expect to notice some differences. Canned jalapenos are similar to fresh ones in terms of heat, spiciness, and flavor, but they are not the same.

Canning jalapenos uses preservatives that enable the peppers to maintain their structure for a longer period of time than fresh jalapenos, which rot away with passing time due to their lack of preservation.

Most commonly, vinegar or brine, or sometimes both, are used as preservatives, which can affect the flavor of the jalapenos. Depending on your preferences, the vinegar and/or salt notes in canned jalapenos may be desirable or undesirable.

Most canned jalapenos are mushy and soggy because they have been soaked in liquid for an extended period of time, whereas fresh jalapenos are crisp and crunchy. Some canned foods attempt to retain this crispness, but they cannot be expected to match the quality of the fresh ones.

Heat is the major reason anyone uses peppers in the first place, and jalapenos usually rank about 2500-8000 Scoville Units on the scale. Both fresh and canned jalapenos will bring heat to the dish if mild to low heat is your priority.

Tips on Handling Canned Jalapenos

  • Unopened jalapeno peppers in a can should be stored in a cool, dry place to extend their shelf life.
  • Open cans of jalapenos should be refrigerated in a glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
  • The vinegar in the pickled jalapenos allows them to be stored for an extended period of time without refrigeration.
  • Be careful when opening the can and removing the jalapenos in order to avoid cutting your fingers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Pepper Is Similar to Jalapeno Peppers?

Serrano peppers are the most similar to jalapeno peppers in terms of flavor and can be used as a suitable substitute.

How Many Canned Jalapenos Equal One Jalapeno?

Some canned jalapenos are whole and are easily equivalent to fresh ones in a 1:1 ratio. 

Are Jalapeno Peppers Good for You?

Yes, they are. They are high in many vitamins, including C, A, K, folic acid, and capsaicin, which is a natural pain reliever.

Final Thoughts

Canned jalapeno peppers may not taste exactly like fresh jalapenos, but they are an excellent substitute. San Marcos whole jalapeno peppers, La Costena chipotle in adobo sauce, and Ortega’s Diced Jalapenos are readily available, low-cost, and flavorful options that would complement any dish that calls for jalapeno peppers.

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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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