Leche de Tigre

Is Peruvian Food Spicy? A Spicy Food Guide to Peru

Peru is home to many peppers, including the Aji Amarillo, Aji Panca, Aji Lima, and Rocoto. Peppers are a vital ingredient in many Peruvian dishes, so it’s no wonder some people consider Peruvian food spices. However, not all Peruvian Food is spicy.

Peruvian Food is typically mild, with a few dishes considered spicy. Many popular Peruvian dishes, such as ceviche, use peppers as a flavoring but are not spicy. In other words, Rocoto Relleno uses spiciest peppers in Peru to create a spicy dish. 

But for those who enjoy spicy food, plenty of options are available. In this article, we’ll explore some of Peru’s spiciest dishes.

7 Spicy Peruvian dishes to try for a Spicy Food Lover

As mentioned before, Peruvian dishes are not spicy, but some dishes use Peruvian chili pepper, which will give you a little kick.

Rocoto Relleno

Rocoto Relleno

A traditional Peruvian dish, Rocoto Relleno is a spicy stuffed pepper. The Rocoto pepper, a chili pepper, is one of the most piquant peppers in Peru. It is often compared to the habanero pepper and is used sparingly in dishes because of its intense heat. Rocoto looks like bell peppers, but surprisingly, they measure 30,000 – 100,000 Scoville units.

The rocoto pepper is stuffed with a mixture of ground meat, onions, garlic, and spices, then fried. The dish is served with boiled potatoes on the side and garnished with hard-boiled eggs.

Papas a la Huancaína

Papas a la Huancaína

Papas a la huancaína is a Peruvian potato dish typically served as a starter or side. The dish is named after the Huancayo region in Peru, where it originated.

The dish consists of boiled yellow potatoes covered in a spicy sauce made with aji Amarillo(30,000 – 50,000 Scoville units), milk, cheese, and eggs. The sauce is often compared to a spicy cheese dip and has a creamy consistency.


Peruvian Cheviche

Ceviche is a seafood dish that is “cooked” in citrus juice. The acidity of the citrus juice “cooks” the fish without using heat, resulting in a fresh and light dish.

The fish is marinated in lime juice, then mixed with onions, chilies, cilantro, and often sweet potato. The result is a refreshing and flavorful dish that is perfect for a summer meal.

Ceviche is typically made with white fish, such as halibut, but can use any fish or seafood.

Arroz con Pato

Arroz con Pato

Arroz con Pato is a Peruvian dish with rice and duck cooked in a spicy sauce. The dish contains cumin, aji Amarillo, garlic, and other spices.

The duck is first marinated in the spice mixture, then cooked until tender. The rice is cooked in duck fat, which adds flavor and richness to the dish.

After the rice is cooked, it is mixed with the duck garnished with green onions and cilantro.

Leche de Tigre

Leche de Tigre

Leche de Tigre means tiger’s milk. It is the marinade used in ceviche and other seafood dishes. The marinade consists of lime juice, fish stock, chilies, and spices.

The Leche de Tigre is what gives ceviche its characteristic flavor. The dish would not be the same without it.

In addition to ceviche, Leche de Tigre can use as a marinade for grilled meats or vegetables. It can also use as a sauce for pasta or rice dishes.

Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado is a Peruvian dish that combines beef, french fries, and vegetables. The dish is stir-fried and typically served with rice.

The beef is marinated in soy sauce, vinegar, and spices before it is stir-fried with onions, peppers, and tomatoes. French fries are added to the dish and served with rice on the side.

For an extra spicy kick, add some additional chilies to the dish. Chicken and Pork can also make Lomo Saltado.

Aji de Gallina

Aji de Gallina

Aji de Gallina is a Peruvian dish made with chicken and a spice paste. The paste is made with Aji Amarillo, garlic, onion, and nuts.

The chicken is cooked in the spice paste until it is tender. The dish is then thickened with bread crumbs and milk. It is typically served with boiled potatoes and garnished with hard-boiled eggs.

Aji de Gallina is a rich and flavorful dish perfect for a winter meal.

Ají pepper – The Secret Ingredient of Peruvian Cuisine

Ají peppers are a staple of Peruvian cuisine. These peppers can range in heat from mild to very hot, adding a unique flavor to dishes.

Ají peppers are used fresh, dried, or powdered. They are often used in sauces, salsas, and soups.

Here is a list of common aji pepper in Peruvian Cuisine:

  • Aji Amarillo
  • Aji Panca
  • Aji Limo
  • Rocoto

Aji Amarillo

Aji Amarillo

Aji Amarillo is the most common aji pepper used in Peruvian cuisine. It has moderate heat with a fruity flavor.

Aji Amarillo is measured at 30,000 – 50,000 on Scoville units.

Aji Panca

Aji Panca

Aji Panca is a red pepper that turns chocolate brown when dried. It’s a sweet, flavorful pepper with little heat (1000 – 1500 on the Scoville units), but it offers a slightly smoky taste that’s perfect for beef marinades, sauces, and chicken dishes.

Aji Panca also tastes excellent in fish soups.

Aji Limo

Aji Limo

Aji Limo is a hot pepper that measures 30,000 – 50,000 on the Scoville units. It’s a thin, bright yellow pepper with a citrusy flavor.

Aji Limo is often used fresh in ceviche or as a condiment for grilled meats.



Rocoto is one of the hottest peppers used in Peruvian cuisine, measuring 30,000 – 100,000 on the Scoville units. It’s a red pepper that’s often used fresh in dishes like salsa and ceviche.

Rocoto can also be stuffed and roasted. Rocoto Relleno is a popular dish made with Rocoto peppers stuffed with meat and cheese, then fried or baked.

What makes Peruvian Food different?

Peruvian cuisine is a unique blend of influences from the indigenous people of Peru and Europe, Asia, and Africa. This diverse heritage can be seen in the various ingredients used in Peruvian cooking.

Peruvian Food uses fresh ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Peruvian cuisine also features a variety of spices and flavors, such as chili peppers, cumin, and garlic.

Peruvian dishes are often complex and flavorful, with many elements creating a unique taste. Peruvian cuisine has no defining characteristic, as it constantly evolves and changes to reflect the diverse influences around the world.

Final Thought

Peruvian cuisine is a delicious blend of influences from all over the world. There’s something for everyone to enjoy with its wide variety of ingredients and flavors. Peruvian Food is the perfect choice if you’re looking for something new and exciting to try.

So what are you waiting for? Give Peruvian cuisine a try today!

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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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