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What is Cayenne Pepper?

cayenne pepper spice


A culinary spice in the form of a ground red powder from the fruit of the same name which supplies pure fiery heat.

What does cayenne pepper taste like?

Cayenne pepper is a hot pungent spice with an earthy peppery aroma that intensifies as it cooks. 

Where does cayenne pepper come from?

Cayenne pepper originates in French Guiana and the name cayenne translates from Tupi to ‘pungent dried pepper’. 

A member of the capsicum annuum family the whole peppers are dried and ground to produce the spice.

Cayenne Pepper Uses

The chilli pepper is added lightly to dishes to provide a spicy element in dishes throughout India, Mexico, South America and Asia. 

A pinch of cayenne can be added to fish, meat and vegetable dishes to add a kick of heat for dishes including casseroles, stews, sauces, beans, fried chicken, hot sauces and dry rubs.

Cayenne Pepper Substitutes 

  • Chili powder: often a key ingredient of chili powder is cayenne pepper along with other spices and peppers.
  • Hot sauce: tabasco or sriracha can supply the warming spice to dishes as a replacement for cayenne. 
  • Hot paprika: matched in flavor as also a spicy ground pepper. 

Cayenne Pepper Compliments and Pairings 

As a spice enhancer cayenne can compliment beans, pulses, garlic, mince, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, coriander, eggs, poultry, red meat, vegetables, chocolate, pepper and tomatoes. Cayenne pepper also pairs well with cheese and cream to offset some of the intense spice. 

Cayenne Pepper Expiration and Storage

  • Ground: store in a cool environment away from direct sunlight in an airtight container and ground cayenne pepper can be stored for two to three years.
  • Fresh: store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Fun Facts About Cayenne Pepper

  • It is believed the capital city of French Guiana, Cayenne, is named after the pepper and not the other way round.
  • Cayenne pepper is ten times hotter than a jalapeno. 

Popular Cayenne Pepper Recipes

  • Cayenne pepper hot sauce
  • Chocolate and chilli truffles
  • Cayenne pretzels
  • Cayenne and cheese biscuits
  • Southern fried chicken
  • Chilli con carne
  • Arrabiata 

Chef Max

Michelin trained professional chef with a passion for recipe writing and all things food. I have worked for over five years at top restaurants across the UK and have gained an ability to create any recipe you desire, from comfort food recipes to fine dining recipes. My experience in food writing includes a placement at Delicious Magazine which involved feature writing, recipe testing, article research, and content creation.

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