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What pepper can be substituted for a habanero when no habaneros are available?

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What is the purpose in using the habanero to begin with? Any pepper can add flavor or heat ; but if you're looking for one or the other a particular pepper might help get you a better, more accessible answer. For instance, the Scotch bonnet @Bob mentioned is the same species but you're not likely to have one available without the other. –  mfg Oct 23 '10 at 0:43

3 Answers 3

Scotch bonnet is very similar, if they're available.

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+1. I'm in the UK. It's really hard to find Habaneros, but Scotch Bonnets are in almost every supermarket. They're sweet, fruity, and oh-god-that-was-a-mistake hot. :) –  TarkaDaal Jun 22 '12 at 13:28

Very few peppers have both the intense fruitiness and the extreme heat level of a habanero. One option might be to use a combination of dried ancho chilis for their fruitiness, and a fresh hot chili of your choice for the spice level. Thai bird chilis, for example, are quite hot.

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I really enjoy the flavor of those things, but the level of hot they bring is such an issue... –  dmckee Oct 23 '10 at 22:23

Another very hot*, fruity pepper is the Bhut Jolokia, but if you don't have habanero where you are you probably don't have ghost peppers either. (Hottest depending on where it's grown)

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