I went to Olive Garden recently and bought the Spicy Calabrian Chicken. It was delicious and I loved the heat level. It heated up my mouth, but I could still taste the flavor. Can anyone tell me what type of chili they used in this dish.

I saw one place where they said that Calabrian chilies can also be called Peperoncini. I had one of these in my garden and got excited. However, my peppers don’t taste hot. Then I read that Peperoncini had a really low heat level. As low as 800 scoville. Then I found a site selling dried Calabrian chilies and they say they are around 25,000 to 40,000 Scoville. That sounds closer to the Olive Garden dish. However, right below that statement , the site sold dried ones and said they were 8,000-10,000 scoville.

Lots of mixed info. Does anyone have insite into what chilies that use. I’d love if someone could tell me exactly, like if they have it listed in an ingredients list somewhere.

Edit: a couple of people seem confused and think I duplicated my question. I've gotten fussed at before on these forums for posting multiple questions in one post. This question was about identifying a pepper. My other question is about a recipe using said pepper. Thanks.

1 Answer 1


Calabrians eat a lot of chile peppers, but usually the one referred to as "Calabrian chiles" to foreign audiences is a variety of diamante chile pepper, grown in Southern Italy, salted and packed in oil, and sold as "hot long chile peppers". These are commercially available in the USA from brands like Tutto Calabria and DeLallo.

The confusion comes in because the residents of Calabria province like a lot of peppers, and various other peppers are grown there, and even packaged and exported.

Calabrian chili peppers are not pepperoncini, or at least not what is sold in the USA as "pepperoncini". Those are a variety of small chile pepper, bred from the Anaheim, grown in the USA, picked green, and sold pickled. They would be a terrible substitute. Where you probably got that recommendation is that the word "pepperoncini" is Italian for "hot peppers", generically.

As for growing them, I'm not sure what to recommend. The name they go by in Italy, "Diamante" after the town where they are grown, is used by several completely unrelated pepper varieties from English-speaking seed catalogs. So I don't know what that pepper would be named if you wanted to plant it.

  • Thanks. That helps a lot. I'll see if I can find "Diamante" pepper to grow. Between posting and reading this, I actually did order some stuff from Tutto. I got a jar of crushed chilies, I assume in oil, and dried ones, to experiment with.
    – Dalton
    Sep 7, 2018 at 17:06
  • @Dalton : it sounds like you got a bottle of 'hots'. That'll work. For growing your own, some varieties of Diamante have no heat. You might want to go with Red Cherry Peppers, as different varieties are available w/ different heat levels (some around 3k, others around 20k)
    – Joe
    Sep 7, 2018 at 17:44

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