The Aleppo Pepper’s history traces back thousands of years. After being grown and cultivated for spices in Syria, these traveled the Silk Road, eventually crossing the ocean and making their way to North and South America.
But what makes the pepper special enough to be sought after and traded around the world?
Keep reading to discover what gives this sweet and spicy pepper its centuries-long claim to fame.
Looking for Aleppo Pepper seeds? Check availability.
Aleppo Pepper Characteristics
Also called Pul Biber, a Halaby pepper, a Syrian pepper, or a Haleb Biber, the Aleppo Pepper is a nightshade family member.
Like wide other chile varieties, this pepper ripens from green to orange to a dark burgundy color.
They are typically the size and shape of a jalapeno, roughly 2-4 inches long, but sometimes can appear a bit shorter and less pointed.
The skin of the pepper is smooth, firm, and glossy. The plants themselves can grow up to four feet tall and look similar to your average pepper plant: long, bright green leaves and bush-like.
Though there’s nothing particularly unique about its appearance, the pepper’s flavor is a different story altogether.
When you think of chiles, you probably think of them adding smokey heat to a dish. But not the Aleppo Pepper!
Its flavor is fruity and earthy, with a hint of cumin. The heat of the pepper builds slowly. The pepper is more comparable to sundried tomatoes than other chile varieties in its flavor profile and texture.
Hotter peppers like the Aleppo are known for containing the chemical capsaicin. Capsaicin is what makes your lips burn when you eat chiles. But it has some practical applications as well!
Contrary to what you might think, capsaicin is actually used in topical ointments as a pain reliever to treat minor aches and pains. It can also serve as an anti-inflammatory treatment and an antioxidant.
In addition to capsaicin, the peppers also contain significant concentrations of vitamins A and C.
How Hot is an Aleppo Pepper?
The Aleppo Pepper has a relatively mild, slow heat, which is uncommon for chiles. It comes in at about 10,000 Scoville units, making it a bit hotter than a jalapeno and about half as hot as typical crushed red pepper flakes but much more flavorful.
Unlike crushed red pepper flakes, this pepper is almost never used to add heat to a dish. Instead, they’re used to enhance the flavor and complexity of the food.
Cooking with Aleppo Peppers
Traditional and common in Syria and Turkey, Aleppo Peppers are a staple ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes.
However, you will rarely find it fresh. These Peppers are typically dried and crushed or ground up to be used as a seasoning.
If you wanted to use fresh peppers, their mild, fruity heat would go great in a salsa recipe!
Drying Aleppo Peppers
Since Aleppo Peppers are most commonly used, dried, and crushed, you might want to learn how to do so yourself!
The best method for drying your peppers is to sun dry them. However, if you don’t live somewhere where sun drying is possible, you can also bake them on low heat for a few hours, keeping a close eye on them.
Once your peppers are dry, crush them into flakes either by hand or with a mortar and pestle. Add a tiny amount of oil and salt to your pepper flakes, and viola! You’ll have flavorful Aleppo flakes similar in texture to chile crisp but with less liquid.
Aleppo Pepper Growing Guide
Like other chiles, Aleppo Peppers are super productive in the right climate but really don’t take well to cold weather.
To avoid any issues with your peppers, start your seeds indoors ten weeks before the last frost. Two weeks after the last frost, you can move your plants outdoors.
These peppers do wonderfully directly planted in a garden but are also great container plants! They prefer warm soil, full sun, phosphorous-rich fertilizer, and frequent, light watering.
If you do transplant your Aleppo Pepper seedlings directly into your garden, space them two feet apart in a sandy, silty, or loamy soil.
In roughly 85 days, you’ll have a crop of beautiful burgundy peppers ready to be enjoyed!
As the plant will grow quite tall with lots of foliage, it could benefit from staking or caging to help keep it straight and strong.
Planting your peppers correctly and with care is the first step in a bountiful harvest!
Luckily for the Aleppo Pepper and other chiles like it, the presence of capsaicin keeps away a lot of pests. The main concern for these peppers is aphids.
However, aphids are relatively easy to treat. Apply neem oil or organic insecticide as instructed, and your pest problem should quickly be taken care of.
And like most vegetables, the Aleppo Pepper plant is susceptible to fungal infection if the plants are spaced out and aerated properly or exposed to excessive amounts of standing water.
Keep your plants dry and well-spaced – that’s the best preventive measure you can take to keep them healthy!
Hot peppers like the Aleppo pepper thrive in garden environments with lots of variety!
Some plants that compliment hot peppers particularly well are basil, cosmos, zinnias, garlic, peas, broccoli, and carrots.
Another idea for choosing companion plants to grow alongside your peppers is to pick plants that are resistant to pests and diseases that your peppers aren’t.
Alliums such as onions, garlic, leeks, and chives are all resistant to aphids, making them great companion plants for your peppers!
Where to Buy Aleppo Peppers
If you’re lucky, you might find some crushed Aleppo Pepper in the spice aisle of your grocery store.
But for the most part, you’ll need to visit a Mediterranean grocery store or online retailer to find your peppers. And even then, you’ll probably only get it crushed or ground.
If you want fresh, whole peppers, your best bet is to grow them yourself from seeds. You can find Aleppo Pepper seeds on Amazon.
Heating Things Up With The Aleppo Pepper
The Aleppo Peppers’ unique origin and flavor can make you rethink everything you know about hot chiles! Bring some history to your garden and grow some peppers this season. For more information on growing and caring for your pepper plants, visit our Pepper Plants guide.