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All About the Rattling Cascabel Pepper

The cascabel pepper, also called ‘chile cascabel,’ is a mildly hot chile widely used in Mexican cuisine, from salsas to soups. Known for their rattling sound when dried, these peppers belong to the capsicum annum family. Originally from Mexico, they are now readily available worldwide.

In this article, explore their uses, health benefits, recipes, and where to purchase them!

cascabel pepper in a stone bowl

Key Takeaways

  • Cascabel peppers provide a unique, nutty flavor and a mild heat.
  • They are integral to Mexican cuisine, often used in traditional sauces.
  • Their name derives from the rattling sound of seeds inside the dried pepper.

Characteristics of the Cascabel Pepper


Chile cascabel pods are around 2-3 cm and have a roundish-oval shape that tapers off toward a blunt, curved tip. These plump little peppers start out green, and as they ripen, they turn red, with the shade darkening to a deep reddish brown color.

The skin of a fresh cascabel pepper feels tough, a bit like leather, but it is also smooth and glossy. It is speckled with gold and orange patches on the outside. You will find a thin layer of reddish-orange flesh underneath the surface that encases a hollow cavity chock full of vibrant golden-yellow seeds.

Dried cascabel pepper pods are not much different in appearance than fresh pods. They don’t become as shriveled as other dried chiles do, but you will find some indentations and creases on the pods.


The cascabel pepper is mildly hot, on par with the spiciness of regular jalapeno peppers, and it has a smoky, earthy flavor with a nutty and slightly acidic undertone.

These chiles dry have a fruity, savory, woodsy aroma with a peppery hint. They are perfect for a mildly spicy salsa and can also be enjoyed in many other dishes. Ground into a chile powder, cascabel peppers enhance the flavor of soups, sides, and more.

No matter what recipe you decide to use these delicious peppers for, the perfect blend of spicy and peppery flavors will add a fantastic touch to any meal.

Health Benefits

  • Cascabel peppers are low in calories and rich in vital nutrients.
  • They contain capsaicin, providing both spiciness and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Abundant in vitamins A and C, they support the immune system and reduce inflammation.
  • They offer minerals like manganese, copper, and potassium.
  • Cascabel peppers provide fiber for digestion and iron for blood oxygenation.
  • They also contain vitamins K and B for healing and energy production.

Where to Purchase

These tasty peppers can be found fresh for purchase in Mexican grocers or in the produce section of some grocery stores, most likely in small, organic shops that sell fresh ingredients.

They are much easier to find these days than they used to be, but if you can’t find them locally, you can definitely find them on Amazon, both fresh and dried varieties!

4oz Cascabel Dried Whole Chile Seco Peppers, Chili Pods for Authentic Mexican Food, Heat-Sealed Resealable Bag by 777Spices

They are not only a delicious, health-conscious choice to incorporate into your snacks, appetizers, and meals but are also often used for kitchen decorations.

Give the Cascabel Pepper a Try!

If you are looking to create authentic Mexican cuisine, the cascabel pepper is a must. Roasted or fresh, you are in for a spicy treat! Commonly prepared with tomatillos, this chile is a great addition to any salsa, sauce, or marinade!

To learn more about different varieties of peppers, where they are grown, and how to grow them yourself, check out our Pepper Plants page.