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Italian Long Hot Peppers

A staple in the Philadelphia area, Italian long hot peppers are very popular as a topping in hoagies or roasted and served alone with bread. They are also stuffed and served as an appetizer. Delicious!

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What exactly are these peppers?

Italian long hot peppers are very popular in the Philadelphia area and are widely available at many produce and grocery stores. That said, it appears that they are much more difficult, if not impossible, to find outside of the area.

Know simply as “Italian long hots”, I had often wondered if the Italian long hot peppers were referred to by another name. The answer is debatable (see Substitutions below)…

Italian long hot peppers belong to the Capsicum annuum species, which is one of five major Capsicum species, and are considered to be a hybrid pepper. A hybrid pepper is one that develops when two self pollinating varieties are intentionally crossed.

Growing Italian long hots is super easy! They don’t require a lot of water, just plenty of sunshine. I bought two plants this year and they yielded about 2 dozen peppers each.

General characteristics

The Italian Long Hot Pepper is about 6 to 9 inches in length, thick walled, and the heat (ie, measured by Scoville heat unit [SHU]) varies greatly from pepper to pepper.

In fact, one of the hallmarks of the Italian long hots is that they vary greatly heat-wise from pepper to pepper. Consequently, they have been know as the “Russian roulette” of peppers because you never know how mild or spicy each pepper will be.

Many sites now list the Scoville heat index of Italian long hots from 100 to 1000. However, I have found some of the spicier long hots can be as spicy as a jalapeno pepper, which is rated as up to 8000 SHU. A much more accurate description of the Italian long hots heat index, according to one Philadelphia chef, is somewhere between a Poblano pepper (1000 to 1500 SHU) and a Jalapeno (2500 to 8000 SHU).

Other sources have rated the Scoville of an Italian long hot from 1000 to 50,000 SHU. In short, these peppers vary substantially in heat.

It has been postulated that the wide variability of range of heat associated with Italian long hot peppers may be one of the reasons that this pepper is not widely produced/available in the USA (because production plants need to be consistent).

To me, part of the allure of Italian long hots, as crazy as it might sound, is you never know what you are getting from the standpoint of heat. It’s like a surprise in every bite!

To get a better idea of heat index, see the Scoville heat unit scale shown below for selected varieties of peppers (Italian long hots not shown).


Although there are no direct substitutes for the Italian long hot peppers, consider the following varieties of Capsicum annuum species:

  • Anaheim peppers (500 to 2500 SHU)
  • Banana peppers (0 to 500 SHU)
  • Cowhorn peppers (2500 to 5000 SHU) (sold by Bonnie Plants and said to taste very similar but they are not exactly same)
  • Cubanelle peppers (1 to 1000 SHU)
  • Friggitelli (peperoncini NOT peperoncino) (100 to 500 SHU)
  • Mesilla peppers (2000 to 4000) (some say this hybrid pepper is the same pepper as the Italian long hot; they are probably different)
  • Poblano peppers (1000 to 2000 SHU)
  • Portuguese long hot peppers (5000 to 30000 SHU) (some claim this is the same as an Italian long hot; they are probably different)

Overview of cooking

Most people cook Italian long hots directly on the stove in a pan with a little olive oil and salt. Or, you can roast them in the oven with olive oil and salt for about 15 to 20 minutes (450 degrees). Pretty simple.

How to serve

These peppers are not typically skinned or seeded when roasted whole. Some serving suggestions include:

Where to buy

These peppers are widely available in the Philadelphia area.

If you are having trouble finding them (ie, you do not live in the Philly area), consider purchasing the Italian long hot seeds online.

You can also buy the peppers already cooked/jarred. Please see Mancini Italian long hots from Amazon or gourmet Italian groceries online.

More appetizer ideas…

📖 Recipe

overhead view of italian long hot roasted and set in glass bowl

Italian Long Hot Peppers

A staple in the Philadelphia area, these delicious peppers are very popular as a topping in hoagies or roasted and served alone with bread. They are also stuffed and served as an appetizer. Delicious!
5 from 20 votes
Author: Marie
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 98 kcal


  • 12 Italian long hots washed and dried
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt


To Cook in the Oven

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Place peppers on baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt.
  • Roast peppers in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until the peppers soften up.

To Cook on the Stovetop

  • Add peppers, oil, and salt to a large saute pan and heat over medium high heat.
  • Continue heating until the peppers are slightly brown. Make sure to turn peppers every minute or so to avoid burning.
  • After peppers have picked up a bit of browning, cover pan, reduce heat to medium/low, and continue cooking until peppers have softened up. (15 minutes or so)


Peppers may be stored in the refrigerator in a jar filled with olive oil for at least one week. 


Calories: 98kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 2gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 202mgPotassium: 290mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 857IUVitamin C: 129mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
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  1. I’m from Pennsylvania. I can not find long hots in oil. In a jar. A plant from Florida closed its doors. All Italian shops. Have 00000. Do you know in Philadelphia. Of any shops?

    1. I see mostly fresh ones locally but if you can shop online, I’d search for “Mancini long hots” – they’re jarred. Hope that helps!

    2. 5 stars
      Try getting seeds on line. I have grown my own for the last 39 years. They are very easy to grow and can even be planted in pots. I let most of mine turn red they have way more flavor then store bought one.

    3. They’re so easy to make. I’m in Philly and get them at ShopRite or the Italian market. Just roast in oven for half hour or so with some salt and olive oil. Can add some garlic too.

  2. Every summertime grilling season. My peppers are on the bbq over the hot side no flame lightly brushed w olive oil. Burgers chickens and veggies are roasting. Watch till dark sees are toasted inside ,soft skin eat with meal. Never enough.

  3. Went to a restaurant in suburban Phila and they had an appetizer of long hots stuffed with gorgonzola and pancetta, served in a marinara sauce and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I’m planning to imitate it soon

  4. 5 stars
    This makes me long for home! I’m also from outside Philadelphia- Doylestown. Altomonte’s there rocks.
    I’m making these now!!!!!!

  5. 5 stars
    Originally from New Jersey and grew up eating Long Hots, cant find them anywhere in the mid atlantic area and when I ask for them at nurseries, they look at me like they’re smelling bad cheese. What are they really called? Ive heard them referred to as Italian roaster peppers

    1. They sure make it hard don’t they!! They are labeled “italian Long hots” in my area as well with no scientific name, which leads me to believe that they are some kind of hybrid (my guess, not a fact)- one of the commenters below mentioned that she grew cow horn peppers, which seem to be more widely available across the country and stated that they look and taste very similar if not the same. Give it a try?

    2. Bob,
      Grew up with my brother and I loving “The Long Hots “ Mom would make them for us as young teenagers, but would not try them herself. I get them regularly at Altomonte’s Italian market in Doylestown,Pa. I’ve gotten them at farm markets in South Jersey on Rt. 73 in Winslow Twp. Great with good Italian bread. Ask your produce Mgr. to order them in for you. Ask for Melilla long hot peppers.
      Good Luck

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