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Nov 15, 2009 12:45 PM

Will one habanero ruin my soup?

I make a chicken soup using the following general recipe:

sweat the following in olive oil:
1 - 2 onions
2 ribs celery
2 carrots
2 jalapenos
2 serrano peppers
1 poblano
1 red chili pepper (whatever I find that looks good)
2 chipotle peppers
3 cloves garlic

add cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, cayenne, paprika, oregano, etc. to taste

1 28-oz can tomatoes
1 - 1.5 quarts chicken stock

simmer for a while, puree, then add:
2 29-oz. cans black beans
shredded chicken (I use 1 whole Latin-flavor rotisserie chicken)

I serve this over rice with a little bit of cheese.

I was feeling a little adventurous at the grocery store yesterday & bought a smallish habanero. Will it make the soup significantly more spicy? As you can see from the recipe, this makes a huge pot of soup.

I'm quite tolerant of spicy food, but I know habaneros are significantly hotter than other peppers and have never cooked with them. I don't want to ruin a whole pot of soup (especially with all the chopping involved).


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  1. If you like spicy food, I can't see why it would be a problem. But if you're nervous (after all, there are already some chipotles in there, although I always feel they give more smoke than heat) start with maybe half the pepper. Oops, just saw all the other peppers too. Hmm, I like spicy food, but maybe the habanero is gilding the lily.

    4 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      I forgot to mention - I couldn't find a red chili pepper that looked good, so I don't have one this time.

      Half might be a good idea, though, just to be safe.


      1. re: LulusMom

        Holy tamoly...ya got a lotta spicy peppers there...I would NOT add the, I have to qualify this and say 'But if you have a high tolerance for heat and are used to eating such spicy dishes, go for it!'

        1. re: Val

          I do eat a LOT of spicy food - I think I'll try half. :o)

        2. re: LulusMom

          "maybe the habanero is gilding the lily"
          That said it all.
          Jalapenos, serranos, chipoltes, poblano, red chili, red pepper flakes, cayenne-
          Wee, ha-that's a whole lotta heat!

        3. Are you thinking of using it to sub for any of the other chiles or using it in addition? Do you feel the soup isn't spicy enough with the peppers you already include? What about pureeing the habanero and making a little salsa with that (garlic, olive oil, salt, etc.) in the blender and if you want extra heat, drizzle the habanero puree into the bowl?

          4 Replies
          1. re: QSheba

            It would be a substitute for the red chili pepper, since I couldn't find one. I'm not looking to necessarily make the soup much spicier, just thought it might be fun to try something a little different. :o)

            1. re: elizabeth3883

              Oh it will make the soup MUCH spicier.

              1. re: chefj

                Yep, habaneros are not to be, uh, messed with, for lack of a better word...LOL!

              2. re: elizabeth3883

                I personally wouldn't do it, but if you want to try it, let us know how it turns out! :)

            2. i wouldn't do it, but then again, habaneros scare the peewaddy out of me ever since i minced one and put it on a salad, not knowing about the heat level of habaneros. yikes!

              1. If you're not sure, prick a pepper a few times with a fork and drop it whole into the soup. If at some time during the simmering you decide the soup is already spicy enough, just pluck the pepper out.