When To Pick Serrano Peppers – Top Tips to Harvest Serrano Peppers



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When To Pick Serrano Peppers

Serrano peppers are a tasty ingredient in sauces, salsas, and pico de gallo. These peppers may be delicious and easy to grow, but you’ll have watery and tasteless fruit if they aren’t harvested at the right time.

Fortunately, a few things can indicate when to pick serrano peppers, which we’ll cover in this post.

You’ll also learn how to harvest the peppers and whether you should pick them when they’re red or green. 

Types of Serrano Peppers

Serrano peppers are a popular ingredient in Mexican cuisine known for their spicy flavor and bright green color. They are similar to jalapeno peppers in shape but are spicier and more intense in flavor. There are several different serrano peppers, each with unique characteristics that affect their heat level and taste.

The most common variety is the standard serrano, which is usually about 1-2 inches long and has a heat level of around 5,000-15,000 Scoville units.

Other varieties include:

  • The purple serrano has a slightly milder heat level and a dark, almost black color.
  • The yellow serrano is sweeter than the standard variety.
  • The red serrano is the hottest of all serrano peppers and is bright red when fully ripe.

Serrano peppers can be used in salsas, marinades, soups, and other dishes to add a spicy kick and depth of flavor. When working with serrano peppers, it’s important to wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterward to avoid skin irritation.

When To Harvest Serrano Peppers

It can be difficult to figure out when you should pick serrano peppers.

Other varieties, like banana and cayenne peppers, turn a different color as they become ripe. This isn’t the case with serrano peppers, as they remain green.

The good news is that there are other ways to tell whether the peppers are ready for harvesting. Once you’ve planted the seeds, the peppers are generally ready to be picked 70 to 85 days later.

If you purchase a seedling, it should have a planting guide tag that can give you an idea of when your peppers will be ready

Here are some factors that indicate when serrano peppers are ready for picking. 


A serrano pepper’s hue can tell whether it’s ready for harvesting. If you notice brown lines on the peppers, this is a sign that the fruit is ready for picking. 

Remember that green serrano peppers are less spicy than red ones. If you prefer spicy peppers, wait for the fruit to turn red before picking them.


Serrano peppers tend to be between two and four inches long when ready for harvesting. Longer peppers aren’t as spicy as smaller ones, as these little fruits are packed with heat!


The thickness of a serrano pepper’s walls and skin can indicate if they are ready for picking. 

Use two fingers to compress the pepper lightly. If the skin feels too thin, the peppers need more ripening time. Wait a few more days, then check again. 

Fall Easily

Serrano peppers that are ready for picking will easily fall off their plant. Give the pepper’s stalk a gentle pull in an upward direction.

If the fruit comes off the plant easily, you can collect the rest of the peppers. If you feel any resistance, the peppers need more time to ripen.

It can be difficult to distinguish between a mature green serrano pepper and a green serrano pepper that is still ripening.

If you like green peppers, this step can be a good way of telling when the fruit is ready for picking

Green Vs. Red Serrano Peppers: Which Ones Should You Pick?

When it comes to harvesting serrano peppers, the color they are when they are picked will depend on individual preferences.

Green serrano peppers will have a milder flavor but take on a spicier flavor if you wait for them to turn red.

If you, or the people you’re serving, prefer mild heat, pick your serrano peppers when they’re green and ready for harvesting.

Red serrano peppers taste sweeter, but as they contain more capsaicin, the brain discerns them as spicier than green ones. 

Picking Serrano Peppers 

Picking Serrano Peppers 

Picking serrano peppers is relatively easy, but you need to ensure that you’re not damaging the plant as you do so.

If serrano peppers are ready to be picked, they’ll come off their plant with a simple pull. As mentioned earlier, grasp the stem and tug upwards then, the stalk should easily come off the plant. 

Some peppers can be more difficult to pick than others, particularly if they’re still green. In this case, you can use pruning shears to ensure they come off cleanly.

Number Of Serrano Peppers In Each Plant

Serrano pepper plants can generate over 50 fruits per plant, which equates to roughly 2.5 lbs of peppers. 

Cultivating the plants in the optimum conditions and using fertilizer as necessary can produce a particularly abundant plant.

Serrano Pepper Uses

Serrano peppers grow on a compact plant that grows its best in full sunlight. The peppers are quite resilient, as they don’t need much water and can withstand drought. 

You can use serrano peppers in several different dishes, especially ones that need extra heat. 

Here are some examples of uses for serrano peppers that you can try at home.

Pico De Gallo  

Serrano peppers can add some spice to pico de gallo. If you’d like a gentle kick, use a single pepper. If you like it spicy, use two peppers or more.

Remove the seeds from the peppers, dice them, then add them to the remaining ingredients in your pico de gallo. 

Serrano Pepper Oil

Serrano pepper oil and chile oil are spicy condiments packed with flavor. It tastes great drizzled over potatoes, mixed into rice, or even used as a hot salad dressing.

Serrano pepper oil is also very easy to make! Heat canola oil, serrano peppers, and coriander seeds in a small pan, then bottle the contents. 

Just remember to keep the oil in the fridge to keep it fresh. If you notice the oil becoming cloudy, dispose of the contents immediately.  

Pickled Peppers

Pickled hot peppers are often used as a condiment in Asian cuisine. The vinegar helps to bring out the spicy notes, resulting in hot, crisp, and slightly sweet peppers.

All you need to do is marinate serrano peppers in vinegar, water, and sugar. The recipe is traditionally made with jalapenos, but using serrano peppers will make the dish a lot spicier! 

New Serrano Strain: What to Expect

A new Serrano strain called the “Hot Rod” is gaining popularity. It has a slightly sweeter, fruitier flavor than traditional serrano peppers and is hotter.

Expect the peppers to mature in about 70 to 80 days and be about 4 inches long and bright green.

How Best to Store Serrano Peppers

If you have a surplus of Serrano peppers and want to store them properly, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Firstly, storing fresh Serrano peppers in the fridge is best, as they will remain fresh longer. However, if you want to preserve them for an extended period, you can also dry them.

To dry them, cut them into thin slices and then place them in a dehydrator or an oven set at a low temperature for a few hours until they are completely dry.

Once dry, you can store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to six months. If you want to freeze fresh Serrano peppers, blanch them first and then place them in a freezer bag before freezing them. This will help to preserve their flavor and texture.

When using frozen Serrano peppers in cooking, you can chop them up and add them to your dishes without needing to thaw them first. Overall, if you store your Serrano peppers properly, you can enjoy their bold flavor and heat for many months.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on When To Pick Serrano Peppers

Q: When are serrano peppers ready to pick

A: Serrano peppers typically become ripe and ready to pick approximately 70 to 90 days after planting. The ideal time to harvest them is when they reach a vibrant green or red color, depending on the variety. It is important to check their size, firmness, and flavor to ensure optimal ripeness for culinary use.

Q: How to tell when serrano peppers are ready to pick

A: To determine when serrano peppers are ready to be harvested, look for a deep green color, firm texture, and a length of about 2-4 inches. Additionally, wait until the peppers have reached their mature size and have developed a spicy heat.

Q: Can I grow Serrano peppers indoors?

A: Yes, it is possible to grow Serrano peppers indoors. Since Serrano pepper plants require full sun and warm temperatures, it is important to provide sufficient light using grow lights or placing them near a sunny window.

Additionally, proper ventilation and regular watering are crucial for the health of indoor pepper plants.

Q: How should I store freshly picked Serrano peppers?

A: Freshly picked Serrano peppers can be stored in many ways. You can place them in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer, where they can stay fresh for up to two weeks. Alternatively, you can freeze them by washing, drying, and removing the stems before placing them in a sealed freezer bag.

Final Thoughts on When To Pick Serrano Peppers

If you want a ripe serrano pepper you’ve never harvested serrano peppers before, it can be tricky working out when you should first pick them, especially if you like them green. 

Signs like shade, size, and thickness can indicate when the peppers are best picked. Just remember to let the peppers turn red if you like them hot.

If you’d prefer your peppers to be sweet, pick the fruit when they are green and three to four inches long. 

Please see our article on the best pepper fertilizers, where we did an in-depth analysis and guide on the best fertilizers to use for your peppers.

Our Top 3 Pepper Fertilizers

Top Pick

Greenway Biotech Pepper Fertilizer

Greenway Biotech

Quality Ingredients Hydroponics and Soil Use Improves Soil Quality 100% Natural

Tracy’s Choice

Big A Pepper Fertilizer

Big A Peppers

Organic Proprietary Blend Suitable For All Peppers High-solubility Formula ECO Friendly.

Best Value

Miracle Gro Shake n Feed Fertilizer

Miracle-Gro S&F

Natural Ingredients Specially Formulated For Use In the Ground and Containers.

Further Recommendations:

Video: Growing Serrano Peppers From Seeds

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