What is Aleppo Pepper?

Aleppo pepper is a robust, brick-red pepper grown in the around the city of Aleppo (Halab in Arabic) in northwestern Syria, just south of the Turkish border. Also known as Halaby pepper, it is the preferred capsicum for adding the gentle edge of authentic Mediterranean flavour and fragrance. Aleppo pepper is a variety of Capsicum annul.

It is used as a spice, particularly in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. It starts as pods which ripen to a burgundy color and is then semi-dried, de-seeded, then crushed or coarsely ground. Despite its popularity in Turkey, the pepper’s name comes from a Aleppo, an ancient city along the Silk Road in northern Syria, and is grown throughout Syria and Turkey.

Heat and Flavour of Aleppo Pepper

With its high oil content, this dried, seeded and crushed red pepper has a deliciously deep, aromatic flavor, somewhat similar to Ancho chili powder but with a coarser, flakey texture. Aleppo chili offers a nice variation from your usual crushed red peppers, offering a little more tartness, sweet, rich and almost smoky It has a very robust flavor that hits you in the back of your mouth, tickles your throat and dissipates quickly.

The Aleppo pepper has a moderate heat level of about 10,000 on the Scoville scale, with some fruitiness and mild, cumin-like undertones. Its flavour is similar to the ancho chile, but oilier and slightly salty; salt is often used in the drying process. It is fairly mild, with its heat building slowly, with a fruity raisin-like flavor .Be careful when using Aleppo, because its slowly building spice can sneak up on you! In what follows, you’ll find two typical uses of Aleppo. It has also been described as having the flavor of sweetness, roundness and perfume of the best kind of sundried tomatoes, but with a substantial kick behind it.

Cooking with Aleppo Pepper

In Syria and Turkey Aleppo Pepper is often used as a condiment and is sprinkled onto foods at the table as is common with salt and pepper in North America. It is traditionally used for many dishes, especially soups, salads, kebabs and fish. Aleppo Pepper is great on grilled meats like chicken breast, steak, or chops. It’s also delicious in chili, meat loaf, and sauces, or anywhere paprika is called for but a bit of a stronger flavor is desired. Try mixing Aleppo Pepper with herbs for flavorful roast chicken, tasty pork chops, and robust salads. Aleppo Pepper also makes an attractive sprinkle for potato, chicken and tuna salad and deviled eggs too.


Store in as you would other spices in a dark, dry space away from heat.


Substitute hot paprika, cayenne, or crushed red pepper flakes. Ancho chile powder would be the closest substitute,possibly combined with a dash of salt.

Other names

Halaby pepper; Halab Pepper; Near Eastern pepper

Recipes featuring Aleppo Pepper

Aleppo Style Marinated and Fried Catfish

Sour Soup with Aleppo Pepper

Okra, Onion and Tomato

Orange Chutney with Aleppo Pepper

Photo by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay