Is it Chile, Chili, or Chilli Pepper?

Original Mystery Pepper
Original Mystery Pepper, 2015

Simply put, all of the above -- depending on where you're from and/or whether you'd consider yourself a die-hard pepper enthusiast.

Many in the UK and Europe refer to them as Chilli Peppers, whereas the majority of the US seems to prefer the americanized Chili Peppers. In Mexico, the Southwest US and some parts of Canada a spicy pepper is generally a Chile Pepper. It's believed early immigrants to New Mexico had converted the Nahuatl chilli to chile. Chile is the correct spelling in Spanish, which we feel should factor into the discussion as many popular spicy pepper varieties (or their ancestors) originated in Mexico and South America.

To further complicate matters, there's that well-known meaty dish called chili, which was derived from chili con carne or "meat with chile". Then, there's Chile Powder versus Chili Powder. Chile Powder is made from pure dried peppers, usually with no additives. Whereas Chili Powder contains dried peppers as well as a blend of other spices, which vary depending on the brand/variety of the powder.

To eliminate confusion, provide consistency, and to pay homage to the heritage of spicy peppers, most pepper purists prefer Chile Pepper as the proper spelling for spicy peppers, while dedicating the term chili to refer to the dish. For more on this, see Eat More Chiles, thespruce.com, and Scoville Heat Scale which go into greater depth.

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