4 min read

It’s officially wintertime now and that means it’s soup weather. But we’re not interested in the usual suspects. We’re thinking about spicy soups that’ll really warm you up. Zest & Zing has a variety of chilli peppers to help you spice up your soups - even if you’re not big on the heat and only want to add a pinch! From smoky to fruity to spicy, throwing in a little heat (or a lot) is a simple way to elevate your soups to warm up a crowd. Here’s how to add more flavour to your soups and stews with different types of chillies.

Ancho Chilli

Ancho chilli adds a touch of heat and deep notes of earthy flavour to all your Mexican-inspired soups and stews. But it can also add a nice bit of chilli flavour to your average butternut squash soup or corn chowder too!

What is it? Ancho chillies are the dried version of poblano peppers which are found in many authentic Mexican dishes. This chilli powder imparts a rich, warming taste and a mild, earthy heat. You'll often find deep reddish brown whole ancho chillies in the supermarket, but Zest & Zing’s version is already ground for you and easy to use.  Shop our Ancho Chili.

Pairs best with: Mexican-inspired soups and stews or dishes with ingredients native to Mexico, like corn, bell peppers, poblano peppers, avocados, and beans. It’s also great in a broths for slow-cooking beef and chicken stews.

Recipe ideas? Go for authentic Mexican or just inspired. It will give that chilli flavour to your favourite vegetable-based wintertime soups too, especially those that are slightly sweet.

Aleppo Pepper

This is an addictive chilli. You can cook with this fruity, tangy pepper or use it like a seasoning salt. It provides the perfect level of not-too-hot heat as well as a citrus-like quality to cut through richer flavours. It’s trendy for a reason.

What is it? Also known as the Halaby pepper, this complex deep red chilli hails from the Middle East, specifically Syria, where you’ll find it in traditional mezze dishes. The ripe chillies are harvested and then cured with oil and salt. It’s got a bright almost tart flavour with a mild heat. We’ve written at length about it, so you can read more about how to use Aleppo Pepper in other dishes here. Or you can  shop Zest & Zing’s Aleppo Pepper.

Pairs best with: Middle Eastern stews or sprinkled on top of rich or creamy soups. Use it alongside chickpeas, butternut squash, yogurt, or lentils. But feel free to experiment by finishing any soup with it where you'd like a kick!

Recipe Ideas? Try it on top of soups you make all the time for a little brightness, whether or not the recipe calls for it. Check out Turkish-inspired dishes or sprinkle it on hearty, creamy vegetable-based soups for winter.

Chipotle Chilli

Chipotles are perfect for those who embrace smoky flavours but don’t love a whole lot of spice. This one is all about the smoke.

What is it?  Chipotles are simply smoked jalapeños, but that smoking process gives it a whole different flavour than its spicy, green counterpart. Chipotles are distinctively smoky and often have a hint of sweetness. They’re not too spicy, but instead have a mild, earthy flavour.  Shop Z&Z’s Crushed Chipotle Chilli.

Pairs best with: We like it in Mexican-inspired soups, sweeter soups, cheesy soups, or with vegetables like corn, beans, or lentils. It’s also great for adding depth to slow-cooked meaty stews, tortilla soup, and chile con carne.

Recipe Ideas?Anything reminiscent of Mexican or Tex-Mex style food. The smoke of chipotle peppers blends well with veggie-packed soups or slow-cooked, meaty stews.

Cayenne Pepper

This is the all-around hot pepper, so you can add this one to any dish. Use a little or a lot… depending on your preference for spice. It's a kitchen spice rack staple.  Shop Zest & Zing’s Cayenne Pepper Powder.

What is it? Cayenne pepper is a dried and ground red chilli. It’s all about heat and you can use it anywhere you like. This is your all-purpose ingredient for spicing up soups and stews as it doesn’t impart much flavour other than that tell-tale kick.

Pairs best with: Anything, but it’s a great way to spice up curry-flavoured soups, add heat to stewed meats or vegetables, or sprinkle on top of creamy soup to detract from the richness with some fiery hotness.

Recipe Ideas? Add it to soups and stews right off the bat or just sprinkle it on top of your bowl if your guests don't like it spicy. You can also use it anywhere you’d normally use red pepper flakes, but be careful not to go overboard!

Which chillies are your favourite to liven up soups?

What are your go-to spicy soup recipes?



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