Purple UFO Pepper – A Unique Hot Pepper Variety

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There are a staggering number of pepper varieties. When looking for something new to try, I usually search for a new color, shape, or flavor. When I first discovered the purple UFO, I was immediately sold!

As the name suggests, this pepper variety loosely resembles a UFO spaceship, and it is purple (when unripe). In this article, I’ll share some other details on this specialty pepper variety, including its heat level, flavor, uses, and how to grow it at home. Let’s get started!

Purple UFO pepper plant with pods

Purple UFO Pepper Info

Aside from being purple and very beautiful, the purple UFO has some other unique traits. Here are the basics:

NamePurple UFO
TypeHeirloom (open pollinated)
SpeciesCapsicum annuum
Heat Level (Scoville)10,000 SHUs
FlavorVegetal, slightly sweet
UsesHomemade hot sauce, spicy powder, pickles
LightFull sun or afternoon shade
WateringEvenly moist, good drainage
SeedsBohica Pepper Hut >

In general, the purple UFO is considered more of an ornamental pepper than a practical variety. However, the pods are edible, and are much larger than most decorative pepper types.

Purple UFO peppers on plant
Unripe purple UFO peppers on plant.

Another characteristic that stands out about this variety is the crunch factor. While many ornamental varieties are small, soft, and full of seeds, the purple UFO has a nice crunch. The walls of the peppers are pretty thin, but they are still crisp when fresh (especially unripe).

Purple UFO Pepper Heat Level (Scoville)

When it comes to heat, the purple UFO is fairly spicy, but not overwhelming. The heat is comparable to a very hot jalapeño pepper, likely around 10,000 SHUs on the Scoville Scale.

What is more interesting about this pepper is how the heat is experienced. Some peppers, such as a habanero, have a long, lingering burn. The purple UFO has a more sharp, immediate kick that doesn’t last nearly as long.

So if you happen to be looking for a variety that has a shorter burn, this may be the right pepper for you to grow! I personally appreciate this characteristic, as not everyone wants to have their mouth on fire for 30 minutes or longer!

Purple UFO Pepper Flavor & Uses

While I have heard others say the purple UFO tastes like green apple, I didn’t find this to be true with our plants. Instead, I found them to taste mild and slightly vegetal when unripe (purple), and slightly sweet and fruity when ripe (red).

Purple UFO peppers unripe and ripe
Purple UFO peppers (unripe, left & ripe, middle).

Given its medium heat level, the purple UFO is a great option for making homemade spicy powders, or of course hot sauce. The shape and size of the fruits don’t lend themselves well to stuffing, but they are larger than a lot of other ornamentals (like the black pearl or fish pepper).

Here are some great uses for this pepper:

  • Homemade hot sauce. You can’t pass up the opportunity to turn your fresh hot peppers into a delectable sauce. Try modifying our jalapeño hot sauce, or watch this video to learn how to craft your own hot sauce recipe.
  • Spicy powder. One of the great methods of preserving peppers is to dehydrate and make a powder. For the best flavor, allow the peppers to cure for a few days after harvesting, then dry with a dehydrator or your oven on low heat. Then, use a spice grinder to pulverize the dried peppers into a fine powder (or crush them into flakes).
  • Taco seasoning. After you’ve made some pepper powder, you can use it to blend into a tasty seasoning. Spice up our delicious taco seasoning with purple UFO peppers and make a tasty
  • Make spicy pickles. Since these peppers have a nice crunch, they can be pickled on their own. You can also add a few sliced purple UFO peppers to pickled cucumbers to add a nice kick to your dill pickles. Who doesn’t love a spicy dill pickle?
  • Fermentation. Some of the best sauces and flavors start with fermentation. Try adding a few purple UFO peppers to your next batch of kimchi, fermented hot sauce, or a simple fermented mash.

Growing The Purple UFO Pepper

If you want to grow your own purple UFO peppers, you have options. Our plants only grew to about 2.5′ tall, but produced bounties of fruits. They were some of the first pepper plants to start fruiting, and kept on going until the fall.

The flowers are purple, and the stems are darkened as well. The foliage also has a slightly darker color than other pepper varieties, leading to a beautiful overall plant appearance.

Purple UFO pepper plant in the early spring.

These plants would grow well in 5-gallon containers with high-quality potting soil. Or, grow them in your raised beds or in-ground beds with a tomato cage for support.

The purple UFO is a gorgeous pepper variety with many uses, making it a great option for new growers. If you’re looking to branch out and try a unique pepper variety, this one is a good choice.

Calvin Thumbnail


One of the original Pepper Geeks! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning more about peppers and botany, he might be traveling new places or playing some music.

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