What are Hungarian Wax Peppers?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Hungarian wax peppers are a variety of chili pepper developed in Hungary, home of paprika, another notable pepper product. These peppers are also known as hot yellow peppers or hot wax peppers, and they closely resemble the banana pepper, a relative in the pepper family. They can be used in a variety of ways in cooking, and they are available in some grocery stores and farmers' markets as fresh produce, in addition to being sold in pickled form.

Hungarian wax peppers.
Hungarian wax peppers.

These peppers can get quite large if they are allowed to grow to maturity, but they are usually harvested when they are about the length of a hand. They are naturally yellow at the time of harvest, although they can develop a rich red color if they are allowed to fully mature. The “wax” in the name is a reference to the slightly waxy texture of the rind of the pepper. Despite this, the rind is perfectly edible and in fact very flavorful.

Hungarian wax peppers closely resemble banana peppers, which are milder.
Hungarian wax peppers closely resemble banana peppers, which are milder.

In terms of heat, Hungarian wax peppers fall around the middle of the spectrum. The flavor is fairly mild, but it has a hint of a kick that can be distasteful to people who are extremely sensitive to heat. Some people remove the seeds and white ribs from the pepper to reduce the spice, while others prefer to leave them in so that they can get a good hit of the flavor.

Hungarian wax and banana peppers look so similar that the two are sometimes confused, so cooks may want to taste them before using them to make sure that they are the desired variety. If used in place of the more mild banana pepper, Hungarian wax peppers may make a dish unexpectedly zesty, while tame banana peppers may be disappointing when spicier peppers were expected.

Hot yellow peppers can be used raw and fresh in salads, marinades, dressings, and other dishes. They can also be added to stews, as they are in Hungary, and pickled for use as appetizers and garnishes. These peppers may also be roasted and pickled for more flavor, or dried for use out of season.

Like other peppers, Hungarian wax peppers can be cultivated in the home garden or kitchen, but they need a sunny spot, well-drained soil, and protection from temperature fluctuations and wind. Growing peppers can be tricky, as the plants will readily wilt if they are left dry too long, or grow moldy if they are overwatered. Peppers do well as container plants, however, which can be handy for people with limited gardening space.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


I just planted eight new plants one week ago, and they are doing great.


Hungarians use these yellow, waxy peppers to stuff. While many recipes for stuffed peppers in the States call for bell peppers, Hungarians never use green bell peppers for stuffing.

After inserting the meat, spice and rice stuffing in the pepper, they boil them in tomato juice, with some added sugar. While some Hungarian peppers can be quite spicy (like the thinner yellow ones), wax peppers are very mild.

In the end, they taste like the stuffing and tomato juice. To make truly authentic Hungarian stuffed peppers, use these peppers! It is delicious!


Sometimes these peppers are a yellow-green or almost green color. They are super hot. While visiting a Hungarian family in Budapest, they served a plate of bread, peppers, cheese and cold cuts. The older, Hungarian man would just eat pieces of the pepper as though they were bell peppers. I tried a bite -- it was *hot*! Later, unknowingly, I rubbed my eyes. I thought I was going to have permanent damage to my eyes. Everything turned out fine though. Moral of the story: beware: Hungarian was peppers are H O T!

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