7 Ways With Cayenne

Fire up the flavor of everything from nuts to dessert with a pinch of this exotic red chili pepper.

  • Bring the Heat!
    Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Ana Kelly, Mindi Shapiro

    Bring the Heat!

    Also called red pepper, this spicy, smoky addition to your cooking is made from various chiles blended together. You have probably sprinkled some into your chili, but this spice also livens up cheese straws and chocolate pot de crème.

  • Spicy Herb Roasted Nuts
    James Carrier

    Spicy Herb Roasted Nuts

    Maple syrup adds a sweet counterpoint to spicy cayenne in this addictive snack of almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and walnuts. Use fresh or dried herbs, but make plenty. These nuts keep in the freezer for up to one month.
  • Cheese Twists
    Jim Franco

    Cheese Twists

    Puff pastry, grated Parmesan, an egg, and a few spices are all you need for this oh-so-easy-to-make appetizer. But it's the kick of cayenne that elevates these buttery twists into something special.
  • Romesco Sauce
    James Carrier

    Romesco Sauce

    Typically served with grilled fish or chicken, this traditional Spanish sauce bursts with the flavors of roasted almonds, smoky sweet paprika, cayenne, red bell peppers, tomato, garlic, breadcrumbs, and olive oil. It's also a great condiment for sandwiches.
  • Beef Stew in Spicy Berbere Sauce
    Dan Goldberg

    Beef Stew in Spicy Berbere Sauce

    Ethiopian cooks favor a spice blend called berbere (made with cayenne, cumin, fenugreek, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and paprika) to flavor savory dishes. Put it on beef chuck roast for a simple stew that simmers to perfection in two hours.
  • Smoky Beef-and-Bacon Chili
    Photo: Peden & Munk; Styling: Amy Wilson  

    Smoky Beef-and-Bacon Chili

    Fire roasted tomatoes, bacon, ground beef, beer, and spices simmer for 30 minutes to build a rich, complex chili that's even better the next day. Serve it with cornbread and all the traditional chili toppings.
  • Goan Duck Vindaloo in Hot-and-Sour Cayenne Sauce
    Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Jan Gautro

    Goan Duck Vindaloo in Hot-and-Sour Cayenne Sauce

    In India, the term Vindaloo is reserved for the hottest of curry dishes. But in this recipe, potatoes and a host of other sweet and savory spices help tame the heat. Substitute chicken breasts for the duck breasts if you like.
  • Mexican Chocolate Pots de Crème
    Annabelle Breakey

    Mexican Chocolate Pots de Crème

    Deep dark chocolate goes South of the Border in this creamy dessert laced with a subtle bite of cayenne and the sweet lingering flavor of cinnamon. Start baking early in the day since this pudding-like dessert needs to chill for three hours.
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