Can You Handle This? Cayenne Pepper

Sweet potatoes already provide a flavor burst on their own, but what happens when you bake them to an airy crisp and throw some cayenne pepper in the mix? Your taste buds experience an explosion of spicy and sweet that leaves you wanting more. Can you handle that?

Sweet potatoes are already rich in things like vitamin A, fiber, potassium and beta-carotene BUT before we dive in to eat, let’s check out what packs the punch in: CAYENNE PEPPER!

Spicy Profile: Cayenne Pepper

Country of Origin: Central and South America
Current Producers:
Some of the top include: China, Turkey, Nigeria, Spain & Mexico

Scientific Name:   Capsicum frutescens or C. annum

Healing benefits: Aids digestion, improves circulation, stops bleeding from ulcers. Antioxidant activity aids in the prevention of free radical damage that can lead to cancer. May prove beneficial for the heart (cardiovascular disease), kidneys, lungs, pancreas, spleen and stomach. Useful in arthritis and rheumatism. Helps ward off colds, sinus infections and sore throats. Good for pain when applied topically. When used with lobelia may help nerves. Acts as catalyst for other herbs.

Nutrient Profile:
Vitamins: Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid (B5),
Pyridoxine (B6), C, E
Calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc
Alpha & Beta-carotene (can be converted to Vitamin A)*,
caffeic acid, campesterol, capsaicin**, carvone, caryophyllene,  citric acid,
kaempferol, limonene, lutein, myristic acid, p-coumaric acid, quercetin,
stigmasterol, zeaxanthin
Amino acids, essential fatty acids

*Most rich in these nutrients
** Main anti-inflammatory, antioxidant

Parts used: Berries (the dried pods of chili peppers)
Flavor Notes: Hot!

How HOT are we talking? HOTT

Below is the Scoville Heat Units scale with interpretation:

  • Mild: 0 to 5,000 SHUs
  • Medium Hot: 5,000 to 20,000 SHUs
  • Whew! Hot!: 20,000 to 70,000 SHUs
  • Really, Really, Hot: 70,000 to 125,000
  • Really, Extremely Hot: 125,000 to 500,000
  • Really, Extremely, Uncomfortably, Shockingly Hot: 500,000 to 1,250,000
  • Devilish Hell Fire, I-Wish-I-Were-Dead Hot: 1,250,000 to 16,000,000 SHUs

Fun Fact: Can be dusted around plants as a natural insecticide! In 1597, the hot and dry substance was used for skin and throat infections. In the 1800’s it was thought to counteract  rheumatism, arthritis, depression, chills, treat tumors, toothaches, fevers, and respiratory conditions. Part of the nightshade family.
How to use it:
Try adding it to salsa, guacamole, dips, omelets, pasta dishes….add it to anything you want to give a little kick!

Caution: Avoid contact with eyes.

Wow, did you check out all those anti-inflammatory phytochemicals?! I bet you know a few, see if you can guess which foods they are rich in:

Beta-carotene …………………………………………………………….Carrots, Sweet Potatoes
Lutein and zeaxanthin……………………………………………..….Broccoli, leafy greens
Help fight macular degeneration
Quercetin………………………………………………………..…………Black and green tea, onions, berries

“Largest reduction in energy intake was observed when capsaicin was administered orally compared to gastrointestinal stimulation, suggesting that sensory stimulation by capsaicin is of importance to the total response.”

Reinbach H.C., Smeets A., Martinussen T et. all. “Effects of capsaicin, green tea and CH-19 sweet pepper on appetite and energy intake in humans in negative and positive energy balance.” Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009 June; 28 (3) 260-265.

This means it is better to eat it than take a pill!

Let’s eat!

These sweet potato chips were great, so great, every time we took a batch out of the oven they were gone before the next batch was done. We could only bake one small pan at a time, as you see below……………….but still, you get the idea?

Sassy Sweet Potato Chips


1 sweet potato, washed, dried, thinly sliced
Cayenne pepper or seasonings of choice (cinnamon?!)
1 TB of Olive Oil


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Arrange sweet potato slices in a single layer onto non stick baking sheets
  3. Mist lightly with olive oil or brush a thin layer of olive oil on top
  4. Sprinkle on cayenne pepper
  5. Bake in preheated oven about 8 minutes, then flip chips and bake for another 7 minutes – watch for edges to curl upwards to know they are done!

Slice up the potatoes! Working with the Mandolin.

Sweet Potato Chip Goodness!

Try not to let the cayenne pepper clump… save your tongue
Does anyone know a good way to do this?
The thinner the potatoes are sliced – the crispier the chip!
Keep your eye on them so they don’t burn, every oven is a bit different

These were great, but for something a little bit sweeter I am looking forward to trying this recipe out in the near future.

My potatoes came out well sliced due to one of my favorite kitchen tools, the mandolin. No… it’s not an instrument, even though it is A sharp ….. anyway it will make your life a lot easier! Careful, remember, it is extremely sharp! Check it out below:

Mine is not as fancy but I love it just the same!

Sweet potato chips with cayenne make for a tasty snack and give you a healthy boost. Don’t you want to do your body a favor?

Keep it Spicy,


What is your favorite kitchen tool?
What dishes do you like to spice Cayenne Pepper with?

Categories: Recipes, Spices | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Can You Handle This? Cayenne Pepper

  1. Mary Lynn

    Always loved sweet potatoes. Thanks for cayenne pepper tip. I will definitely try it.

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