Aji Amarillo (Peruvian Yellow Chilli Pepper)

A quick description on how to grown aji amarillo, the Peruvian chilli in the UK and similar climes.
orange chillies growing on plant aji amarillo

Aji amarillo, quite possibly, Peru’s favourite chilli pepper. Find out all about it on this page!

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

peruvian orange chillies growing on plant aji amarillo
Aji Amarillo – always the latest to ripen for me!

What is Aji Amarillo?

It is a Peruvian chilli (pepper), and when fully ripe, takes on a bright orange colour. Let’s take a look at its name.

  • Aji = chilli in Spanish
  • Amarillo = masculine form of yellow

Aji Amarillo = Yellow Chilli Pepper

But unlike the Aji Limo (Lemon Drop Pepper), which is actually yellow, aji amarillo is a spectacular orange.

How Hot is Aji Amarillo?

Capsicum Baccatum

Scoville Units: 30 000 – 50 000 SHU

I call it medium hot. The sort of chilli that’s stings a little but isn’t painful in the process. And allows you to have a conversation while you’re enjoying it!

Everything about the Aji Amarillo screams summer to me. It’s such a beautiful chilli, in looks and in its flavour. It grows to be quite big, about 15 cm long (6 inches), although I have yet to grow one that big!

Fruity, a touch tangy and with hints of raisins, especially when dried, the Aji Amarillo is quite similar to the scotch bonnet in flavour, but definitely nowhere near as hot.

Aji Amarillo, Peruvian Yellow Chillies
An amazing colour

How to use Aji Amarillo?

One of its most famous use is in the making of aji amarillo paste. It’s something I make every autumn, by just blanching the chillies, peeling them and blending them up with a little water or oil. That’s it.

The Peruvian Salsa Criolla you see below is another fantastic way to enjoy this fruity and spicy yellow chilli.

Peruvian Salsa Criolla (with Ají Amarillo)
Peruvian Salsa Criolla recipe is a quick, easy, tangy and spicy relish made with red onions, ají amarillo chillies and lime juice.
Get the Recipe!
bowl of thinly sliced yellow chilli peppers and red onions, peruvian salsa criolla
Aji Amarillo Paste Recipe
How to make authentic aji amarillo paste? Find out here, all you need is just 2 ingredients. Use it for all sorts of Peruvian recipes!
Get the Recipe!
yellow chilli paste, aji amarillo paste, in a blue bowl and in a glass jar

You can easily buy this paste online here in the UK. This is my affiliate link for it on Amazon.

It is Peru’s favourite chilli pepper and its use dates all the way back to the Incas. It’s no surprise then, that this aji makes an appearance in so many Peruvian and other South American dishes, from sauces, to salads to salsas and most certainly in ceviches!

Long way to go to ripen

How to Grow this Peruvian Chilli?

It’s getting more and more popular outside of the US and South America. When I first grew them about 15 years ago, I could only get the seeds from a seller in the US. These days though, the seeds are fairly easy to come buy online, and you even have the odd seller selling plug plants.

But be careful who you buy from to ensure quality. Pure strains are not always easy to achieve if the grower isn’t meticulous.

Germination can take anything from 7 – 21 days. But the growing season is very long though, it takes about 3-4 months for aji amarillo to ripen, so you need to start early. And if you’re in a cool/cold climate, you need to grow them indoors initially.

I’m in the UK, as you may know, and I grow aji amarillo in pots so that I can bring the plants into the conservatory in September. They only start to ripen in late October in my heated conservatory. See the card below for instructions on how to grow aji amarillo.

Let me know if you do!

Lin xx

orange chillies growing on plant aji amarillo

How to Grow Aji Amarillo in the UK

A quick description on how to grown aji amarillo, the Peruvian chilli in the UK and similar climes.
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: Peruvian
Keyword: aji amarillo, peruvian chili pepper
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Germination Time: 14 days
Total Time: 24 days
Servings: 4 (4-8) plants
Author: Azlin Bloor
Cost: about £2 – £3 for 10 seeds


  • 4 9 cm pots
  • 4 labels
  • propagator


  • seed compost
  • 8 aji amarillo seeds
  • water in a spray bottle


Sowing Aji Amarillo Seeds and Germination

  • Start your seeds indoors, March at the latest. Fill your pots with the compost and lightly flatten down.
  • Give each pot about 4 squirts of water.
  • Drop 2 seeds in each pot and cover with a fine layer of more seed compost.
  • Place in a propagator or on a heated mat. If the propagator has a temperature dial, it wants to be set at 20° Celsius, max 25.
    Cover with the propagator lid or just place a cardboard over your pots. Germination can take anything from 7 – 21 days, 14 is usually the closer mark for me.
  • Keep the compost moist but not wet. Give it a spray every other day but check it every day as you don't want it drying out. My heated mat is a little on the warm side, compared to the propagator, so I have to spray every day.

Planting On

  • When your seedlings are sturdy enough to handle, transplant them onto slightly bigger pots. Your 9cm pot should be able to hold the plant for a month or two before it'll need a bigger pot. You need to play it by ear. Check the base. If lots of roots are protruding, it's time to pot on.
  • Use a slightly bigger pot to pot on. If you use a pot that's too big, all the energy is going to go into the root system and not the top. So if you started with a 9cm pot, move on to a 13 – 15 cm pot (about 1 litre +).
  • Then sometime in May – June (maybe even July if your plant is slow to grow), pot it up to a 5 litre pot (about 23cm top diameter) and place it outside. Don't forget to harden your plant for 2-3 days before moving it out permanently.
    I like to go for a final pot that's fairly big as the aji amarillo plant does go quite tall with big, heavy fruit. So a solid base is always good.
  • I suggest you pinch out the earlier flowering shoots to encourage a bushy growth and a good harvest.
  • Water regularly but don't keep your compost wet. Once flowering, feed with a high potash plant food. This, Chilli Focus, is what I use on all my chilli plants from the young plant stage, found on Amazon (affiliate link).

When the temperatures drop

  • I bring my aji amarillo pots in once September comes around. As mentioned in the post, it takes ages for them to ripen to that beautiful orange. I've yet to have one ripen before October.
  • If you maintain your plants throughout the winter indoors, they'll start flowering, fruiting and ripening earlier. This is something I've only been doing in the last couple of years.
    You can see a reader suggesting the same thing too.
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6 thoughts on “Aji Amarillo (Peruvian Yellow Chilli Pepper)”

  1. I have these ripen a lot earlier (mid August) when growing from older plants. Just allow them to go dormant during nov-jan and start watering more mid feb.

      1. 5 stars
        Really appreciate the information! Do you know if I can use the seeds from the aji amarillo peppers to grow plants?

        1. My pleasure, Bonnie. And yes, you can definitely use the seeds. The best ones will be from the peppers that are fully matured, to a deep orange colour.

  2. 5 stars
    Thanks for this. Hubby says he’s going to grow these in the summer. When do we sow the seeds? Thanks Lin.

    1. Hey Nic, these ajis have always taken a long time to ripen for me. I usually sow them at the end of Feb or early March. But this year, I started in late Jan. But you must have somewhere warm for them if you’re starting during the colder months. Don’t know where you are. If you are in a milder climate, you have more time for growing aji amarillo or any chillies for that matter.

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