Xcatic pepper

Capsicum annuum
Xcatik peppers for sale at a market in Progreso, Merida Mexico on January 3, 2017. (Photo by Frank Mangan)

Xcatic peppers for sale at a market in Progreso, Merida Mexico on January 3, 2017. (Photo by Frank Mangan)

Latest Update: 
March 1, 2017


Peppers are an essential component of Mexican cuisine with an amazing diversity of different types (Aguilar-Rincón, 2010). Figure 1 shows a list of 64 different types peppers used in Mexico and in which regions of Mexico they are most popular (Diversidad de Chiles en Mejico). In the United States, it would be useful to know which regions of Mexico the customers originate from. This would provide both a sense of the types of peppers they use in their cuisine and a sense of the markets that serve Mexican customers could supply those peppers.

Xcatic peppers, also spelled xcat’ic, are a common pepper used in Merida in the state of Yucatán Mexico. Xcatic, (“long shaped” in Mayan), habanero, and dulce (“sweet” in Spanish) peppers are the three most used peppers in the Yucatán region (Bautista Parra1 S. et. al, 2016) (Figure 2). Xcatic peppers are used to make soups and are also used to make a cream sauce (crema in Spanish) for botanas, which are snacks that are served with drinks at bars in the Mexico.

This pepper is roasted and used in sauces for several traditional recipes in Merida, including pollo pibil (marinated chicken), pavo en escabeche (marinated turkey) and pescado en tikin xi (dried fish) (Calerón Santana, J. and Mendicuti Ramos, S. Adventures Mexico).

Figure 1. Diversidad de Chiles en Mejico. Integrantes de la Red Chile. SAGARPA, which is the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, similar to the United States Department of Agriculture
Figure 2. The three most commonly used peppers in Merida Mexico, habanero, Produce vender at market in Merida Mexico holding three peppers, habanero, xcatic and sweet peppers, left-right) for sale at a market in Merida Mexico in 2017 Photo by Frank Mangan)

Post-Harvest and Packing

Xcatic peppers should be washed in chlorinated water if they are dirty from contact by soil in the field. 

Xcatic peppers should be stored under the same conditions as other pepper types: 45°-50° F and 90-95% relative humidity. Table 16: Handling Produce for Higher Quality and Longer Market Life, New England Vegetable Management Guide.


SAGARPA, 2016. BOLETÍN INFORMATIVO SEMANAL No.709. Crece demanda internacional de chile xccatic. http://www.tierrafertil.com.mx/crece-demanda-internacional-chile-xcatic/. July 4, 2016, Tierra Fértil. Accessed on January 10, 2016.

Canache, Zoila Keb, Interview by F. Mangan at Santiago Market in Merida Mexico, December 30, 2016. 

Calderón Santana, J., S. Mendicuti Ramos. Yucatecan Cookbook. 30 pages. Adventures Mexico.

Cano, Berenice Tutzin and Polanco, Bertha Can. Interview by F. Mangan at retail market in Merida Mexico, January 8, 2017.

Bautista Parra1 S., W. Isabel Cen Chale, L. Bautista Tzab, J. Gualdemar Bautista Parra, N. de los Angeles Bautista Sosa. Sistema de producción de chile xcat’ic y chile dulce criollo en Maní, Yucatán. MEMORIAS 13ª Convención Mundial del Chile. October 2016. Pp. 58 – 60. http://www.convencionmundialdelchile.com/pdf/memoria.pdf

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