Chili peppers are the fruits of Capsicum pepper plants, noted for their hot flavor. They are members of the nightshade family, related to bell peppers and tomatoes, and most belong to a species known scientifically as Capsicum annuum.
There are many varieties of chili peppers, such as cayenne and jalapenos. Chili peppers are primarily used as spices, or minor ingredients in various dishes, spice blends and sauces.
They are usually eaten cooked, or dried and powdered, in which form they are known as paprika.
Capsaicin is the main bioactive plant compound in chili peppers, responsible for their unique pungent (hot) taste and many of their health benefits.