The best bell pepper substitute for when you don't have any on hand or want to experiment with using different ingredients. These are the 8 best alternatives for bell peppers.
Bell peppers are a versatile ingredient with a bell-like shape used in savory dishes. Fresh peppers have a mild, sweet flavor, and a crunchy texture. They come in a range of different colors from green to orange to red to yellow, and even purple.
Each vibrant color signifies a different stage of ripeness. For example, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers tend to be sweeter, whereas green bell peppers have more of a bitter taste. This is because green peppers are simply just unripe red peppers.
Purple bell peppers have a grassy flavor similar to green bell peppers.
All bell peppers are a great source of vitamin C and other antioxidants. Their diversity in flavors is what makes them so versatile in the kitchen, fitting seamlessly into your favorite recipes.
8 Best Substitutes for Bell Pepper
1. Green Poblano Peppers
Poblano peppers are often used in Mexican cuisine but have gained popularity worldwide for their versatility. This popular chili variety is known for its mild to medium heat and rich, earthy flavor. You want to use green poblano peppers because, once they ripen and turn red, they become significantly hotter.
Unlike bell peppers, poblano peppers are never eaten as a stand-alone ingredient. Because they have thick walls and large cavities like bell peppers, they're a similar size and are best used as a substitute for stuffed peppers.
2. Anaheim Peppers
Anaheim peppers are mild green chili peppers. Because they're milder than poblanos, they're a great option for those who prefer less heat. They have a crunchy texture like bell peppers and a slightly fruity taste.
They share a similar shape and can be used interchangeably in recipes like stuffed peppers, taco soup, and salsas making them a good alternative. While you can eat them raw, cooking them brings out their natural sweetness, giving them the best flavor.
3. Pimento Peppers
Pimento/pimiento peppers, also called cherry peppers, are a type of sweet pepper with a similar mild flavor to bell peppers. They are often found in jars, either pickled or roasted, making them a convenient choice.
Unless you have access to specialty grocery stores, fresh pimento peppers are difficult to find, so for the closest taste and texture, opt for the jarred variety.
These red, heart-shaped peppers are a great substitute in salads, spreads, and Mediterranean dishes, adding a variety of colors and the similar sweetness of bell peppers. Use in place of red, orange, and yellow bell peppers.
4. Cubanelle Peppers
Cubanelle peppers, also known as Italian frying peppers, are mild peppers with a flavor similar to mellow honey mixed with black pepper.
They're not spicy, but they also aren't as mild as a sweet bell pepper. With a thinner skin and a slight kick, these peppers are the perfect substitute for sautéing, grilling, stuffing, or used on pizza. They bring a delicate flavor to dishes without overwhelming the flavors of other ingredients, making them an excellent choice.
Just as different colored bell peppers signify different stages of ripeness, the same goes with Cubanelles. When they're fully ripe, they have a bright red color, and when unripe, they're yellow or green. However, you can use them at any stage.
5. Banana Peppers
Banana peppers are named for their curved shape and vibrant yellow color, offering a mild and sweet taste similar to bell peppers.
These peppers have thin walls, but are versatile and are a good substitute when used raw in salads, dragon bowls, pickled for sandwiches, or sliced into rings for a pop of color and flavor on pizzas. These sweet peppers add a unique taste to your dishes.
6. Jalapeño peppers
Jalapeno peppers are hot peppers with a spicy flavor. This is the spiciest bell pepper substitute and is a good replacement for bell peppers if you like spicy peppers.
To lessen the heat intensity, carefully remove the seeds and pithy ribs. The pith is where the heat resides, but because the seeds cling to the pithy area, the heat can make its way into the seeds.
7. Bok Choy
Bok choy, also called pak choi, or Chinese cabbage, is a vegetable with a deliciously crunchy texture and a mild, slightly sweet taste.
It can be eaten both raw and cooked and is a great alternative to bell peppers when used in stir-fries, curry soup, fajitas, and salads.
8. Roasted Red Peppers
If you don't have access to fresh peppers, try using a jar of roasted red peppers instead.
These skinless sweet peppers have a soft texture that blends easily into sauces like pesto rosso, soups, and hummus.
Frequently Asked Questions
If a recipe calls for green bell pepper, use another green pepper such as green poblano peppers, anaheim peppers, or jalapeno peppers as these have a similar texture and mild flavor, with the exception of jalapeno peppers.
These peppers have the sweetest flavor so any of the sweet pepper varieties are a great choice. Sweet peppers include pimento peppers, cubanelle peppers, and banana peppers.
You can substitute just about any vegetable such as zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, bok choy, cabbage, etc. It all depends on personal preference.
Yes, any bell pepper can be used interchangeably. If you want a purple or green bell pepper to taste sweeter, just cook it longer in a little olive oil to bring out its natural sweetness.