Bell Peppers or also known as “Sweet Peppers”, is a berry type of fruit that we commonly use as an ingredient for mixed vegetables or solely as a side dish. This fruit produces different colors: red, yellow, orange, green, white, and purple. Unlike most peppers, bell peppers are not spicy and mostly sweet due to lack of Capsicum, which releases a strong burning sensation.
But if you’re into some culinary experiment and wanting to try other types of peppers other than a bell pepper, it’s possible! Instead of using the common bell peppers, you can add some spicy kick to your dish by substituting it with Poblano Peppers. You may also use other pepper variants as well such as Anaheim Pepper, Cubanelle Pepper, Banana Pepper, Habanero Pepper, and Jalapeño Pepper.
In this article, we’ll reveal our top 6 types of bell pepper substitutes that you can use for your next peppery dishes. Here we go!
Best Bell Pepper Alternatives
1. Poblano Peppers
Also known as Ancho Pepper, Poblano Pepper is quite a doppelganger of bell pepper due to its large and heart-shaped form. Poblano is widely used in Mexican dishes as the fruit grows in abundance in those areas.
Poblano usually comes in color green. But when it reaches the maturity stage, it reveals a dark red-brown color. These are usually dried by most culinary experts. It also has a sweet taste like bell peppers. But unlike bell peppers, poblano peppers are a little bit spicy. It has a total heat unit or Scoville heat unit of 1000.
Perfect Recipe for Poblano Peppers
“Stir-fry Mixed Veggies”
- 1 large pc of julienned poblano peppers
- 1 large pc of julienned carrots
- 2 pcs julienned potatoes
- 1 pc thinly chopped onions
- 2 cloves thinly chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsps soy sauce
- salt and pepper
- Heat up your pan and add oil.
- Saute garlic and onions until golden brown.
- Add in potatoes and carrots. Cover the wok to simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add poblano peppers, soy sauce, salt, and pepper.
- Simmer for another 2 minutes and serve.
This is a perfect pairing with other meats and rice. Another healthy dish to maintain that healthier lifestyle.
2. Anaheim Pepper
Also known as Chili Verde, is a long type of pepper with a milder taste. Anaheims are widely used in the Southwest American region especially for salsas.
Just like poblano, anaheim comes in green color. But when maturity comes, it turns into a deep red color. Anaheim pepper has thicker walls and a large cavity. Though it has a milder taste, it also offers a little bit of spice. Anaheim peppers have a total of 500-2500 Scoville heat.
Perfect Recipe for Anaheim Peppers
- 3 pcs of anaheim peppers
- 2 pcs tomatoes
- 1 pc finely chopped onions
- cilantro leaves
- salt and pepper
- Boil your anaheim peppers and tomatoes until the skins naturally peel off.
- Poke with a fork to check tenderness.
- Once tender, prep your blender.
- Add in your boiled anaheim peppers and tomatoes in the blender. Blend until smooth.
- Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the mixture in a small bowl then add chopped onions and cilantro for texture.
Perfect for tacos and deep-fried dishes. For more heat and kick, add chili flakes. You may store the salsa for a week in the fridge.
3. Cubanelle Pepper
Cubanelle or also known as Cuban Pepper is also a sweet pepper like bell pepper. These peppers are imported from the Dominican Republic. It’s widely used for Cuban, Haitian, Dominican and Puerto Rican cuisine.
Cuban pepper has a thinner flesh and cavity. When the fruit is unripe, it’s light yellow-green in color. When it’s ripe it turns in a bright red. Unlike other peppers, cubanelles have a wrinkly skin. It contains 100-1000 Scoville heat.
Perfect Recipe for Cubanelle Pepper
“Chicken Stuffed Cubanelle Pepper”
- 4 cubanelle peppers
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 1 lb chicken
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried basil
- salt & pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a pan saute oil, onions, garlic until brown.
- Add the chicken and cook until tender.
- Stir in chili powder, cumin, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 10 mins.
- Cut cubanelles in half scoop out the seeds and set on a baking pan.
- Scoop the seasoned chicken and sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake for 20 mins or until golden brown.
This is a perfect choice for appetizers or finger foods. Typically, bell peppers are used for this dish but cubanelle peppers are also a good substitute.
4. Banana Pepper
This is a medium-sized pepper which has a mild-tangy taste. This is often used as stuffed, pickled, and raw for sandwiches.
When it ripens, it changes into red, orange, or green color. The ripe banana peppers have a sweeter flavor while the mature ones have more heat. It contains a total of 500 Scoville heat.
Perfect Recipe for Banana Peppers
“Homemade Pickled Banana Peppers”
- 1 lb banana peppers
- 1 tsp celery seeds
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup white sugar
- In a big pot, boil vinegar, sugar, and celery seeds.
- In a sterilized jar, place your peppers.
- Pour the brine over your peppers filling ½ of the jar.
- Lock the jar tightly with a lid.
- Store in the fridge and leave for 1 week to marinade.
These pickled banana peppers give a tangy spicy kick to any dishes. You may add this in your sandwiches, pasta and even eat it on its own.
5. Habanero Pepper
Habanero is a small bulb-like pepper is one of the hottest peppers from this list. It’s very popular in Mexico and the Caribbean region.
This hot variety of chili pepper when unripe is of a color green but when matured, it turns red. The most common variants are red and orange. Take habanero with extra precaution since it contains 100,000-350,000 Scoville heat.
Perfect Recipe for Habanero Pepper
“Spicy Tomato Rice”
- 5 cups of rice
- 1 chopped onion
- 3 chopped garlic cloves
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 12-ounce tomato paste
- 6 tomatoes
- 1 habanero pepper
- 1 tsp salt and pepper
- Blend tomato and pepper until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large pot, saute oil, garlic, and onions until translucent.
- Add tomato paste and saute for 5 mins.
- Add in blended tomato pepper sauce and cook until it becomes thick and dark red in color.
- Add some salt and pepper.
- Add in rice and coat nicely.
- Cook rice for 30 minutes and serve.
Tomato rice is very common in Mexican cuisine. It’s best paired with savory meats like adobo, enchiladas, or stuff in your burritos.
6. Jalapeño Pepper
Jalapeño or also known as Chipotle is another Mexican pepper that is usually harvested while still green. Other than that, you may opt to ripen it and wait until it turns into a fruity red. Jalapeños are quite common for sauces and salsas.
Jalapeños can be dried as well. There are two types of dried jalapeños: Meco and moritas. Dried chipotles are perfect for escabeches and adobos. This pepper offers a mellow heat kick which contains 3,500-8000 Scoville heat.
Perfect recipe for Jalapeño Peppers
- 1 dozen of jalapeño peppers
- 6 ounce softened cream cheese
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 2 tbsps chopped onion chives
- 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slice your jalapeños lengthwise. Scoop out the insides.
- In a clean bowl, mix cream cheese, finely chopped garlic, cheddar cheese, and chives. Mix well.
- In a separate bowl, also mix melted butter and bread crumbs.
- Fill jalapeños with cream cheese mixture and top with bread crumbs mixture.
- Arrange in a baking pan and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Serve with salsa or sour cream dip.
This is also a perfect appetizer for finger food parties. If you want more crisp for your dynamites, you may opt to deep fry it instead of baking it.
Other Helpful Peppery Tips!!
- When selecting the best peppers, choose those with shiny skins and no blemishes.
- Avoid peppers that have shriveled skins.
- The sweet types of peppers are best consumed when raw. Try eating them raw and add in your mixed veggie salads.
- Charred peppers are also good for making salsas and sauces. The smoky flavor and taste give a smoky twist to any dish.
- To decrease the spice level of the dish, take out the seeds. The seeds hold the heat from the chili.
- Store fresh peppers in the fridge or in a dark, dry, room temperature. This will keep your peppers fresh and last for a long time.
- When you have too many peppers brought or harvested, make some pickles or chili sauce to preserve them.
Bell peppers are a great addition to any dishes to bring more color, texture, and flavor. It’s good to know that other than bell peppers, there’s a lot of pepper variants to choose from.
Cop all these peppery recipes and try making at home!