5 Best Bell Pepper Substitutes (Updated 2024)

Bell pepper substitute

Are you looking for a good substitute for bell peppers? Stick around as we share some of the best bell pepper substitutes you can use for your cooking recipe.

Bell peppers are great and healthy additions to just about any recipe. Apart from their unique taste, their non-spicy flavor profile also makes them quite attractive for all ages.

Not to mention, their colorful appearance is more than a welcome sight in our food, whether served with breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

What Are Bell Peppers?

Best Substitutes for Bell Peppers

Before anything else, let’s get to know a bit about bell peppers and their flavor profile to help you determine what type of bell pepper substitute you should use.

Bell peppers, also known as capsicums, are a type of sweet peppers that belong to the nightshade family. These come in different colors, mainly green, yellow, red, and orange. They get the name bell peppers primarily because they have a unique bell shape.

While bell peppers are known for their sweet taste, each color can take on different flavors, with green bearing the strongest flavor. The green version has a vegetal and somewhat bitter taste, but that’s because it is the most unripe.

As they ripen, they turn into shades of red, yellow, and orange, with each one sweeter than the last. Red bell peppers are sweet with a hint of citrus, while yellow and orange ones do not bear that citrusy kick.

Best Bell Pepper Substitutes

Now that you have gotten to know more about bell peppers and what they taste like, let’s dive right into some of the most popular substitutes for bell peppers.

1. Poblano Peppers

Poblano Peppers

The best bet of these substitutes is none other than poblano peppers. Apart from bearing similar appearances to bell peppers, these also retain some of the earthy taste bell peppers have, especially the green varieties.

The structural integrity of poblano peppers also makes them a good substitute for capsicums as their walls are quite thick, allowing them to hold up even when filled and cooked with stuffing.

While they still bear a hint of sweetness, they are not as sweet as capsicums. There is also a distinct heat that is quite unique with poblanos, albeit on the milder side, so best to take note of this when you do decide to use them.

2. Anaheim Peppers

Anaheim Peppers - Bell Pepper Substitute

Another great option is Anaheim peppers. Similar to poblanos, Anaheim peppers also have relatively thick walls and large cavities, perfect for stuffing-related cooking.

Anaheim peppers have a somewhat fruity and peppery taste. When cooked, these flavors become more intense and developed, imparting smokiness and tanginess at the same time.

Remember, Anaheim peppers are mild chili peppers, so they pack some heat, albeit on a milder scale.

3. Cubanelle

Cubanelle - Bell Pepper Substitute

Yet another ideal substitute for bell peppers is cubanelles. Longer and thinner with a beautiful yellow-green hue, these peppers also have sturdy walls and a huge cavity.

Plus, when it comes to frying, cubanelles make for the perfect substitute, as they won’t easily disintegrate. And they impart smokiness and a robust flavor while cooking fast.

Also known as an Italian pepper, these bear a slightly sweet yet mildly spicy taste, without the earthiness or grassy flavor that a green bell pepper has.

Apart from frying, this is an excellent addition to and replacement for pizza toppings, salads, and even casseroles.

4. Jalapenos

Jalapenos - Bell Pepper Substitute

If you like more heat without being too overwhelming, jalapenos are a good bet. These provide medium heat, ranging to hot with their seeds intact, so remember to remove the seeds to temper the heat a bit.

These are an excellent substitute for bell peppers as they pack on the earthy, grassy flavor that green bell peppers have. They also lack sweetness, truly ideal for savory meals and dishes.

While you can eat them raw, their sturdy and thick walls also allow them to be used for stuffed delights such as cheese, meat, and the like.

However, they can also be pickled or roasted to bring out their smoky flavor.

5. Pimentos


Also known as pimientos, these peppers bear uncanny similarities to red bell peppers. Besides their appearance, their flavor profiles are quite a match, too, since pimientos err on the sweeter side. They are also not spicy and have a pleasant aroma when cooked and prepared.

If you are looking for them at a farmer’s market or the grocery store, look for heart-shaped bell pepper.

They are almost identical in appearance. Since the body of these peppers is quite thin, do not use them for stuffing.

However, they are great for chopped-up needs—whether you are adding them for color, in stir-fries, casseroles, and the like.

While you can occasionally find them fresh, they usually come in jars. The only caveat is, you won’t get the crunch or color you would otherwise find in fresh ones.

The Bottom Line

Bell peppers are best for those who want to add a hint of sweetness to their meals. With their vibrant colors and unique tastes, they can certainly elevate any meal.

However, for those who cannot find them, we hope these bell pepper substitutes can help with your cooking needs.


5 Best Bell Pepper Substitutes

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