Red Bell Pepper

See also green and yellow bell peppers; sweet peppers.

The red bell pepper, in all its glorious color, is more flavorful than its less-ripe green counterpart. It is also more expensive due to an extended time (about two weeks) on the vine to achieve its rich hue.

All varieties of bell peppers are classified as “sweet” and register “zero” on the Scoville heat scale.


While many red bell peppers are of questionable ancestry, most begin in the green stage.

Varieties such as the Giant Szegedi and the Blushing Beauty Hybrid reach an adult size in an off-white shade before turning red.

Buying Tips

Red bell peppers are available year-round and prices will fluctuate accordingly. Look for lowest prices in late summer to fall.

The skins should be firm and shiny with no soft spots or blemishes.

Shake each pepper. If you hear a rattling sound (seeds), it may not be good.

Storage Tips

As with all bell peppers, store them in your refrigerator’s vegetable compartment.

They will keep only a few days. If the skin begins to soften in spots, slice, remove seeds, and freeze. They will last longer in the freezer if blanched first.

Usage Tips

Because a red bell pepper is so sweet, it is a wonderful salad ingredient or fresh accompaniment to any dish.

Always remove the seeds and membrane. They are not hot but can be bitter.

Red bell peppers add color to such dishes as:

  • Corn
  • Salads
  • Rice
  • Soups
  • Pizza
  • Pasta

Substitution Tips

  • Equal amounts of orange or yellow bells will deliver the same taste. A green bell pepper will not.
  • For a slightly hotter flavor, substitute same amounts of Anaheims or poblanos.
  • For recipes that require small quantities, use jarred pimientos instead.


Try one of our favorite red bell pepper recipes:
Caribbean C