The 8 Best Substitutes For Bell Pepper

What can I use instead of bell peppers? Poblano, Anaheim, cubanelle, and pepperoncini peppers are slightly spicy yet suitable alternatives to bell peppers. Also, pimiento peppers are a sweet replacement, while jalapenos allow you to spice things up a bit. Finally, you can use zucchini or broccoli for a different flavor and texture. 

Bell peppers add texture and flavor to hundreds of recipes, from stir-fries to salads, pasta to soups, roast veg to stuffed peppers. Bell peppers are mostly readily available in supermarkets. However, that shouldn’t stop you from seeking a spicier, sweeter, or completely different alternative.

The Best Bell Pepper Substitutes

Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers are the best bell pepper substitute.

They resemble the rich, earthy flavor and crunchy texture of large green bell peppers, with a tad more heat. However, they are less sweet than colored (red, orange, and yellow) peppers.

The thick walls and large cavities of poblano peppers make them perfect for stuffing. However, they are equally delicious when roasted or in soups, salsas, and sauces.

Poblano peppers lie on the mild end of the Scoville scale, ranking between 1,000 to 1,500 SHU.

While their heat is generally not a problem for most people, you can remove the seeds to remove most of the heat factor.

Anaheim Peppers

Anaheim peppers are another fantastic alternative to bell peppers. You can compare them to a crunchy bell pepper with a fruity and spicier flavor.

Anaheim peppers are often used when green but can also be used when red. They are versatile and make their way into a wide range of recipes. In addition, their relatively thick walls and large cavities are ideal for stuffing.

Anaheim peppers are mild and range between 500 and 2,500 SHU, a heat tolerable for most people. You can compare its spiciness to an extremely mild jalapeno.

While their heat is generally not a problem for most people, you can remove the seeds to remove most of the heat factor.

Cubanelle Peppers

Cubanelle peppers are an ideal substitute for red bell peppers.

They are sweeter, crunchier, and slightly spicier than bell peppers. Cubanelle peppers aren’t spicy but aren’t quite as mild as traditional bell peppers.

Cubanelle peppers are the perfect replacement for fresh salads, pizza toppings, casseroles, sauces, or stuffing meat. Cubanelle peppers have thinner walls, but they can also be stuffed.

Cubanelle peppers are incredibly mild, ranging between 100 to 1,000 SHU.

Use cubanelle peppers to avoid assertive grassy green bell peppers or overly sweet red bell peppers.

Pepperoncini Peppers

Pepperoncini peppers are often mistaken for banana pepper, featuring yellow-green, slightly wrinkled skins and bulbous shapes.

These peppers have a slightly different taste and texture from bell peppers, but they are a suitable replacement.

Pickled or raw, pepperoncini peppers add a crunchy texture with a tangy and sweet taste. Substitute bell peppers with pepperoncini in salads, pizzas, dips, and sandwiches.

Pepperoncini peppers are incredibly mild, with a 100 to 500 SHU.

Use pepperoncini peppers for a tangy alternative to bell peppers.

Pimiento Peppers

Pimiento peppers are tiny, sweet, heart-shaped peppers with an uncanny hue and flavor to red bell peppers. However, pimientos are on the sweeter side than bell peppers.

Pimiento peppers are much smaller than bell peppers, so they aren’t ideal for stuffing. However, they are perfect for adding a whiff of color and tanginess to stir-fries, casseroles, chili beans, salads, and more.

Pimento peppers are one of the mildest peppers, only measuring 500 to 1,000 SHU.

You can use these pimentos and bell peppers interchangeably in recipes.

Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeno peppers are the way to go for a spicier alternative to bell peppers. They share a similar color and grassy notes as green bell peppers.

If you don’t mind the extra heat, replace green bell peppers with jalapenos in salads and salsas, or stuff large jalapeno peppers with cheese and meat.

Jalapeno peppers lie in the middle range of the Scoville scale, ranking between 2,500 to 8,000 SHU.

Temper the heat of jalapenos by removing the seeds if you find jalapeno’s heat too overwhelming.


Zucchini is a delicious and versatile ingredient that you can substitute for bell peppers if you don’t fancy the flavor or texture.

Zucchini has a mild, grassy, and earthy flavor with an outside crunch and tender inner.

Like bell peppers, zucchini blends into most recipes. Add zucchini to your cooking for a milder flavor. Add it to stir-fries, casseroles, and savory dishes, or stuff it with meat and cheese.

Replace bell peppers with zucchini using equal amounts for a milder flavor than green bell peppers.


Replace green bell peppers with broccoli if you despise cooked peppers’ soft, slimy texture. Broccoli also has an earthy flavor but holds its shape and crispy texture once cooked.

You can use broccoli florets or long-stemmed broccoli to replace green peppers in stir-fries, roasted vegetables, baked dishes, or as a blanched side dish.

You can use equal amounts of broccoli when replacing bell peppers in recipes. However, note that the flavor and texture will differ entirely.