Peppers are so individual, from color to flavor to heat. Use our guide to fire up your recipes.
This emerald-colored Mexican chile pepper has a thick skin and a mild, earthy flavor. It packs a bit of heat and is found in classics like mole sauce. Stuff poblanos with mild filling like rice and beans, then bake them with melty cheese.
Shishitos are small but mighty, only 2-4 inches long, with an electric green skin that blisters wonderfully and quickly when pan fried. Beware: 1 in 10 packs a big punch of heat.
Despite its hot hot heat, the habanero has a somewhat smoky sweet flavor underneath all of that spice. Its acidity complements citrus-forward dishes like tacos, salsas, and sauces.
All bell peppers begin as green on the vine and then are picked at various stages of ripeness, delivering a variety of heat-free flavors and colors. (Got a green you’d rather were red? Leave it in a paper bag for 1-2 weeks and watch it ripen.)
Red bell: The most mature and sweetest, which makes it a favorite for roasting or eating raw on crudité platters or dipped in hummus.
Orange bell: The sweet, semi-herbaceous orange bell pepper is often stuffed with grains and veggies, then baked. Or, try dunking slices in ranch or sautéing them with onions and Italian sausage.
Yellow bell: With a refreshing sweetness and no heat, yellow bells bring color and crispness to any plate. Dice and combine with mango, onion, and cilantro for a sweet salsa.
Green bell: The youngest pepper with a refreshingly grassy flavor. We like them sautéed in a stir-fry, atop a cheesesteak, in a relish or ratatouille, or roasted and blended in a tomato-based sauce.
Jalapeños have a thick, grassy skin and a refreshingly mild spice that makes them just right for adding heat to salsas, casseroles, or wrapping in bacon. You can also pickle, candy, or purée them (try the latter in cocktails). Remove the seeds if you want less spice.
The Anaheim pepper is a mild, versatile pepper about 6-8 inches in length. Treat larger Anaheims like poblanos: stuff and bake. Smaller ones are good for any recipe that calls for green bell peppers—just plan on a bit more spice.
Don’t mistake these small peppers for jalapeños—serranos are about five times spicier. The serrano, which can be green or red, is most often used in salsas, hot sauces, and relishes, but can also be pickled or chopped for garnish.
Mini Pepper Medley
Though these colorful peppers resemble miniature bell peppers, they are much sweeter. This classic combo of red, yellow, and orange is easy to roast and is delicious added to salads with nutty feta and other mediterranean flavors.
These crimson peppers are spicier than jalapeños, but less so than serranos. They have a fruity, smoky flavor, which adds depth when pickled, blended into sauces, or used to pump up a salsa.
What the SHU?
Scoville Heat Units (SHU) or the Scoville scale is a measurement of pepper pungency—aka how hot it is. Bell peppers hang out at the bottom of the scale with a range of 0-100, followed by Anaheim and poblano peppers, with jalapeños in the 2,500-10,000 range. And habaneros? A whopping 100,000+ SHU on the Scoville scale.