Difference Between Bell Peppers And Sweet Peppers


What’s the difference between bell peppers and sweet peppers? And what’s up with the green peppers at a supermarket? Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of all that. Bell Peppers and Sweet Peppers are similar in that they are both peppers, but they differ in how they are used as well as the taste. Let’s compare bell peppers with sweet peppers.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Bell Peppers and Sweet Peppers?

In spite of the way they may look, there is no botanical difference between bell peppers and other types of sweet peppers, and the terms are often used interchangeably. A bell pepper is simply a type of sweet pepper — as opposed to a hot pepper — and both are scientifically classified as ​Capsicum annuum​ because they are the same species.

Nonetheless, there are some differences among peppers worth noting. Color differences in bell peppers, for example, can affect the way you use them. Knowing the color and flavor characteristics of different types of sweet peppers can help you choose the ideal one for your dish.


There is no botanical difference between bell peppers and sweet peppers, but depending on the cultivar or variety of a pepper and how long it is left on the plant, there may be differences in color, taste and shape.

Color Differences in Peppers

The differences in the color of many peppers actually depend on when it is picked. Different-colored fruits of the same cultivar are simply removed from the pepper plant at different stages of the ripening process.

Sweet peppers begin their life as green fruits. As they ripen, many types get warmer in tone, some first turning yellow, then orange and eventually red. There are other options for color too, including white and purple.

Flavor Differences in Peppers

As sweet peppers ripen, they tend to become less bitter and more sweet. The longer some peppers stay on the plant, the more sugar content they develop. Thus, a green bell pepper is the least sweet and the most bitter. Green peppers may be eaten raw but can also be a useful ingredient in cooking. Yellow and orange peppers are of a similar flavor. They are quite mild and a bit sweet and can be eaten raw or cooked.

Red peppers are the sweetest of the sweet peppers. They’re often eaten raw as crudités and in salads and are also a common type used for stuffed or roasted peppers, thanks to their mildly sweet taste. Red peppers also contain the most nutrients.

Purple and white peppers tend to be more comparable to the green end of the sweet pepper spectrum, with a fresher, crisper bite. White and purple peppers, such as the ‘White Cloud’ and ‘Purple Beauty’ cultivars, respectively, are also less common than other colors and can be used to add visual interest to a dish.

Differences Among Pepper Cultivars

The main differences aside from flavor among different types of sweet peppers are cosmetic. Sweet pepper selections can come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, including a long, carrotlike shape, such as ‘Cornito Gaillo’; small and rounded, such as ‘Cherry Pick’; or large and blocky, such as ‘King Arthur.’ Sheepnose pimento peppers are shaped like their descriptive namesake.

While some peppers are filled with bitter seeds that must be removed before you eat the fruit, others, such as ‘Yellow Sweetie’ and ‘Yum Yum Mix,’ have far fewer seeds, if any. Different sweet pepper cultivars can be even sweeter than red bell peppers, but they follow the same basic color-to-flavor correlation, with green being the most bitter and red the sweetest.

Bell Peppers: Do the Different Colors Taste Any Different?

Bell peppers come in the colors green, yellow, orange, and red.

Information About the Bell Pepper

Bell peppers are also known as “sweet peppers.” Many people consider them a vegetable, but they are technically a fruit. Bells are part of the Capsicum species. They are the only Capsicum that doesn’t produce capsaicin. Capsaicin is the chemical in peppers that causes the spiciness. That is why bell peppers are referred to as sweet peppers, because they are sweet, not spicy.

You can enjoy peppers plain, with a veggie dip, or cooked into a meal. Many people enjoy stuffed bell peppers filled with ground beef, garlic, onion, and tomatoes. You can use a bell pepper ring and cook an egg inside it on the stove-top for a unique and nutritious breakfast choice.

Did you know bell peppers were packed with vitamins? Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and more are all provided by this fruit-like vegetable.

Green bell peppers are typically cooked.
Green bell peppers are typically cooked.

Green Peppers

Green peppers are the most commonly used bell pepper. They have a rather bitter taste. Not many people enjoy eating them plain because of this, but they are a popular ingredient in cooking. This version is not yet ripe and that is why the taste is off compared to the brightly colored versions.

Yellow bell peppers are good plain or cooked.
Yellow bell peppers are good plain or cooked.

Yellow Peppers

These are actually my favorite bell peppers. They taste the best, in my opinion. Yellow peppers have an almost fruity taste and are very sweet. They are great for cooking or eating plain.

Orange bell peppers aren't as popular as the other colors.
Orange bell peppers aren’t as popular as the other colors.

Orange Peppers

Orange peppers are the least commonly used peppers. They are similar to the yellow pepper but a little less sweet. These are good for eating, and they’re also good for cooking and adding some color to your plate.

Red bell peppers are the sweetest.
Red bell peppers are the sweetest.

Red Peppers

Red peppers are said to be the sweetest and juiciest bell peppers. They are fully ripe and the most mature. Since they are fully ripe, they contain more nutrients than the other peppers (including vitamins A and C). Also, red peppers contain lycopene, which is a carotenoid that may lower the risk of various cancers. If you’re going to choose just one color to eat, then red should be on your plate!

Difference Between Red, Yellow & Green Bell Peppers
More importantly, why are the red ones ALWAYS more expensive?

An indispensable part of Tex-Mex fajita night and one the few veggies tasty enough to be eaten raw without the help of hummus, bell peppers are mainstays in most of our produce drawers at home. But have you ever wondered why they come in so many colors and, more importantly, why they vary so much in price?

It’s not a matter of pigment discrimination: Red and yellow bell peppers are essentially just green peppers that have been allowed to ripen. Red peppers are fully ripened, and they require more time to grow, resulting in their sweeter, fruitier flavor and higher price sticker. On the other hand, since green bell peppers can be harvested sooner, they’re cheaper to grow and sell, in addition to having a trademark grassy, mildly bitter flavor. Yellow peppers are simply in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to ripeness (though some varieties remain yellow when fully mature).

As they ripen, bell peppers also vary in nutritional content. According to The Science Explorer, while green peppers aren’t an unhealthy choice by any means, their more mature and wizened older brothers and sisters have around twice the amount of vitamin C and almost nine times more beta-carotene.

What Are Bell Peppers?

Part of the Capsicum genus, which also includes the gamut of chili pepper species, the bell pepper, or capsicum annuum, is larger, rounder, crunchier and milder than its small, spicy relatives.

While the bell pepper is native to Central and South America, China is the world’s largest producer and distributor of the peppers available in grocery stores today. The best time to find peppers from farmers closer to home is around summer’s peak through September.

What Are the Health Benefits of Bell Peppers?

A raw bell pepper provides approximately 97% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, and—despite a natural sweetness—only contains 2 grams of sugar per serving. Red bell peppers also feature vitamin A and beta carotene, while most peppers have trace amounts of vitamin K and vitamin B1 as well.

What Are the Characteristics of Bell Peppers?

The structure and shape of bell peppers are similar, regardless of their color.

  • 1. A smooth outer skin protects a fresh, crunchy flesh inside.
  • 2. The fruit is hollow, with countless seeds clustering in the center and clinging to the white membrane along the walls.

How to Remove Bell Pepper Seeds

Bell pepper seeds are perfectly harmless to ingest but may add a slightly bitter crunch if left inside the pepper. Most recipes will call for removing the seeds before preparation; there are a variety of simple ways to do so with just a cutting board and knife skills.

For example, if stuffing the pepper, slice across the top, or stem end, and scoop out the seeds. Or, if serving as crudites, cut the pepper into quadrants and, with your paring knife, peel off seeds along with the transparent white membrane they cling to.

Red, yellow, and green bell peppers in basket

What Is the Difference Between Red, Yellow, and Green Bell Peppers?

The most commonly found bell peppers are green, orange, yellow, and red, though rare varieties of white, brown, and purple do exist as well.

  • 1. All unripe bell peppers begin as green on the plant.
  • 2. The color of bell peppers changes from green to yellow, orange, and red the longer it is allowed to mature on the plant.
  • 3. Green peppers feature a more bitter flavor profile.
  • 4. Orange and yellow bell peppers are sweeter, with the sweetest being the red bell pepper.

How Long Do Bell Peppers Keep?

Raw, fresh bell peppers will keep in the refrigerator for 1–2 weeks. Bell peppers will keep for up to one month when marinated in olive oil and stored in the refrigerator. You may also extend a bell pepper’s shelf life for up to one year by pickling in a vinegar brine.

Is there a difference between male and female bell peppers?

You may have heard that female bell peppers have 4-5 lobes and are sweeter than male bell peppers that only have 3 lobes, but is that true?

Answer: No. There is no such thing as a male or female pepper fruit!

The explanation:

  • The flowers of peppers, tomato, eggplant and many other common fruits and vegetables are called “perfect” meaning they contain both the male and female parts within the same flower.
  • A fruit is just a ripening or ripened ovary containing the seeds, which are the result of the male and female gametes combining to produce the next generation (seeds).  
  • The real reason some bell peppers have more lobes than others is largely the result of the variety but can also be influenced by growing conditions.   
  • Bell pepper sweetness is determined by variety, and also how “ripe” the fruit is. Bell peppers that are allowed to ripen past being green and mature to yellow, orange or red will be sweeter.
  • Bell pepper seed number is determined by variety, growing conditions and how many ovules were successfully fertilized during pollination.  

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