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20 September 2013

The Cubanelle Pepper is considered a sweet pepper, though it can have a touch of heat. It is a light green pepper used in general cooking. Learn more about the pepper here, including heat levels, flavor, cooking tips and Cubanelle pepper substitutes.

Scoville Heat Units: 0-1,000 SHU
Capsicum Annuum

The Cubanelle is considered a sweet pepper, although its heat can range from mild to very moderate. It is not a very hot pepper by most standards. The peppers are usually picked before they ripen, when they are light green or a yellow-green color, but when ripe, they turn bright red to orange-red.

The pods grow to 4-6 inches long, 2 inches wide, and are banana-shaped, tapering near the bottom. The skin should be glossy, and the pepper should be smooth and firm.

Cubanelles are also called the Italian Frying Pepper, because they are great in a frying pan with a little olive oil.

Common Uses for Cubanelle Peppers

Common uses for Cubanelles include salads, casseroles, or a yellow mole sauce. They are great on subs or pizza as well, and they can be stuffed with your favorite delicious filling.

You can use them in general cooking, using them as you would any bell types, for example, as part of a mirepoix.

Because of the size of the pods, Cubanelle peppers are great for making stuffed peppers. You can stuff them with your favorite mixture, then bake or grill them, and enjoy.

You’ll find Cubanelle peppers used in cooking and recipes throughout Central America, including Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, as it is a favorite in those areas. However, you can increasingly find them in stores in the U.S., and growers have been cooking with them for a long time.

How Hot is the Cubanelle Pepper?

The Cubanelle pepper is quite mild, measuring in at 0 – 1,000 Scoville Heat Units, which is quite a bit milder than a typical jalapeno pepper. Jalapeno peppers average about 5,000 SHU, so the hottest Cubanelle pepper is still 5 times milder than an average jalapeno pepper. Still, you may notice a twinge of heat, depending on your heat preference and tolerance.

Cubanelle Chili Peppers from My Garden
Cubanelle Peppers from My Garden

The Taste of Cubanelle Peppers and Cooking The Cubanelle

Cubanelle peppers are slightly sweet and crunchier than a typical bell pepper, and are quite vibrant. Consider them for pan frying and dashing them with a bit of salt for a quick snack. They do have thinner walls, which makes them good for stuffing and either grilling or baking, as the thinner walls do not require a long cook time.

What Are Substitutes for Cubanelle Pepper?

Cubanelles are mild and slightly sweet with thin walls, and can be used in general cooking. The following peppers make for a good substitution for Cubanelle peppers:

By comparison, Anaheim peppers are not as sweet as the Cubanelle, but are extremely similar in size, shape, wall thickness and overall flavor. Bell peppers tend to be sweeter, larger, and have thicker walls, but are still a very good substitute.

Are Cubanelle Peppers and Banana Peppers the Same Pepper?

No, the Cubanelle pepper is a completely different pepper from the banana pepper. However, they do look quite similar and have similar flavor and heat, so you can usually substitute them for each other in many different recipes. Cubanelles are sweeter by comparison, however.

Cubanelle Pepper Recipes

Here are some recipes that include the Cubanelle Pepper:

If you have any further questions about the Cubanelle, feel free to contact me anytime. I’m happy to help. — Mike H.

Try Some of These Other Great Peppers

This page was updated on 7/17/19 to include new photos and information. It was originally published on 9/20/13.


  1. Thank you so much for all the great articles. I grew up in the Caribbean with very hot peppers but I’ve been exploring less hot, flavourful peppers recently to make pickles to add to sandwiches & to use fresh in side dishes. Bought some Cubanelles this weekend but they have absolutely no heat. The kids loved how crunchy they were though, so we just added them to their veg plate. I always taste the peppers before I serve them because I know you can always get a rogue spicy one. Having lots of fun with this. Thanks again.

  2. I always make sausage and peppers with these they are perfect, but my brother gave me what he claimed to be some CubanellesI but they were dark green? I’ve only seen them light green Orange or red why would these be dark green, they seem to be slightly hotter too.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      They could be Cubanelles at different stages of ripening, or a similar pepper, like the Anaheim.

  3. If I leave my Cubanelle peppers on the plant, will they turn from the green color? Or should I pick them when they are green? I’ve been waiting for them to change colors, but I’m wondering if they will stay green.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Teresa, they very likely will turn more orange or red if you leave them on long enough. You can certainly use them green, which is quite common, but they should turn color for you.

  4. Hello! I am in Brazil, and am looking for a cubanelle. If I have to use a bell pepper as a substitute for gazpacho, which color should I use? Thank you!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Jessica. A green bell would be a great substitute for flavor and color. However, for gazpacho, I would personally use yellow or orange. They have a nice sweetness and I love the color of them for gazpacho. Let me know how it turns out for you. Enjoy.

  5. David…canning? Do you keep whole, rings, ??? Do you use a dill or other recipe? I canned some whole with a pickling dill recipe, then water bath. But not sure this is the correct way to can these peppers.


  6. This was the first year that I planted these in Missouri and only put in two plants but so far I have canned 28 pints and the jars are packed tight. I will probably put in 6 pants next year because they are great peppers to eat, not hot at all but with great flavor.

    REPLY: Great! Yes, I love these peppers. Growing them again myself this year. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

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