All demo content is for sample purposes only, intended to represent a live site. Please use the RocketLauncher to install an equivalent of the demo, all images will be replaced with sample images.

14 July 2020

Piquillo peppers are sweet chili peppers with no heat traditionally grown in Navarre, Spain, specifically from Lodosa. 

Scoville Heat Units (SHU): 500 – 1,000

Chili peppers are often known for their heat, for the spicy, mouth tingling offering that lingers after each bite. That heat, however, varies from pepper to pepper, and some chili peppers have almost no heat at all.

Case in point – the piquillo pepper.

Piquillo peppers offer up practically zero heat, yet what they do offer is sweetness and flavor. Much like the popular red bell pepper, piquillo peppers can be used to cook into many dishes. It’s name derives from the Spanish word for “little beak”, as they are grown in northern Spain.

The peppers grow about 2.5-3 inches in length and mature to a vibrant red, making them known locally as “red gold” of Lodosa. They narrow to a point at the end of the pendant pods, resembling little bird beaks, hence the name.

The plants grow up to 3 feet tall.

How Hot is the Piquillo Pepper?

Piquillo peppers measure 500-1000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale. They have heat that is nearly undetectable. They are essentially sweet peppers.

Compare that with the popular jalapeno pepper, which measures from 2,500 – 8,000 Scoville Units, and you can see that piquillos are rather mild. In fact, the hottest piquillos are 5 times milder than the mildest jalapeno. They are more akin to poblano peppers and even lower in terms of heat, closer to a sweet bell pepper.

Piquillo Flavor Profile

Piquillo peppers are succulent sweet with very mild heat and tangy, smoky undertones. With their thicker walls, closer to that of a bell pepper, they offer up a sweet crunch when eaten raw. They are often roasted soon after harvest and packed in oil or in their own juices.

You can cook with them as you do bell peppers, and are richer in flavor when cooked or roasted.

Piquillo Peppers

Cooking and Serving Piquillo Peppers

Piquillos are popularly pickled, stuffed, roasted or fried. Because of their size and substance, they are particularly wonderful for making stuffed peppers, but also for cooking into soups and sauces.

They can be stored short term in olive oil, and are at their best when fire roasted.

Piquillo Pepper Seeds

If you’re looking for seeds, check out my Chili Pepper Seeds resources page, or you can purchase piquillo seeds at Amazon (affiliate link, my friends!).

Enjoy, and happy growing.

Mike’s Personal Notes

I have grown piquillo peppers in my home garden and have always enjoyed them. You can use them in place of bell peppers for pretty much any application. They would make a great part of your Cajun Holy Trinity, where you’re just chopping them and cooking them, or your favorite sofrito recipe.

I usually pickle them, chop and freeze them for regular cooking, or I break them down into sauces that I can freeze.

If you’re looking for a good substitute for piquillo peppers, either purchase jarred roasted red peppers, or try bell peppers.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me anytime, or leave a comment below.

NOTE: This post was updated on 7/14/20 to include new information. It was originally published on 10/22/14.


  1. Well, I enjoy all your recipes. For the gentleman who doesn’t like spicy. Would a banana pepper work for him? Next I eat just about any kind of pepper there is. I am a older person, but to me pepper just makes a meal. Keep all those wonderful recipes coming.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Nancy. Yes, banana peppers would be great for someone who doesn’t like it spicy. They’re pretty mild, and a good way to introduce someone to the world of chili peppers. Good luck, and enjoy!

  2. Hello Mike,
    Well, I have a kind of WEIRD question.
    First of all, I happened to dislike ALL the Bell Peppers, Green, Red, Yellow, it doesn’t matter.
    I’m a Japanese and since I’m little I just don’t like them, smell, taste, no matter HOW they are cooked. Sorry.
    On top of it, I do not like spicy food either…

    Anyway, here’s my question, well, actually what prompt to ask you about Piquillo Peppers…

    I love Paella and we plan to go to a restaurant who has a very nice looking – also received good reviews – Paella for my upcoming birthday… but before I book a table, I inquired them if their Paella has any bell peppers… and this is what got:
    “The Paella Talavera does not have any bell peppers in it, but we do use Piquillo Peppers in the preparation of the dish (here is some more information about what a piquillo pepper is: .”
    So, I read the info, I see that Piquillo Peppers have no heat, but rather sweet and tart… but recommended for substitute for Red bell peppers…

    My BIG (for me) question is “Do they smell/taste like Bell Peppers?” I can take little heat, but if they have SMELL and/or TASTE like bell peppers, That will RUIN my meal. Period.
    So, since I found your website and sounds like you know a lot about it, I wanted to find out if you could help me to make a decision of if I should order WITHOUT them or they won’t bother my nose/taste bud…

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you SOON as my birthday dinner is THIS Sat 12/211 LOL
    Thank you!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Yumi. First off, happy birthday! Secondly, unfortunately, I think the piquillo pepper tastes quite a bit like a red bell pepper, at least enough that you won’t enjoy the meal. You could always ask if the chef can prepare a separate dish for you without peppers. I hope this helps.

      1. Hi Mike!
        Wow! Thank you so very much for VERY QUICK reply to my weird question! LOL
        And Thank you also your birthday wish. I appreciate it.
        I AM VERY GRATEFUL for your honest reply and information!!!
        Yes, the staff from the restaurant did say (I didn’t include in my original post):
        “We could prepare a special paella without any piquillo peppers in it if you’d like, we would just need to know the day before!”
        So, YES, I will ask them to prep one without them for me. 🙂

        Again, thank you so very much for your SWIFT reply!
        Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year of 2020!

        Yumi m(_ _)m

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Absolutely! Glad to be helpful. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.