12 most popular types of green peppers (mild to hot)

Pepper lovers are met with an astonishing array of options, as the world of peppers boasts thousands of varieties. While it’s impossible to include every type of green pepper in this list, we aim to provide a comprehensive view of the most popular green peppers commonly enjoyed in the United States. These peppers are thoughtfully organized according to their spiciness on the Scoville scale, allowing you to easily navigate your heat preferences.

It’s important to note that the journey of a pepper often begins with a vibrant green hue, gradually transitioning into captivating shades of orange, red, or purple as it matures. While green peppers can be consumed at any stage, it’s worth noting that their flavor may lack the distinct notes that develop as the fruit continues to ripen. Join us as we embark on a flavorful exploration, discovering the nuances and popular choices among green peppers and uncovering the delightful range of flavors and heat levels they offer.

Bell pepper (0 SHU)

two green bell peppers on white background

Bell peppers are the most popular pepper variety in the US, known for their sweet taste without any hint of spiciness. They can be enjoyed in various ways, whether raw, cooked, or stuffed, and are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. 

Starting off as green, they mature into vibrant shades of yellow, orange, or red. Some intriguing varieties even exhibit purple or variegated (striped) colors. What’s great is that bell peppers are delicious no matter what stage of ripeness they are in, bringing a burst of flavor to any dish you prepare.

Banana peppers (0 – 500 SHU)

a bunch of light yellow banana peppers

Banana peppers, characterized by their gentle and mild heat, showcase a greenish-yellow coloration. These peppers share striking similarities with pepperoncini in flavor and culinary applications. 

Like their counterparts, banana peppers are often enjoyed in pickled form, adding a tangy and mildly spicy kick to various dishes. They are frequently used as toppings on pizzas, sandwiches, and salads, offering a pleasant crunch and a burst of flavor. While banana peppers and pepperoncini may share resemblances, it’s important to note that they are not identical, each possessing its own unique characteristics. 

Nevertheless, if you appreciate the mild heat and versatile nature of pepperoncini, exploring the world of banana peppers will surely delight your taste buds and enhance your favorite culinary creations.

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Cubanelle (0-1,000 SHU)

two cubanelle peppers on white background

Cubanelle peppers, also falling into the mild spectrum, offer a delightful range of flavors, with some exhibiting no spiciness at all and others presenting a barely detectable hint of heat. 

Typically harvested and enjoyed while still green, these peppers undergo a stunning transformation as they mature into vibrant red hues. Sporting an elongated shape, Cubanelle pods measure approximately 4 to 6 inches in length and about 2 inches in width, elegantly tapering to a point at the end. 

Renowned for their versatility, these peppers lend themselves well to various culinary applications. Whether consumed raw or cooked, they add a delightful touch to dishes, from being fried to perfection to gracing the tops of pizzas or sandwiches, elevating the flavor profile with their distinct taste.

Shishito peppers (50 – 200 SHU) 

a bowl of shishito peppers on a wooden background

Originating from East Asia and particularly prominent in Japanese cuisine, Shishito peppers have gained widespread popularity. These delightful peppers offer a subtle hint of spiciness, barely detectable to most palates. 

One distinctive feature of Shishito peppers is their remarkably thin skin, which quickly forms enticing blisters when exposed to heat. When it comes to cooking methods, the most common approach is to subject them to rapid, high-temperature cooking techniques such as roasting or grilling. This allows the peppers to develop a delectable smoky flavor while maintaining their crisp texture. Shishito peppers are prized for their simplicity and versatility, making them a favored choice in various culinary applications. 

Whether enjoyed as an appetizer, a side dish, or incorporated into other dishes, these peppers bring a delightful touch of mild heat and unique taste to the table, adding an enjoyable twist to your culinary adventures.

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Pepperoncini (100-500 SHU)

Pepperoncini, commonly enjoyed in the United States, are often savored in their pickled form, although they can also be consumed fresh. These peppers are typically harvested when they exhibit a delightful greenish-yellow hue. 

One of the appealing aspects of pepperoncini is their mild heat level, making them a suitable choice even for individuals sensitive to spiciness. 

Their flavor profile offers a pleasant balance of tanginess and subtle heat. As a result, pepperoncini peppers have found a special place as a popular topping for pizzas, subs, and salads, adding a zesty kick and a burst of flavor to these dishes. Whether you prefer them pickled or fresh, pepperoncini peppers are a versatile ingredient that can enhance a variety of culinary creations.

Anaheim (500 – 2,500 SHU)

anaheim peppers

Anaheim peppers, named after the city of Anaheim, California, are known for their mild to slightly spicy flavor profile. These elongated peppers can reach lengths of up to 10 inches and are typically harvested and enjoyed while still green. 

Like bell peppers, Anaheim peppers offer versatility in the kitchen and can be prepared in various ways. One popular cooking method involves roasting these peppers, which enhances their natural smokiness and imparts a delightful charred flavor. Another option is to stuff the Anaheim peppers, creating a savory and satisfying dish. Grilling is yet another fantastic technique that brings out their rich flavors. 

Whether roasted, stuffed, or grilled, Anaheim peppers add a touch of mild heat and a distinctive taste to your culinary endeavors, making them a versatile and delicious ingredient to incorporate into your cooking repertoire.

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Padron (500 – 2,500 SHU)

a pile of green padron peppers

Padron peppers, originating from Galicia, Spain, offer a delightful balance of subtle spiciness and vibrant flavor. Typically consumed when still green, these peppers are picked at a size of approximately 3 inches. 

One of the most common and beloved ways to prepare Padron peppers is by blistering them, creating a delectable texture and enhancing their natural flavors. In Spanish cuisine, they are frequently served as tapas, showcasing their versatility and enticing taste. The slight heat of Padron peppers adds a delightful kick to the overall dining experience, while their vibrant flavor profile captivates the taste buds. 

Whether enjoying them as a tapas dish or exploring their potential in other culinary creations, Padron peppers bring a taste of Spain to your table, offering an irresistible combination of mild spice and exceptional flavor.

Poblanos (1,000 – 2,000 SHU)

poblano peppers on white background

Poblanos, characterized by their rich, dark green hue, are renowned for their mild heat profile. These peppers offer a delightful balance between flavor and spiciness. 

Poblanos can be prepared in many ways, showcasing their versatility in the kitchen. They can be fried to achieve a crispy texture, stuffed with a delectable filling, or incorporated into complex and savory mole sauces. 

Interestingly, when poblanos are dried, they are referred to as ancho chili, intensifying their flavors and adding a unique twist to culinary creations. 

Both fresh and dried forms of poblanos are readily available in American grocery stores, allowing enthusiasts to explore the varied possibilities these peppers have to offer. Whether you’re seeking a mild heat addition or a distinctive ingredient for your dishes, poblanos are a fantastic choice that brings depth and flavor to your culinary adventures.

Hatch chiles (1,000 – 8,000 SHU)

a pile of green hatch chiles on a wooden table

Hatch chiles from the bountiful Hatch Valley in New Mexico are a distinct pepper variety celebrated for their unique flavor. So cherished are these chiles that they have their very own festival in Hatch, New Mexico. 

When it comes to heat, Hatch chiles encompass a range of spiciness, with some varieties being slightly milder than jalapeños, while others boast a comparable level of heat. Among the different types of Hatch chiles, notable variations include NuMex Big Jim, NuMex Sandia, and NuMex Joe E Parker. 

One popular and traditional preparation method involves roasting Hatch chiles, which enhances their flavors and imparts a delightful smoky essence. Additionally, these versatile peppers are occasionally stuffed, adding an extra layer of flavor and texture to tantalize the taste buds. With their diverse heat profiles and enticing culinary possibilities, Hatch chiles offer a distinctive and flavorful experience for pepper enthusiasts and New Mexican cuisine lovers alike.

Jalapeños (2,500 – 10,000 SHU)

a bunch of green jalapenos of varying sizes on a dark grey background

Jalapeños, reigning as the most popular spicy pepper in the United States, offers a delightful medium-hot experience, catering to those who appreciate a bit of heat without overwhelming intensity. Originating from Mexico, these peppers have garnered significant popularity in the US, where they are widely cultivated and enjoyed. 

Jalapeños boast a distinctively bright and grassy flavor profile, adding a vibrant touch to culinary creations. Typically consumed when green and fresh, jalapeños undergo a transformation as they ripen into red jalapeños. The dried form of red jalapeños, or chipotle, is a common ingredient in various cuisines. 

Jalapeños can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways, whether eaten raw, pickled, cooked, or incorporated into diverse preparations. Their versatility makes them an excellent addition to salsas, dips, toppings, and countless other dishes, allowing you to savor their characteristic flavor and moderate heat in various culinary delights.

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Serranos (10,000 – 25,000 SHU)

Raw Green Organic Serrano Peppers in  a Bowl

Serrano peppers, very similar to jalapeños, possess a significant step up in heat, making them notably hotter. Despite their fiery nature, they are still smaller than their jalapeño counterparts.

Serranos are readily available in most grocery stores across the United States, allowing pepper enthusiasts to easily incorporate them into their culinary endeavors. These versatile peppers can be enjoyed in various ways, whether consumed raw to add a fiery kick, pickled for a tangy twist, sautéed to infuse dishes with their distinct flavor, or cooked in a wide range of recipes. 

Serranos bring heat and flavor to the table, enhancing the culinary experience with their intense spiciness. If you’re an enthusiast of bold and fiery flavors, exploring the realm of serrano peppers is a must.

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Thai chilis (50,000-100,000 SHU)

Hot Green Thai Chili Pepper in a Bowl

Thai chilis, known for their fiery nature, encompass a diverse array of pepper types rather than being restricted to a single variety. While a significant portion of Thai chilis falls within the spicy range of 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), it’s worth noting that there are also milder variations available. 

Widely embraced in Southeast Asian cuisines, Thai peppers play a pivotal role in enlivening dishes with their bold flavors. These peppers find frequent utilization in preparing curry pastes and stir-fries or are simply enjoyed raw as a zesty garnish. 

Not limited to Thai cuisine alone, similar pepper varieties are prominently featured in the culinary traditions of Malaysia, Laos, and Vietnam, further enhancing the vibrant and tantalizing flavors of these Southeast Asian delicacies.

Learn more about Thai chilis

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