Cubanelle pepper

Cubanelle pepper – All about Heat, Flavor, Uses, Substitutes

What is a Cubanelle pepper?

Cubanelle peppers are a sweet chili pepper cultivar native to South and Central America that is popular in Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, and even Italian cuisine. When mature entirely, these peppers are notably elongated and tapered, changing color from pale green to yellow or a vivid orange-red tint. They are also known as Italian frying peppers or Cuban peppers. Because of their mild flavor and low heat, these peppers are ideal for frying, stuffing, or utilizing in sautés and stir-fries.

Cubanelle pepper
SHU100 - 1,000
Median SHU550
FlavorMild and sweet, with a slight heat
SpeciesCapsicum annuum
OriginSouth and Central America, but commonly grown in Italy too
UsesSalads, stir-fries, stuffing, sandwiches, etc.

Are Cubanelle peppers spicy? How hot are they?

Cubanelle pepper scoville: 100 to 1,000 SHU

Cubanelle peppers have a Scoville value of 100 to 1,000 units, placing them on the moderate side of the pepper range. Jalapeños, on the other hand, have a significantly greater heat intensity, ranging between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville units. Other mild peppers are bell peppers, which have no heat with a Scoville value of zero, and banana peppers, commonly used in sandwiches and salads with a Scoville rating of 0 to 500.

Other alternatives exist for people who like a pepper with a bit more heat than the Cubanelle. Serrano peppers, for example, are much hotter than Cubanelle peppers. Habanero peppers are even hotter, with a Scoville rating hundreds of times higher.

Cubanelle peppers’ mild heat makes them a perfect choice for everyone who appreciates delicate spice in their cuisine and wants that distinct pepper flavor without dominating other vital tastes.


Where do Cubanelle peppers come from?

The origins of Cubanelle peppers are said to be in Central and South America. However, they grew famous in Caribbean and Latin American cuisine throughout time and are now widely grown in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and parts of the United States, including the sunny states of Florida and California.

Cubanelle peppers found their way into other foreign cuisines, such as Italian-American, as their popularity expanded, enriching meals with their peculiar moderate heat and unusual flavor. They are still a versatile and popular component in dishes worldwide.


Cubanelle pepper uses

What are Cubanelle peppers good for? How to use them?

Cubanelle peppers are incredibly versatile, allowing them to be used in many culinary applications, adding a mild heat and even a touch of welcomed sweetness to dishes.

Stuffing Cubanelle peppers with cheese, rice, or meat and baking or grilling them is a common way to use them. They may also be sliced and sautéed with onions and garlic as a basis for various meals or used in soups, stews, and casseroles for a touch of moderate spice and flavor. These peppers are especially terrific when roasted or grilled, bringing out their natural sweetness and making an excellent side dish or topping for meats and seafood.

Another excellent use for Cubanelle peppers is in homemade salsas and sauces. Their mild heat and distinctive flavor make them a great ingredient to balance spicier peppers or to create a milder salsa for those with a more sensitive palate. Cubanelle peppers can also be pickled on their own or mixed with other vegetables, providing a tangy and slightly spicy addition to sandwiches, salads, and antipasto platters.

These peppers are also an excellent addition to stir-fries, pasta dishes, and rice dishes, lending a pop of color and a subtle kick of heat. They can enhance omelets, frittatas, and quiches or sauté with olive oil and garlic for a tasty, easy side dish. It’s important to mention that canned Cubanelle peppers exist and are very convenient for recipes when fresh peppers are unavailable or cannot be found.


What does a Cubanelle pepper look like?

Cubanelle peppers are elongated, somewhat curved, and medium big, measuring 4-6 inches long and 2 inches wide. Their look varies as they age, moving from a brilliant green to colors of yellow, orange, or red. They distinguish themselves from comparable types by having smooth, shiny skin and a somewhat flattened form. Their striking look makes them instantly identifiable, adding to the aesthetic attractiveness of any cuisine they are included.

What do Cubanelle peppers taste like?

Cubanelle peppers are well-known for their pleasantly sweet and somewhat acidic flavor, with a dash of spice, the ideal flavor profile for a multipurpose pepper. When we say ‘dash of spice,’ we mean their minimal heat level, making them a perfect alternative for people who like milder peppers or are just getting started with hotter flavors.

When cooked, Cubanelle peppers have a deeper, sweeter flavor that may add depth and complexity to various dishes. Because of their moderate heat and distinct taste character, they are a flexible spice that may improve and complement a wide variety of recipes from different ethnic cuisines without dominating other ingredients.


Growing and gardening of cubanelle pepper

How to grow Cubanelle peppers?

Cubanelle peppers are a popular choice for avid home gardeners due to the ease at which they grow and their versatility in the kitchen for home cooks. They thrive in warm climates with ample sunshine. In addition, they can be grown in containers and directly in the ground – perfect for those with limited outdoor space.

When to pick Cubanelle peppers?

Cubanelle peppers are typically available for harvest 70-80 days after planting. Plant Cubanelle peppers in well-draining soil and water them regularly to ensure a great output. These peppers benefit from regular fertilizing during the growing season as well. Harvest them regularly as they mature to encourage continual growth and yield.


Cooking/Recipe ideas for Cubanelle peppers

Cubanelle peppers are a unique, multifunctional ingredient. They can be used in various dishes to add a touch of tang and gentle heat. One popular way to enjoy Cubanelle peppers is by frying them to bring out their natural sweetness, turning them into a perfect side dish or a quick sandwich addition.

Sauteed Cubanelle peppers are another tasty alternative that goes nicely with sausage. This combination is popular worldwide as a robust main dish or as a sandwich stuffing. Another delectable way to utilize Cubanelle peppers is in a hearty dish. The appropriately titled Cubanelle pepper casserole is a real comfort food staple with layers of delicate peppers, cheese, and tomato sauce.

As you might expect, Cubanelle peppers are an excellent addition to salsas, imparting a sweet and mild flavor with just a hint of spice. Just dice the peppers and mix them with the tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and spices to make a fresh and zesty salsa that goes well with chips, tacos, or grilled meats. Cubanelle peppers may also be used in chili dishes, providing a unique flavor and texture.

Lastly, Cubanelle peppers and eggs make a tasty and satisfying breakfast or brunch option. Sauté the Cubanelle peppers with onions and garlic in a frying pan. Add beaten eggs and cook until set. This flavorful and nutritious dish can be served with toast or wrapped in a tortilla for a tasty and quick breakfast burrito.

Cooking with cubanelle pepper


Where can I buy Cubanelle peppers?

Cubanelle peppers are widely available at supermarkets, usually in the fresh vegetable area. If you can’t find them at your local supermarket, check specialized food stores, farmer’s markets, or international markets since they may have a greater selection of peppers. You can also buy Cubanelle peppers online from businesses selling fresh food or peppers and have them delivered directly to your door—how handy!

Look for firm Cubanelle peppers with shiny, smooth skin when buying them. They ought to be wrinkle-, soft-spot-, and blemish-free. Depending on the type, the hue can be anywhere from pale green to yellow or red. Like pepperoncini, you can also get canned cubanelle peppers, a practical cooking alternative, at various grocery shops or internet merchants.

Where can I buy Cubanelle pepper plants?

Plants for growing Cubanelle peppers can be acquired from garden stores, nurseries, or internet vendors selling vegetable plants and seeds. Look for healthy Cubanelle pepper plants with robust stems and brilliant green leaves, and avoid those wilted or discolored.

Where can I buy Cubanelle pepper seeds?

If you prefer to grow Cubanelle peppers from seeds, you can find them at local garden centers or online seed retailers. Follow the instructions on the seed packet for planting and care, ensuring the plants have plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil for optimal growth.


How do I store cubanelle peppers?

Fresh Cubanelle peppers may be kept in the fridge for up to a week. Wrap the peppers in a paper towel to absorb any extra moisture before placing them in a plastic bag or airtight container to keep. Alternatively, the peppers may be stored in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer, where the humidity level is perfect for keeping them fresh.

Canned Cubanelle peppers can be kept in the pantry for several months or until the expiration date marked on the can. Once opened, put any remaining peppers in an airtight container and preserve them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Can cubanelle peppers be frozen?

Yes, thankfully, Cubanelle peppers can be frozen. To effectively freeze them, wash the peppers and remove the stems before slicing or chopping them to your liking. Then, freeze the peppers in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with parchment paper for several hours. After frozen, place the peppers in an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and keep them in the freezer for up to six months. Freezing Cubanelle peppers is a great technique to keep them fresh for later use in prepared foods like casseroles, sautés, and stews.


Are cubanelle peppers healthy?

Cubanelle peppers are a healthy complement to a balanced diet since they are low in calories and high in nutrients. Both vitamin C, which supports a robust immune system and maintains healthy skin, and vitamin A, which supports overall eye health, are abundant in them.

Moreover, Cubanelle peppers have a significant quantity of capsaicin, a chemical with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities. Capsaicin has also been related to improved metabolism and weight reduction. However, it is essential to be aware that some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort after consuming spicy foods, including cubanelle peppers. If you notice any adverse effects after eating cubanelle peppers, consider reducing your intake or avoiding them entirely.


What’s a good cubanelle pepper alternative?

Searching for a suitable substitute for Cubanelle peppers? You’re in luck! Anaheim peppers are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a mild option. They have a similar shape and size as Cubanelle peppers, and their mild heat allows them to be used in various recipes like stuffed or roasted peppers.

For a slightly sweeter option, Banana peppers are a fantastic alternative. They share a similar sweetness to Cubanelle peppers and can be used in salads, sandwiches, or sautéed dishes.

Bell peppers, though sweeter and less spicy than cubanelle peppers, can also serve as a substitute. They come in various colors, including green, red, yellow, and orange, providing a similar texture and a pop of color to your dish.

RELATED: Read our in-depth guide about Cubanelle pepper substitutes

How do you pronounce cubanelle pepper?

Cubanelle peppers are pronounced as koo-buh-NEHL-eh.


FAQ about Cubanelle peppers

Are Cubanelle peppers hot or sweet?

Cubanelle peppers are predominantly sweet, accompanied by a mild and subtly spicy undertone. As a result, they don't fall into the category of hot peppers, making them an ideal choice for those who prefer a milder taste.

Is Cubanelle pepper spicy?

Since Cubanelle peppers have a mild spice level, they are ideal for people who want less heat in their meals. Cubanelles generally vary from 100 to 1,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) on the Scoville scale, offering a tasty yet manageable cooking experience.

How much do Cubanelle peppers cost?

The cost of Cubanelle peppers varies depending on the store, location, and season. They are generally affordable and can be found at most grocery stores, farmer's markets, or specialty food stores.

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