The Complete Guide on Types of Peppers and How To Prepare Them

An easy-to-find ingredient that's popular in many recipes are peppers. The first thought might be sweet bell peppers, but did you know that there are a ton of different types of pepper varieties other than bell peppers? Sweet, mild, hot, and some even unbearable, most types have great use in the culinary world. You probably know how to work with bell peppers, which are ideal when making stuffed peppers since they're big and have a sweet flavor, but there are a few pepper varieties that might be worth trying out if you haven't already.

The Many Types of Peppers

Thanks to, we have a helpful guide of 19 sweet peppers and spicy peppers and how they range in flavor, and most importantly, their heat level. Peppers are rated using Scoville Units and can range between 0-100 (sweet peppers/hardly any heat) and up to 3,200,000 (seriously spicy) and beyond.

With so many pepper varieties and recipes to make, this guide can help you figure out exactly what you want to use for a specific dish.

Recipes Using Each Pepper

1. Sweet California Wonder

A common type of bell pepper, Sweet California wonder peppers are known for their dark green color and delicious flavor. These popular peppers are your go-to pepper for our Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers.

2. Cabernet Bell Pepper

A personal favorite with nothing but sweet flavor, Cabernet Bell Peppers makes a great, healthy snack. However, these mild peppers are even better if you want to make roasted bell peppers. Don't forget the crusty bread to go with it.

3. Islander Bell Pepper

Purple bell peppers, Sweet Pepper Tequila, Capsicum annum, on a wooden board against a dark blue background.  Copy space, selective focus, close up, vertical

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Islander Bell Peppers, aka purple bell peppers, are known for their stunning color. They have a sweet flavor, but not as much as the other types. It's best to serve these raw since cooking them will change the color. Try serving with hummus or on a veggie platter.

4. Golden Bell Pepper

Fruity and vibrant, make the most out of this sweet bell pepper by whipping up a creamy Golden Red and Orange Bell Pepper Soup from Cookin Canuck.

5. Carmen Pepper

Don't be fooled by its shape! Carmen peppers are super sweet and are perfect to use in Italian dishes, but we love to stuff them in this dish for Stuffed Carmen Peppers.

6. Sweet Chocolate Pepper

Sweeter than green peppers, but not quite as much as red peppers, sweet chocolate peppers are the perfect in-between and are known for their dark chocolate-colored skin. It's best to enjoy them raw or toss them into your next salad for lunch. Get the seeds here.

7. Banana Pepper

Known for its banana-like shape and mostly mild taste, banana peppers are best to use for pickling. Try out the recipe for sweet and spicy Pickled Banana Peppers from Simply Scratch. Keep in mind that as banana peppers mature, they increase in spicy flavor.

8. Roasting Pimentos/Cherry Peppers

Roasting pimentos, also called cherry peppers, have a bright red outer skin, round shape, and mild heat. Try roasting them or better yet, try out this Oven Roasted Pimento Chicken recipe from Sweet C's for dinner tonight.

9. Sweet Italian Peppers

Sweet Italian Peppers, sometimes called Tuscan peppers, are crunchy with just a little kick of heat. My family likes to roast them and serve them with bread, but I'm thinking these Pepperoncini Poppers from Martha Stewart would make a great appetizer!

10. Cubanelle Pepper

Cubanelle peppers, also called the Italian frying pepper, are from the Dominican Republic. These Caribbean peppers are considered sweet peppers although cubanelles' heat level can range from mild to moderate (100-1,000 Scoville units). These Sausage-Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers from Rachel Ray are the way to go.

11. Poblano Pepper

With their earthy flavor and mild heat, poblano peppers are commonly grown all over Mexico and used in many popular dishes like our recipe for Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Corn, Beans, and Quinoa. When poblano peppers are dried, you might see them labeled as "ancho Chile". These tasty peppers can be substituted for Anaheim peppers, which have a similar flavor profile.

12. Jalapeño Pepper

We've all heard of jalapeño peppers- what's not to love? These types of peppers are easy to find, crunchy, with just the right amount of heat. I know I can't get enough of snacking on jalapeño poppers as a late night snack or on game day, but this recipe for Jalapeño Pillow Puffsfrom Everyday Dishes takes snacking to another level.

13. Kung Pao Pepper

Used mostly in Thai and Southeast Asian dishes, Kung pao peppers are ideal to add into a stir-fry or this Kung Pao Chicken from Rasa Malaysia. With its mildly hot flavor, you definitely won't be missing out on the heat.

14. Serrano Pepper

Beautifully dark green Serrano peppers are originally from Mexico and can be found all around the United States. Some Serrano varieties taste slightly sweet, while others can be incredibly hot. If you don't have it on hand, you can substitute scotch bonnet peppers or habanero peppers, which have similar spiciness levels.

If you're up for it, slice and eat them raw or blend them into your next Salsa Verde recipe from Mexican Please.

15. Cayenne Chili Pepper

There's a good chance you already have these types of peppers in your spice cabinet right now, just in a powder. Cayenne pepper is a great way to spice up southwest dishes or any dish for that matter.

Chili peppers are also perfect for hot sauce. Next time you're thinking about reaching for store-bought, try making your own hot sauce with this recipe from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen. You'll be happy you did!

16. Thai Pepper

Even though Thai chili peppers are small, that doesn't mean you'll miss out on the fiery heat! You can do a few things to extend their shelf life: dry them out and add to your favorite Thai dish or test out this Asian Hot Sauce recipe from Fox Valley Foodie.

*Warning: these last three hot peppers are not recommended for consumption...Only if you dare!

17. Komodo Dragon

The Komodo Dragon chili pepper is said to be one of the hottest types of peppers in the world measuring at a whopping 1.4 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU) or simply, 400 times hotter than jalapeño peppers!

18. Carolina Reaper

Red hot chilli pepper Bhut Jolokia on a plant. Capsicum chinense peppers on a green plant with leaves in home garden or a farm.

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Originally named HP22B, the Carolina Reaper is bright red in color with a pointed tail and sort of creepy looking if you ask me. Folks have said that at first, it has a sweet, fruity flavor, but when the spiciness kicks in, grab a gallon of milk. Just read about this person's unfortunate experience.

This extremely spicy pepper is actually spicier than the famous ghost pepper, or Bhut Jolokia. Some reports say that the Carolina Reaper is

the spiciest pepper in existence!

19. Dragons Breath

The name is no joke. Of all types of peppers, this is one you don't want to mess with or consume since the heat levels are said to be so intense that it's just not safe. Although there are conflicting finds, some purport that Dragon's Breath is even spicier than the Carolina Reaper.

This super hot pepper measures 2.48 million heat units on the Scoville scale and is better off being used for medicinal purposes.

READ MORE: The World's Hottest Pepper Can Close Your Airways Immediately