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The 5 Best Substitutes for Piquillo Peppers

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When it comes to cooking, the Piquillo Pepper is truly amazing.

It comes from Spain, where it has been grown in Northern Spain for centuries now.

Now it is considered one of the most popular peppers in the world.

If you are trying to look for them, do not search for them under their Spanish name “Capsicum” or “Pimiento”, because that will not be found.

Instead you should look for them under its Spanish name, “Capsicum Piquillo”.

If you’re looking for a pepper that has a slightly smoky, earthy taste with a sweet and mildly spicy finish, piquillo peppers are the perfect choice.

But what if you can’t find piquillo peppers in your area? Don’t worry – there are plenty of delicious substitutes that will give your dish the same flavor profile.

Here are five of our favorites.

What are Piquillo Peppers?

what are piquillo peppers

Piquillo peppers are not your average bell pepper.

They have a unique flavor and crunchy texture that sets them apart from other types of red chili peppers, though they’re still similar in many ways to their counterparts out there on this tasty spice bus.

Piquillo peppers have a triangular shape and they are usually red in color.

Their flavor is nutty and sweet, making them a tasty addition to various dishes.

They can also be easily stuffed with savory ingredients such as cheese, meats, or vegetables for an added kick of flavor that your mouth will love.

In Spain, piquillo peppers are the main ingredient in a traditional dish called tapas.

The piquillos can be fried and served as an appetizer, or they can be used to make a sauce for other dishes, such as paella.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Piquillo Peppers

Piquillo peppers are a popular ingredient in Spanish cuisine, known for their sweet and slightly smoky flavor.

However, if you’re unable to find Piquillo peppers or want to explore different options, there are several substitutes that can provide a similar taste and texture.

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
Banana PeppersMild with a tangy flavorUse an equal amount of Banana peppers as a substitute
Jalapeno PeppersSpicy with a slightly fruity tasteUse an equal amount of Jalapeno peppers as a substitute
Roasted Fresno PeppersMedium heat with a slightly sweet and smoky flavorUse an equal amount of Roasted Fresno peppers as a substitute
Cherry PeppersMild, sweet, and slightly spicyUse an equal amount of Cherry peppers as a substitute
Bell PeppersMild and versatileUse an equal amount of Bell peppers as a substitute

Now let’s dive into each substitute in more detail:

1 – Banana Peppers

banana peppers

Banana peppers are a native of South America.

They have a hot and spicy flavor with hints of sweetness to them.

In addition, they may also be found in green instead of red.

This pepper is long and varies from three to six inches in length in terms of appearance.

It has a curved shape to it as well.

These peppers typically have a thick skin and can be used in salads, stuffed with meats or cheeses, or pickled.

Banana peppers may only be about three inches long and one inch wide in terms of size.

This is why they’re typically found sliced into rounds and served as a topping for sandwiches and pizza.

They’re also found pickled and used to flavor just about any dish.

  • Key Characteristics: Banana peppers are mild with a tangy flavor. Although they may not have the same smoky notes as Piquillo peppers, they can provide a mild sweetness and tanginess in dishes like stuffed peppers or salads.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of Banana peppers as a substitute for Piquillo peppers in your recipes.

2 – Jalapeno Peppers

jalapeno peppers

Jalapenos are another popular pepper that can be found in the United States.

This chili pepper is relatively small, but packs a punch.

It has an earthy flavor with notes of citrus to it.

When cooked, it’s typically not very spicy at all.

However, if eaten raw – it could cause slight irritation to your mouth.

This pepper is most commonly found in green although it may also be red.

The skin of the jalapeno is quite thin, so this means that you can choose to use the seeds and membrane if desired.

This will add more heat to your dish – which is why it’s important to remove them if you’re looking for a milder flavor.

It’s critical to note that jalapeno peppers may be found pickled or dried as well.

This means you’ll likely find it in these forms at stores more often than fresh.

  • Key Characteristics: Jalapeno peppers are spicy with a slightly fruity taste. While they have a different flavor profile than Piquillo peppers, they can add a kick of heat and a hint of fruitiness to your dishes, especially when roasted or charred.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of Jalapeno peppers as a substitute for Piquillo peppers in your recipes.

3 – Roasted Fresno Peppers

roasted fresno peppers

This pepper is a relative of jalapeno peppers.

It’s also known as the Jalapeno M, which originated from Mexico.

It has a similar shape and size to a jalapeno while slightly milder in flavor.

To find this chili pepper at stores, you’ll likely have to go to a specialist.

However, they may also be found in the International Foods aisle at typical grocery stores.

This pepper is similar to a jalapeno in terms of heat, although it’s more of a medium spicy for most dishes.

If you’re looking for something hotter, opt for another chili pepper that isn’t on the list.

  • Key Characteristics: Roasted Fresno peppers offer medium heat with a slightly sweet and smoky flavor. They can be a suitable substitute for Piquillo peppers in recipes that require a touch of smokiness and moderate heat, such as salsas, sauces, or even stuffed peppers.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of Roasted Fresno peppers as a substitute for Piquillo peppers in your recipes.

4 – Cherry Peppers

cherry peppers

These peppers are small and spherical in nature with a bright red color.

In addition, the skin is a bit thicker than a jalapeno or Fresno pepper’s, so it can be removed before consumption if desired.

These peppers have a slightly sweet taste with just enough heat.

Cherry peppers are primarily found pickled and preserved in jars.

They’re likely to be found near other pickled items such as olives – so look for the International Foods aisle if you cannot find them elsewhere.

It’s critical to note that cherry peppers can also garnish for cocktails, salads, and sandwiches.

This means, you’ll likely find them cut into rounds alongside olives in these cases.

  • Key Characteristics: Cherry peppers are mild, sweet, and slightly spicy. While they may not have the same shape and texture as Piquillo peppers, they can provide a similar balance of sweetness and spiciness. They work well in salads, sandwiches, or as a topping for pizzas.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of Cherry peppers as a substitute for Piquillo peppers in your recipes.

5 – Bell Peppers

bell peppers

Bell peppers are a common addition to many meals.

They have a sweet flavor with little or no heat to them.

These peppers typically come in three colors – green, red, and yellow.

While they’re often used as a base for salads and sides – you can also use this pepper topping on dishes such as burgers, sandwiches, and pizzas.

There are also many recipes available online that have bell peppers as the primary ingredient.

You’ll typically find them in plastic packaging alongside other vegetables when purchasing.

However, they can be found washed and cut in the refrigerated section of local markets.

Bell peppers can also be roasted to enhance their flavor if desired.

  • Key Characteristics: Bell peppers are mild and versatile. Although they don’t possess the smoky flavor of Piquillo peppers, they can still add a vibrant color and a mild sweetness to your dishes. They are commonly used in stir-fries, fajitas, or stuffed pepper recipes.
  • Proper Ratio: Use an equal amount of Bell peppers as a substitute for Piquillo peppers in your recipes.

Conclusion

Piquillo peppers are small in size with a thick skin.

They’re typically stuffed with cheeses or meats to make them sweeter, but can also be served fresh in salads or consumed pickled in jars.

If you’re looking for a substitute, opt for another chili pepper that isn’t on this list.

Each has a different flavor profile – which you can discover by trying them out in your kitchen.

No matter what type of dish you’re making, there should be an available substitute that fits the bill.

After all, it’s important to know how to make substitutions if needed without going through the trouble of finding piquillo peppers.

With this information, you’re now able to perfect your favorite meal without being too dependent on one particular ingredient.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I substitute for piquillo peppers?

Piquillo peppers are unique and hard to replace, but there are a few options that can stand in for the flavor and texture of piquillo peppers.

These include roasted bell peppers (for milder flavors), guindilla peppers (for more heat) or even sun-dried tomatoes (for an intense umami flavor).

Are piquillo peppers the same as red peppers?

No, piquillo peppers are not the same as red peppers. Red peppers are usually sweeter, milder, and larger than piquillo peppers.

Piquillo peppers have a unique smoky flavor and can be found in specialty stores or online.

Are piquillo peppers the same as cherry peppers?

No, piquillo peppers are not the same as cherry peppers. Cherry peppers have a mild sweet flavor and are usually much smaller than piquillo peppers.

Piquillo peppers have a smoky taste and can be found in specialty stores or online.

Can I substitute canned piquillo peppers for fresh?

Canned piquillo peppers can be used as a substitute for fresh, but they will have a slightly different flavor and texture.

Canned piquillo peppers are usually milder and softer than their fresh counterparts.

If you need the smoky flavor of a fresh pepper, try using roasted bell peppers or guindilla peppers as a substitute.

Is piquillo same as pimiento?

No, piquillo peppers are not the same as pimiento peppers.

Pimientos are smaller and sweeter than piquillo peppers, with a milder flavor. Piquillo peppers have a smoky taste and can be found in specialty stores or online.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Piquillo Peppers

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes
Servings

4

Servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Calorieskcal
Total time

30

minutes

Ingredients

  • Banana Peppers

  • Jalapeno Peppers

  • Roasted Fresno Peppers

  • Cherry Peppers

  • Bell Peppers

Directions

  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

Recipe Video

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