Grocery Guides

Cubanelle Peppers – All You Need to Know | Instacart Guide to Fresh Produce



Last Updated: Feb 25, 2022

What are Cubanelle peppers?

What’s mildly sweet with minimal heat? The answer: Cubanelle peppers.

These delightfully sweet green peppers can be used for almost any dish—think pizzas, sandwiches, casseroles, and more. Packing a punch in flavor with a little smokiness to make things interesting, Cubanelle peppers are widely loved across countries and cuisines.

Cubanelle peppers — also known as Cuban peppers or Italian Frying Peppers—are sweet capsicums with mild heat. They’re botanically named Capsicum Annuum.

These green peppers are usually 6in in length, oblong-shaped, with tapered ends. Their thin walls make them a crowd favorite in stuffed, baked, roasted, and grilled dishes.

Cubanelles are typically harvested and sold when they are still unripe in shades of light to bright green. Once matured, these delicious peppers come in a variety of yellows, oranges, and reds.

How hot are Cubanelle peppers?

Cubanelle peppers are pretty low on the Scoville Scale, a widely used measure of a pepper’s heat levels. In fact, these sweet peppers only have 100–1000 Scoville heat units (SHU).

In comparison, jalapeno peppers are rated 2500–8500 SHU. That should give you an idea of whether your taste buds can bear Cubanelles’ heat (or not).

Where did Cubanelle peppers originate from?

The origins of Cubanelle peppers can be traced back to South and Central America. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish and Portuguese explorers first introduced these sweet peppers to the Europeans. Then, in 1932, Cubanelle peppers made their first appearance in the United States.

These flavorful peppers are extensively used in Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican cuisines. They go by different names in Cuba and the Dominican Republic—ají chay and aji cubanela, respectively. Notably, Cubanelles are one of the star ingredients of sofrito, a Spanish tomato sauce.

Today, the Dominican Republic is the main exporter of Cubanelles. You can find these peppers in various cuisines, from Spanish to Italian.

What is the nutritional value of Cubanelle peppers?

Cubanelle peppers are a rich source of vitamin C with other nutrients such as:

  • Potassium
  • Vitamin A
  • Beta-carotene
  • Folic acid
  • Fiber

Toss a few of these green peppers into your meals to make them healthy and nutritious yet flavorful.

How are Cubanelle peppers grown?

Cubanelle peppers are sown in the ground and planted in frost-free conditions.

In areas with long growing seasons, Cuban peppers are directly planted in the soil. Meanwhile, in colder climates, the pepper seeds are first planted indoors 8 weeks before the last frost date. They are then transplanted into the ground after the frost completely disappears.

Ample sunlight, loamy soil, and regular watering provide the best conditions to produce fruits after 2–3 months. Unripe Cubanelle peppers are pale green or yellow and are usually harvested before they mature to vibrant orange and red.

When are Cubanelle peppers in season?

Cubanelles are usually available from summer to late fall. This fresh produce can be found in grocery stores, specialty stores, and farmers’ markets.

Rather than search high and low for these peppers, Instacart curates a wide selection of fresh produce from stores near you to save you the hassle. Shop Cubanelle peppers.

How do you pick Cubanelle peppers at the grocery store?

Picking Cubanelle peppers at the grocery store is pretty easy. Follow these 3 tips for true peppery indulgence:

  • Choose peppers with smooth, glossy skin in light to medium green (including the stem)—avoid those with wrinkles, cracks, or insect holes.
  • The stem should be firmly attached to the fruit without any fuzz or mold.
  • Gently press peppers to test their firmness—avoid mushy ones.

If you’re interested in fresh produce delivery, you can easily shop for Cubanelle peppers via Instacart. After adding a product to your cart, use the “Instructions” option to share with your Instacart shopper specific preferences or directions on choosing the best products.

How to store Cubanelle peppers

The longevity of Cubanelle peppers hinges upon their cooked or uncooked state. Uncooked Cubanelles (whole) have a long shelf life of 1–2 weeks when kept in the fridge. On the other hand, cut or cooked peppers only last for 2–3 days when refrigerated.

Try these 3 ways to store your Cubanelle peppers, depending on whether they are whole or cut, cooked or uncooked:

  • Whole, uncooked Cubanelles: wrap peppers in dry paper towels and store them in a plastic bag or container before placing them in the fridge.
  • Cut, uncooked Cubanelles: put peppers in an airtight container lined with dry paper towels to absorb the moisture. Then, place the container in the crisper drawer of the fridge.
  • Cooked Cubanelles: place peppers in a dry, airtight container before storing them in the fridge.

How to tell if Cubanelle peppers are bad

There are a few telling signs when your Cubanelle peppers start to go bad. Look out for:

  • Brown or black spots on the skin
  • Wrinkled skin texture
  • Mushy areas on the pepper
  • White mold or fuzz

Note: it’s normal for Cubanelle peppers to turn orange or red as they mature—these are edible and still taste great.

What can I substitute for Cubanelle peppers?

As mentioned earlier, fresh Cubanelle peppers aren’t available year-round. If you don’t have any Cubanelles on hand but really want to create a pepper-based dish, try these chili pepper substitutes instead:

  • Bell peppers are sweeter than Cubanelles but are bigger with thicker walls
  • Anaheim peppers are closest to the Cuban peppers in appearance and wall thickness but hotter and less sweet
  • Banana peppers have less heat than Cubanelles but quite similar in flavor profile and size

Cubanelle peppers—indulge in their sweet heat

Without a doubt, Cubanelle peppers will soon become a staple in your kitchen. After all, their hotness is well-tolerated, and their sweetness will quickly win over your taste buds.

To get fresh Cubanelle peppers right to your doorstep, Instacart offers same-day delivery for fresh produce in as little as two hours. Find fresh produce.



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