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Cubanelle Peppers: 13 Things to Know

Cubanelle peppers are delicious and sweet, making them a flavorful addition to many recipes!

Cubanelle peppers are sweet peppers prized for their mild flavor and thin skin, making them ideal for frying and roasting. They are green when they are unripe, turning to a deep red-orange color when they are fully mature.

To learn more about this tasty pepper, read on, as we go over the things that you should know about this fascinating pepper, including what they are, what they look like, how they taste, and so much more!

Photo of bright green Cubanelle pepper on white backdrop
Photo of Bert Folsom

What Are Cubanelle Peppers?

Cubanelle peppers are a type of sweet pepper that are used in recipes worldwide. They are especially popular in Cuban, Dominican, Haitian, Puerto Rican, and Italian cuisine, commonly incorporated into many of these countries’ dishes.

These delicious peppers taste amazing raw, stuffed, fried, roasted, or in sauces, giving you a lot of versatility in how you use them! If you want to add some flavor to your dishes, Cubanelle peppers are the way to go.

What Are Other Names for Cubanelle Peppers?

Cubanelle peppers are also referred to as “Cuban peppers” because they are so popular in Cuba. They are also commonly called “Italian frying peppers” since they taste amazing when you throw them in a pan and fry them with a little bit of oil. This is because they have a low water content, which gets them nice and crispy when fried!

What Do Cubanelle Peppers Look Like?

Typically, Cubanelle are between 4 to 6 inches (10.2 to 15.2 cm) long and around 2 inches (5.1 cm) wide. They are light green or a yellowish-green color when they are unripe but change to a bright red or red-orange color when they are fully developed. Their skin is nice and glossy, giving them a delicious-looking sheen.

As far as shape goes, these little beauties are long and skinny. Sometimes they have a slight curve, like a banana. They are thicker at the top near their stems and taper near the bottom.

What Do Cubanelle Peppers Taste Like?

Cubanelle peppers have a mildly sweet flavor with low heat. They have a traditional pepper taste mixed with a subtle hint of honey, giving them their pleasant sweetness. They also have a delightful crunchy texture when you eat them raw, which feels snappy yet tender in your mouth.

How Hot Are Cubanelle Peppers?

Cubanelles are considered a mild chili pepper. The pepper measure between 0 to 1000 Scoville heat units. This makes them about three times milder than jalapeno peppers and slightly less spicy than a mild poblano.

While they are mild, Cubanelle aren’t entirely heatless. Cubanelles that are on the spicier side of the spectrum can pack a bit of a punch. So, if you are looking for a pepper with more heat than a bell pepper but that won’t set your mouth on fire, cubanelles are a great choice!

How Sweet Are Cubanelle Peppers?

Cubanelle peppers are loved for their sweet, tender skin, making them a delicious addition to many recipes. They generally are a little sweeter and more flavorful than bell peppers.

photo of Cubanelle peppers on a canvas backdrop
Photo by Bhofack2

How Should You Store Cubanelle Peppers?

Cubanelle peppers can remain fresh for several weeks if you leave them in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Keep them whole, instead of chopped, as this will help preserve their freshness.

If you cut the peppers, put them in an airtight container to prevent them from losing moisture. Make sure to use them within a few days of cutting for the best results.

Can You Can Cubanelle Peppers to Preserve Them?

Yes! You can preserve Cubanelle peppers through canning, but before you start the canning process, you’ll need to decide whether you want your peppers to be plain or pickled.

Once you’ve made your decision, you can begin canning! Pickled peppers have the option to be steam-canned or water-bathed. Non-pickled peppers, on the other hand, have to be pressure canned to preserve their freshness.

How Tall Do Cubanelle Pepper Plants Get?

Typically, Cubanelle pepper plants grow to about 17 to 18 inches (43.2 to 45.7 cm) tall. They need a decent amount of room to grow, so if you plan to plant some in your home garden, make sure they are at least 18 to 24 inches (45.7 to 61.0 cm) apart.

If you’d prefer, you can also plant these peppers in 5-gallon (18.93-liter) planters. Make sure to only plant one Cubanelle per container, as overcrowding can negatively influence their growth.

How Long Do Cubanelle Peppers Take To Grow?

Cubanelle peppers have a medium growth rate, typically taking between 70 to 80 days to reach maturity. However, these peppers hate cold weather. Anything below 55 °F (12.8 °C) can impact their growth, resulting in a lower yield. So, if you plan to plant some cubanelles at home, make sure to put them in an area that receives lots of sunshine!

Where Can You Buy Cubanelle Peppers?

Typically you can find Cubanelles at grocery stores that have specialty fruit and veggie sections. If you don’t have one of these nearby, you can also check out your local farmer’s market. Typically, Cubanelles are in season from late summer to early fall, so this is the best time to be on the lookout for them.

What Other Peppers are Cubanelle Peppers Similar to?

Some people confuse Cubanelle peppers with banana peppers because they look so similar. However, they are different, with Cubanelles being much sweeter than banana peppers. However, they share a similar amount of heat, permitting them to be substituted for each other in certain recipes.

Cubanelles are also similar to bell peppers. However, they are a bit sweeter and tend to be a little bit more flavorful. Their skin is also a little thinner, making them better for frying than their thicker-skinned cousins.

Cubanelle peppers share the most similarities with Anaheim peppers, which are often recommended as substitutes for them in recipes. However, Anaheim’s tend to be a little bit spicier (more about this below)!

Are Cubanelle and Anaheim Peppers the Same?

While these two pepper varieties are similar, they aren’t the same thing. Anaheim peppers are spicier than Cubanelles, with Scoville heat levels between 500 to 2,500. While this still isn’t very hot, it’s quite a bit higher than the super mild Cubanelle pepper. Also, Cubanelles tend to be slightly less flavorful than Anaheims, but they both share a similar sweetness that makes them excellent replacements for each other.

Closing Thoughts

Cubanelles are delicious, sweet peppers with a hint of heat. They are ideal for frying, roasting, and eating raw due to their thin walls and crunchy texture. While they are remarkably similar to their cousin, the Anaheim pepper, they are milder and less flavorful. These peppers are ideal for people who love the taste of bell peppers but are looking for a little more flavor and heat.