Skip to Content

13 Best Cubanelle Pepper Substitute That Cubans Do Not Know

Cubanelle Pepper is a type of long, thin, and green pepper. Its taste is similar to bell peppers, but with an extra zing. The plant from which it is extracted grows to about two feet tall. You need to harvest the Cubanelle peppers when they are still green.

This pepper can be used for many dishes, from salads and pasta to omelettes. It might even work as a substitute for bell peppers when you decide to grill or roast food.  If you happen to run out of it, here are some alternatives you can try to find in your kitchen.

  1. Peperone Crusco
  2. Shishito
  3. Sweet Pepper
  4. Pasilla Chile
  5. Banana Pepper
  6. Pimento
  7. Anaheim Pepper

This article provides you with several possible substitutes. However, some are better at recreating the flavor profile you may be familiar with in Cubanelle.

But first, let’s understand why are they called Cubanelle peppers

13 Best Substitute For Cubanelle Pepper

Cubanelle Pepper Substitute

They are called Cubanelle peppers because they are popular in Cuba. In fact, they are also called “Cuban peppers.” They are also called “Italian frying peppers” because they turn out nice and crispy after frying with a tiny amount of oil.

Cubanelle peppers are ripe when they turn bright red to orange-red. The pods should grow up to 4 to 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. The shape is comparable to a banana, with the peppers tapering to their tips. When ripe, the skin should be glossy.

Chefs add these peppers because they add a nice, hearty flavor with spice that does not take over the dishes. Cubanelle peppers are also excellent sources of vitamins and minerals.

For the best substitute for cubanelle pepper, you may want to go for Peperoni Crusco or Shishito. They are the ones that will likely provide you with the mildly spicy and sweet combination that you are longing for.

Peperone Crusco

Peperone Crusco

This Italian red pepper is a zero heat replacement for Cubanelle peppers. It Is mainly used as a flavor enhancer and works for side dishes.

Because of its almost zero heat, it not only works on savory recipes but also on sweet ones, such as chocolate and ice cream.


This mildly spicy pepper is slightly hotter than the Cubanelle pepper at 1500 SHU on the Scoville scale. This green Japanese favorite only turns green when it matures. It is wrinkly and sort of looks like ground cherries.

It is suitable for stuffing and adding to recipes that need grilling and frying. It can also be eaten raw when mixed with a salad or made into a condiment.

See also  15 Unique Chipotle Powder Substitute You Have Never Heard Of

Sweet Pepper


Sweet pepper is also known by the name bell pepper. It is a good Cubanelle pepper substitute. It is less spicy than Cubanelle peppers, although the SHU levels are not too far apart.

You can use this substitute when you are flavoring food, topping pizza, and putting some spice in your soup.

Pasilla Chile

This substitute is at 1000 to 3999 SHU on the Scoville scale. So, it is a little spicier than Cubanelle peppers. It might work for those who want more zing in their meat dishes.

Banana Pepper


You can use it to substitute for Cubanelle Pepper in your salads. Banana pepper is green, crunchy, and resembles Korean chili.

Note, though, that it only provides you with the peppery side of Cubanelle. Banana peppers are very low on the Scoville scale at 0 to 500 SHU.


Pimento is a popular red heart-shaped pepper that can also work as a substitute for Cubanelle peppers. It is at 100 to 500 SHU on the Scoville scale.

However, its peppery taste and low heat make it a good Cubanelle pepper substitute.

Anaheim Pepper

Anaheim Pepper

You can go with the Anaheim pepper if you want something a little spicier that still delivers on the sweet and spicy taste. It is a milder variation of the New Mexico Chile at 500 to 2500 SHU on the Scoville scale.

It is excellent with many fast foods, such as French fries, burritos, enchiladas, and burgers. It also works well on rice.

Thai Prik Num

This often light green chili pepper can also substitute for Cubanelle peppers. In Thailand, this pepper is often served raw or pickled. It is added to dishes that don’t need spiciness.

They look somewhat similar in form to banana peppers because they belong to the same family as the latter. If you want something spicier, pick the darker green or red ones over the light green ones.

Use this as a substitute if you want to add flavor and color without peppers’ mouth-numbing spice.

Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers

Poblano peppers are from central Mexico but can be found all over the United States. They look like bell peppers but have more pointed bottoms. They are large, so they can work well for stuffing, just like Cubanelle peppers.

Ancho peppers are actually the dried variant of poblano peppers. Their Spanish name means “broad.” Harvest these peppers when they are green. However, they turn red and hotter when they mature.

See also  How To Melt Butter In Microwave? Follow These 4 Easy Steps

These peppers are moderately hot. So, they are spicier than Cubanelle peppers. You may go for them if you need a little more spice in your dishes.


Jalapenos can also work as an excellent Cubanelle pepper replacement. They look like chili peppers. So, their shapes are a little different from Cubanelle peppers. They have a light flavor like Cubanelles, but the latter has an earthier flavor profile.

You can use jalapenos to substitute for Cubanelles in salads and salsas. They are spicier. So, you may have to make it less so by removing its pits and ribs before using the pepper as an ingredient.



Paprika is a mild pepper that you can buy crushed or dried instead of fresh. If you are looking for a Cubanelle pepper substitute, you may want to avoid the Hungarian paprika.

This variant is a little spicier than what you may need. It also has a distinctive flavor achieved by grounding and drying the paprika. It results in getting a smoky flavor.

So, you may not find it a good substitute for Cubanelle peppers that way unless you are out to find something completely different.

So while paprika can be used as a substitute, you can treat it as a last resort.

Bell peppers

Since bell peppers can serve as poblano substitutes, they can also replace cubanelle peppers. They are milder than poblano but have the flavor and appearance down to pat.

You can expect rich, albeit less sweet, flavor compared to colored bell peppers. Because of their size, you can put stuffing in them.

New Mexico Chilis

Red New Mexico chillis have an earthy sweetness that can make it work as a Cubanelle substitute. They can be toasted for about 5 to 10 minutes over medium heat or added raw to your mix.

Cubanelle Pepper Substitute Related FAQs

Are Cubanelle peppers the same as Poblano peppers?

Both peppers are mild, but they are not the same. Cubanelle peppers are sweeter, smaller, and thinner skin. They are pale green and turn red as they mature, while the Poblano peppers are already red upon harvest.

They have an earthy flavor and are slightly spicier at their medium-high heat level.

It is possible to find one of each kind with approximately the same spice level. Still, Poblanos peak at 2500 SHU while Cubanelle peppers peak at 1000 SHU.

Can you eat Cubanelle peppers raw?

Yes, they are suitable for people who just need a little spice. Cubanelle pepper can work at its low heat of 1000 SHU on the Scoville scale. So, you can eat these peppers either raw or cooked.

See also  14 Perfect Dark Soy Sauce Substitute The Asians Do Not Know

They are crispy when raw and have a sweet tinge to their spice. They even work well on salads and snacks.

Where are Cubanelle peppers often used?

Cubanelle peppers are popular in recipes found all over Central America. They are regulars in Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. You should have no problems finding them in US supermarkets as they are increasingly available. Of course, the substitutes offered in this article can provide you a little bit of the same experience.

Are Cubanelle peppers the same as banana peppers?

Cubanelle peppers are entirely different from banana peppers, although the latter can serve as a substitute in recipes. The two peppers look similar, and may also have similar heat and flavor. So, they can serve as substitutes for each other. Note that Cubanelles are sweeter, though.

Is it wise to stuff Cubanelle peppers?

The Cubanelle peppers are often added to salads and casseroles. You may even find them in yellow mole sauce or pizza toppings and stuffings.

They are used in dishes that you would usually add bell peppers to. So if you are not familiar with Cubanelles, you can at least get a feel for what they are used for.

These peppers are also a good size for stuffing. Cubanelle peppers are long and skinny. They are low in spice, and they do not thicken when fried. You can add your favorite mix. Then, you can bake or grill the stuffed peppers.

What are the reasons you need substitutes for Cubanelle peppers?

Cubanelle peppers are easy enough to find. Although they are more often sourced from Central America, they can also be easily bought in American supermarkets. However, the following can be good reasons for finding substitutes:

  • You ran out of Cubanelle peppers while cooking.
  • You didn’t store your peppers properly, and they rotted before their time.
  • You want something spicier than Cubanelle peppers without completely changing the taste of your dish.
  • You want a different color profile for your salads and garnish.
  • They are not available at your local supermarket or farmer’s market.

Can you grow your own Cubanelle peppers?

While there may be a lot of possible substitutes for the Cubanelle pepper, you may still choose this pepper. You may even decide to grow your own. It takes 70 to 80 days for your peppers to reach maturity.