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What Do Banana Peppers Taste Like?


What do banana peppers taste like? If you think banana peppers taste like bananas, you’re not alone. After all, why are they called such if they don’t taste like them? But they taste nothing like our favorite tropical fruit. 

These peppers got that name because of their bright yellow color. Their shape and color would definitely make you think of bananas. Let’s explore the banana peppers’ flavor in detail and learn more about this ingredient.

wooden cutting board with sliced banana peppers

What Are Banana Peppers?

Banana peppers are chili peppers that fall under Capsicum annuum species. These peppers belong to the Solanaceae family, also known as nightshades. These vegetables got their name because they grow and flower at night or when shaded.

Like most chili peppers, banana pepper start as green. They then develop a yellow color, which is when they are suitable for harvest. If left to grow, they’ll turn orange and eventually red.

These peppers are edible at any stage of maturity. But if you want to plant some, the banana pepper seeds of the red ones are the most viable.

You can buy fresh banana peppers or pickled banana peppers, but the latter is more common in grocery stores. Some supermarkets would label them as yellow wax pepper or banana chili peppers.

Keep in mind that there are different kinds of banana peppers. But we’ll focus on the most commonly used kind – sweet banana peppers. 

How Hot Are Banana Peppers?

The Scoville scale measures the hotness of peppers. The scale rates peppers using Scoville heat units or SHU. The higher the SHU, the hotter the pepper. 

Banana peppers have 0-500 SHU, so they are mild peppers. These peppers can have no heat, hence the zero in the rating, which is the rate of bell peppers.  

For reference, cayenne peppers are at 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. Jalapenos are at 2,500-8,000 SHU. The hottest banana peppers are five times milder than the mildest jalapeno pepper. They are also 60 times milder than the mildest cayenne peppers. 

What Do Banana Peppers Taste Like?

Fresh banana peppers taste sweet. They also have mild heat and a slight tang. On the other hand, pickled banana pepper will have a salty taste due to the brine it comes with.

Pickled ones would have also lost the peppery notes in the brine. 

The good thing about these peppers is that they stay crunchy even when pickled. They’ll give your dishes a bite, so they’re perfect if you want to add texture. 

The banana pepper flavor profile is subtle, but it does make a difference. For this reason, they are a sought-after ingredient in home and professional cooking. 

What do pickled banana peppers taste like?

Pickled banana peppers have a sweet and tangy flavor with a hint of spiciness.

They offer mild heat and a crunchy texture when eaten.

Pickled banana peppers can be used in salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and as an ingredient in salsas.

What do banana peppers taste like on pizza?

Banana peppers have a mild, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with pizza. They provide a nice crunchy texture and vibrant color.

They also add a subtle sweetness to the savory flavors of tomato sauce and cheese.

The thin skin of banana peppers also makes them ideal for topping pizzas as they cook quickly in the oven.

Do banana peppers get spicy?

Yes, banana peppers can get quite spicy. The level of spiciness will depend on the variety and ripeness of the pepper.

Generally, green banana peppers are quite mild, while those that are red or yellow tend to be more pungent and spicy.

For a truly fiery experience, look for ones labeled “hot” or “extra hot.” If you’re looking for a milder kick, try using less-ripe yellow or red banana peppers.

Pickled banana peppers are also an option if you’re looking for a milder taste.

Types of Banana Peppers

As mentioned, there are different kinds of banana peppers. But these are the most popular ones:

Sweet Banana Peppers

Sweet banana peppers are the kind you can eat raw. They have a mild heat that can add a subtle kick to your dishes. The sweet variety is also great for pickling. Even when left to mature on the tree, sweet banana peppers will not become hotter. Instead, they will only grow sweeter.  

Hot Banana Peppers

On the other hand, hot banana peppers get hotter as they mature. Their heat range is from 5,000 to 15,000 SHU. They are significantly hotter than the sweet variety. 

Hybrid Banana Peppers

Hybrid banana peppers are a mix of two or more varieties of banana peppers. There are many kinds, including Banana Bill, Inferno Hot, and Hot Sunset. Growers prefer these varieties as they are more resistant to diseases. 

Banana Peppers Vs Pepperoncini Peppers

Banana peppers look a lot like other peppers, despite having a distinct yellow color. It’s easy to mistake them for Hungarian wax peppers and pepperoncini peppers.

Banana peppers are their own kind of peppers. So, no, banana peppers and pepperoncini peppers are not the same. They do belong to the same family, but they are different varieties.

For instance, pepperoncini peppers are hotter in a way. The mildest pepperoncini are at 100 SHU, while banana peppers can have zero SHU. They both max out at 500 SHU, though. 

They also differ in appearance, as banana peppers have a long, pointed shape. Meanwhile, pepperoncini peppers are typically bulbous. They look like longer red bell peppers with rounded tips.

Pepperoncini peppers have wrinkly skin. Banana peppers are smooth and shiny on the outside.

Banana pepper Vs Chili Pepper

When comparing banana pepper to chili pepper, one of the main differences is their respective levels of spiciness. These two peppers provide different options to enhance the overall experience.

Banana peppers are mild and sweet, while chili peppers can range from fairly mild to very hot.

Other differences include their shapes and sizes; banana peppers are generally longer and have a curved shape, while chili peppers are shorter and have a pointier shape.

In terms of nutritional value, banana peppers are higher in Vitamin C than chili peppers.

Banana peppers also provide more vitamins and minerals than chili peppers, such as potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium.

The flavor profiles between these two peppers differ significantly. Banana pepper’s mild sweetness provides a fruity flavor to dishes, while chili peppers offer a smoky heat.

How to use Banana Peppers

Banana peppers have different culinary uses. Their mild heat means most people can tolerate them. If you’re looking for an easy way to add flavor to your dishes, adding banana peppers can be a great option.

Stuffed Banana Peppers

You can use banana peppers to make stuffed peppers. Cut off the pepper’s stem and remove the seeds. Stuff them with almost anything, from meat, cheese, spices, or sausages. These peppers are firm enough to hold fillings even after being cooked. Place it in an oven-safe dish and bake until heated through.

Grilled Banana Peppers

Grilling is another great option for using banana peppers. Slice the peppers in half and remove any seeds. Brush them with oil before placing them on the grill. Grill the banana peppers over medium heat until they are lightly charred and tender. Serve them as a side dish with your favorite grilled steak or fish, or top them with some melted mozzarella cheese and serve with crusty bread.

Pickled Banana peppers

You can also pickle banana peppers to preserve them for later use. Start by slicing the peppers and removing the seeds if desired. Place the peppers in a jar with distilled white vinegar, water, and salt. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for three days before transferring it to the refrigerator for two weeks of curing.

Deep-fried banana peppers

Deep-fried banana peppers are a delicious and easy snack to make. You will need some long, thin banana peppers (about 4 per person). Slice them lengthwise and remove any seeds or stems. In a shallow bowl, mix together 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of salt. Dip the banana peppers into the flour mixture. Heat oil in a large skillet and fry till golden. Serve with your favorite dip.

More Recipes with banana peppers

You can make sautéed banana peppers. Slice banana peppers into thin strips and sauté with garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs for a tasty side dish to accompany grilled chicken or fish.

Make banana pepper quesadillas. Layer banana peppers and shredded cheese in a warm quesadilla. Grill or bake until the tortilla is crispy and the cheese is melted. Serve with salsa, and sour cream for a quick and easy dinner.

Pickled pepper rings make great toppings for pizza, nachos, salads, and even pasta dishes. 

You can eat banana pepper raw. Add them to sandwiches and salsa recipes for that ever-so-slight kick. Putting some banana peppers into dips also works wonders. 

Nutritional Benefits of Banana Peppers

Banana peppers do not come up lacking when it comes to nutrition. They contain a high amount of vitamin C, a known antioxidant.

Banana peppers also have vitamins A and B6, which are essential to health and well-being. 

These yellow wax peppers also have potassium and magnesium. You can also get trace amounts of calcium by eating banana peppers. 

On top of that, these peppers are also low in calories and high in fiber.

Banana Peppers Storing Tips

There are various ways to store banana peppers. But before storage, you should ensure that they’re still firm. A firm skin means that banana peppers are still in good condition. 

  1. One way to store them is to refrigerate them. Placing them inside a sealed plastic bag and putting the bag in the crisper makes them last up to three days.
  2. You can extend their life by freezing them. Frozen banana peppers can be good for a year. You can either freeze them whole or slice them. But you need to freeze them individually on a baking sheet first. Doing so will ensure they won’t clump up when stored together in the freezer. 
  3. Drying or dehydrating banana peppers also extends their shelf life. When properly dried, banana peppers stay at peak quality for a year. 
  4. Lastly, you can also make pickled banana pepper rings. Pickled banana peppers will last for two to three months, kept in the fridge.
What Are The Common Types Of Banana Peppers?

The most common types of banana peppers are sweet and hot banana peppers. Sweet banana peppers max out at 500 SHU, while the hot variety can reach up to 15,000 SHU.

What Makes Banana Peppers A Popular Ingredient?

Banana peppers are popular for many reasons. First, their bright yellow hue can add a pop of color to any dish. Second, the sweet taste of banana peppers blends well with other ingredients. Their subtle heat makes them tolerable for most people. Unlike other chili peppers, these varieties have a mild kick.

Do banana Pepper taste like bell pepper?

No, banana peppers do not taste like bell peppers. Banana peppers have a mild sweetness to them with a bit of heat, while bell peppers tend to be sweet and more mellow in flavor.

Is banana peppers hotter than jalapeno?

No, banana peppers are considered to be mild pepper. The Scoville rating of this pepper is 5500-1000 SHU, while jalapenos have a rating of 25500-8000 SHU. The amount of heat will also vary depending on the growing conditions. It’s safe to say that jalapenos are generally hotter compared to banana peppers.

How to make Banana Peppers less spicy?

When using fresh raw banana peppers in your recipes, you may want to deseed them first. This will help reduce the heat of the pepper. To do this, cut off the stem and slice the pepper lengthwise. Carefully remove the seeds with a spoon or knife.

Summary

Banana peppers are versatile peppers. You most likely had them in a sandwich or pizza. But what do banana peppers taste like? They have a sweet and tangy taste with a hint of heat. 

This makes them perfect garnishes and ingredients for pasta dishes, tacos, and nachos. Their taste, size, and texture also make them great for stuffing. Get some banana peppers today; you’ll never run out of recipe ideas for these flavorful peppers.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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