Cubanelle pepper, also known as “Cuban pepper”, “Italian frying pepper”, or “long sweet pepper”, is a variety of sweet pepper similar to the Anaheim pepper. It belongs to the species Capsicum annuum. Young and tender peppers take a yellowish-green color but will turn bright red if allowed to ripen. Its heat level ranges between 100 and 1,000 Scoville heat units. They are 3–10 times milder than jalapeno peppers. This pepper is popularly used for frying and stuffing.
It’s simply awesome to gorge on turkey-stuffed Cubanelle peppers with flavorful Manchego cheese. Similarly, you’ll also love having Italian stuffed Cubanelle peppers with Italian turkey sausage and cheese.
This article explores the best Cubanelle pepper substitute that you can use in a pinch.
Substitutes for Cubanelle Pepper
If you are leaving out the regions of Italian and Cuban food culture, it’s hard to trace out Cubanelle – a.k.a. the Italian frying pepper.
So, what are the other peppers that can be used in place of Cubanelle? What is the best replacement for Cubanelle in your dish?
Fortunately, you have a few good options to replace Cubanelle, though there are no ideal substitutes.
Here are other peppers that make for a good substitution for Cubanelle peppers:
1. Anaheim pepper
Anaheim peppers, with a heat level of 500–2,500 Scoville Scale Units, are slightly hotter than the Cubanelle. Even so, they are both considered mild chilies. A little additional simmer of pepper heat is not going to make a big difference to most people.
The mild sweetness of Anaheim pepper is a good bonus point. In fact, you won’t notice a difference in a dish when they are used interchangeably.
The thicker walls of Anaheim green peppers make them more suitable for stuffing but not for frying. Still, you can use this pepper for frying like Cubanelle, but it takes a longer time to cook.
In short, Anaheim and Cubanelle are quite identical in shape, size, and overall flavor. They slightly differ in sweetness, heat, and thickness of their walls.
2. Bell pepper
Another fine alternative to Cubanelle is the bell pepper, which has zero heat. They both match the level of sweetness and have an indistinguishable flavor profile. And, of course, the only difference is the mild heat of Cubanelle.
Both work well for stuffing and have other similar uses in cooking. The thick walls of the bell pepper are a little disadvantageous for making fried peppers.
Note that bell peppers are large and have thick walls, yet they are a very good Cubanelle substitute. If this pepper isn’t available, even a bell pepper substitute might work in your stuffed pepper recipes.
3. Banana pepper
Banana pepper, which looks like Hungarian wax pepper, is not a perfect match for Cubanelle. However, they both look similar and have the same heat level, so it is possible to substitute them for each other in most recipes. Overall, Cubanelle peppers are very similar to banana peppers for stuffing.
Yes, banana peppers have a sweet tang that differentiates them from Cubanelle chili peppers. As a matter of fact, a little extra tang won’t make a big divergence to recipes that call for Cubanelle.
4. Poblano peppers
Indeed, poblanos are hotter than Cubanelle and also larger in size. Even so, this is a fantastic mild pepper for fillings like Cubanelle peppers. You can easily use poblano peppers in place of Italian frying chili peppers for stuffing. Also, one of the poblano substitutes could work well in your recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Are Cubanelle peppers similar to poblano peppers?
Both poblano and Cubanelle peppers are non-spicy types of pepper often used for stuffing and frying. Poblanos, like bell peppers, have thicker skin walls and are excellent for stuffing. On the other hand, Cubanelle peppers have thinner walls and are the best for frying. They are also used for stuffing, though not so great. Generally, Italian sweet peppers are sweeter and milder than regular poblanos.
Is Cubanelle a banana pepper?
No. They are two different peppers but a lot alike in flavor and heat. Banana peppers have a mild, tangy taste, but Cubanelle is sweeter. They are typically bright yellow, and it is possible for them to change to green, orange, or red as they ripen. Both these peppers have similar applications in cooking and can be used interchangeably.
Is a Cubanelle pepper hot?
No, they aren’t spicy. In fact, they are categorized as sweet chili peppers, like bell peppers. The heat level of Cubanelle ranges from 100 to 1,000 Scoville heat units but on overage, the heat level stays around 400 to 500 SHU.
Can I use pimento peppers as a replacement for Cubanelle chilies?
Yes, this heart-shaped pepper is a good swap to use when you don’t have Cubanelle chiles. However, they are smaller and not so great for stuffing. However, pimento peppers are also sweet and have a mild tanginess similar to Cubanelle. You can use it for cheese spreads, in sandwiches and salads, and for pickling.
The Bottom Line
Cubanelle is a sweet pepper that works best for stuffing. In a pinch, Anaheim pepper is the best substitute for Cubanelle pepper you can use, as they are both quite the same on all fronts. Other good alternatives to Cubanelle are bell pepper, banana pepper, and poblano pepper.