Cubanelle Pepper: Substitutes, Flavor, Heat Level, Uses

cubanelle pepper substitute

It’s simply awesome to gorge on turkey stuffed Cubanelle peppers with flavorful Manchego cheese. Similarly, you’ll also love to have Italian stuffed Cubanelle peppers with Italian turkey sausage and cheese.

This article explores the essence of this pepper, its uses, flavor, and the best Cubanelle pepper substitute that you can use in a pinch.

What are Cubanelle peppers?

The Cubanelle, also known as “Cuban pepper” and “Italian frying pepper”, is a type of sweet pepper. The Dominican Republic is the main exporter of this cultivar. Mostly, you can find this chili used in authentic cuisines from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.

This pepper appears light yellowish green when unripe and orange to red when ripened. They have a close similarity to bell peppers and banana peppers.

The pods grow to 4-6 inches long and 2 inches wider when fully matured. Cubanelle chili has a glossy shine with a smooth and firm outer shell.

Basically, this is sweet pepper, although it has a mild to moderate level of heat.

Cubanelle pepper is a suitable replacement for Anaheim peppers, bell peppers, and banana peppers.


How hot is the Cubanelle pepper? This is a mild pepper measuring in at 10 – 1,000 Scoville Heat Units. Approximately, 5 times milder than commonly used Jalapeno peppers. Still, some might sense a throb of heat, depending on the heat tolerability of a person.

What is the taste of Cubanelle peppers? They are sweet and crunchier than a typical bell pepper. Usually, you might experience a slight simmer of heat from this chili.


When you think of pepper stuffings, Cubanelle peppers are a wonderful option to consider. Likewise, they are exceptionally good for your casseroles, salads, or a yellow mole sauce.

Minced Cubanelle peppers taste great on pizza or subs. Chicken or turkey stuffed peppers taste yummy. Try to stuff them with your favorite mixture, then bake or grill them, and you have a refreshingly delicious dish.

Some love to add this pepper to vegetable dishes just as you do with bell peppers.

To your advantage, they get cooked fast as they have thinner walls than the bell pepper. Their large pods with thinner walls also make them exceptionally good for grilling, baking, or filling.

It’s easy to prepare a quick snack by pan-frying this pepper and dashing them with a pinch of salt.

What Is A Good Cubanelle Pepper Substitute?

If you are leaving out of 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 use in place of Cubanelle?  What is the best replacement for Cubanelle for your dish?

Favorably, 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 SHU, are slightly hotter than Cubanelle. Even so, they both are 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 the difference in a dish when they are used interchangeably.

The thicker walls of Anaheim make them more suitable for stuffing but not for frying pepper. 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 the thickness of their walls.

2. Bell pepper

Another fine alternative to Cubanelle is the bell pepper with zero heat. They both also 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 stuffings and have other similar uses in cooking. The thick walls of the bell pepper are a little disadvantageous for making fried pepper.

Note, bell peppers are large and have thick walls, yet a very good substitute for Cubanelle.

3. Banana pepper

Banana pepper is not a perfect match for Cubanelle. However, they both look similar and have the same heat level, thus it is possible to substitute them for each other in most recipes.

Yes, banana peppers have a sweet tang that differentiates them from Cubanelle. 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 pepper for fillings. You can easily use poblano peppers in place of Italian frying pepper for stuffings.

The Bottom Line

Cubanelle is a sweet pepper that works best for stuffings. In a pinch, Anaheim pepper is the best Cubanelle pepper substitute you can use as they both are quite the same on all fronts. Other good alternatives to Cubanelle are bell pepper, bananas pepper, and poblano pepper.