Chili peppers are a great way to add extra heat to a recipe, but they’re not always spicy. There are 50,000 types of pepper, and some of them are delicious, versatile, nutritious, and, most importantly for those who aren’t huge fans of spice, mild.

Bell peppers, for example, are sweet, slightly tangy, no-heat chili peppers, which are rich in vitamins and fiber. They’re also satisfyingly crunchy when you eat them raw, and they add a beautiful pop of color to your dishes. 

But if you’re looking for a tasty mild pepper to cook with, bell peppers aren’t your only option. Check out some of our favorite, flavorful peppers to cook with below, plus, we’ve listed some of our go-to vegan recipes.

If you’re looking for a guide to some of the spiciest peppers and sauces out there, we’ve also got you covered. Check out our guide here!

7 popular (and mild!) peppers 

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1 Bell pepper

As mentioned above, bell peppers are the most common and widely used types of peppers, especially in the West (they’re probably what first comes to mind when someone says “pepper”). They’re versatile and mild and come in a range of colors and sizes. The taste can vary slightly based on color—green peppers are slightly bitter, while red, yellow, and orange peppers are sweeter and fruitier.

2 Piquillo

These beak-shaped Spanish peppers are small, sweet, and slightly spicy (fun fact, the name piquillo means “little beak” in Spanish). Originating from Spain’s northern Navarra region, these peppers—which are commonly used in dishes like tapas and salad—are now common all over the world.

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3 Padrón

Another small, mild, slightly sweet Spanish pepper, padrón popular in tapas and is often served blistered in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. They’re also delicious when stuffed with vegan cream cheese, and you can roast, grill, or chop them into a salsa. 

4 Banana 

Banana peppers are mild, sweet, tangy, and slightly fruity chili peppers, which are often yellow or green. Their crisp, crunchy texture makes the perfect, versatile ingredient for dishes like salads, sandwiches, and stir-fries. You can also pop them on a pizza, or pickle them and enjoy them as a side dish. 

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5 Poblano

This mild heart-shaped chili pepper originates from Mexico. It’s rich and earthy, but when roasted, its smoky undertones intensify. Poblanos are commonly used in Mexican cuisine—you’ll usually find them in dishes like enchiladas, chiles rellenos, and salsa.



6 Cherry

A popular choice for Italian antipasto, cherry peppers are small, round chili peppers with a sweet and tangy taste and a crisp, crunchy texture. They’re also a popular choice for sandwiches, salads, and mezze boards, and they can be pickled and stuffed, too. 

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7 Shishito

These popular small Japanese chili peppers have a mild, sweet taste. They are often blistered or grilled before they are seasoned with salt, but they are also a great raw addition to salads and they make for a tasty tempura.

How to cook with peppers: 9 vegan recipes to try

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1 Vegan Thai-Inspired Red Curry Sweet Potato Soup

This hearty Thai-inspired soup combines sweet potato, red curry paste, and coconut milk with bell pepper, mushrooms, and peas for a flavorful, delicious midweek lunchtime dish. Garnish with cilantro, red onion, and lime for a finishing touch.
Get the recipe

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2 Vegan Copycat Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken

If you love the flavors of Panda Express, we have great news: you can easily create a great-tasting vegan version of its kung pao chicken. Complete with a slightly spicy and aromatic sauce, it’s arguably even more flavor-packed and delicious than the original.
Get the recipe

VegNews.CauliflowerPeperonataSkilletDesiree Nielsen 

3 Vegan Cauliflower Peperonata Skillet

This plant-forward twist on a traditional Roman bell pepper stew is loaded with anti-inflammatory vegetables, including cauliflower, tomatoes, cannellini beans, olives, and parsley. Serve over brown rice for a super wholesome meal.
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4 Vegan Tuscan Red Pepper and White Bean Soup

Inspired by Italy, this hearty soup features roasted red bell peppers, fresh herbs, tangy balsamic vinegar, and sweet tomatoes. Top with crispy, herby, pan-fried cannellini beans for a nourishing, nutritious, and comforting winter lunch.
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5Plantains With Spicy Red Pepper and Tomato Rice

This tasty dish—which combines rice, sweet plantains, and a tomato stew infused with fiery Scotch bonnet chilies and red peppers—takes inspiration from West African jollof rice. The golden-fried plantains add extra delicious texture.
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6Warm Butter Bean Salad With Roasted Bell Peppers

In this warm salad, smoky roasted peppers complement the buttery taste of large lima beans. Pili pili oil, peppery arugula, a splash of lemon, and a finishing touch of flaky sea salt bring the added flavor.
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7Turkish Flatbread With Eggplant and Tomatoes

This Turkish flatbread, in a signature canoe shape, is filled with eggplant, red bell pepper, and tomatoes. Accentuated with smoky paprika, red pepper flakes, and fresh mint, this dish embodies traditional, delicious Turkish flavors.
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VegNews.PaellaErin Scott

8 Vegan Mixed Grain Vegetable Paella

In this plant-based paella, herbed mixed grains meet peppery sausage, zesty rouille, and juicy Castelvetrano olives. It’s also with nutrient-rich vegetables, including cauliflower, fennel, and peppers (both shishito and bell!).
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VegNews.SummerPoblanoSaladCarina Skrobecki Photography

9 Vegan Summer Picnic Poblano Pepper Salad

This quick and vibrant dish is made with diced red and poblano peppers, fresh corn, and cubed avocados, which are tossed with chopped oregano and cilantro and then drizzled with lime juice and garlic-infused olive oil. It’s the perfect summer meal, but it’s delicious all year round.
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