Bell pepper
Green, yellow, and red bell peppers
SpeciesCapsicum annuum
Scoville scale0 SHU

The bell pepper (also known as sweet pepper, pepper, capsicum /ˈkæpsɪkəm/[1] or in some places, mangoes[2]) is the fruit of plants in the Grossum Group of the species Capsicum annuum.[3][4] Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colors, including red, yellow, orange, green, white, chocolate, candy cane striped, and purple. Bell peppers are sometimes grouped with less pungent chili varieties as "sweet peppers". While they are botanically fruits—classified as berries—they are commonly used as a vegetable ingredient or side dish. Other varieties of the genus Capsicum are categorized as chili peppers when they are cultivated for their pungency, including some varieties of Capsicum annuum.

Peppers are native to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. Pepper seeds were imported to Spain in 1493 and then spread through Europe and Asia. The mild bell pepper cultivar was developed in the 1920s, in Szeged, Hungary.[5] Preferred growing conditions for bell peppers include warm, moist soil in a temperature range of 21 to 29 °C (70 to 84 °F).[6]


A variety of colored bell peppers
Chef chopping bell peppers

The name pepper was given by Europeans when Christopher Columbus brought the plant back to Europe. At that time, black pepper (peppercorns), from the unrelated plant Piper nigrum originating from India, was a highly prized condiment. The name pepper was applied in Europe to all known spices with a hot and pungent taste and was therefore extended to genus Capsicum when it was introduced from the Americas. The most commonly used name of the plant family chile is of Mexican origin, from the Nahuatl word chilli.

The terms bell pepper (US, Canada, Philippines), pepper or sweet pepper (UK, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe), and capsicum (Australia, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) are often used for any of the large bell-shaped peppers, regardless of their color. The fruit is simply referred to as a "pepper", or additionally by color ("green pepper" or red, yellow, orange, purple, brown, black).[7] In the Midland region of the U.S., bell peppers, either fresh or when stuffed and pickled, are sometimes called mangoes.[8]

In some languages, the term paprika, which has its roots in the word for pepper, is used for both the spice and the fruit – sometimes referred to by their color (for example groene paprika, gele paprika, in Dutch, which are green and yellow, respectively). The bell pepper is called "パプリカ" (papurika) or "ピーマン" (pīman, from French piment pronounced with a silent 't') in Japan.[9] In Switzerland, the fruit is mostly called peperone, which is the Italian name of the fruit. In France, it is called poivron, with the same root as poivre (meaning "pepper") or piment. In Spain it is called pimiento morrón, the masculine form of the traditional spice, pimienta and "morrón" (snouted) referring to its general shape. In South Korea, the word "피망" (pimang from the French piment) refers to green bell peppers, whereas "파프리카" (papeurika, from paprika) refers to bell peppers of other colors. In Sri Lanka, both the bell pepper and the banana pepper are referred to as a "capsicum" since the bell pepper has no Sinhalese translation. In Argentina and Chile, it is called "morrón".

Peppers, sweet, red, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy27 kcal (110 kJ)
4.64 g
Sugars2.4 g
Dietary fiber1.8 g
0.13 g
0.9 g
Vitamin A equiv.
157 μg
1624 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.055 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.142 mg
Niacin (B3)
1 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.317 mg
Vitamin B6
0.3 mg
Folate (B9)
47 μg
Vitamin C
142 mg
Vitamin E
1.58 mg
Vitamin K
7.4 μg
6 mg
0.35 mg
11 mg
0.122 mg
27 mg
213 mg
3 mg
0.2 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water92 g

Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults,[10] except for potassium, which is estimated based on expert recommendation from the National Academies.[11]


The most common colors of bell peppers are green, yellow, orange and red. Other colors include brown, white, lavender, and dark purple, depending on the variety. Most typically, unripe fruits are green or, less commonly, pale yellow or purple. Red bell peppers are simply ripened green peppers,[12] although the Permagreen variety maintains its green color even when fully ripe. As such, mixed colored peppers also exist during parts of the ripening process.



Like the tomato, bell peppers are botanical fruits but culinary vegetables. Pieces of bell pepper are commonly used in garden salads and as toppings on pizza. There are many varieties of stuffed peppers prepared using hollowed or halved bell peppers. Bell peppers (and other cultivars of Capsicum annuum) may be used in the production of the spice paprika.


A raw red bell pepper is 94% water, 5% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and contains negligible fat. A 100 gram (3.5 ounce) reference amount supplies 26 calories, and is a rich source of vitamin C – containing 158% of the Daily Value (DV) – vitamin A (20%), and vitamin B6 (23% DV), with moderate contents of riboflavin (12%), folate (12% DV), and vitamin E (11% DV). A red bell pepper supplies twice the vitamin C and eight times the vitamin A content of a green bell pepper.[13]

The bell pepper is the only member of the genus Capsicum that does not produce capsaicin, a lipophilic chemical that can cause a strong burning sensation when it comes in contact with mucous membranes. They are thus scored in the lowest level of the Scoville scale, meaning that they are not spicy. This absence of capsaicin is due to a recessive form of a gene that eliminates the compound and, consequently, the "hot" taste usually associated with the rest of the genus Capsicum. This recessive gene is overwritten in the Mexibelle pepper, a hybrid variety of bell pepper that produces small amounts of capsaicin (and is thus mildly pungent). Sweet pepper cultivars produce non-pungent capsaicinoids.[14]


In 2020, global production of bell peppers was 36 million tonnes, led by China with 46% of the total, and secondary production by Mexico, Indonesia, and Turkey.[15] The United States ranks 5th in total production, as it produces approximately 1.6 billion pounds annually.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Wells, John C. (2008), Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.), Longman, p. 123, ISBN 9781405881180
  2. ^ Heichelbech, Rose. "The Reason Why Midwesterners Call Bell Peppers "Mangoes"". 12 Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 July 2023.
  3. ^ "Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)". CABI. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Capsicum annuum (Grossum Group) (Bell Pepper, Red pepper, Sweet Pepper) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox". Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  5. ^ Sasvari, Joanne (2005). Paprika: A Spicy Memoir from Hungary. Toronto, ON: CanWest Books. p. 202. ISBN 9781897229057.
  6. ^ "Growing Peppers: The Important Facts". Archived from the original on 27 January 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Bell and Chili Peppers". Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, US Department of Agriculture. October 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Dictionary of American Regional English". Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  9. ^ Azhar Ali Farooqi; B. S. Sreeramu; K. N. Srinivasappa (2005). Cultivation of Spice Crops. Universities Press. p. 336. ISBN 978-81-7371-521-1.
  10. ^ United States Food and Drug Administration (2024). "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  11. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Food and Nutrition Board; Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (2019). Oria, Maria; Harrison, Meghan; Stallings, Virginia A. (eds.). Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-48834-1. PMID 30844154.
  12. ^ "Vegetable of the Month: Bell Pepper". CDC Fruit & Vegetable of the Month. Archived from the original on 3 January 2003. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  13. ^ University of the District of Columbia. "Peppers" (PDF). Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  14. ^ Macho, Antonio; Lucena, Concepción; Sancho, Rocio; Daddario, Nives; Minassi, Alberto; Muñoz, Eduardo; Appendino, Giovanni (1 February 2003). "Non-pungent capsaicinoids from sweet pepper". European Journal of Nutrition. 42 (1): 2–9. doi:10.1007/s00394-003-0394-6. ISSN 1436-6207. PMID 12594536. S2CID 25276690.
  15. ^ "Bell pepper production". Tridge. 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  16. ^ "Bell Peppers". Colorado School of Public Health. Retrieved 19 November 2022.