Poblano Vs Bell Pepper: Key Differences

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Poblano Vs Bell Pepper



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Looking at the general overview of poblano vs bell pepper, you may not be able to tell any significant difference.

Poblano pepper and bell pepper primarily differ in their origin, appearance, uses, and spiciness. Poblano peppers weigh 1500 SHU and are generally much spicier than bell peppers with zero Scoville heat units.

Now, let’s discuss both peppers further and in-depth to give you more information about these delicious peppers.

What Is Poblano Pepper? 

Poblanos belong to the Capsicum annuum family of peppers, including sweet bell peppers, jalapeños, and cayenne peppers, and add a peppery, slightly smoky flavor to dishes.

They originate from Puebla, Mexico, southeast of Mexico City; these peppers are large, elongated, and have deep green and glossy surfaces.

The poblano pepper is very popular across that country but may not get as much spotlight as their super spicy cousins like ghost peppers and Carolina reapers.

Poblano peppers are mild chile peppers and measure about 1,000 to 2,000 on the Scoville scale. This is way lesser than jalapeño- another popular Mexican pepper that ranges from 2,500 to 10,000.

Poblanos are usually harvested when green and unripe, so they are typically extra mild. Poblano chili tastes quite similar to green bell pepper, only with a little more kick. When cooked, poblanos lose their spiciness, making them slightly sweet.

As they mature, poblano pepper turns red and becomes spicier than when unripe. Poblano is super affordable and best when peeled and seeded, which can be done more easily after cooking. They can be used in dishes like chile Rellenochiles en nogada, and rajas con crema.

Dried red poblano peppers are called ancho chile peppers and are the most readily available form of these peppers.

Notwithstanding, the size and flavor of poblanos in both fresh and dried forms are identical, making them a versatile ingredient that can be used interchangeably in any recipe.

What is Bell Pepper?

Bell peppers have a range of different colors as they age, but they are commonly sold green and unripe; this happens to be the most popular variety. It has a mild, grassy, slightly bitter flavor with a crunchy, juicy texture.

Ripe bell peppers have a red color and are sweeter and fruitier. There are also orange and yellow varieties of bell peppers which tend to be sweeter than the green ones.

Bell peppers are the only member of the genus Capsicum that does not produce capsaicin, the chemical compound responsible for the strong burning sensation you experience when you consume spicy peppers or come in contact with their mucous membranes.

Since they don’t produce capsaicin, these peppers do not have any heat or spiciness. 

Bell peppers are at the lowest level of the Scoville scale because they do not contain any spiciness. Their lack of capsaicin is due to the loss of the gene responsible for the “hot” taste of the peppers.

The genus capsicum is recessive in bell peppers, eliminating the compound and the heat associated with it.

Differences Between Poblano Vs Bell Pepper

Poblano is a large chile pepper with a mild heat level. They are typically larger than a bell pepper but are skinnier with a pointy tip, similar to hot chile peppers like jalapeños. Poblanos are often sold while green, making it easy to confuse them for bell peppers.

Bell peppers (also known by the scientific name-capsicum annuum), on the other hand, belong to the Solanaceae (nightshade family), with several other belonging crops members like tomato, eggplant, and potato.

These peppers have a smooth, glossy exterior of green, red, yellow, purple, or orange colors. They are classically considered a non-starchy vegetable, but bell peppers are botanically classified as a fruit.

Can You Substitute Poblano For Bell Peppers?

Yes, you can substitute poblano for bell peppers; in fact, they are considered the best bell pepper substitute. Both peppers are large in size and share similarities in terms of taste and texture, with only a few unnoticeable changes.

Poblano peppers have an earthy and rich flavor like most bell pepper substitutes but are slightly spicy. They also have a similar appearance that makes some people confuse poblano peppers with bell peppers.

Poblano has a large cavity and thick wall, just like bell peppers, so they are perfect for stuffing recipes. Poblano peppers can be substituted for bell peppers in just about any recipe.

Are Poblano Peppers Hotter Than Bell Peppers?

The poblano pepper isn’t a super spicy or hot pepper; they have a moderate heat level and measure between 1,000 – 2,000 Scoville heat units (SHU) on the Scoville scale.

This is significantly different from bell pepper, which measures at 0 SHU and has zero spicinesses. So yes! Poblano peppers are hotter than bell peppers, although they are milder than jalapeños which measure around 8,000 SHU.


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