Are you looking to master the art of cutting a bell pepper like a pro? Let me show you how to easily slice and dice this versatile vegetable with precision and ease.
Table of Contents
- How to select bell peppers
- How to cut bell peppers
- Whole peppers for stuffing
- Cut in half for stuffing
- How to cut bell pepper into strips
- Cut bell pepper into rings
- Sliced bell peppers
- Diced bell peppers
- More ways to use bell peppers
- Frequently asked questions
- How the color of a bell pepper impacts the taste
- How to Cut a Bell Pepper Recipe
From removing the stem to perfecting your chopping technique, learn how to cut a bell pepper using this simple step-by-step guide. The crisp pepper can be sliced, diced, or hollowed out for stuffing. Bell peppers are a versatile ingredient to add a colorful crunch to salads, appetizers, entrees, and side dishes.
Part of the Capsicum genus, these types of peppers are botanically considered a fruit because they grow from a flowering pepper plant and contain seeds. However, they are often called vegetables for culinary applications, so technically, they are both! Enjoy them raw, or enhance the delicious flavor by cooking them in stir-fries, soups, and stews.
How to select bell peppers
They are available year around in most markets, grown and shipped from different regions worldwide. The peak season is the summer in the United States.
Here are handy tips for selecting peppers when you are at the market:
- Appearance: Look for an even hue on the pepper. You may notice some green spots on red, yellow, or orange peppers. That’s okay. The color changes as it matures. This skin should shine and not be wrinkly, with no soft spots, cuts, or blemishes.
- Touch: Pick up a bell pepper. It should feel firm and relatively heavy for its size, signaling it is packed with moisture for a crispy bite.
- Shape: Some peppers are symmetrical, while others are not. This does not impact the taste. However, if you plan to stuff the bell peppers and want them to stand up on the bottom, place them on your palm and see if they wobble.
How to cut bell peppers
There are various ways to cut bell peppers, depending on the application. I’ll show you how to cut them for different applications like stuffing, large pieces, rings, slices, and diced peppers. You’ll need a sharp knife; a chef’s knife and a paring knife come in handy. A spoon helps dig out the membrane and seeds.
Bell peppers have smooth skin, but giving them a good rinse before cutting is still essential. This helps remove any surface dirt and debris during harvesting, shipping, and storage. Washing is crucial, especially if serving the peppers raw for dips and appetizers.
Whole peppers for stuffing
For whole peppers, trim off a ½ inch from the stem end. Use a paring knife to trim the membrane connected to the flesh. Remove the core with your fingers and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Trim the bottom of the pepper if needed to help it stand up in the pan.
Uses: Stuffed peppers with ground beef, chicken, or turkey filling.
Cut in half for stuffing
For halves, use a paring knife to remove the stem, which also helps to pull out the core. Stand it up and slice the pepper in half lengthwise. Trim the white membrane and use a spoon to remove the seeds.
Uses: Turkey-stuffed peppers or halves are also great for grilling or roasting.
How to cut bell pepper into strips
Trim the stem so the pepper can be placed on a cutting board, stem side down. Use the natural indented lines along the sides as a guide to cut into large pieces. There will be 3 to 4 of them, depending on the shape of the pepper. Discard the core and seeds.
This is also used as the popular how-to cut a bell pepper hack to cut the flesh from the seeds with less mess. From here, you can cut the pieces into strips or dice them.
Cut bell pepper into rings
Lay the pepper on its side. Use a chef’s knife to cut off the top of the pepper about ½ inch from the stem end. Use a paring knife to trim the white membrane, then use a spoon to remove the seeds. Slice into ¼ to ½ inch thick rings crosswise. Halve the rings if sauteeing.
Uses: Roasting, grilling, salads, using in stir-fries or fajitas.
Sliced bell peppers
Cut off the top a ½ inch from the stem and trim the bottom end. Make one slice lengthwise to open up the pepper. Use a chef’s knife to run it along the inside of the pepper to trim off the white membrane and seeds.
Slice the large strip of pepper into the desired width; 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1-inch or larger slices depending on the dish. You can slice skin-side up or down, depending on what you are more comfortable with. Alternatively, use the peppers after cutting with the piece method to slice them into thinner strips.
Diced bell peppers
Once the bell peppers are cut into strips, it’s easy to dice them into smaller bite-sized pieces. Turn the sliced bell peppers 90 degrees to your knife, then chop. Cut them into 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1-inch or larger dice depending on the culinary application.
- Whole Bell Peppers: Store on the counter at room temperature if using within 1 to 2 days. Place them in the crisper drawer for 1 to 2 weeks. If left too long, you’ll notice the skin getting wrinkly. This indicates that it’s losing moisture and won’t be as crisp. It’s best to use them right away or freeze bell peppers to use in cooked dishes.
- Cut Bell Peppers: Refrigerate large pieces, slices, or diced bell peppers in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. A portion of paper towel can be placed on the bottom of the container to wick up any moisture, extending the shelf life to about 7 days. It’s time to throw them away once they feel slimy or mushy.
More ways to use bell peppers
Bell peppers add an exciting texture and flavor to any dish. They taste delicious raw or cooked. Try them in these delicious recipes:
- Roasted bell peppers
- Denver omelet or sweet potato hash
- Cowboy caviar or mango salsa
- Vegetarian chili or turkey chili
- Greek salad
Frequently asked questions
Raw bell peppers are packed with vitamin C (ascorbic acid), an important antioxidant that protects the body’s cells and keeps them healthy and functioning. It also contains nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin K, vitamin E, and quercetin. It’s low in natural sugars and calories and has good levels of fiber. The color pigment of the pepper impacts the benefits. Red bell peppers deliver vitamin A and beta-carotene.
Yes! The white membrane inside the bell pepper is called the pith. It doesn’t have much flavor, so it can be easily incorporated into dishes without negatively impacting the taste. It’s usually removed to help make slicing or dicing easier, which gives nice knife cuts for presentation.
Bell pepper seeds are edible but have a bitter taste. It’s easiest to remove them when they are still stuck to the white membrane that also connects to the stem. Slice the pepper lengthwise to remove the flesh, not cutting into the core. Alternatively, cut off the stem and bottom end, and use a paring knife to trim the membrane, which helps release the seeds. Use a spoon to scoop out any loose seeds.
Cut bell peppers freeze well for up to 6 months. The texture becomes softer because the plant’s cell walls burst from the juices’ expansion. It’s best to use in cooked applications or pureed dips. While peppers can be frozen, remove the stem, membrane, and seeds to make preparation easier.
How the color of a bell pepper impacts the taste
Different varieties deliver a taste ranging from sweet to slightly bitter, adding depth to any recipe. The color is based on maturity, starting from green, turning yellow, orange, then red. Green bell peppers tend to have a more bitter, peppery taste. Yellow and orange are sweet, and red is the most mature and sweetest.
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How to Cut a Bell Pepper
- 1 bell pepper
- Wash – Rinse the bell pepper under cool running water. Dry with a clean towel.
- Whole – Trim off a ½ inch from the stem end. Use a paring knife to trim the membrane connected to the flesh. Remove the core with your fingers and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Trim the bottom if needed to help it stand up in the pan for stuffing.
- Halves – Use a paring knife to cut down and around the stem. Pull the stem out to remove the core. Stand it up and slice the pepper in half lengthwise. Trim the white membrane and use a spoon to remove any remaining seeds.
- Pieces – Trim the stem so that the pepper can be placed on a cutting board, stem side down. Use the natural indented lines along the sides of the pepper as a guide to cut into large pieces. There will be 3 to 4 pieces, depending on the shape of the pepper. Discard the core and seeds.
- Rings – Trim off a ½ inch from the stem end. Use a paring knife to trim the membrane connected to the flesh and a spoon to remove the seeds. Slice into ¼ to ½ inch thick rings crosswise. Halve the rings if sauteeing.
- Slices – Trim off a ½ inch from the stem and bottom end. Make one slice lengthwise to open it up. Carefully use a chef's knife to run it along the inside of the pepper to trim off the white membrane and seeds. Slice the large strip into the desired width.
- Diced – Trim off a ½ inch from the stem and bottom end. Make one slice lengthwise to open up the pepper. Carefully use a chef's knife to run it along the inside to trim off the white membrane and seeds. Slice the large strip into the desired width. Turn the sliced pepper 90 degrees to your knife, then chop it into diced pieces.
- Yield: One diced bell pepper yields about 1 cup, depending on size.
- Storing: Place cut pieces in an airtight container for up to 3 to 5 days. Adding a paper towel to the bottom of the container can help extend storage to about 7 days. Discard once the flesh becomes brown or mushy.
- Freezing: Frozen bell peppers can last for up to 6 months when stored in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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