Is there any difference between green, red and yellow bell peppers, barring the color?

Normally when I buy a pack of 3 I always leave the yellow till last. It's normally due the coloring looking less appealing in the dish.

  • 2
    Appeal-wise, if I did a tomato and lettuce salad and wanted to use peppers with it, I'd go for the yellow one first :)
    – takrl
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 13:37
  • 2
    Visual appeal-wise I'd use all three, because such mix of strong colors looks awesome!
    – SF.
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 12:34

5 Answers 5



Same plant species, different cultivar, different maturity, different tastes, different nutritional value. To summarize from the link, green are harvested earliest and contain the least vitamins, yellows are next and contain more vitamin C and less vitamin A and beta carotene, reds are harvest last and contain the most each vitamin types. Yellow and red are both sweeter and more fruity than green.

  • 12
    I grow my own peppers. I'll have to disagree with this. It depends on the pepper variety. Some start green and ripen to red. Some start green and ripen to orange. Some start green and ripen to yellow. Other more exotic type start purple or white and ripen to red/orange/yellow. I agree totally with the flavor summary. Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 22:06
  • 1
    Agreed with @rschuler - when I go to the greenhouse, they sell different colour peppers - red, green, yellow, various unusual heirlooms. A green pepper won't turn red, but a red pepper does go through a non-ripe green phase.
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 22:18
  • Edited for clarity on same plant vs cultivated variety. Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 22:26

As a greenhouse operator, I can tell you that the first answer was the correct answer. Green peppers are really peppers that are picked before they are completely ripe. All green peppers, if left on the vine will transition through yellow and end up red. This is why a green pepper is more bitter than yellow, orange or red. Yellow and Orange peppers are loaded with Vitamin A and C while Greens have none or very little. Green peppers are generally cheaper to buy than the others because they don't have to stay on the plant as long.

Seed developers have found a way to make pepper plants ripen to either yellow, orange, chocolate, purple or red depending on which variety you have.

  • 1
    I am currently growing some peppers that claim to be green bell peppers. As they ripen will these too eventually change color? Damn marketers!
    – Preston
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 3:08

Red peppers are sweeter than green, and yellow and orange are sweeter than red. I usually find that red peppers get softer faster than the others.


Green are the most versatile, although less appealing. Red peppers have 2x amount of Vit C and yellow peppers actually have 10x the amount. Plus the brighter the color, the sweeter the pepper.


I'd always understood the difference to purely be different ripenesses (and therefore sweetness). They are all the same variety though.

  • 1
    I have to disagree. When I go to the greenhouse, they sell different colour variants. The peppers sold as "green peppers" don't turn red. The "red" / "yellow" / "orange" peppers I've bought go through a green phase but aren't ripe until they turn the colour on the tag.
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 22:19
  • 2
    @ceejayoz: I've never known a bell pepper that wouldn't turn colors and ripen eventually, though some take their sweet time at it.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 22:40
  • @ceejayoz You'd better correct Wikipedia as well: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_pepper "Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colors, including red, yellow and orange. The fruit is also frequently consumed in its unripe form, when the fruit is still green" Commented Jul 23, 2010 at 10:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.