The Home Gardener's Guide to Sweet Bell Pepper Colors and Flavors


Have you ever tasted a dark chocolate brown sweet pepper? What about purple or yellow? Not all bell peppers are green, but how does their color affect their flavor?

And how do those green peppers become red, orange, or yellow? And which color of bell peppers are the sweetest?

We’ll answer all these questions in our guide to sweet bell pepper colors and flavors.

green, orange, red, purple bell peppers

Do all sweet pepper colors taste the same?

What makes a bell pepper red vs. green? Or purple instead of yellow? And do all bell peppers taste the same? 

Maybe you’ve noticed different price tags for other colors of bell peppers and wondered if red or yellow peppers are truly worth more than green.

As a home gardener, you have a colorful array of bell peppers to choose from. We’ll cover the colorful collection of bell peppers and explain why you see different price tags. 

How green bell peppers change color and become sweet.

Green peppers are immature peppers, which isn’t a bad thing. Lots of vegetables are eaten in their immature stage. For many vegetables, the early stage is when they’re most tender. Think okra or cucumbers. 

A red, yellow, or another color of bell pepper has remained on the plant long enough to mature into its full ripe color. This extra time on the plant allows its color to change from green, and the bell pepper flavor will also become sweeter. 

Colored peppers will have a much different flavor than a dark green pepper. However, all bell peppers will taste very similar at the green stage. 

Plant genetics will determine if the ripe pepper will be yellow, orange, red, purple, or brown. So pick your seeds accordingly. Then, to appreciate a bell pepper's ripe, sweet flavor, you need to leave it on the plant long enough for the pepper to change from green. 

However, when fruits become fully developed, that sends a signal to the plant that production time is over. The pepper plant prepares to go to seed and stops producing more fruit. So when growing bell pepper colors other than green, you will get less yield. This longer growing time and less yield are why colored peppers cost more at the grocery store. Fortunately for the home gardener, you can use succession planting to keep a continual harvest of bell peppers all summer without a price increase.

Which Bell Pepper is the Sweetest?

Red, yellow, orange, which color of bell pepper is the sweetest? If you appreciate bell peppers with a sweeter flavor, you’ll want to let those California Wonders turn into a dark red. 

Each bell pepper color has a different flavor, with red being the sweetest. But yellow and orange are also sweet. It's worth growing a variety of bell peppers to find your new favorite bell pepper flavor.

Sweet Pepper Varieties

California Wonder

California Wonder peppers are your classic bell pepper. They start out a nice dark green. If you leave the pepper to ripen on the plant, it will eventually turn red. All peppers have vitamin C. However, red peppers also have lycopene. These red peppers have the sweetest flavor and are delicious in many recipes.

Chocolate Beauty

The chocolate name refers to its color, not its flavor. Chocolate Beauty Pepper has chocolate-colored skin with rich brick-red flesh. This pepper stands up to cooking or eating raw. 

Orange Sun

Orange Sun peppers have a healthy orange color. When fully ripe, they have a very sweet flavor. Try these instead of green peppers for a little more sweetness or a pop of color.

Purple Beauty

Purple Beauty peppers are a truly unique heirloom pepper. The fully ripe pepper will have a deep purple skin, and the inside will be green. These are fun to use raw in crudites platters and salads.


Sunbright peppers have a bright yellow color with a sweet flavor. Their color stays bright even when cooked. This makes them an excellent pepper for roasting or stuffing for a beautiful presentation.

Try the whole array of sweet bell pepper colors to experience all the different flavors of bell peppers. Sweet peppers can be roasted for delicious, colorful fajitas, stuffed and cooked for an impressive meal, used raw for a fresh snack, or combined with other vegetables.

Can I grow sweet bell peppers in containers?

Peppers are a great choice to grow in containers because they are compact plants. With these colorful heirloom varieties, they will also make beautiful accent plants.

Are bell peppers spicy?

Bell peppers don’t have capsaicin which is the chemical that causes the burning sensation. Bell peppers are considered sweet peppers.

When are bell peppers ripe?

When you lightly squeeze a ripe bell pepper, it will be firm. The skin will also be slightly shiny. A bell pepper that is not fully ripe will be less sweet and more bitter.

Even a beginner gardener knows fresh-picked produce tastes much better than store-bought. And growing heirloom sweet peppers from seed will give you access to a broader array of colors and flavors. 

Each bell pepper color has a place not just in your garden but in your kitchen and meal planning. And since peppers are simple to grow, it's worth trying these different colors to discover your new favorite flavor.

Interested in trying one of each? Our Bell Pepper Starter Kit is the perfect way to try them all. And check out our pepper seed starting blog to successfully grow peppers from seed. 

You’ll love growing colorful sweet peppers in your garden.

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