Mild Chili Peppers & Suitable Substitutions

If you are not used to chili do not be afraid to substitute one of these milder chilies instead of the hotter chili specified in the recipe.

The taste may not be as the cook or chef who came up with the recipe intended or even as the dish is commonly experienced in the area where the dish originated.

But food is to be enjoyed and if you eat food that is a little spicy often enough then you will soon get used to the spice and be able to tolerate more spicy food – and a different culinary experience as a result.

You may find these other chili articles useful:
Cooking with Chili Peppers

Moderately Hot Chili & Substitutes
Hot Chilies & Their Substitutes
Thai Chilies and International Substitutes (with infographic)

photo of various chilis you might need to substitute

Albino Sweet Bell Pepper

Photo of Albino Chili peppers on a chili bush
Albino Sweet Bell Chili Pepper is a pale-colored bell pepper

This albino version of the bell pepper matures to a white color before turning yellow, orange, red or purple depending on the variety.

They are a rare pepper but one which we would love to try because they would make an awesome unusual sight on a salad.

Why not try growing some yourself with a pack of seeds – follow the link under the photo.

What is the Best Substitute for Albino Sweet Bell Pepper?: Any Regular Bell Pepper

SHU: 50-100
Spice Level: Very Mild

Pimento Pepper

Photo of a Pimento Chili
Pimento Chili – Nice & Mild – Often in Sauces

The pimento pepper or pimento pepper is a red pepper similar to a bell pepper that you can fall in love with. 

This heart-shaped, sweet and delicious pepper is barely spicy and has a deliciously mild and sweet flavor.

It is a variety of cherry pepper (Capsicum annum), and a little smaller than a bell pepper. It is often bottled.

Great as a snack or in a salad.

What are the Best Substitutes for Pimento Pepper?: Sweet Bell Pepper, Italian Sweet Chili Pepper.

SHU: About 150
Spice Level: Very Mild

Shishito Chili Pepper

Photo of the Shishito Chili Pepper
Shishito Chili peppers are mild but the odd one can be a special little present.

This lovely pepper comes from Japan and is usually sold while green, although it does mature into a red color as do most chili peppers.

It is very mild and sweet-tasting and delicious when roasted or barbecued.

There is a little kicker though because about 10% of these little beauties are significantly hotter than the rest and will take you by surprise.

What are the Best Substitutes for Shishito Chili Pepper?: Bell Pepper, Thai Prik Num, Banana Pepper, Italian Sweet Pepper (usually red)

SHU: Around 100 with the occasional one up to 400
Spice Level: Mild

Italian Sweet Chili Pepper

photo of the Italian Sweet Chili pepper
Italian Sweet Chili peppers are a glorious experience – try them!

The Italian Sweet Chili pepper is another sweet and mild chili pepper though usually harvested when red instead of green like the Shishito.

It is a versatile pepper that lends itself to frying, sauté, or roasted and stuffed. Also used raw in salads and found pickled. 

This is a delicious chili pepper that serious deserves to be tested and experimented with.

What are the Best Substitutes for Italian Sweet Chili Pepper?: Shishito, Prik Num, Prik Chi Fah, Banana Pepper

SHU: Around 250
Spice Level: Mild

Cubanelle Chili Pepper

Photo of cubanelle chili pepper
The Cubanelle chili pepper is gentle with a little kick – my little pony style!

The Cubanelle Chili pepper is similar to the Italian Sweet Pepper and is usually quite mild to moderate in spiciness.

It is found in Cuban cooking and although it has a thinner flesh than bell peppers it makes a fine substitute if needed.

It’s a good idea to match color though!

A nice little chili that won’t blow your head off.

What are the Best Substitutes for Cubanelle Chili Pepper?: Italian Sweet Pepper, Bell Pepper, Thai Prik Num, Pimento, Shishito 

SHU: Around 500
Spice Level: Quite Mild

Banana Pepper

Photo of the Banana Chili Pepper
The Banana Chili pepper is banana-shaped but tastes nothing like a banana.

The Banana Chili Pepper is another mild pepper with the shape of …. Yep, you guessed it – a banana.

Be careful of picking these mild peppers at the shop because they can look much like several other types such as the Hungarian Wax Pepper which is in a different spicier ballpark altogether.

If you are sure you have a Banana Pepper, then it will be mildly spicy with a tangy and sweet taste. These peppers are usually a little less sweet, and spicier, when they are yellow and develop more sweetness of taste and less spiciness as they mature and ripen to red.

They are normally sold when they are yellow or slightly orange and frequently pickled.

What is the Best Substitutes for Banana Pepper?: Italian Sweet Pepper (usually red), Yellow Bell Pepper, Mild Shishito, Thai Prik Num.

SHU: Around 600
Spice Level: – Quite Mild


Photo of Paprika Chilli Peppers
Paprika Chili Peppers are a thing – they are not all powdered!

Paprika is another fairly mild pepper that is more usually found dried and ground than sold locally. However, be careful because some varieties are hot such as Hot Hungarian Paprika.

It has a quite distinctive taste and when ground and dried has a somewhat smokey flavor which makes it a poor substitution for most other peppers because of the taste. There are also smoked paprika products that have an, even more, emphasized smokey flavor.

Paprika is frequently used in Spanish dishes as well as Hungarian dishes but also used as a pretty mild color addition to top off sauces and mayonnaise – such as eggs mayonnaise.

What are the Best Substitutes for Paprika?: Quarter quantities of either Cayenne Pepper or Regular Chili Powder. For dried whole chili the Pasilla is a contender.

Tip: Add little fresh ground cumin seeds that you have just toasted in a dry pan to make a drier and smokier tasting pepper to replaced smoked paprika. Ratio 3 parts pepper to 1 part Cumin – adjust as desired.

SHU: Around 750
Spice Level: Quite Mild

Thai Prik Num

Photo of the Thai Prik Num Chili pepper
Thai Prik Num Chili – mostly used sliced up in vinegar as a condiment.

Thai Prik Num is pale light green and quite a mild chili pepper used in Thailand to be eaten raw, pickled as well as used where spiciness is not really desired.

They are similar in shape to banana peppers and a cousin in the type of chili.

You will often find these on the table soaking in vinegar to be used as a mild condiment. If the chilis you see in these little dishes on the table are dark green or red then these will be hotter so beware.

What are the Best Substitutes for Thai Prik Num?: Banana Pepper, Mild Shishito, Cubanelle

SHU: Around 600
Spice Level: Quite Mild (Very Mild for Thai Taste)

Anaheim Pepper

Photo of Anaheim Chili peppers
Anaheim Chili peppers are a popular type and not to hot.

Anaheim Peppers are typically quite mild and around 5 inches long with a typically large chili iconic shape.

These chilis are great substitutes for Thai Prik Chi Fah chilies since they do have a little kick to them without being too hot, so tolerable for pretty much anyone.

Again they vary a bit in the intensity of spiciness and share that spiciness with Poblano Peppers though the shape is a lot different.

These versatile peppers make very good substitutes for mild chili pepper but again try to match the color.

They are not very strong tasting either so typically will not affect the taste of most recipes.

What is the Best Substitutes for Anaheim Chili Pepper?: Thai Prik Chi Fah or Spur Chili, Poblano, Banana Peppers

SHU: Around 1400
Spice Level: Quite Mild

Pasilla Chili Pepper

Photo of the Pasilla Chili pepper
The Pasilla Chili Pepper – dark and sultry

Pasilla chili peppers come from Mexico and are usually sold in the dried form either as dried whole chilies or ground into a powder.

These chilis are also quite mild, tasting a little like raisins from which the Pasilla gets its name – which literally means raisin in Spanish.

The taste is a little drier than sweet, like cocoa powder on your tongue.

Since the taste is somewhat unique you may find it quite hard to replicate exactly.

Smoked peppers are likely to get you nearest to the taste.

What is the Best Substitutes for Pasilla Chili?: Ancho, Guajillo or Mulato Peppers or a smoked regular chili powder at a push.

SHU: Around 2000
Spice Level: Moderately Mild

Thai Prik Chi Fah

Mild Chili Peppers & Suitable Substitutions

This Thai chili variety is a quite mild chili used mainly to add color to Thai dishes more than add too much in spice level.

It is these chilies that are used to make dishes to get Thai children more accustomed to the hotter chilies they eat when they are adults.

You will often see these sliced up and incorporated with a Thai dish to add color and interest. Thai food is not only about taste but the way it looks is important too.

For westerners, they provide a great alternative to Thai Jinda chilies for people wishing to make milder spiced Thai recipes.

They are thick finger-shaped and mostly used sliced or as decoration – they are widely used in Thailand.

What is the Best Substitute for Thai Prik Chi Fah?: Anaheim or Poblano is the closest match for heat but you can go to a milder chili as they are not generally used in Thai dishes to provide heat.

SHU: Around 1,000
Spice Level: Moderately Mild

Poblano Chili Peppers

Photo of the Poblano Chili pepper
The Poblano Chili pepper is a bit more cone-shaped than most.

The Poblano chili pepper is readily available in the Americas, originating in Central Mexico. They look a little like bell peppers with a more pointy bottom.

As they are quite wide across they are often used for recipes for stuffed peppers. In fact, the dried variety is called ‘ancho’ peppers which means ‘wide’ in Spanish.

Poblano peppers are more usually green, although they do ripen to red and unusually they are spicier and have more flavor when ripe and red than when green. That is the opposite of most chilies.

Although mild, the level of spice is not very consistent, sometimes even the same plant can have peppers that vary widely in their intensity.

What is the Best Substitute for Poblano Peppers?: Mulato (sweeter), Thai Chi Fah, Guajillo, Mirasol, Mild Hungarian Wax peppers, and the milder Anaheim

SHU: 1,500
Spice Level: Moderately Mild

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