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Best Tasting Peppers – Delicious Peppers You Can Grow

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Buying peppers at the store leaves you with limited options. Why not grow some of the best tasting peppers at home instead?

Since starting Pepper Geek, we have grown hundreds of different pepper varieties, and tasted them all. So today, I’ll share the most delicious peppers we have tried to date. Most of these would make great pepper varieties for beginner growers.


Best Tasting Sweet Peppers

Sweet peppers come in many shapes and sizes. If you are used to growing your typical bell peppers, get ready to try something new and more exotic in your garden!

Looking for hot peppers? Skip ahead here.

Lesya Peppers

Lesya pepper
Biquinho pepper (left) and lesya pepper (right).
  • Heat: None
  • Flavor: Sweet and juicy
  • Good for: Salads, stir fry, stuffing (upside down)
  • Growing: Moderate (long germination)
  • Productivity: Low
  • Seeds: Rareseeds

The lesya pepper is a unique variety that has an incredibly sweet flavor. The peppers are also gorgeous in the garden, forming a large ‘pointed heart’ shape.

The plants are a bit smaller than a typical red bell pepper. However, the fruits are still impressively large, averaging about 3″ long by 3″ wide at the crown.

Productivity for the lesya pepper is pretty low, and we also had some issues with blossom end rot. However, the large, thick-walled pods are worth it for the super sweet flavor and crunchy texture.

Shishito Peppers

Shishito Peppers in hand
Home grown shishito peppers.
  • Heat: None
  • Flavor: Savory, crunchy
  • Good for: Blistering with salt, roasting, pickling
  • Growing: Easy
  • Productivity: High
  • Seeds: Botanical Interests

The shishito pepper comes from Japan and is the perfect pepper for snacking. Typically eaten pan fried with oil and salt, shishitos make for a great, quick appetizer.

These peppers are becoming more popular and easy to find in North America. However, growing them is also super easy. The plants are highly prolific, producing dozens of pods from 1.5-2′ tall plants.

Pods are typically harvested while still green, which takes just 60 days from transplanting. However, they will eventually ripen to a deep red color. They tend to begin dehydrating once ripe, so be sure to pick them promptly.

Habanada Peppers

Habanada Pepper
Habanada pepper.
  • Heat: None
  • Flavor: Sweet and floral (similar to habanero)
  • Good for: Mild hot sauce, powder
  • Growing: Moderate (longer ripening period)
  • Productivity: Medium
  • Seeds: Burpee

The habanada was created by Michael Mazourek in the 2000s. The goal was to create a heat-free habanero pepper, and the result comes pretty close to it!

The habanada is a C. chinense species variety with a purely sweet flavor and no heat. If you have an aversion to spicy food, but want to experience the flavor of habaneros, this is a great option. Perfect for mild sauces, salsa, or making pepper powder.

Tip: Careful saving seeds from this variety, as peppers can readily cross pollinate with nearby plants. If you grow hot peppers nearby a habanada plant, the seeds may not grow true to type.

Jimmy Nardello Peppers

Ripe Jimmy Nardello pepper on the plant
Jimmy Nardello peppers on plant.
  • Heat: None
  • Flavor: Sweet and mild
  • Good for: Frying, snacking, salads
  • Growing: Easy and prolific!
  • Productivity: High
  • Seeds: Botanical Interests

If you are looking for a delicious sweet pepper, you should definitely taste the Jimmy Nardello. These long, chili-like pods are completely heat-free, and have a wonderful sweet and satisfying taste.

The plants also have a unique backstory, coming from Italy to Connecticut (our home-state!) in the late 19th century. They have flourished in the New England climate and apparently grow well almost anywhere.

If you want a stunning plant with early productivity, high yields, and amazing flavor, I can’t recommend Jimmy Nardello peppers enough. Get seeds here >

Marconi Peppers

Golden Marconi pepper ripe
Golden marconi pepper.
  • Heat: None
  • Flavor: Sweet and mild
  • Good for: Roasting, stuffing, salads, grilling
  • Growing: Easy
  • Productivity: Medium
  • Seeds: Seeds n such

This Italian heirloom is a great alternative to growing bell peppers. The plants produce long (5-8″) pods with slightly thinner walls. They also come in a variety of colors, from red to yellow to orange.

If you want to try a new, large sweet pepper variety with great flavor, the marconi peppers should be on your list. Great roasted with garlic and oil, stuffed, or eaten fresh.

The plants are medium sized (2-2.5′ tall) and produce a medium yield. They are easy to grow, though be sure to watch for pest problems when the peppers begin to ripen in the later season.


Best Tasting Hot Peppers

If you’re willing to venture into the world of growing spicy peppers, there are great treasures awaiting you. Here are just a few of our favorite hot peppers in terms of flavor.

Hatch Green Chile

Calvin holding New Mexico hatch green chiles
Hatch green chile.
  • Heat: Mild to hot
  • Flavor: Earthy, smoky, rich, buttery
  • Good for: Roasting and peeling, stuffing, powders
  • Growing: Easy
  • Productivity: Very high
  • Seeds: Sandia Seed or Chile Pepper Institute

Hatch green chile is a way of life in New Mexico. These beautiful, large peppers have been grown for centuries in the Southwestern US, and they truly are a staple in the New Mexico diet.

After growing a few varieties of hatch chile ourselves, we completely understand why. They are picked while still green, roasted (or grilled), peeled, and added to basically anything. These are one of our favorite peppers to throw into mac and cheese.

The flavor is hard to describe, but there are smoky notes, and a mild, pungent kick that is unique to these chiles. I can recommend “Big Jim” (medium heat) or “Ms. Junie” (high heat) for growing at home.

Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers
Poblano peppers.
  • Heat: Very mild
  • Flavor: Sweet and smoky
  • Good for: Ancho powder, stuffing, roasting, soup
  • Growing: Easy
  • Productivity: High
  • Seeds: Botanical Interests

You can’t go wrong with growing poblano peppers. The low heat level is perfect for anyone sensitive to spice and the flavor is delicious.

Not to mention, poblanos are very prolific and large. They’re the perfect pepper for stuffing, frying, or roasting. Poblanos are also known as ancho peppers when dried.

Ancho peppers offer an amazing smoky, sweet flavor to soups and chilis. The dehydrated poblanos take on a fruity, grape-like aroma full of sweetness and mild heat. Amazing taste and essential to any chili powder!

Hot Banana Peppers

Banana Peppers
Banana peppers.
  • Heat: Medium
  • Flavor: Tangy, smoky
  • Good for: Pickling, sandwiches
  • Growing: Easy
  • Productivity: High
  • Seeds: Burpee

Banana peppers come in many forms, from purely sweet to medium spicy. If you want to make delicious pickled hot peppers for sandwiches, learn how to grow banana peppers.

They are also a great alternative to use for stuffed poppers. The thick walls hold up well to roasting and can be used for a variety of tasty appetizers. You can even use them to make a banana pepper hot sauce.

Sugar Rush Peppers

Sugar Rush Stripey pepper on plant
Sugar rush ‘stripey’ peppers.
  • Heat: Hot
  • Flavor: Sweet and fruity
  • Good for: Pickling, appetizers, hot powder
  • Growing: Moderate (requires long season)
  • Productivity: High
  • Seeds: Bohica Pepper Hut

Welcome to the whimsical and amazing world of Capiscum baccatum peppers. The sugar rush ‘stripey’ is one of the newest additions to this species.

However, there are other sugar rush types, including the red and peach varieties. Whichever you grow, the plants will be very prolific, but will take a very long time to ripen. The plants tend to be very tall, requiring staking or support late in the season.

The flavor is delicious fresh, but can also be used to make crunchy and spicy quick pickles. None of these peppers will go to waste, as they are so versatile in the kitchen.

Aji Charapita

Ripe Aji Charapita Peppers with Plant
Aji charapita peppers.
  • Heat: Very hot
  • Flavor: Floral, fruity
  • Good for: Crushing fresh into soup or stew, dried powder
  • Growing: Easy
  • Productivity: Very high
  • Seeds: Rareseeds

If you have a sunny spot in the kitchen for a year round plant, the aji charapita may be the perfect one for you. The berry-like pods are small and approachable, despite having significant heat.

The taste is fruity, floral, and sweet, with a nice punch of heat. These tiny peppers are great for using fresh in the kitchen. The small size is perfect for adding just enough heat without going overboard.

The plants also produce consistently throughout the season. These peppers were a delightful surprise, and instantly became one of the best tasting peppers we have tried.

7 Pot Primo Orange

7 Pot Primo Orange peppers
7 pot primo orange peppers.
  • Heat: Very hot
  • Flavor: Fruity, citrusy (almost like lemon)
  • Good for: Hot sauce, spicy powder
  • Growing: Easy
  • Productivity: High
  • Seeds: Semillas la Palma

There are countless superhot peppers, but not all of them taste very good. Many of them are perfumey and flowery, making them hard to palate.

However, the 7 pot primo orange is none of these things. Like some other Caribbean varieties, this pepper is fruity, citrusy and extremely aromatic when sliced. A similar pepper that is more popular and available is the scotch bonnet.

If you like things very hot, but also want delicious flavor, this is a pepper for you. To top it all off, the plants produce early in the season (for a superhot) and in great numbers.

Death Spiral

Death spiral pepper on plant
Death spiral pepper.
  • Heat: Superhot
  • Flavor: Fruity, sweet
  • Good for: (Very) hot sauce, fermenting, powder
  • Growing: Easy
  • Productivity: High
  • Seeds: Rareseeds

Okay, so if you really want to bring the heat, you can step up to the death spiral. This unique crossed variety has a gnarly appearance, with a surprisingly good taste.

Carolina reapers and some other superhots are not very tasty. The death spiral has very little floral flavor, but plenty of sweetness and fruitiness. These peppers are perfect for making a homemade fermented pepper mash for hot sauce.

That is, if you can handle the heat. If you are new to hot peppers, this is not the place to start! Flavor will quickly be consumed by scorching heat and pain – beware!


Other Tasty Pepper Varieties

With some of our very favorites covered, here are a few more of the best tasting peppers that we have grown and tasted.

  • Aji amarillo – Medium heat baccatum pepper variety with fruity notes and large pods.
  • Cayennetta – In 2022, we grew and tasted 7 different cayenne pepper varieties. Both of us agreed, the best tasting type was the hybrid “cayennetta.”
  • Aji pineapple – Fruity and floral C. baccatum variety with high productivity and low-medium heat.
  • Santaka – Japanese chili pepper with great aroma and strong, bushy plant – medium spicy.
  • Nagabrains yellow – Similar flavor to 7 pot primo orange – citrusy and fruity, very hot.
  • Carmen – Heat-free, hybrid sweet pepper with excellent yields and flavor.
Aji Pineapple peppers
Aji pineapple peppers.

I hope this article helps you find some of the best tasting peppers to try. All of these pepper varieties can be grown at home from seed.

Learn to grow peppers here >

Calvin Thumbnail

Calvin

One of the original Pepper Geeks! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning more about peppers and botany, he might be traveling new places or playing some music.

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33 Comments

  1. The variety “Marcato” is the sweetest red horn pepper I have ever come across; seeds available from Harris seeds. The Aji Charapita peppers are incredibly beautiful when they set fruit and I have one that I bring in each Autumn; it is 3 years old and developing into a tree form.

  2. You have to try Chilihaucle Negro, Pasilla Apaeso, Brazilian Starfish, Sugar Rush Peach

  3. I had a major problem with bacteria leaf spoton peppers. Not many survived and bordeaux mixture (copper sulphate) had minimal effect. I tried a variety “Touchdown Green Pepper” from Reimer Seeds in MD which were advertised as resistant to bls. Much success. A mild bell pepper but no BLS. Will buy again. Highly recommend if bls is a problem.
    Roasting peppers on the barbeque can be challenging. Would appreciate some shared techniques.

    Fenelon Falls Ontario
    Canada

    1. @Mike Catling, you might consider rolling grilling baskets. They are available on Amazon and eBay.

  4. Great article! Have grown & agree with several of the varieties you mention and got some ideas for new ones to try next year. I usually grow 15-20 varieties myself each year. I’ve grown an Aji Amarillo variety with much success you might like. It’s smaller but had nice heat and is very prolific on a tall plant. I’m in VA zone 7b

  5. As a native New Mexican in NM, I would suggest trying NuMex Sandia Select, Rattlesnake, Joe E. Parker, and NuMex 6-4 for warm climates and Espanola and Chama varieties for cooler climates. I always grow a number of Pimento varieties for my fresh roasted Pimento and cheese sandwiches 🙂😙.

  6. No hababero or scotch bonnets? Hands down the tastiest. I have been growing and eating these for 30 years.

  7. Aloha!

    I found your comments about the peppers fascinating. However, climate and soil have a significant impact on yields and flavor.

    What would be most helpful to me and to others, I am sure, would be to have a description of soil type, length of growing and harvest season, and the USDA zone ranges for the peppers.

    And I do appreciate the efforts you have expended in growing and evaluating the pepper fruits along with the descriptions of the plants.

    Mahalo!

  8. Locoto (Rocoto) is too often overlooked. Loads of flavor, great heat, easy to grow, loves hydroponic (aerogarden, etc).

    1. We’ve grown them a few years now, but never had great success with yield. I think the years we tried, the weather was just too hot/dry for them and they didn’t perform well. However, agreed on taste/heat!

    2. @Isaac, I agree, that is my favorite pepper to eat raw in salad and pickle. I was coming here for some inspiration on what to plant this season. But they have hatch pepper and shitos in this list this are some of the worst peppers I have tried, no flavor or heat.

  9. One I’ve grown for two years now is “Roulette.” A heatless habanero. Thick walled, a beautiful shiny bright red, a lovely fruity flavor and very productive. Very pretty plants too. You can stuff them for appetizers, or use them in salads instead of bell peppers or add them to a stir fry, whatever you’d like. I’m fermenting some (along with some chiltepins) hoping to make some tasty hot sauce. I bet they’d be good pickled too! I like these much better than the Numex Orange Suave Habaneros.

  10. I grew Cajun Bells this year. They are great. they are mild to hot. They look like a little bell pepper. I made Cowboy candy with some

  11. I love your page, but the ads are a bit much. I have two pop-ups and navigation prompts taking up the bottom third of your page. This is from mobile view. I hope you guys keep it up and are successful. The advice is great!

  12. Try the French heirloom Pimente de Bresse.
    Fantastic flavor and around cayenne heat.
    Then d’Arbol peppers are another great tasting pepper with plenty of heat.

  13. Have you tried Marcato sweet peppers? Beautiful red Italian type peppers and super sweet; I think they are sweeter than Marconi. They used to be available from STOKES seeds when they were still home gardener friendly, but now Harris Seeds carry this variety.

  14. I grew the sugar rush peach this summer. Giving away huge bags of them from one 6 foot tall monster plant. Definitely needed more space.
    I kept waiting for them to turn peach colored and after 2 weeks finally realized they were not going to turn – or that someone has a different color view than I do

    1. @Wendy, They do turn a peach color. Takes longer than you would think. Probably 3 to 3 and half weeks.

  15. Why are all of these “sweet” peppers? I love Dragon Cayenne and there is no better taste to me, even though they are not “sweet”.

  16. Many years ago I grew a small, mild pepper with a minty taste. These little peppers were green turning to red. Their shape was like a (Paquino ?) Very delicious with anything. What’s your best guess.

  17. I used to eat hot peppers that looked like the death spiral maybe 45 years ago in S jersey. They were hot but not unbearable and my dad and I would fry them in olive oil and eat with crusty Italian bread. I would love to have some now. They were long and wrinkled and delicious. Sorta looked like a Jimmy nardello but hot. Would love some please

  18. Love Shishitos, easy to grow , prolific, true to seed, great easy to prepare appetizers with beer on a summer night.

  19. There are so many peppers I want to try.
    I will order some online and be ready for spring plantin

  20. I searched your site for the Hot Portugal but didn’t find anything. To me, I eat them like chips. There’s a low-mild heat to them and they’re really tasty. Ever tried them?

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