Need a Pimento Substitute? These Spices Are Game-Changers

The pimento, a delicious cherry-red pepper that is frequently preserved or packed into olives and placed in a martini, will be known to Southerners. If you’re lucky, you might be able to produce them yourself and eat them in salads. However, they are a rather unknown element to some of us. What happens if a recipe calls for pimentos while you’re working with another? What works best as a pimento pepper substitute?

Other sweet, mild peppers as Peppadews, piquillo, Corno di toro,cherry, banana, cubanelle, poblano, Anaheim, or red bell peppers work well as alternatives for pimento peppers. Check the heat of the peppers before using them. Sundried tomatoes in olive oil make a tasty pimentos alternative without the pepper.

Let’s learn more about this pepper before diving into the lengthy range of alternatives.

What Is Pimento?

A kind of pepper called pimento may be used in many different cuisines. It tastes sweet with a touch of spice. It often has a short, thick stem and is crimson, measuring between 2-3 inches broad and 3-4 inches in length.

Pimentos have a Mild, sweet, and juicy taste and are typically preserved. Generally, it is great in savory meals that call for roasted peppers. Pimento can also be used as stuffing for dishes like Mediterranean, traditional, and quinoa-stuffed peppers.

Pimento In Famous Recipes

Homemade Pimento Cheese Spread with Crackers and Veggies
Homemade Pimento Cheese Spread with Crackers and Veggies

Ground, Fresh jarred or canned pimento is available in stripe, slice, or diced forms. This is frequently used in sauces and dips, but it also works well in everyday cooking, pickling, and stuffing.

Olives and pimentos go well with pasta and are excellent complements to appetizer platters. They are used in a wide variety of dips and spreads since they are so flavorful and colorful. As a condiment on various sorts of sandwiches and burgers, they add a sweet tang when combined with mayo, spicy sauce, cheddar, and cream cheeses. They may be a pleasant surprise in salads, pasta dishes, and soups.

Best Substitutes for Pimento

Famous pimento dishes include pimento cheese and pickled pimento peppers. However, pimentos are pretty rare and they can not be found everywhere. Try one of these well-liked substitutions when you can’t locate pimentos rather than give up on your cooking.

 Substitute:Best For
1.Red Bell PeppersRoasted vegetables, Salsa, Chili, Salads, Stir-fries
2.PeppadewsAntipasti, Salads, Chilli, Pimento cheese, cornbread,
3.Cherry PeppersSalads, meatballs, dips, cornbread
3.Piquillo PeppersSoups, Salsa, Salads, Romesco Sauce
4.Corno di ToroSauces, Salads, Roasted Vegetables, Sauteis, Salsa, stews
4.Cubanelle PepperGrilled Vegetables, Roasts,  Salads, Casseroles, Sauces
5.Banana PeppersSalads, Garnishes, Roasted Vegetables, Sandwiches
6.Canned PimentosDips, sauces, sandwiches, salads, Pimento cheese, Chilli
7.Star AniseCurries, Marinades, Stews

1.Red bell peppers

Red bell pepper

Red bell pepper works well as a replacement for pimento pepper. Both pimento and red bell peppers are fairly meaty, sweet, and non-spicy. However, red bell peppers are far more widely available. Some roasted red peppers (and peeled) will work extremely well for the pimento cheese recipe, which is the most well-known pimento dish.

Red bell peppers and Piquillo peppers that have been roasted and marinated might also be excellent choices since they will give your meal some texture and a pickled taste.  2 tablespoons of pimentos are equivalent to 2-3 tablespoons of freshly chopped red bell peppers.

You won’t obtain a perfect texture and flavor match since bell peppers are considerably more substantial, sharper, and heartier than pimento, with less piquancy. To create a tangy flavor, you’ll need to use more bell pepper than pimento. However, bell peppers are an excellent replacement if you’re searching for sweetness and juiciness.

2. Peppadews

Peppadews are a suitable alternative for pimentos since they have a similar texture and size. They have a similar appearance to pimento peppers. Additionally, they are typically offered pickled in a jar. Pimento and peppadew have a similar flavor and can be used interchangeably. They work well for salads, antipasti, and other dishes as well.

1 tablespoon of chopped peppadew can be substituted for 1 tablespoon of chopped pimento. Similar in size and texture to pimento peppers, peppadews have an acidic taste and are considerably sweeter almost candy-sweet. You will need to select between mild, medium, or hot Peppadews when purchasing the seeds because they are quite spicy.

3. Cherry Peppers

Cherry Pepper

Pimento peppers and cherry peppers have so many similarities that they are frequently confused with one another. Both of them are little, delicious, and vivid red peppers. Cherry peppers, meanwhile, have a more spherical form. Because the flesh of cherry peppers is so tough, they are frequently sold pickled.

Cherry bombs are another name for these delicious peppers. That’s because cherry peppers have a strong flavor and may be rather fiery some types are almost as intense as jalapenos. 1/2 tablespoon of chopped cherry peppers equals 1 tablespoon of chopped pimento.

Cherry peppers work just like pimentos in cutting through the richness of heavy meals like cheese or meatballs. Use them whenever your dish needs a little extra bite. To achieve the same amount of heat, use half as many cherry peppers.

3.Piquillo Peppers

Piquillo Pepper

Piquillo peppers are little peppers with a beak-like form. Despite being smaller than pimento peppers, they make a great replacement for the balance of sweet and sour flavors they provide. Like pimento peppers, piquillo peppers have a tangy, sweet taste.

They have flesh more akin to bell peppers and are sharper than pimentos. They can therefore be utilized in meals that call for extra density. They can be found either fresh or pickled. Additionally, they’ll give your dish a smokey taste that the pimento peppers can’t.

Piquillo peppers may be used in heartier meals like soups and sauces as well as being served as tapas since they have thicker flesh compared to the pimento and a texture similar to bell peppers.

4.Corno di Toro

Corno di Toro

Corno di Toro is a sweet Italian pepper that is typically 8 inches long and slightly like a bull’s horn. These gorgeous Italian treats are bigger and more eye-catching than pimento peppers. However, they are a wonderful alternative for pimento since they have a similar sweet and tangy flavor.

They are less spicy than pimentos. They make a suitable substitution for foods like salads that require little to no preparation. They are, however, also excellent when cooked and roasted like vegetables. Corno di Toro can be used in the same amount of pimento.

5. Banana Peppers

Banana Pepper

Sweet peppers called banana peppers come in a variety of hues, from yellow to red. These delicious flavor enhancers have a length of around 4 inches and are comparable in size to pimentos. Both pimentos and banana peppers have a sweet and tangy flavor, which is another similarity between them.

These pimento replacements may be purchased fresh in stores or pickled and preserved. When cut as a garnish or placed on top of a salad, they look great and are delicious.

As with pimento peppers, you may use banana peppers, but you should first determine how spicy they are before using them. If they are very hot, use them a bit less.

6. Cubanelle peppers

have a gentler heat than other peppers and come in green, orange, or red variants. Due to their sweet and fruity texture and scent, they make a great alternative to pimento.

These peppers have a stronger flavor than pimentos but are bigger. They cook well and develop a strong fragrance. In fact, they are known as “frying peppers.” in some regions of the world. Cubanelle peppers are large enough to be used as stuffed peppers and offer a delicious crunch to salads. You can replace the pimento with cubanelle peppers with 1:1 ratio.

7. Canned Pimentos

Bright red jar of canned pimentos on a white background

Pimento is a pepper that is fiery but sweet and is kept in brine in canned form. Cans and jars are the packaging options.  If fresh pimiento is not available, you can replace it with a canned variation.

The majority of grocery stores and supermarkets carry the canned pimiento with ease. Additionally, they can be affordable. In your recipes, use canned pimiento the same way you would fresh pimiento. You’ll get comparable outcomes and meals will still have the incredible taste that comes from fresh pimiento.

Sliced, chopped, or diced canned pimentos make it much simpler to utilize them in cooking. They work well in all pimento-based dishes, including dips, sauces, salads, and sandwiches.

Drain the liquid from canned or jarred pimento peppers before using them, then pat them dry. Pimentos in cans are low in calories and fat but rich in sodium since they are typically marinated in sea salt.

8. Star Anise

Star Anise

Similar to pimentos, star anise has a strong flavor and is simple to include in stews, curries, and marinades. You don’t need to use any other spices when using star anise because it has enough flavor on its own.

If you want to give your meals a robust taste but can’t get pimento, just substitute it with star anise. This is due to the strong flavor, like pimiento, that star anise often has.

Bottom Line

Although pimento is a fantastic ingredient, it is regrettably not widely available everywhere. You may always use any of the above-mentioned substitutions if a recipe asks for pimiento but you don’t have any on hand.

Pimento peppers give stews, sandwiches, and other cooked and uncooked foods a bright, flavorful boost. Any other sweet pepper may be used in lieu of pimentos. The red bell pepper is the most practical and the Peppadew is the closest in terms of texture and flavor. Sundried tomatoes can be used to give a meal sweetness and tang if you don’t like peppers.


8 Best Substitutes for Pimento

Seasonal and Savory
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4


  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Peppadews
  • Cherry Peppers
  • Piquillo Peppers
  • Corno di Toro
  • Cubanelle Pepper
  • Banana Peppers
  • Canned Pimentos
  • Star Anise


  • From the list of substitutes above, pick your favorite to use in its place.
  • Use your imagination and be creative with these substitute recipes!

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