The Kitchn’s Guide to Jarred and Canned Peppers

published Jan 22, 2016
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(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

There’s an endless array of preserved peppers at my local grocery store. The canned/jarred goods aisle is crammed with so many different types of peppers — ranging in shapes, colors, sizes — and tucked away into glass jars or tin cans. For some, it can be puzzling to look into an extensive sea of options, so we’ve compiled a list of the most popular types of preserved peppers found on grocery store shelves, and describe each variety’s origin, heat intensity, and the best recipes that put them to use (beyond the typical antipasti platter).

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)


Origin: Mexican cuisine

Preserved jalapeños are medium-sized, dark green-colored, thick-skinned peppers that fall in the range of medium-to-very spicy. They are sold in either whole, sliced, or diced form and can be found in glass jars or tin cans. These crunchy peppers are most recognizable for their frequent sliced appearance over a bed of crispy cheese nachos. The preserved, pickled kind can also be used to make your favorite bar snack: jalapeño poppers.

Recipes with Jalapeño Peppers

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)


Origin: Grown in South Africa, but typically used in Italian Cuisine.

Peppadews, the trademarked named for a sweet piquant pepper, are often mistaken for cherry tomatoes, because of their small, round, bright red appearance. These sweet and slightly piquant peppers are hallowed out with the tops and stems removed. They are bite-sized, and are typically stuffed with cheeses and served alongside antipasti platters as hors d’oeuvres. P

Recipes with Peppadews

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

Banana Pepper Rings

Origin: Mediterranean Cuisine

Bright — almost neon-colored — banana pepper rings are most often used as a garnish on your Greek salad, but are also typically found in hoagies or over pizza pies. These super-mild peppers are perfect for the timid taster.

Recipes with Banana Peppers

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

Fire-Roasted Green Chiles

Origin: Mexican/Latin cuisine

These canned peppers are available whole or in a diced variety. Fire-roasted green chilis are usually found in the international foods aisle, next to the taco shells and seasoning. They are mostly used as a garnish in taco and quesadilla recipes, or in salsas. They are medium-large, light-colored, soft-skinned, and mild in flavor and heat.

Recipes with Green Chiles

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

Origin: Mexican cuisine

A can of this stuff can go a long way, and is considered by some as a serious pantry staple. One small can contains a few smoked and dried chipotle peppers that are immersed in a crimson adobo sauce. The peppers are soft and can be diced or puréed, and then added to a number of different dishes. One pepper can provide a punch of deep, smoky flavor with some heat. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are typically used in Mexican food, and can be found in the international foods aisle at your local grocery store.

Recipes with Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)


Origin: Southern Italian and Greek cuisine

This pale, wrinkle-skinned pepper offers the perfect zesty bite. They are often mistaken for banana peppers, because of their similar coloring and mild character, but pepperoncinis fall higher on the spicy scale. If they are your go-to jarred pepper because of their mildly tangy, peppery nature, you need to pick up a bag of these pepperoncini-flavored potato chips, ASAP!

Recipes with Pepperoncini Peppers

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

Roasted Red Peppers

Origin: Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines (Italian, Greek, Spanish)

Sweet roasted red peppers are probably the most popular jarred pepper available in stores. Once roasted and marinated, these bell peppers are perfectly sweet, without an ounce of heat, and have a great charred flavor. They are typically found on antipasti plates alongside grilled vegetables, cheeses, and cured meats. Because of their sweet taste and soft skin, they blend easily into a smooth purée, and are often blended into dips. These favored peppers are sold whole, segmented, or in strips, and are also available packaged together with yellow bell peppers.

Recipes with Roasted Red Peppers