Bell Peppers: Differences Between Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red

Updated on February 7, 2020
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks is a health-conscious person who researches the health benefits of foods and drinks.

Green, red, yellow, orange . . . what's the difference?
Green, red, yellow, orange . . . what's the difference? | Source

Many people wonder why green, red, orange, and yellow bell peppers don't cost the same amount in grocery stores. Some even argue that since they taste the same, they should be priced the same.

In reality, the different colors don't taste the same—nor do they have the same nutritional value. Bell peppers vary in more ways than color, and what color pepper you choose should depend on what you are hoping to get out of it.

Why Do They Come in Different Colors?

You may have wondered at some point whether the different colors of bell pepper come from the same plant. They do! There are two major factors that determine a pepper's color:

  1. The time of harvesting/degree of ripening
  2. The varietal

All bell peppers start out green and change color as they mature. If it's not picked, a green pepper may become yellow, orange, or red, depending on its varietal. The longer the fruit stays on the vine, the sweeter it becomes and the more nutritional value it gains. Since they were less ripe when picked, green peppers have longer shelf lives but are less nutrient-dense than peppers that have matured to another color.

Less common bell pepper colors include purple and white.
Less common bell pepper colors include purple and white. | Source

What Colors Do They Come In?

The bell peppers seen most commonly in grocery stores' produce sections are green, yellow, orange, and red. Many additional colors exist, but they are rarely available in major stores. Dark purple, brown, white, and lavender varieties also exist and can sometimes be found at farmers' markets and specialty stores.

Why Do Some Colors Cost More Than Others?

People often wonder why bell pepper prices vary so much depending on color. Most store clerks don't even know why the green peppers are cheaper than the yellow, orange, and red ones. The answer is quite simple.

The yellow, orange, and red peppers are more expensive than the green ones because they are harvested later and spend more time on the vine. The green ones are the cheapest because they are picked earlier while they are still unripe.

The ripe yellow, orange, and red peppers available at stores are left on the plant longer, meaning they receive additional time, water, and care from farmers. The additional time and resources that go into cultivating ripe bell peppers are factored into their prices.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Green bell peppersYellow Bell PeppersOrange Bell PeppersRed Bell Peppers
Green bell peppers
Green bell peppers | Source
Yellow Bell Peppers
Yellow Bell Peppers | Source
Orange Bell Peppers
Orange Bell Peppers | Source
Red Bell Peppers
Red Bell Peppers | Source

Green Bell Peppers

  • People purchase more green peppers than any other color—likely because they are the cheapest.
  • All yellow, orange, and red bell peppers are green before they ripen.
  • Because they are harvested before they are ripe, green peppers don't have as high a concentration of nutrients and aren't as sweet as others.

Yellow, Orange, and Red Bell Peppers

  • Yellow, orange, and red bell peppers are sweeter and less bitter than green ones.
  • Non-green peppers have a shorter shelf life and are typically more expensive.
  • Red bell peppers have 11 times more beta-carotene, twice as much vitamin C, and 10 times more vitamin A than green bell peppers, which are harvested earlier.

A Comparison of Bell Pepper Color Varieties

Color
Harvested
Taste
Nutrient Concentration
Price
Green
Unripe
Less sweet, more bitter
Lower
Lower
Yellow
Ripe
More sweet, less bitter
Higher
Higher
Orange
Ripe
More sweet, less bitter
Higher
Higher
Red
Ripe
More sweet, less bitter
Higher
Higher

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Josh M 

      5 weeks ago

      This isn't true. Green and red are the same fruit. Green unripe, red ripe.

      Yellow and orange are entirely different strains. Regardless, all start looking green, However, they do not sell unripe yellow or orange. Look it up in a seed catalog.

    • profile image

      Ronald 

      6 weeks ago

      Well i have a purple/ maroon pepper currently on the vine. It turned from green to purple /maroon. As a matter of fact i have a variety of colours on my vines. Mine takes two weeks to change colour

    • profile image

      Angus 

      2 months ago

      Tim got it on the money! Its all about genetics. What you are saying about green peppers being cheaper because they are easier to produce is entirely true.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      3 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Marie, I think any of the bell peppers would be good for stuffing; however, most people use the green peppers.

    • profile image

      Marie 

      3 months ago

      Which pepper is best for stuffing?

    • profile image

      Tim 

      4 months ago

      Orange and yellow capsicums are not partially ripe. They are distinct varieties that are fully mature with these colours. Sure, you can get an orange-looking red capsicum if not fully ripe, but that’s because of a mixture of yellow (lutein) with a still low concentration of red (capsanthin): yellow plus red equals orange. The orange capsicum accumulates zeaxanthin, and the yellow accumulates lutein. Hope this helps! Why they are priced differently is a commercial decision based on colour uniformity.

    • profile image

      jerald greenpepper 

      4 months ago

      send me red peppers as I got 100% on ur quiz.

      cheers,

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      4 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Korresha, I am so glad my article was helpful and now you know why green peppers are so much cheaper than the other colors. I see that you just joined HubPages. I am following you to see some of the articles you will write.

      Thanks for reading my article and commenting positively.

    • Korresha Walker profile image

      Korresha Walker 

      4 months ago from FL, USA

      This was quite informative. I would have to admit that before this article, I was one of the shoppers who stood there so perplexed at the grocery store trying to figure out why the other color peppers were so much more expensive than the green peppers. Not anymore! Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      James 

      6 months ago

      At my Grocery store the Yellow and the Orange peppers are more expensive than the red bell peppers.

    • profile image

      Jeanne 

      6 months ago

      Where do you get your information I’ve grown peppers for years they don’t go from green to yellow to orange to red if you let a green pepper on the vine too long it will start to get red never yellow or orange. Red peppers go from green to red and yellow peppers will go from green to yellow and so on. I don’t think there such a thing as a rainbow pepper that goes to all the colors

    • profile image

      Handymandan 

      8 months ago

      Yous got to pinch peppers so they can fill out on the vine and they love food just like tomatoes same family

    • profile image

      Brach Tennebaum 

      9 months ago

      Yes food is good.

    • profile image

      Gloria 

      10 months ago

      Thank you for your article.

    • profile image

      Dan 

      11 months ago

      Hey so you said the green goes in a ordered color sequence to final red. But you also said and can go straight from green to red so I’m not sure what the technicality of is? Also how do you get the other more exotic purple whites black etc colors? And do the colors have different sugar nutrition? Where does the sweetness come from...sugars?

    • profile image

      Drifty One 

      16 months ago

      This article on bell peppers is completely wrong. Bell peppers only change to one other colour when ripe, it has nothing to do with how long it has been on the vine.

    • profile image

      Drifty One 

      17 months ago

      Spraying your peppers with an epsom salts solution, during growing, will help yield bigger fruit.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      19 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Neil L. Linden. I wrote the article about different kinds of bell peppers because I found them interesting to write about. I am not a farmer or gardener. Therefore, I do not know the answer to your questions.

      Perhaps you can do research on your own to find the answer. Sorry!

    • profile image

      Neil L Linden 

      19 months ago

      How do I get bell peppers to grow larger? They ripen ro red while very small and I never get them to grow bigger.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      20 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Jim, it depends on weather conditions such as sunshine and rain and the soil where the peppers are planted. Going from green to the most mature color could take could take up to 2 months.

      However, other colors are available before then and can be plucked from the vine and eaten.

    • profile image

      Jim Henry 

      20 months ago

      Would like an estimate of time between each color.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      20 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Ebba, I am glad my information was helpful. I have plenty of other informative articles. Feel free to check them out. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • profile image

      Ebba 

      20 months ago

      Thank you Margaret Minnicks for the information on bell peppers. Have learnt a lot and most of my questions have been answered.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      23 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Kirkanthony, what I stated in my article is correct, according to the sources I used.

      As I stated in the above article, all the peppers come from the same plant. They all start out green and change colors as they mature. The pepper comes on the vine as green. Then it changes to yellow. If it stays on the vine longer, it turns to orange. If it stays on the vine longer, it gets to the ripest stage of all and it is red.

      That's as simple as I can put it. Hope you understand it a little better now.

    • profile image

      kirkanthony 

      23 months ago

      I'm so confused? Ms. Minnicks, Thank you very much for a very thought inspiring article. May I ask if there has been a general consensus reached between you and Ms. Whitt, and Shannon A., regarding the color of ripeness related to maturity on the vine and the nutritional value reached at each stage? Do all bell peppers originate from the same seed, seed family, or species?

      I am 62 years old and just now learning how to "cook" for myself and wanting to get away from meat. Thank You again.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      23 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Deborah Whitt, thanks for reading and commenting on my article about the different colors of bell peppers. May I suggest you go back and read it again because the information is factual? It wasn't written as you have indicated.

      This is what was written: "They all start out green and change colors as they mature. The green pepper changes to yellow or orange before reaching its most ripened color of red."

      Thanks for reading the article, but your comment makes it seem as if the article is in error when indeed it is not.

    • profile image

      Deborah Whitt 

      23 months ago

      Bell peppers do not go from green to yellow to orange to red. If you are so wrong about that, what else is wrong. Some bell peppers ripen yellow - they go from green to yellow. Others do the same thing turning red, or orange or purple when ripe. It depends on the species or cultivar, not when it is picked. Yeesh.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      23 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Thank you, Shannon A., for reading my article about the different colors of bell peppers. I am glad you learned something from the article. I also learned something when I was doing research to write the article. I like sharing interesting information like that.

    • profile image

      Shannon A. 

      23 months ago

      I love all bell peppers. I learned that all colors come from the same seed. Very interesting. Thank you so much!

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      23 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Thank you, Meg Marcelo, for reading my article about the different colors of bell peppers. I really enjoy sharing information like that with others.

    • profile image

      Meg Marcelo 

      23 months ago

      Thank you for sharing. This is very informative. Kudos

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      24 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Brenda, I am glad you learned something from reading my article about the various colors of bell peppers. Most people didn't know that all bell peppers are not the same and do not cost the same in the grocery stores.

    • profile image

      Brenda 

      24 months ago

      Good information. Got to know the difference in colours after reading this article.

      Thank you

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks, Mahmadali for reading and commenting on my article. It is one of my most read articles.

      I love sharing information like that.

    • profile image

      Mahmadali Qureshi 

      2 years ago

      A very good information...

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      G'pa J for reading and responding to my article. I write about things I am curious about. Then I share with my readers.

    • profile image

      G'pa J. 

      2 years ago

      I honestly didn't know that. Really thought they were different varieties. 77 and still learning. Thanks a lot.

    • profile image

      Mary 

      2 years ago

      Thanks for the information. I had thought that the red ones were dearer as they were more popular, but it turns out the green ones are more popular and cheaper too. I had wondered if the different colors were different varieties.

    • profile image

      Ernestine Gay 

      2 years ago

      This was a very interesting article. In fact I was just in the grocery store buying a green pepper and saw that the red one was more expensive. I stood there for a moment pondering why is that. Very good information. On my next visit I will try a red one.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks, Karen, for reading and commenting about the different bell peppers!

    • profile image

      Karen Graham 

      3 years ago

      Excellent article, and I, too, learned something.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Coffeequeeen, thanks for reading and commenting. The inspiration for this article came about because of a Facebook post where someone was questioning the prices of bell peppers based on the colors.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      3 years ago from Norfolk, England

      This was a really interesting hub to read. I love peppers, and often buy them.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, delishably.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)