15 Bell Pepper Hacks You Should Try

All bell peppers are green. Okay, that's not quite true, but actually, they're all green at some point. They're either picked at this stage or left to ripen into red, orange, and yellow peppers. It's not just about pretty colors either, as they each have their own flavor profile that ranges from appetizingly bitter to succulently sweet (via Mashed). You can also vary the intensity of the tastes and textures by how you cut, prepare, cook, and use your beautiful bell peppers. 

Crunchy when raw and super soft when cooked, bell peppers are great to use in so many recipes because while they're peppery, they're not super hot (or hot at all). From how to cut and core your peppers to what to do with them once they're cut, there are plenty of ideas out there. Recipes can either include peppers or make them the main attraction. You can even entertain kids with a splendidly colorful bell pepper choo-choo. Here are 15 bell pepper hacks you should try. 

1. Try the push and pull TikTok bell pepper deseeding trick

If you think there's only one way to deseed and core a bell pepper, then you may be delighted by a simple hack posted on TikTok by @healthylivingjames. Forget seeds flying all over the place and spending ages trying to scrape them out of the middle of your pepper. Sometimes, the best way is, in fact, the easiest, and the great news is you don't need a knife either.

Start by holding your bell pepper in your hands so that your fingers are cradling it underneath, with the stem pointing up. Use both your thumbs to press down close to the top of the pepper on the stem and on either side of it. You want to push the stem through to the middle of the vegetable. With your thumbs, which are on either side of the inner hole you've just made, rip the pepper in two. The core should be intact with the seeds in the middle. Simply pull it out in one piece and discard. You're now ready to slice or dice depending on the recipe you're making. 

2. Peel and season to make peppers less bitter

Bringing out the sweetness of a bell pepper is wonderful, and while they are a little sweet to begin with, some peppers can be a little bitter tasting too. To what extent often depends on the bell peppers' color. Red peppers are definitely sweeter than orange or yellow, while you're more likely to taste some bitterness with green ones since they're not as ripe. Meanwhile, the seeds are anything but appetizing, and quite acrid, so whatever you're doing with your peppers, you want to get rid of these.

A great way to soften the sharpness of peppers, whatever the color, is to roast them and then peel off the skins. Once you've cored and cut the peppers so that they've opened up, pop them in a hot oven and let the heat work its magic, drawing out the sugars while the outsides bubble up and start to become charred. What really helps in getting the skins off is some steam, which you can create by putting your peppers in a paper bag for 10 minutes after they're cooked. You can now simply brush off the skins with your fingers under cold running water. Season or add some spices to your peeled peppers to further enhance the flavor (via SFGate).

3. Get the sweetness of peeled peppers without roasting

If you are under the impression that the only way to get that distinctive sweet taste when using red peppers is by roasting and you simply don't have time for that, then you're going to love this sweet hack. It may be culinary tradition to roast peppers, let them cool, and then peel them to get a wonderfully sweet and velvety taste and texture. However, there is another, quicker, way, as featured in Epicurious, and no, it's not just grabbing some pre-roasted, skinned peppers from a jar.

Sweeten your peppers by peeling them. It may sound a little strange, but if you think about it, you peel many vegetables such as carrots and potatoes, so why not peppers too? Of course, the shape of this bulbous-looking vegetable has curves and also creases, meaning that getting rid of every part of the skin with a peeler is not going to be easy. Just peel off the skin from the main parts and don't worry about getting into every crevice. That's it. Once you've sliced your peppers and cooked them, you'll get the same soft, melt-in-the-mouth sensation that you get from roasting. Of course, the big advantage is that it's a lot simpler.

4. Burn your peppers and peel in a bag for a smoky flavor

Before you start taking out the stem, core and seeds of your bell peppers, you might want to try a cooking technique that not only looks great but also leaves you with a marvelously tasty whole pepper. You can then use this as an ingredient or even serve it as a meal in itself. It's rare that a food hack tells you to blacken your vegetables, but that's exactly what No Recipe Required suggests, and the only equipment you need is your stovetop. You don't even need a pan.

Light a gas stove and put your pepper in the flame, right on the burner itself. The heat will get the skin sizzling and burning. This is what you want. Turn your pepper so that it's charred all the way around, which will take less than 10 minutes depending on the ferocity of the heat. Trap moisture to loosen the skins of the peppers once they're done by sealing them in a paper bag. This also allows them to cool down so that you're able to rub off the skins. Don't rinse them as this will get rid of some of that smoky flavor. You can use a broiler or electric stove, but gas works best. Add them to a plate of cheese, bread, cold cuts, and olives, or to any other pepper recipe.

5. Make a Middle-Eastern matbucha dip

Want to make a peppery, tomatoey dip that embraces the flavors of Morocco? Matbucha is a classic dish that is also added as a condiment to meals and as a spread, sauce, and salad. You can serve it alongside hummus and other Middle Eastern dips such as baba ganoush along with pita or challah bread. Use your matbucha to pep up pasta sauces too or serve with grilled fish. 

Matbucha is a great way to use your bell peppers. Chop a few red bell peppers that you've charred and cooked on your stove. Cook in olive oil with around five cloves of garlic for five minutes. Add a can of diced tomatoes, some red pepper flakes, and some paprika. Season and reduce by cooking on low heat for up to an hour, stirring so that your matbucha doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan (via MasterClass).

6. A Japanese hack makes upside-down stuffed peppers

What everyone loves about culinary hacks is that they're universal: They're shared and relished by foodie fans all over the world. One hack from Japan offers a unique way to make stuffed peppers and was posted on Instagram by @mamanomainichidesu. The viral tip presents an upside-down version of the classic dish. You don't have to laboriously spoon your filling into each pepper individually — you stuff the peppers into the stuffing instead.

To follow this technique, add some meat to a bag, along with seasoning, breadcrumbs, and silken tofu. Mix it together by mashing the bag around and then tip the mixture onto some plastic wrap and roll this up to create a thick sausage-like shape. Unwrap and add to a pan. Next, split small green bell peppers down the middle and stick the halves into the filling that's already in the pan, pressing down. Sprinkle mushrooms on top, cover, and cook. Once done, take out the peppers and the stuffing part should come with them, cooked inside. Finally, add some spicy sauces to the pan with the mushrooms to serve as a side to your topsy-turvy stuffed peppers. 

7. Transform peppers into a caramel topping

Finding new and interesting ways to use everyday ingredients can add fun and joy to your cooking. One dish that will surprise and delight your guests is a caramel topping made from bell peppers. No, you didn't read that wrong. Not only is this dish easy to make, but it is sure to shock even the most sophisticated diners.

Featured in Esquire, the idea for this sauce came from renowned New Jersey chef, David Burke, who appeared on Iron Chef America. In the article, he explains how he mistakenly translated a dish on a Norwegian menu as red peppers and strawberries. Although the dish was actually strawberries with black pepper, his error inspired him to play with bell pepper desserts. He goes on to say how fabulous the bell pepper caramel is, explaining, "When the peppers are ripe, it's beautiful. It's also conversational. It's fun to surprise people, especially in this day and age where there's a lot of jaded diners." To make it, caramelize minced red and yellow peppers with some sugar and cider before taking off the heat and adding butter and Grand Marnier. Serve with ice cream, strawberries, or a slice of pie or try your quirky sauce on other desserts and add some of your own culinary creativity into the mix. 

8. Tray freeze to separate frozen pepper pieces

If you're the type of person who loves a neat food prep hack, then you probably want a tip that's super practical rather than mind-blowingly creative. In this case, you'll appreciate a suggestion from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources on a great way to freeze your bell peppers. 

As explained by the National Center for Food Preservation, most vegetables need a quick blanching before you pop them in the freezer. This slows down vitamin loss and ensures your frozen veggies don't deteriorate in terms of texture, flavor, and color. Not so the wonderful bell pepper, which is another reason to get freezing. Once you've got your peppers clean, cored, and deseeded, as well as removing the stems, cut them up however you like. You can slice them or dice them, or perhaps cut them a few different ways to use in different future recipes. Next is the real trick to this tip: Lay your cut-up peppers on a baking sheet so that they're not overlapping each other and put the sheet in your freezer. Why? So that when they're individually frozen you can put them together in a sealed, freezer-safe bag without fear of the individual pieces sticking or clumping together.

9. Add color to breakfast with bell pepper eggs

Give your breakfast a bold and beautiful bell pepper makeover. Not only is this Reddit recipe suggestion straightforward, but it's a clever way to cook your morning eggs. All you need to do is add a ring of bell pepper to a pan and break an egg in each ring. You can also add in other ingredients, such as herbs and tomato. There's really nothing to stop you trying out your own customized pepper-egg variations.

Of course, even the simplest of culinary ideas is best served with a couple of tips, and this one's no exception. First off, it's best to use the part of the pepper that's the thickest. If you're making quite a few of these, then you may need a few peppers.  The good news is that you can use the leftovers for another exciting bell pepper-infused meal. Make your ring deeper if you want to fit in more than one egg. Most people make this with sunny-side-up eggs, but you can also just use the white if you prefer. Stop the ingredients from escaping from their ring of pepper by dipping the underside of the vegetable where it touches the pan in beaten egg to create a seal.

10. Construct a bell pepper veggie train for kids

A lot of kids love trains. They also love bright colors and party food. What they're sometimes less keen on is munching their way through lots of veggies. The solution to making little ones happy and healthy is an ingenious hack presented by Thrifty Northwest Mom. She suggests that when laying out a spread, especially in the summertime when there's so much fabulously fresh produce, get kids to eat veg by making a bell pepper train. 

You can fill your bell pepper wagons with dips as well as crudites. Use a mixture of bell pepper colors, lay them sideways and cut off the top portion so that you're left with around two-thirds of each pepper, and trim the stem. Create stripes on cucumber slices to make wheels by only stripping some of the peel off. Using toothpicks, secure your 'wheels' to your pepper portions.  Make the front of the train using a scooped out cucumber prepared in the same way as the peppers with jicama sticks poking out to create the chimneys of an old-style steam locomotive. Use your leftover pepper to fill the train, along with baton-cut vegetables such as carrots and rounder shapes like broccoli. Add a dip or two as well; hummus works well for this party nibble.

11. Bake pizza peppers

Where there's a dish there's a way of reinventing it, and even a classic favorite like a pizza can be reimagined. You may well have played around with different pizza toppings to customize or even add a gourmet twist to a traditional slice. Chances are that you've chowed down on a pizza that's cooked with slices of bell pepper on the top, which is another delicious way to eat peppers.

But what about swapping out your pizza crust for bell peppers to make hand-held pizzas with a difference instead? This is exactly what one Reddit thread discussed. Add pizza sauce and mozzarella layers, plus toppings and a sprinkling of extra cheese and bake your pepper pizzas for around 20 minutes. You need to add all the same ingredients that you'd use to make a pizza, and only leave out the dough. That way, you're going to get that deliciously appetizing pizza taste. A good tip is to leave your pepper pizzas for 20 minutes once they're out the oven, if you can resist, so that the cheese is less runny and easier to eat. 

12. Dehydrate peppers to store them or make candies

While you can freeze bell peppers, you might want to consider drying them out too, especially if your freezer's full and you have a lot of veggies to do something with. Bring your dehydrated peppers back to what they once were with some hot water. You can also toss a few dried peppers into dishes such as casseroles or pastas. They're also a great ingredient to bring along to camping trips too, according to a Grow Forage Cook Ferment article. If you're feeling creative, you can also turn them into candies too.

Cover ½ inch bell pepper strips in maple syrup. To give you some idea of balance, use a tablespoon of syrup to make candies from 2 bell peppers. Leave the sugary slices in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Place a wire rack on a baking tray and add the peppers. Cook for between 8-10 hours at 150 F and keep your oven door open a few inches. Use a dehydrator instead, if you have one. You want your peppers to become crunchy and sweet. They're low in calories too (via SkinnyMs.).

13. Cut a deseeded pepper into one long strip to julienne

How you cut your pepper really depends on what you want to do with it. If you want thin julienne strips then you might want to follow a hack that suggests creating somewhat flattened out pieces of pepper before you start slicing. That means you don't have to deal with hacked-up, rounded pieces. What's super useful about a TikTok tip posted by @azrabello is that the pepper strips you make are going to be a uniform length, making you look like a master chef as you get your knife cutting into the flat piece of pepper. 

To cut a bell pepper this way, remove the top and bottom your bell pepper so that each end is flat and straight. Leave the core in place. With the pepper upright, make a straight cut down from top to bottom. Put the veggie on its side and use the blade to remove the core, seeds, and pith without any mess by running it along the inside of the pepper after inserting it through the slit you created. Angle your knife as you slip it through. Break the pepper into two pieces and start to rock your knife back and forth to cut perfect julienned peppers. 

14. Core a pepper by cutting the top off

Let your pepper guide you on how to take out its core, with all the seeds attached. Sometimes, hacks come about because somebody repeated an activity over time and they found the best techniques to make life, and cooking, easier. This is certainly the case with a viral hack from a food prep business owner and chef from Illinois who posted his pepper cutting style on TikTok at @themacrokitchen

Lay your pepper on its side and look at how it is rounded at the top. Cut down through the pepper at the point where it curves toward the stem. You want the angle of your knife to be in alignment with where the part of the pepper where the stem and main part of the vegetable meet. Once cut, slightly push the stem so it pops out, leaving you with a curvy looking pepper ring. This allows you to cut open the pepper and remove the unwanted core more easily. You can also use the intact top to add as a lid if you make stuffed peppers.

15. Turn stuffed peppers on their sides

Let's face it, bell peppers were made for stuffing, Tasty without any flavors added, they also complement so many other tastes and textures, and best of all they are a hollow vegetable so adding ingredients is a culinary no-brainer. However, as your peppers cook, you want to make sure that what you've stuffed them with doesn't tip out if your bell peppers topple over. The answer is simple. Cut them in half and lay them down lengthways so that they're not wobbly. This creates a great deal more filling surface than stuffing upright peppers, which may work in your favor if you're adding some cheese to melt on top (via Downshiftology). 

A good tip if you want this recipe to be a real time-saver, is to pre-make your peppers and then freeze them. It's also easier to do this if they're lying down too. Cook them from frozen when you want to use or defrost them beforehand to cut down on cooking time. There's also a good tip to prepare this versatile favorite in less time too. Cook your halved peppers in the oven, insides down, for 15 minutes after covering in olive oil. Add cooked meat, plus sauteed rice and other vegetables, and cook for another 20 minutes. This is faster than cooking your filling inside raw peppers.