Sweet bell peppers are fresh, crisp, and delicious. But how do you store this vegetable? Should peppers be stored in the refrigerator or left on the counter? Learn how to store bell peppers (the easiest ways) and keep them fresh for longer (at least 2 weeks) in this ultimate guide.
I’ll share the best way to store yellow, red, or green peppers both whole and sliced, how to choose the freshest bell peppers at the grocery store or farmer’s market, favorite recipes, and how to freeze fresh peppers.
We talk about the best tips for storing fresh produce a lot around here.
My goal is to help you eat more seasonal, fresh foods. If you’re going to bring these foods into your home, you need to know how to store them properly so they don’t end up in the garbage at the end of the week.
So far, we’ve talked about how to…
- Cut carrots and place them in water.
- Store fresh herbs (my favorite being cilantro) and green onions like a bouquet of flowers.
- Wash berries in a vinegar bath.
- Store lettuce with a towel or in a special bin.
- Freeze fresh berries in season.
- Store fresh asparagus for longer.
- Store radishes in a bowl of water.
And today we’re going to talk about bell peppers, one of my favorite veggies, rich in vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin A. And available nearly year-round.
Best Way to Store Whole Peppers
- Shelf Life: A couple of weeks
- Location: In the Crisper Drawer of the Fridge
The best way to store whole peppers is in the crisper drawer of the fridge. How to do this…
- First, if the whole fresh bell peppers are packaged in plastic, remove the bell peppers from the plastic bag before storage. Excess moisture can build up in the plastic, so the better option is to set those peppers free!
- Place the peppers either in a reusable cloth bag (like this or this) or store the peppers loose in the crisper drawer. The bag will keep the peppers organized.
This method works for sweet peppers along with hot peppers, poblano peppers, banana peppers, and other spicy peppers.
Should you wash peppers before storing? No, you don’t need to wash bell peppers before storing. If you choose to wash the bell peppers, make sure they are completely dry before placing in the crisper drawer. Any water left on the peppers will cause premature spoilage: mold growth, slime, and black spots.
Best Way to Store Cut Bell Peppers
Shelf Life: 4-5 days
Location: In the Fridge
Storing Halved Peppers
If you only use half a bell pepper and have the other half leftover, keep the seeds and stem attached to the unused half and store the bell pepper in the crisper drawer of the fridge (either in a reusable bag or loose in the crisper drawer).
Keeping the seeds and stem attached will keep the halved green bell peppers (or red peppers or yellow peppers) fresh for longer (about 1 week).
Storing Sliced, Chopped, or Diced Peppers
If you want to slice up bell peppers into strips and keep them for easy snacks, to toss in a salad, quick fajitas on a busy night, first remove the seeds and stem and slice the pepper(s).
Place the pepper slices in a glass, airtight container. The cut peppers will keep fresh for 2-3 days.
If you want the cut pepper to keep for longer (7 days), place a paper towel at the bottom of the glass container with the pepper slices on top. An alternative method is to place the sliced peppers in a bag with a paper towel.
How to Store Bell Peppers in the Fridge (Guide)
How to Store Whole Peppers
- 1 reusable produce bag
- 1 bell pepper or as many peppers as you need to store
How to Store Cut Peppers
- 1 airtight food storage container preferably glass
- 1 paper towel (optional, to extend the freshness)
- 1 bell pepper or as many peppers as you need to store
To Store Whole Peppers:
- The best way to store peppers is in the crisper drawer of the fridge.
- If the whole fresh bell peppers are packaged in plastic, first remove the bell peppers from the plastic bag.
- Place the peppers either in a reusable cloth bag (like this or this)or store the peppers loose in the crisper drawer. The bag will keep the peppers organized.
To Store Cut Peppers:
- Halved Peppers: If you only use half a bell pepper and have the other half leftover, keep the seeds and stem attached to the unused half and store the bell pepper in the crisper drawer of the fridge (either in a reusable bag or loose in the crisper drawer). Use within 1 week.
- Sliced, Chopped or Diced Peppers: Place cut, chopped, or sliced peppers in a glass, airtight container. The cut peppers will keep fresh for 2-3 days.
- If you want the cut pepper to last longer (7 days or longer), place a paper towel at the bottom of the glass container and the pepper slices on top. An alternative method is to place the sliced peppers in a Ziploc bag with a paper towel.
Do peppers last longer in the fridge or on the counter?
It’s best to keep bell peppers in the fridge for long term storage (and use within a couple of weeks).
Raw bell peppers may be stored on the counter, at room temperature, for 1-2 days (in their whole form), but this is not the ideal conditions or a good option for storing the peppers longer.
How long do peppers last?
When stored in the right place (in the fridge, a dry place), whole bell peppers will last a couple of weeks or longer.
Cut peppers will last about 7 days if stored in an airtight container with a paper towel lined on the bottom.
Too much moisture will cause peppers, whether sliced, cut, or whole, to develop mold and soft spots. Both the crisper drawer in the fridge and an airtight container with a paper towel will keep moisture from building up on the peppers.
What to Look for When Buying Bell Peppers
No matter how you keep bell peppers, a bad bell pepper is just that. No storage method will delay the inevitable if the bell pepper has already gone bad. Here’s what to look for at the grocery store or farmer’s market:
- Firm exterior
- A glossy exterior
- Brightly colored
- Feels heavy for the pepper’s size
- No soft spots and little or no wrinkles
- No mold growth: brown spots, black spots, or fuzzy spots
If your peppers are going bad, or have bad spots, cut off the spots and use the peppers immeadiately. Either enjoy the peppers with a meal or freeze for later.
How to Use: Recipes and Ideas
One of the best things about bell peppers is how many different ways there are to eat this healthy vegetable. You can eat both raw or cooked bell peppers. And unlike cauliflower, bell peppers actually taste great raw!
Easy Ground Beef Stuffed Peppers: Cut bell peppers (any color) in half and fill with cooked ground beef, seasonings, and tomato sauce. Top with cheese for an easy dinner or lunch. This recipe is also freezer-friendly!
Tex Mex Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers: Another stuffed pepper dish, made with rice, beans, and seasonings and stuffed inside bell peppers of any color.
Dip: Serve bell pepper sticks (slices) with classic hummus, pink beet hummus, guacamole, homemade ranch, or eggplant dip. Make a fun grazing board with bell pepper sticks as a veggie option with a dip of choice.
Tomato Soup: Roast tomatoes, red bell pepper (any color works), and onion with seasonings and blend into a flavorful soup. Serve with grilled cheese, salad, baked potatoes, or quesadillas on the side.
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas: Roast up chicken with sliced bell peppers and onions for an easy fajita dinner.
Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers: Bell peppers, potatoes, and sausage (pork or chicken) come together to make an easy sheet pan dinner.
Omelette: Chop a quarter of a bell pepper and saute it in a bit of oil, then add to a cheese omelette.
Make-Ahead Omelet Cups: Saute bacon, bell pepper, and spinach, then bake with eggs in a muffin tin for an easy breakfast. A fun way to change up eggs for breakfast (one of the 15 different ways to cook eggs).
Instant Pot Fried Rice: The easiest one-pot “fried” rice recipe, made with bell peppers, carrots, onion, garlic, chicken and rice.
Orange-Ginger Chicken Stir Fry: Add bell peppers to a homemade chicken and veggie stir-fry.
Veggie Fajita Quesadillas: This recipe is made with poblano peppers, but you can sub in bell peppers of any color.
Sheet Pan Egg Hash: Chop up a bell pepper and potatoes, then roast them on a sheet pan and add eggs during the last few minutes of cooking. One of my favorite recipes from 16 different egg styles to cook at home.
How to Freeze Bell Peppers
A great way to store a lot of bell peppers for a long time, or preserve one or two peppers before going bad, is to freeze peppers. Freeze raw peppers of any color: red bell peppers, green bell peppers, or yellow bell peppers.
- First thing is to wash the peppers, then remove the seeds and stems. Dry and remove any extra moisture on the peppers with a towel.
- Next, chop or slice the peppers (chop if you plan to use in soup or fried rice, slice for fajitas), then spread the peppers on a cookie sheet or sheet pan in a single layer.
- Freeze the peppers until firm (about 1 hour), then transfer to heavy-duty freezer bags or a freezer-safe storage container. Remove as much air from the bag before freezing (squeeze the bag as you seal it).
- Freeze for up to 4 months.
- The best uses for straight-from-the-freezer peppers: sheet pan meals (like sausage and veggies), fried rice, fajitas, tomato soup, or in chili and other soups.