Spotlight Series: All About Pepperoncini

Spotlight Series: All About Pepperoncini

You may have had a pepperoncini pepper without ever noticing it. Often, these pickled peppers get sliced and scattered on a salad or sandwich, or sit off to the side, whole and waiting to be bit into. The mild pepper commonly grows in Italy and Greece where it's traditionally pickled and used to spruce up a Greek salad, over cured meats on a sandwich, gracing antipasti trays, and to add a unique crunch to pizza.

But what are pepperoncini exactly and how are they used? But more importantly, why are DeLallo's mild and hot peppers the best on the shelf? Read on to find out more.

DeLallo Pepperoncini Peppers: Fast Facts

  • Origin: Greece
  • Scoville heat units: 100-500
  • Jalapeño reference point: Pepperoncini is 5 to 500 times milder
  • Use: Culinary
  • Flavor: Vinegary, briny and tangy
  • Size: 2 to 3 inches long

Shop pepperoncini peppers...

Shop pepperoncini peppers...

What are pepperoncini peppers?

These mild peppers measure about two-inches long. The pale, green-yellow skin is thin, and the flesh proves tangy and sweet. As the peppers ripen on the plant, they may turn red, though this doesn't affect the heat. Each mild pepper runs between 100 and 500 on the Scoville heat unit scale, which is closer to a bell pepper than a jalapeño.

Though they can be eaten raw, often pepperoncini peppers get pickled. This changes the flavor somewhat by lessening the sweetness and upping that natural tang. Pickled pepperoncini often come chopped or whole and are found in the condiment or Italian food section in the grocery store. Most of the time they are only sold as mild peppers, but DeLallo also offers a spicy version.

Three pepperoncini peppers laying on a marble table

Where do pepperoncini come from?

Pepperoncini are famously grown the Mediterranean areas of Europe, namely Greece and Italy. They also can be found in Latin America, though the pepper isn't as popular there as other varietals are.

Because of the regional differences, the name pepperoncini may look different. This includes names and spellings such as peperoncini, friggitello, peperone, Tuscan pepper, golden Greek pepper and sweet Italian pepper.

Like many peppers, they originated in Central and South America. The small, flavorful pepper was brought to Europe by Spanish explorers. When they first made a debut in Italy, it was thought they were poisonous and were only used for decoration, just like another popular fruit, the tomato. Lucky for us, once people found out the pepperoncini peppers were edible it became a favorite ingredient.

The Best Pepperoncini Peppers - The Delallo Difference

It's not hard to find a jar of pepperoncini gracing most grocery store shelves. But just because there are plenty on the market, that doesn't mean all pickled peppers are created equal. At DeLallo, only the best pepperoncini peppers make the cut.

We know, because each one is handpicked for quality by farmers in Greece. Once cleaned, the peppers are packed fresh and get cured using no heat in order to keep the crisp texture intact and the pepperoncini fresh tasting. That means once you open a jar of whole pepperoncini, either hot or mild, the pepper remains firm and crunchy. Even the sliced version maintains that tangy, crispy and fresh essence, not the soft, wrinkly texture so many other pepperoncini brands have.

Another unique aspect to our peppers is they can heat you up. Yes, we’re talking about the hot pepperoncini. The same hand-picked, Greek varieties are used to make this condiment, but the vinegar used to pickle the peppers packs some natural capsicum to add more spice.

Ways To Use Pepperoncini Peppers

The pepperoncini pepper can be used in so many tasty ways, either in dishes, on top of foods, on the side to enhance a plate, or even popped in your mouth straight from the jar. They are tangy, crunchy and very satisfying.

On A Salad

Traditionally, pepperoncini are found on Greek salads, but they also work well on just about any leafy version. For example, add a little extra tang and crunch to the Cobb or Caesar salad. Spruce up a basic side salad, or mix pepperoncini into a chunky pasta or antipasti salad. Kitchen tip: use the liquid in the jar to make a tangy salad dressing.

With Sandwiches and Wraps

The Italian sandwich traditionally incorporates salami, prosciutto, mortadella, ham, capicola, and provolone cheese, with the addition of bell pepper. But, add pepperoncini instead (or with), and it makes that classic sing. Pepperoncini are also great when added to a cheesesteak, tuna melt and roast beef sandwich.

For Breakfast

For those who want a pepper kick without a lot of heat, pepperoncini is great in a breakfast burrito, or folded into a Greek-style omelet with feta, olives and tomato. Let this pepper garnish a plate of eggs or breakfast BLT too.

Cheese and Charcuterie Boards

Pair with cured meats, cheese, olives, spreads and toasts.

Other great ways to experience the magic of this mild sweet pepper:

  • Pizza: Jazz that pizza up with a dose of pickled peppers. The pepper adds a fresh take on the classic dried chilies that usually get sprinkled on top.
  • Casserole: Give a basic casserole a tangy, slightly spicy crunch by adding pepperoncini on top.
  • Fried Chicken: Pair slices of the pepper with fried chicken.
  • Beef Roasts: A great condiment for Italian beef or slow-cooked roasts.
  • Hot Dogs: Make a hot dog go beyond with chopped peppers on top.
  • Cheeseburgers: This is a great way to give a classic burger a unique crunch that may just trump the pickle for you.

Pepperoncini Substitutions

The top substitute for pepperoncini peppers are banana peppers, which pack the same amount of heat, roughly between 0 and 500 Scoville heat units. The banana pepper has a light-yellow flesh that turns red as it matures and it looks a lot like the pepperoncini. So much so, it often gets mistaken for it, especially when chopped or sliced.

Another pepper that can take the place of a pepperoncini is the Hungarian wax pepper. It packs more heat, ranging between 5,000 and 15,000 Scoville heat units, but has the same look, a touch of sweetness and color as the pepperoncini. Think of the Hungarian was pepper as the spicy cousin to hot pepperoncini peppers.

DeLallo Pepperoncini Peppers: FAQ

How do you pronounce pepperoncini?

The first part is the word is "pepper," followed by an "uhn-chee-knee." Or, "peh-per-uhn-chee-nee."

Is a pepperoncini a jalapeño?

Though these peppers are roughly the same size, a pepperoncini is not a jalapeño. A pepperoncini is about 5 to 80 times more mild than a jalapeño. In fact, most pepperoncini peppers aren't spicy at all, where a jalapeño can pack heat. The pepperoncini also has a much thinner skin and paler color than a jalapeño. Plus, if you added a jalapeño to salad, the spice would overpower the other ingredients.

Are pepperoncinis and banana peppers the same thing?

Banana peppers do look a lot like pepperoncini in shape and color, but they are not the same pepper. Banana peppers are more popular in Latin America where they are mainly grown, and the pepperoncini grows Italy and Greece where they are pickled and used on all sorts of dishes.

The heat index is about the same, though banana peppers start at 0 Scoville heat units, and pepperoncini start at 100, both capping at 500. Because of the similarities, it's easy to substitute one for the other when needed.

Is pepperoncini spicy?

Yes, they can be. Each pepperoncini pepper measures between 100 and 500 on the Scoville heat units chart. That's just a little above a basic green bell pepper, which measures at zero. In comparison, a jalapeño measures between 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville heat units. You can buy mild or hot.

How hot are pepperoncini peppers?

Most pepperoncini peppers clock in on the more mild scale, about 100 to 500 Scoville heat units. We have both a mild version and a hot version for those seeking a little heat.

Is pepperoncini healthy?

Pepperoncini peppers are a low-carb, low-calorie food that can really add a unique flavor to the dish while also giving the eater a good dose of vitamins C and A. Chili peppers also contain fiber, calcium and iron.

Can I pickle pepperoncini at home?

Pickling pepperoncini at home isn't hard but sourcing the peppers fresh can be a challenge. It's actually more economic to buy pepperoncini peppers already pickled and jarred, plus, then you know they are done perfectly.

Does pepperoncini need to be refrigerated?

Before the seal is broken, pepperoncini peppers can be kept in the pantry at room temperature. But once opened, it's best to store the jar of peppers in the fridge. Not only does this keep the contents from getting contaminated, but a chilled pepperoncini tastes best on salads and sprinkled on a sandwich.

Where to buy DeLallo pepperoncini peppers?

Most major supermarkets sell DeLallo pepperoncini peppers along with our other products. Check out either the Italian food section or the pickled condiment section. If your local market doesn't have our peppers, order these delectable condiments online on our website and get them shipped straight to you.