16 Great Substitutes For Pimientos


Pimientos are a type of chili pepper that is typically used in Spanish cuisine.

While they are not as common in other cuisines, many substitutes can be used in their place.

Here are some of the best substitutes for pimientos:

16 Substitutes For Pimientos

1. Red Bell Peppers

The closest swap

Ripe and red Bell Peppers are known to be the closest alternative to Pimiento peppers for their similar taste, texture, and appearance in stir-fries, salads, salsas, and more. 

With bell peppers, it is important to remember to let them ripen and acquire their vibrant red hue, as green bell peppers are not as sweet and tangy as red ones. 

How to substitute

To replace one tablespoon of chopped Pimientos, it is suggested to use 2 tablespoons of chopped red bell peppers to garnish in salads or for cooked recipes.

Delicious stuffed Red Bell peppers.

2. Peppadew Peppers

Great for Stuffing

With a similar appearance and texture, Peppadew and Pimiento peppers can easily be substituted for each other for stuffed appetizers and can also be pickled. 

When replacing Pimientos with Peppadews, bear in mind that although the latter is often sweeter, their seeds are what contain the spice and are often removed before consumption. 

How to substitute

When used for stuffing, Pimientos and Peppadew peppers can be substituted in an equal 1:1 ratio once their seeds are removed.

Stuffed Peppadew peppers.

3. Cherry Peppers

A fiery alternative

Cherry peppers, also known as hot cherry bombs, may look small and round but they pack as much heat as Jalapenos and are a spicier substitute for Pimientos in most recipes. 

When using Cherry peppers as alternatives for Pimientos, do remember that they are said to be forty times spicier than pimientos and should be measured well before use. 

How to substitute

Since Cherry peppers are much hotter than Pimientos, half the quantity of Cherry peppers is often enough to substitute for the required amount of Pimientos.

Cherry pepper poppers.

4. Corno Di Toro Peppers

A mild option

Corno Di Toro is an Italian sweet pepper and translates to bull’s horn as they are shaped like horns and much like bell peppers, ripen to be red from green. 

Do note that Corno Di Toro is larger in size but has a milder, sweeter, and tangier taste compared to Pimientos and is often roasted or grilled for a better texture. 

How to substitute

When substituting for cooked dishes or as a garnish, equal amounts of chopped Corno Di Toro peppers and Pimiento peppers can be used for most recipes.

Roasted Corno Di Toro peppers.

5. Banana Peppers

Banana peppers get their term as their appearance resembles a banana. They have a sweet and spicy taste that resembles that of Pimiento peppers with slightly more heat. 

A small note: A variety of Banana peppers known as Hungarian wax peppers are often spicier than others and should be used cautiously when added to any dish. 

How to substitute

When used as garnish or pickled, Banana peppers can be substituted for equal amounts of Pimiento peppers for salads, pizzas, salsas, and more.

Stuffed Banana pepper.

6. Canned Pimiento Peppers

Canned Pimiento is the easiest way to obtain Pimiento peppers in their original yet preserved and pickled form when other alternatives are unavailable. 

However, when using canned Pimientos, it is important to note that they are often preserved in a salt solution and should be drained and dried before cooking. 

How to substitute

Equal amounts of canned Pimientos and fresh Pimientos can be used to substitute for one another in any dish and as garnish.

Pickled Canned Pimiento peppers.

7. Piquillo Peppers

Piquillo Peppers are known for their unique smoky, tangy, and complex sweet flavor with a meaty texture and are one of the best replacements for Pimiento peppers. 

It is important to note that Piquillo peppers have much thinner skin than Pimiento peppers and a longer shape that does not allow them to be stuffed. 

How to substitute

Piquillo peppers are often grilled to increase their natural sweetness and can be substituted for equal quantities of Pimiento peppers.

Stuffed Piquillo pepper.

8. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a unique alternative to Pimiento peppers as it is not a pepper at all but has a similar intensity and aroma as the original pimiento peppers. 

When using cinnamon, do remember that the intensity of cinnamon is often higher than that of the milder Pimiento peppers and should be mixed with nutmeg. 

How to substitute

To substitute for the required amount of Pimiento peppers, equal amounts of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg should be combined for a close flavor match.

Delicious Cinnamon recipes.

9. Ground Cloves

Ground clove has a sharp and slightly spicy flavor that can easily elevate any cooked recipe and tropical cocktail and makes a great substitute for Pimiento peppers. 

A small note: Cloves do not have any amount of sweetness and should be measured well before use as they can add quite an intensity to your dish or drink. 

How to substitute

Since ground cloves are essentially more heated than sweet, any additional sweetener is required to be mixed with ground cloves to equally replace Pimientos.

Healthy Clove and ginger recipe.

10. Ground Nutmeg

Ground Nutmeg is another interesting alternative to Pimientos when other choices are unavailable with a similar aroma and feel. 

Remember that ground Nutmeg has a versatile flavor and use and should ideally be combined with mace or ground cloves for a closer match with Pimientos. 

How to substitute

Equal amounts of ground nutmeg and ground clove or mace should be enough to substitute for the required amount of Pimiento for most recipes.

Chicken with Nutmeg and mushroom.

11. Star Anise

Star Anise is a major component in many savory recipes for its aroma, deep flavor, and complex intensity that can efficiently replace Pimiento peppers. 

Do note that although Star Anise can be added to numerous recipes, it is usually limited to marinades, stews, curries, and such due to its complexity. 

How to substitute

One tablespoon of Star Anise is often enough to substitute one tablespoon of chopped Pimiento peppers for all savory recipes.

Braised beef with Star Anise.

12. Five Spice Powder

The Chinese Five Spice Powder comprises a flavorful combination of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, peppers, and fennel seeds, making it a perfect combination for any dish. 

Do keep in mind that Five Spice powder creates a flavorful palate, but it is required to be cooked well and cannot be added as a garnish to dishes. 

How to substitute

One tablespoon of Five Spice Powder is often enough to substitute one tablespoon of chopped Pimiento peppers for all savory recipes.

Rice with Five Spice powder.

13. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Another unique and easily available alternative to Pimiento peppers as it is a simple combination of cloves, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and a small amount of cinnamon. 

It is important to measure Pumpkin Pie spice well before use as it has a strong aroma and presence that can dominate the entire dish if used in large amounts. 

How to substitute

Since Pumpkin Pie Spice has a strong intensity and is often sprinkled as a garnish, half a tablespoon of it can replace one tablespoon of chopped Pimientos.

Pumpkin pie with pumpkin pie spice.

14. Cubanelle Peppers

Cubanelle peppers are a staple in Italian and Cuban cuisines and are large, crunchy, fruity, and vibrant red peppers that can easily replace Pimientos in any dish. 

It is advisable to pick fresh Cubanelle peppers to replace Pimiento peppers as they become tender and tangier if cooked or fried, losing their crunchy texture. 

How to substitute

When substituting for cooked dishes or as a garnish, equal amounts of chopped Cubanelle peppers and Pimiento peppers can be used for most recipes.

Stuffed Cubanelle peppers.

15. Holland Sweet Peppers

Holland Sweet peppers, as the term suggests, are sweet and tangy peppers that resemble the appearance and texture of bell peppers and make a great Pimientos substitute. 

Do keep in mind that although these Holland Sweet peppers or Dutch chilies are great alternatives for Pimientos, they are not very easily available. 

How to substitute

Equal amounts of Holland Sweet Peppers and fresh Pimientos can be used to substitute for one another in any dish and as garnish.

Roasted Holland pepper.

16. Sundried Tomatoes

Sundried tomatoes are the safest and the easiest option to avail when all others fail as they provide the same juicy tang as Pimiento without any heat. 

When using sundried tomatoes to substitute for Pimientos, it is best to choose sundried tomatoes soaked in olive oil to get their overall flavors. 

How to substitute

One tablespoon of finely chopped sundried tomatoes is often enough to substitute one tablespoon of chopped Pimiento peppers for all savory recipes.

Pasta in Sundried tomatoes and spinach.


What Is The Best Substitute For Pimientos? 

The best and closest substitutes for Pimientos are considered to be Red Bell peppers, Piquillo peppers, Corno Di Toro peppers, and other such sweet Italian peppers that have a tangy taste and slight heat. 

The non-pepper alternative to Pimientos is a sundried tomato that gives the tanginess and fruitiness required.

Are Cherry Peppers And Pimientos The Same Thing? 

No, Pimientos and Cherry peppers are nothing like one another but are often one of the best substitutes for each other. Pimiento has a sweet and tangy flavor with only a hint of heat that is often not felt at all. 

Can I Use Paprika Instead Of Pimientos? 

Cherry peppers, on the other hand, are a variety of pimientos but have much higher heat levels compared to pimientos and are not the same.

No, it is best to not substitute Pimientos with Paprika due to their differences in flavor, heat levels, and overall texture. Pimiento has a mild yet noticeable flavor and tangy sweetness that is different from paprika. 

Paprika is known to be one of the spiciest peppers with only subtly fruity tanginess that is not quite noticeable.

What Is The Best Pimientos Substitute For Pimento Cheese? 

The most frequently used pimiento substitute for Pimiento Cheese is roasted Red Bell peppers as they share most features such as appearance, texture, color, and taste. 
Red Bell peppers can easily be roasted or grilled and stuffed with cheese and other ingredients to make the perfect stuffed peppers.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy pimiento substitute, then look no further! These substitutes will add the perfect flavor to your dishes without all the calories.

So, what are you waiting for? Give them a try today!

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About Tammy J

Tammy is currently studying in college. While attending, she has broadened her horizons by experimenting with food from all over the world, but she has a special love for Mexican and Indian cuisine. She loves traveling with her friends, and enjoys nothing more than packing up a few backpacks and hitting the open road to explore natural beauty.

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