6 Best Peppadews Peppers Substitutes

With so many different varieties of peppers out there, it’s not too surprising that different countries would have their personal favorites. In places like Britain, the bell pepper reigns supreme. In Mexico, Jalapeño peppers wear the crown.

And in South Africa, the title of most popular pepper usually falls on the peppadews pepper. It’s one of the most popular appetizer foods in the country and a regularly used ingredient in South African home cooking.

This means that if you’re looking at a South African recipe online that calls for peppers, chances are that they’re talking about peppadews.

However, this leads to a small issue that cooks following these recipes might run into. Because while peppadews pepper is very popular in South Africa, they’re a little harder to get a hold of outside of the country.

So, what do you do when a recipe calls for this type of pepper, but it’s nowhere in your pantry, and you’re not sure where to find it?

Ideally, you’ll use one of the following substitutes that we’ve found for you here!

Best Peppadews Peppers Substitutes

What Are Peppadews Peppers?

As we mentioned, peppadews pepper aren’t exactly as well known outside South Africa, so it’s reasonable to not know what to expect from them in your cooking. So, let’s cover some basics about this particular pepper!

Peppadews peppers aren’t a particular variety or cultivar of pepper, but are a pepper that has been pickled in brine for some time. Very often, these pickled peppers are sold in jars of many peppadews peppers, with the brine still in there for maximum flavor.

This gives these peppers a very distinct flavor and mouth feel to them.

Instead of just the bright and vibrant flavors that many peppers and chilies have, you get a tangy sweet flavor with an acidic hint to it, making it stand out from many others peppers that you can buy out there.

Then, of course, there is the question of heat. Like all other peppers and chilies, peppadews peppers can measure their heat on the Scoville scale, which rates a pepper variety based on how hot they are when they are in a mouth.

There’s a lot of science and testing that goes into determining what counts as heat with chilies, but the long and short of it is that milder peppers, like bell peppers, rank lower on the scale (o for bell peppers), and the higher you go, the hotter a pepper gets.

For Jalapeños, their rating on the Scoville scale is 2,000 to 8,000, and a scotch bonnet pepper is 100,000 to 350,000, and so on.

Peppadews peppers sit at around 1,000 on the Scoville scale, so they have a little heat to them, but not as much as many other varieties (the pickling helps neutralize it).

So, a good substitute for peppadews peppers will have these qualities:

  • Sweet and tangy, with an acidic aftertaste.
  • Be mildly hot when being eaten.

1. Sweet Cherry Peppers

Starting us off with arguably the best substitute that you’ll be able to find for this particular pickled pepper, you can’t do much better than a sweet cherry pepper!

Unlike peppadews peppers, which can often be difficult to find in Us stores, sweet cherry peppers are extremely common, making them much easier to grab a bag of from your local grocers.

In terms of flavor, cherry peppers are probably the closest that you’ll find in terms of overall sweetness, which is why we rate them so highly as a substitute.

They have a slightly hotter taste to them, around 2,500 to 4,000, making them a little spicier than a typical peppadews pepper, but not out of its higher range.

Plus, sweet cherry peppers are a very good candidate for pickling. So if you plan on having a jar or container of pickled paper handy, you can do a lot worse than sweet cherry peppers.

If you’re serving them fresh as a substitute, we would recommend sprinkling just a little honey over them, to nail that sweet flavor.

2. Pimentos

Pimentos are another reliable option that you can fall back on if you can’t find any peppadews peppers near you/, especially if you’re trying to stay on the cooler side of the Scoville scale. Quite literally, in this case!

With a Scoville rating of just 100 to 500, this is one of the mildest peppers out there but still has a little heat to it, making it a great substitute for people with milder palettes.

In terms of its flavor, you’ll still get the bright flavor of a good pepper, though you’ll probably find that they aren’t quite as sweet as peppadews.

Like with the last entry, if sweetness is a big issue for you, feel free to add a little extra honey to compensate for that lack of sweetness, and you should be fine!

3. Bell Peppers

Do you know how we said that pimento peppers are one of the coolest and mildest peppers out there?

Well, if you’re looking for mild pepper substitutes, bell peppers are undeniably the way to go.

Bell peppers are famous for their bright, sweet flavor, making them popular in all kinds of recipes across the world, making them ideal for replacing many peppadews pepper scenarios, no honey needed!

The only thing that you’ll be missing out on is the heat of a peppadews. Coming in at 0 on the Scoville scale, bell peppers are at the absolute bottom of the scale, and are perfect for milder meals.

However, with so many ways to prepare them, bell peppers have a ton of versatility to them. It’s probably why they’re one of the most popular peppers out there right now!

If you can’t handle spices, and need a substitute, you’ll be turning to this pepper in particular!

4. Sweety Drop Peppers

Many of the peppers that we have covered are great substitutes for flavor, but many of them lack the tanginess that you’ll find in a peppadews pepper.

This is where the sweety drop pepper comes into its own. Another very popular pepper to pickle, these peppers have that distinct tangy flavor and acidic aftertaste that we’ve been missing a lot in this list.

Plus, they’re also a lot easier to get a hold of in many instances. Most stores or grocers that have peppers are likely to sell jars of sweet drops, so you can easily replace them in many dishes.

Not only that, but they’re not just a replacement in the pickled department. They’re similar in shape, overall texture, and even in sweetness.

They even match them in spiciness too, being only 500 to 1,000 on the Scoville scale, in virtually the same range as peppadews peppers.

Sweety drop peppers are arguably the best substitutes that you’ll find out there, by almost every metric. 

5. Rocoto Chili

Most of the substitutes that we’ve covered so far have erred on the side of caution and milder spices.

But if you’re looking for a substitute with some real heat to it, then you’ll want to find yourself some rocoto chili peppers.

A very popular chili that is grown across Central and South America, this is a chili that is known for its sweeter flavors, which have an almost citrus aftertaste to them.

This also makes them a chili pepper that has a little more tanginess to them than many other raw peppers. Not quite as much as pickling it, but it’s certainly there!

And of course, there is the spiciness of this pepper. At anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000, this is easily the hottest pepper on this list!

This makes rocoto chili a no-go for anyone who hates spicy flavors that are overwhelming to their taste buds. If you can handle it, however, there’s nothing quite like it!

6. Pepperoncini

Another popular pepper to pickle, Pepperoncini is an Italian variety of paper that has just the right combination of both sweetness and spice to make it an amazing peppadews pepper substitute.

At 100 to 500 on the Scoville scale, it’s got just a little heat, with a sweet acidic flavor to it. Easily one of the best substitutes, if you can get a hold of it.

Final Notes

So, there you have it.

There is a peppadews pepper substitute for pretty much everyone out there, whether you’re looking for the sweeter flavor, or the tangy pickled taste.

Whether you have an incredibly mild palette, or like to feel the inside of your mouth burn, there’s a substitute for everyone on this list!

6 Best Peppadews Peppers Substitutes

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


Prep time


Cooking time






  • Sweet Cherry Peppers

  • Pimentos

  • Bell Peppers

  • Sweety Drop Peppers

  • Rocoto Chili

  • Pepperoncini


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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