Banana Peppers Vs. Pepperoncini: What's The Difference?

Pepperoncini and banana peppers are used often in various recipes, including the always-popular slow cooker favorites such as Mississippi Roast or Mississippi Chicken or a simple but delicious deli sandwich, stacked high with our favorite meats and cheeses. But these peppers, despite often being referred to nearly interchangeably, actually have some pretty significant differences.

So, are banana peppers the same as pepperoncini? Well, yes in the sense that they are both peppers and the same color. They are both chili peppers and both are great jarred or pickled as well as used fresh and crunchy as a finishing touch as well as as an ingredient when cooking roasts and stews. But there’s also a whole lot different about these two members of the pepper family.


Caitlin Bensen

The Differences Between Banana Peppers And Pepperoncini


Banana peppers and pepperoncini are similar in that they both can get pretty hot. They both can get up to 500 Scoville Heat Units, which is how heat levels of peppers are measured on the Scoville Scale. However, they are different in how that heat distributes from pepper to pepper. Banana peppers are sort of like shishito peppers in that while some pack a punch of heat, some also have no heat at all. However, pepperoncini peppers, while sometimes mild, will always have at least a little kick. So, while the hottest pepper in a side by side of pepperoncini vs. banana peppers will be equally spicy, the more mild end will always have banana peppers as the heat low point.


If you are ever ordering groceries and see these two peppers confused for each other, there's a good reason for that. They both have a similar yellow-green shade of color and they are roughly the same size. However, that’s where their appearance similarities end. 

Pepperoncini peppers are recognized by their wrinkly skin while banana peppers have a smoother, waxy texture. Banana peppers are slightly curvy in shape and also have a pointier end, much like a banana. Pepperoncini peppers are recognized to be somewhat rounder in shape.


These peppers have a pretty similar flavor, especially when they are pickled. However, if looking for a more sweet note to the pepper, banana peppers are a better bet. Both will offer a tangy, crunchy addition to all sorts of dishes.

Can banana peppers and pepperoncini be used interchangeably?

While these peppers do have differences in appearance, flavor, and heat, they are also so similar that they can easily be substituted for one another in recipes. They will both work equally well in many dishes, but if you are looking for specific characteristics – say a sweeter pepper, a more tangy bite, or a higher spice likelihood, you may want to go for the specific pepper dictated in the recipe.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles