A comprehensive guide on how to cut bell peppers with precision and ease whether cutting matchsticks, rings or a small dice. These step-by-step instructions will help you achieve the perfect cut every time to use in appetizer spreads, crudité platters, chili, stir-fries and so much more.
What is the best way to cut a bell pepper?
Bell peppers can be tricky to master when cutting but figuring out the best way to cut them comes down to what you’re making.
For soups and chili, a chop or fine dice might be the right cut. When making a stir-fry or sheet pan fajitas, however, thin strips work better. Looking for some crunch in a sandwich or a fun presentation for a vegetable platter? Rings might be the best approach.
We’ll go over all of these methods below so you’ll be a pro in no time no matter which cut is called for.
How to cut bell peppers
Before getting into specific cuts, let’s talk about prepping the bell peppers for use.
Peppers are typically coated with wax (like apples) from the store to help retain moisture and stay fresh. Unless you’re growing bell peppers in your garden or buying from farmer’s markets, this is likely the case.
To remove the wax layer, rinse the peppers under cold water and lightly rub a scouring pad around the outside of the vegetable to help remove the wax.
No matter which cut you choose to use, the stem of the pepper needs to be removed after washing. Using a sharp knife, slice off the stem end of the pepper. You can then pop the stem out and reserve the pepper surrounding the stem for another use.
How to cut a bell pepper into rings
To cut peppers into rings, start by scooping out the seeds and pith using a spoon. You will then be left with a hollow vegetable.
Alternatively, the peppers can be cut into rings with the seeds and pith still intact. If doing so, remove from each ring individually once cut.
Using a sharp knife, slice down through the entire vegetable from one side to the other to create the ring shape. Continue down the vegetable until reaching the bottom end which can be used or chopped/diced for another use.
How to cut a bell pepper into strips
Cutting peppers into strips or matchsticks sometimes referred to as a “julienned”, is another commonly used cut in cooking.
Scoop out the seeds and pith just as you would if cutting rings. Then cut the pepper into fourths and press each piece flat against a cutting board. Cut down the length of each piece of the pepper using a sharp knife to make strips as thin or thick as you’d like.
How to dice or chop bell peppers
Dicing or chopping is probably the most common preparation when it comes to using bell peppers in recipes. To do this, cut strips as noted above then turn the strips at a 90° angle and cut in the opposite direction to create chopped peppers.
The thicker the strips, the larger the chop. For a fine dice, make sure the strips are very thin.
Chopped bell peppers are great in soups or chili like Mexican vegetable soup and turkey chili pie whereas finely diced peppers are great for salsas. Grab some habanero peppers and make this pineapple habanero salsa.
Cutting bell peppers in half
Pepper “boats” or halves are another great cut to take advantage of. This cut is the easiest as it simply involves de-stemming, removing the seeds and then slicing the pepper in half.
Typically this is done in a vertical direction but either way works and depending on the shape of the bell pepper, might not differ that much.
Pepper halves are great for stuffing. Try these cheesy chicken stuffed poblano peppers or make these bison stuffed peppers with any color bell pepper. You can even make air fryer stuffed peppers in a fraction of the time the oven takes.
Pepper boats are also great as a lower carb option for replacing bread. They can be used to make sandwiches or stuffed with your favorite lunch salad.
Best tips for cutting bell peppers
Bell peppers have some specific tips unique to them as well:
- Keep the skin side down – When cutting peppers, the knife will cut much more easily through the inside of the vegetable. This is especially true if the waxy coating is not removed in the preparation process.
- Utilize scraps – You’ll likely end up with odd ends and pieces from the stem area and bottom of the pepper. These can often be chopped or diced for another use. At minimum, they’re great for making stock or bone broth.
How to Cut Bell Peppers
- 1 large bell pepper, any color
- sharp Chef’s knife
- Wash and clean the pepper under cold water. Pat dry.
- Lay the pepper on its side and using a sharp knife slice about 1/2" from the stem end.
- Scoop the seeds and pith out using a spoon.
- For rings: Turn the pepper on its side again and slice through the entire vegetable from one side to the other to create rings as thick or thin as desired.
- For strips: Cut the seeded pepper into fourths. Press each fourth flat on a cutting board and slice down the length to create strips. These can also be cut as thick or thin as desired.
- For chopped/diced peppers: Turn strips at a 90° angle and cut in the opposite direction. Larger strips will result in a chop whereas thinner strips are needed to dice the pepper.
- Halves: Once seeded, slice the pepper in half either vertically or horizontally depending on preference.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.