Should You Refrigerate Bell Peppers?

The answer is definitively yes—they can last for up to two weeks when kept in the fridge. 

bell pepper varieties
Photo: Johnny Miller

Crisp, crunchy bell peppers are one of the easiest ways to add color to your plate. Available in hues of green, orange, red, and yellow, bell peppers shine in an array of dishes. We love them cut in half and baked with a vegetarian filling, diced and added to a crisp salad, and simmered in a hearty stew. While there's no denying their appeal, there may be some uncertainty around how to properly store them. Should you refrigerate bell peppers or store them at room temperature? And how do you preserve a leftover half of a bell pepper?

Bell peppers "love to be stored in the cold," explains Maddy Rotman, head of sustainability at Imperfect Foods. For that reason, she says that the vegetable should always be stored in the refrigerator. "Bell peppers stored on the counter last about five days, but in the fridge they can stay fresh for up to two weeks," she explains.

Now, this doesn't mean you should place your bell peppers in any spot of the refrigerator and call it a day. If not stored properly, the vegetable can easily lose its crunchy texture. "Humidity is the key here, as too much moisture can cause bell peppers to lose their crunch," Rotman notes. She says to place your peppers in a resealable bag and keep them in the front of the crisper drawer. When stored this way, bell peppers will retain their glossy, smooth skin, sweet flavor, and crisp texture. If, for some reason, you can't keep bell peppers in the fridge, Rotman says to store them in a dry place that stays at room temperature. "The pantry or a cabinet shelf is the best alternative," she adds.

If you only plan on eating half a bell pepper, Rotman recommends keeping the other half in the fridge until you're ready to use it. "Keep the stem and seeds attached if you can and store them in the fridge like you would a whole pepper," she says. "If stored in the crisper and kept dry, cut peppers stay fresh, crunchy, and ready for dips and stews for two to three days." Softened peppers that are more squishy than crunchy don't need to be thrown away, though. "Softened bell peppers are great for roasting up and blending into soups and sauces, pickling, sautéing with fajitas, or even adding some extra veggie goodness into baked goods," Rotman notes.

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