How to Store Bell Peppers to Keep Them Fresh for Longer?

Bought a whole bunch of bell peppers and not sure what’s the best way to store them?

Or maybe yours go soft surprisingly fast, and you want to make sure you do everything right.

Sounds familiar? If so, you’re probably wondering: how to store bell peppers?

The Short Answer

Store bell peppers unwashed and in the crisper drawer in the fridge. Once you cut or slice them, place the leftovers in an airtight container or freezer bag lined with a paper towel that will absorb any extra moisture.

That’s the short version.

Interested in learning more? Here’s what we cover below:

  • ways to keep your bell peppers fresh
  • whether or not refrigeration is necessary
  • how to go about cut or sliced bell peppers
  • freezing as another storage option

Read on.

Bell peppers side by side
Bell peppers side by side

How to Store Bell Peppers?

The best way to store bell peppers is to store them unwashed in the crisper drawer. If your crisper is full, you can place them anywhere else in the fridge, but make sure they’re in an airtight container or freezer bag so that they don’t lose water as quickly.

The most important thing to keep bell peppers fresh is to slow down water loss as much as possible. You can achieve that in two ways:

  • by storing them loose in the most humid place in the fridge – the crisper drawer
  • by placing them in a container, freezer bag, or even a plastic bag, either of which traps moisture quite well

If you go for the latter solution, expect water drops in whatever you store the bell peppers. That water will cause soft spots and slime to form more quickly and will accelerate spoilage.

How to store cut bell peppers
How to store cut bell peppers

Because of that, it’s best to wipe the container or bag with a paper towel every 2 to 3 days or whenever you notice water buildup. Or wrap each bell pepper with a paper towel that will soak up all that moisture.

Last, while storing bell peppers unwashed is the most popular recommendation, it’s not a huge deal if you wash them. Just make sure you let the veggies thoroughly dry before they end up in the fridge, and you’re going to be fine.

Do You Refrigerate Bell Peppers?

The best temperature for storing bell peppers is around 45°F (7.5°C), which is slightly higher than in an average fridge and much lower than room temperature. Because of that, the refrigerator is a much better option than leaving fresh bell peppers on the counter.

Of course, you can leave your whole bell peppers on the counter, but they’ll last only a couple of days instead of the two weeks they can keep in the fridge.

Related: How long do bell peppers last?

When it comes cut bell peppers, they should always sit in the fridge.

Cut bell peppers closeup
Cut bell peppers closeup

How to Store Cut Bell Peppers?

Store cut or sliced bell peppers in an airtight container or resealable bag in the fridge. Line the bag or container with a paper towel that will soak up extra moisture and help the veggies stay fresh and crisp for longer.

If you don’t add a paper towel to the bag or container, pretty soon moisture will start to build up. Here’s how that might look like:

Bell peppers: water buildup in container
Bell peppers: water buildup in container

While it doesn’t seem like much, that amount of water will speed up softening of the slices and noticeably shorten their storage time.

In other words, unless you plan on finishing the cut-up bell pepper within two to three days or so, using that paper towel is well worth it. Plus, you can always let the paper dry and reuse it at least a couple of times.

Last but not least, let’s touch upon freezing bell peppers.

Can You Freeze Bell Peppers?

Main article: How to freeze bell peppers?

You can freeze bell peppers whole or cut up. The latter method is more popular because sliced bell peppers take much less space than whole ones. Plus, if the pepper is already cut up, it’s ready for use right after defrosting (or even without it).

When it comes to how to freeze bell peppers, here’s what you should do:

  1. Prep. Wash and slice, dice, or cut up the peppers in whatever way makes sense for you. What you’re aiming for here is getting the peppers ready for use right after thawing. Finalize this step by letting the cut-up veggies dry on paper towels (or what have you).
  2. Pre-freeze. Grab a cookie sheet and spread the veggies on it in a single layer in a way they don’t touch one another (some touching here and there is okay, just don’t let them form clumps). Last, place that sheet in the freezer and leave it there for 2 to 3 hours or until the peppers are solid.
  3. Transfer to freezer bags. Grab a freezer bag or two and chuck the pre-frozen bell pepper slices into them. This helps protect the veggies from freezer burn and frees up your tray. Write the contents of the bag and the date on it if you find that helpful. Finally, squeeze out excess air and seal the bag tightly.
  4. Back in the freezer. Chuck the bags in the freezer.

As you can tell, the process is fairly simple and shouldn’t take more than, say, 10 to 15 minutes of active time, depending on how much it takes you to prep the peppers.

What’s great about it is that it doesn’t involve blanching the peppers, which is a huge time suck and something that I try to avoid at all costs.