Do Bell Peppers Need to Be Refrigerated? (How Do You Know if a Bell Pepper is Bad?)

Do Bell Peppers Need to Be Refrigerated?

You don’t really need to refrigerate bell peppers if you plan to use them within a few days after purchase. However, it’s best to store them in the fridge, particularly if you don’t plan on using them right away.

When storing them in your fridge, it is recommended that you put them in a plastic bag. This is because the ideal temperature for bell peppers is 45°F, which is a bit higher than the refrigerator’s temperature.  That’s why you should use the crisper drawer of your fridge for storage as it will help lengthen their storage time.

Storage time can vary depending on how mature or fresh they are when they were harvested. The more mature or ripe they are, the shorter their shelf life will be.

Peppers that have been picked when they are still green usually last longer than red or yellow peppers, but you can extend their lifespan even more by placing them in a plastic bag after washing and drying them.


Can You Store Bell Peppers on the Counter?

Yes. If you have purchased fresh bell peppers and you plan to use them within the next five days, then you can simply store them on the counter. In ideal conditions, uncut, fresh bell peppers can last about five days when stored on the counter.

However, keep in mind that bell peppers are very demanding and picky in terms of storage at room temperature. If the conditions are less than ideal, they will spoil quickly as compared to other vegetables. Smaller ones tend to spoil faster. So, for the best results, store them in the fridge is recommended.

If you decide to store your fresh bell peppers in the refrigerator, it is important that you store them properly. It is best to keep them in the crisper drawer, where they can stay cool and dry and away from ethylene gases that can cause the pepper skin to turn pale or brown prematurely.

If you stand them up on their sides like an apple, you can maximize space and reduce the amount of time that ethylene gases have contact with your bell pepper skins.


How Long Will Bell Peppers Last Unrefrigerated?

Bell peppers can last for up to 5 days unrefrigerated, providing that the conditions for storage are ideal. Whole bell peppers tend to last longer but if the ambient temperature is high, you can expect them to spoil very quickly.

Generally, you can leave bell peppers at room temperature for a few days but it’s best to refrigerate them as it significantly increases their shelf life. In the refrigerator, raw bell peppers can easily last for 1-2 weeks. If they are cooked, they last about 3-5 days when refrigerated.

When storing bell peppers, be sure to store them in an area that has good airflow and is not exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Bell peppers tend to pick up extra moisture from the air so make sure they are wrapped properly and do not come into contact with other fruits or vegetables.


Do You Have to Refrigerate Pepperoncini Peppers?

Similar to bell peppers, whether or not you should refrigerate pepperoncini peppers depends on when you plan to use them. If you don’t want to store them long-term and intend to use them within the next few days after purchase, then you don’t really have to refrigerate them.

You can simply bag them or even leave them loose at room temperature. However, don’t wash them before storing them as it affects their shelf life. Only wash them when you are ready to consume them.

If you want to store pepperoncini peppers long-term, then it’s best to refrigerate them. When refrigerated and tightly covered, pepperoncini peppers can keep their freshness for a long time.


Are Bell Peppers Perishable?

Yes. Just like other vegetables, bell peppers are perishable and can spoil quickly if stored at room temperature. When storing them at room temperature, make sure to keep them dry and unwashed because moisture causes them to rot.

To ensure that they stay fresh for longer, you will need to refrigerate them, just like most other perishable products. For best results, store them whole in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

If the peppers have been cut, then wrap them in a paper towel and put them in a container before refrigerating them.


How Do You Know if a Bell Pepper is Bad?

When it comes to spoilage, bell peppers are quite similar to other vegetables. Sometimes it may seem that they have gone bad, e.g. changing color, forming patches, etc. But such effects are normal and nothing to be concerned about.

However, there are many signs that clearly indicate that the bell peppers have gone bad. These include (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. Bell peppers have large sunken spots or they are soft to touch. This happens when bell peppers lose their moisture.
  2. Bell peppers are smelling off in any way. Fresh bell peppers never exude an off odor. If they do, then it means it’s time to discard them.
  3. Bell peppers have started to rot or grow mold. If only tiny parts are damaged or spoiled, you can simply cut them out. However, if the problem escalates, you will need to discard the peppers.

Refrigerating bell peppers will also help to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. This is because refrigeration prevents microbial growth and slows down the spoiling process.


When Should I Throw Out a Bell Pepper?

If you have purchased bell peppers, left them in your fridge or on your counter, and forgot about them, know that you might not have to throw them all out. Before discarding them, you should check whether they have actually gone bad.

The most common situations in which you should throw your bell peppers out include peppers being smelly, moldy, or mushy. If you notice any of these signs, then you can proceed to discard them.

Generally, if there’s anything in your peppers that concerns you and you assume that they have gone bad, then it would be a good idea to discard them. However, if their skins are wrinkled but not yet mushy, you might be able to salvage them. One primary way to do this is to roast them.


In summary, Bell peppers are rich in nutrients and fiber. They contain vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants which can help fight disease. They also contain a good amount of fiber, which most of us don’t get enough of.

The only way to preserve the crispness is through refrigeration. Leaving them at room temperature will cause them to lose their crunch, due to the enzymatic action where the natural sugars in fruit convert to starches if left for a length of time. The cold temperatures in the refrigerator slow down this process and keep the peppers from going soft.

The best place to store bell peppers is in a refrigerator drawer. If you have a small fridge then you may want to consider buying a plastic bag with a zipper that will fit inside your refrigerator door for storing your food items. This will give you more space for other items and allow you to remove just what you need without having to open your whole fridge every time you need something.

In general, you should not wash bell peppers until right before using them because water can damage the skin causing it to be more susceptible to damage during handling or cooking.

You may also be interested in… Do Macarons Need to Be Refrigerated? and Do Cucumbers Need to Be Refrigerated?