Is Pepper a Fruit or a Vegetable?

Do you have a looming question in your mind – is Pepper fruit or vegetable? Well, first of all, let me assure you that you are not alone.

There are different Peppers: black, white, bell, chili, Sichuan, and more.

In general, Pepper is technically a fruit in botanical terms. However, in culinary terms, it is considered a vegetable. “Fruit” and “Vegetable” are defined differently depending on the botanist and a chef’s point of view.

Different colored bell peppers
Different colored bell peppers (Source: Wikimedia)

If you want to find out in detail about different peppers, you have come to the right place. I will tell you which Pepper is fruit and which Pepper is a vegetable.

In addition to this, I will briefly explain every Pepper mentioned above to you.

So, let’s get right into it.

Introduction to Pepper

Pepper is a type of spice added to vegetables to enhance the taste. Chefs around the world use it for seasoning foods.

Not only for that, but they also use Peppers as vegetables, side dishes, and salads. It is used in original forms or powdered forms. Both forms are easily available in the market.

Singing Pepper
Fruit or vegetable? A pepper is happy to just exist! (Source: Tenor)

Pepper is of different types. It may sound strange because we usually classify Pepper as spicy, but we can find sweet Pepper as well.

There are spicy forms of Pepper (chili peppers), mild form (bell pepper, red Pepper, green Pepper), and sweet form (paprika).

Yes, Pepper is used as an agent to make your foods more tasty and savory, but it also has some medicinal purposes. People consume it to cure upset stomach, bronchitis, asthma, and other diseases.

Want to know which are the hottest Peppers in the world? Read “Top 10 World’s Hottest Peppers

Fruit or Vegetable: Botanical Vs. Culinary Classification

It may be quite confusing to find out that some fruits can be considered vegetables and some vegetables as fruits, based on how the culinary or botanical experts see them.

If you set up a table discussion about certain edible plants between botanists and culinary experts, it is sure to be a heated one.

Mr. Eggplant representing vegetables, is here with a message.
Mr. Eggplant representing vegetables is here with a message.

For example, if you provide them with tomatoes, you’ll get different answers depending on who you ask. Botanists would be hellbent on proving it a fruit, while culinary experts would disagree.

For botanists to call something a fruit, it must contain seeds and develop from a flower. Similarly, they define vegetables as edible parts in a plant, like a stem, leaves, roots, and flowers.

That changes when it comes to culinary experts. They describe fruits as something that has a sweet and sharp-sour taste.

While they say vegetables have a mild and delicious taste when cooked and act as a main course or a side dish at times.

The Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables

  • Vegetables usually have less sugar and calories compared to fruits, as fruits are more on the sweeter side.
  • Usually, it is the same, but some fruits have a higher fiber quantity than vegetables.
  • Leafy vegetables have up to 90% water compared to fruits with 89% water.
  • Different types of fruits and vegetables have different types of nutrients.

Pepper can be a fruit or vegetable, depending on who you ask. Let me reflect more on that below.

Peppers are Fruits in Botanical Sense

Botanically speaking, Peppers can be called fruit because of their physical characteristics and functions.

Fruits are formed to continue the plant’s existence via seeds’ offspring. Pepper is no different.

Pepper has several seeds that you can replant in high moisture with an ideal temperature of 80-90°F, suitable warmth, and moderate light to grow a Pepper again.

Pepper with Seeds
Botanists say: “Anything that grows from a flower and seed is a fruit” (Source: Rawpixel)

On top of that, Pepper grows from the flower of the Pepper plant, giving us more reasons to believe that it is a fruit.

So, supported by scientific evidence, botanists believe that Pepper is a fruit rather than a vegetable.

Peppers are Vegetables in Culinary Sense

Well, you need to consume something to find out whether something is a fruit or a vegetable, right? The culinary experts agree.

Chefs around the world classify Pepper as a vegetable and have been using it for years to enhance food taste.

Fruits and vegetables are categorized depending on their flavor in the culinary world. Fruits have a sweet or tart flavor and can be utilized in desserts, snacks, or liquids.

Pepper cooked as vegetable
Pepper cooked as a vegetable (Source: Pexels)

Vegetables have a milder or savory flavor and are typically served as a side dish or main course. They become tasty when cooked or consumed with other dishes.

Peppers usually are used as a dish in our homes and most restaurants. Nutritionists and chefs believe Pepper to do the same, classifying it as a vegetable.

Is Pepper Fruit or Vegetable?

After knowing everything about Pepper and its types, let us turn the page to the main topic.

It was important for you to know about the Peppers and their types before knowing whether Pepper is a fruit or vegetable.

Few varieties of pepper
Few varieties of Pepper (Source: Wikimedia)

As I mentioned earlier, if a plant part has a seed, it is considered a fruit, and the other remaining plant part is called a vegetable.

We use the word “fruit” to describe fleshy and seed-holding structures of flowering plants. So keeping this definition in mind, you can easily differentiate between fruit and a vegetable.

However, since you are already here, allow me to educate you.

1. Peppers Falling Under Piperaceae

Black Pepper is a flowering plant that falls in the family Piperaceae.

Black Pepper has a single seed in it and is a berry. Berries are a subcategory of simple fleshy fruits. Therefore, black Pepper is a fruit.

Black Pepper
Black Pepper (Source: Wikimedia)

Although all berries are considered a fruit, not all fruits are berries.

And black Pepper being fruit, white Pepper, green Pepper, red Pepper are also fruit as they all come from the same plant, only the color is different.

Piperaceae family has other plants too. Read about one of them in our another article.

2. Peppers Falling Under Anacardiaceae

The Pepper tree is a plant that falls under the family of Anacardiaceae. Do not fall for its sweet, pink appearance, as they are nearly as spicy as Black Pepper.

Black Pepper and Pink Pepper are not related, as the Black Pepper is grounded into powder before the actual consumption.

Pink peppers are not peperomias but berries that grow on trees and are consumed after drying them.

Pink peppers taste similar to black ones, but they are milder and have a fruity taste.

3. Capsicum Pepper

Bell Peppers are also botanically classified as berries, so one would assume that they fall under fruits. Well, they are not wrong. Botanically, they are fruits.

After being used as vegetables and salads for many years, many people think that bell Pepper is a vegetable. Technically, they are not wrong. Culinarily, they are vegetables.

Bell Pepper
Capsicum Pepper (Source: Pixabay)

Bell Peppers have different names like Capsicum, sweet Pepper. To be precise, bell Peppers are berries, and they can be of different colors.

Whether they are fruit or vegetables depends on how you consume them.

4. Sichuan Pepper

Sichuan Peppers are a variety of Pepper that falls in the genus Zanthoxylum and family Rutaceae. They originated from China.

Like most other categories of Peppers, Sichuan Pepper is not a Pepper but a berry.

Sichuan Pepper
Sichuan Pepper (Source: Wikimedia)

Sichuan fruits are tiny fruits picked from amongst their thorny branches and dried out in the sun. After drying, they open up and reveal black seeds inside.

While opening up, they form a flowery pattern. We discard the bitter seed inside and consume the husk.

Following their appearance, properties, and functions, we can classify these Pepper.

Are you looking for a gift for a spice lover? Read “16 Unique Gift Ideas for A Spicy Food Lover

Putting It All Together!

You can eat them as salads, and you can use them as seasonings, you can consume them to challenge your taste buds; a pepper is the ‘Dwayne Johnson’ of the plant kingdom.

But seriously, does it matter? Use it like you want to use it.

Chili Pepper
Chili Pepper (Source: Tenor)

Is Pepper a fruit or vegetable? Hmmm, that depends. Does Pepper make everything tasty? YESSSSS!

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