Sixstoreys Logo

What are Pimentos? [Where To Find / Where To Store And Uses]

By: Shivani Choudhary
Updated On: December 13, 2023

Welcome to the colorful, spicy world of pimentos, the tiny, bright red treasures that add a tangy punch to our favourite dishes. But what are pimentos exactly, you ask? Pimentos, also known as pimiento peppers or cherry peppers, are a variety of large, red, heart-shaped chili peppers that manage to combine sweetness and spiciness in every bite. Originating from Spain, these vibrant peppers have found their home in kitchens around the world and are cherished for their unique taste and versatility. So, let’s embark on a culinary voyage to discover more about these alluring, fiery pimentos.

Also Read: What to Serve with French Onion Soup?

What are Pimentos?

What are Pimentos?

Pimentos, marked as Capsicum annuum, are a type of chili pepper distinct for their sweet, almost ripe flavor and mild heat level. Relative to the same family as bell peppers and jalapenos, their vibrant red color and unique heart shaped appearance make them an attractive addition to various dishes. They are commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine, especially in Spain, where they’re native.

Spain celebrates the Pimento de Padron festival, an event dedicated entirely to these peppers. Perhaps you’ve encountered pimentos in a familiar supermarket item – green olives stuffed with pimentos. These peppers are uniquely used in this context due to their lovely color and manageable heat level, which pairs exquisitely with the briny taste of the olives.

Pimentos are not to be confused with pimento cheese, a staple in Southern American cuisine. It’s worth clarifying that pimento cheese is not a variety of cheese, but a creamy spread made with sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and pimentos!

Let’s dig a little deeper into the world of pimentos. Their unique flavor profile, where to find them, and some creative ways you can introduce them into your culinary adventures.

Where Do Pimentos Come From?

Pimentos, sometimes alternatively spelled pimientos, are native to the Mediterranean region. More specifically, these vibrant red peppers trace their roots back to Spain, where they continue to be a stalwart of Spanish cuisine to this day.

These peppers are typically grown in the warm, sun-drenched Mediterranean climate, making them bountiful in countries like Spain and Portugal. Interestingly, the term “pimento” itself is derived from the Spanish word ‘pimienta,’ which translates to pepper.

One particular Spanish region, Espelette (yes, that’s right, they have a well-renowned pepper named after the town), is globally recognized for its quality pimento production. The Espelette pepper (Piment d’Espelette) is a variety of Capsicum annuum that is cultivated in the French commune of Espelette, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, in the southwestern part of the Basque Country.

But don’t let the European roots fool you. Today, pimentos are produced and used in cuisines all around the world, from the Southern states in America where they turn the peppers into crowd-favorite pimento cheese to Africa where they add a juicy crunch to various dishes, demonstrating the pimento’s exotic global journey.

So whether you’re experiencing these delightful peppers in your stuffed olives or savoring a slice on your pizza, you’re tasting a bit of international history, right from your plate!

Pimentos: More Than Just a Gorgeous Red Hue

Pimentos: More Than Just a Gorgeous Red Hue

At first glance, you might mistake pimentos for a type of cherry tomato due to their brilliant red hue and roundness. However, don’t be fooled by their appearance. Pimentos are indeed a type of pepper, with a flavor profile that is far richer and more complex than their simple appearance suggests.

Pimentos have a Mediterranean sweetness, combined with a slight heat — a unique fusion that distinguishes them from other chili peppers. They are typically less spicy, registering 100 to 500 units on the Scoville Heat Scale, notably lower compared to jalapenos or habaneros.

The unique taste of pimentos has earned them a center stage in various culinary delights. You’ll find them in the Southern favorite pimiento cheese, tucked into green olives for an exciting taste contrast, and used in abundance in Spanish cuisine, from rice dishes to savory pies.

Unveiling the Health Benefits Of Pimentos

Perhaps you’ve loved these slightly spicy yet sweet peppers for their taste, but did you know pimentos pack an impressive punch of health benefits too?

Nutritional Value of Pimentos

Pimentos are mighty contenders in the race for the most nutrient-dense foods. They are remarkably high in vitamins and minerals while being low in calories, making them an ideal choice for a healthy lifestyle.

A single serving of pimentos (roughly a cup) contains:

  • 37 calories
  • 0.3 grams of fat
  • 1.2 grams of protein
  • 9 grams of carbohydrates
  • 3 grams of dietary fiber

Moreover, they are a fantastic source of vitamin C, providing more than 100% of the recommended daily intake, along with B vitamins, and significant amounts of vitamin A and vitamin E.

Health Benefits of Pimentos

Given their nutrient-dense profile, no wonder that pimentos offer a myriad of health benefits. Apart from warding off scurvy with their vitamin C content, they also:

  1. Improve Eye Health: With rich vitamin A content, pimentos aid in maintaining healthy vision, skin, and immune system.
  2. Promote Heart Health: These peppers are full of capsaicin, a compound that can help to lower blood pressure. Plus their fiber content supports heart health by reducing the level of bad cholesterol.
  3. Boost Immune System: The generous amount of vitamins in pimentos can help strengthen our immune system.
  4. Aid in Digestion: Pimentos are a good source of dietary fiber, essential for a healthy gut and improved digestion.

Next time you reach for a pimento-stuffed olive or spread some pimento cheese on a cracker, not only are you enjoying a delicious treat, but you’re also nourishing your body with an array of health-promoting nutrients. Pimentos truly are more than just a pretty red pepper!

Culinary Uses of Pimentos

Culinary Uses of Pimentos

Pimentos are a wonderfully versatile ingredient and a favorite in many cuisines worldwide. They’re stars in a number of mouthwatering dishes and often used to add a vibrant pop of color, sweet spiciness, and a hint of smokiness.

One of the most common uses is in pimento cheese. It’s practically a culinary institution in the Southern United States. This creamy mix of sharp cheddar, mayonnaise, and diced pimentos spreads beautifully on crackers or sandwiches and adds a delicious kick to deviled eggs.

Yet perhaps the most recognized use of pimentos is as stuffing for green olives. Their sweetness perfectly counterbalances the sharp, briny flavor of olives, which is why we often see these in our martinis.

Pimentos also feature in a variety of Spanish and Mediterranean dishes, such as paella, and are often used to garnish dishes. You can also roast them, pickle them, or use them in salads for an extra crunch.

How to Grow and Harvest Your Own Pimentos?

Interested in growing your own pimentos? Great idea! Let’s walk through how to achieve it.

First, it’s all about the right conditions. Pimentos need a warm climate (ideal temperatures are between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit) and well-drained soil.

Here are the steps to grow Pimentos:

  1. Plant the seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost date.
  2. Once the seedlings are about 3 inches tall, you can transplant them outside in a sunny spot.
  3. Keep the soil consistently moist and feed every 2 weeks with a balanced organic fertilizer.
  4. Make sure the plants get 6-8 hours of sunlight each day.

In about 70-80 days after transplanting, your pimentos should be ready to harvest.

Also Read: What Does Cottage Cheese Taste Like?

Pimentos: Where to Find and How to Store?

Pimentos: Where to Find and How to Store

If you’re not growing your own, you can usually find pimentos in the grocery store, either fresh in the produce section or in cans or jars in the canned goods department. Specialty or gourmet food stores may also carry them, while online grocers such as Amazon often stock various types of pimentos.

Once you’ve got your pimentos, it’s important to store them properly to maximize their shelf life. Fresh pimentos should be stored in the refrigerator, where they can last up to one week. If you’ve bought canned or jarred pimentos, these can be stored in a cool, dry place until the best-by date on the package. After opening, if you have any leftovers, make sure to refrigerate them — they’ll last about a week.

For those wanting to extend their shelf life further can also consider pickling the pimentos. This flavorful method benefits from adding spices like garlic and bay leaves and will allow the pimentos to be stored in the refrigerator for up to a year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are pimentos spicy?

Despite being a type of chili pepper, pimentos are typically mild in heat. They are even milder than a jalapeno, so they are ideal for people who enjoy a touch of heat but don’t want it to overpower their dishes.

What is the difference between a pimento and a bell pepper?

While they are both members of the pepper family, there are a few notable differences between pimentos and bell peppers. Pimentos are smaller, have a thinner skin, and have a slightly sweeter flavor compared to bell peppers.

How do pimentos get inside olives?

A: After green olives are harvested and processed, a machine is used to ‘punch’ out the pit and replace it with a piece of pimento. The pimentos are typically sliced into small, oblong pieces before being inserted into the olives.

How can I use pimentos in cooking?

Pimentos are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. They can be diced and mixed into salads, used as fillings for sandwiches and burgers, or blended into sauces and spreads like the famous pimento cheese.

Can I eat pimentos raw?

Yes, pimentos are perfectly safe to eat raw, and doing so allows you to fully enjoy their sweet flavor. However, their skin is somewhat tough, thus they are commonly roasted or cooked before consumption.

Are pimentos healthy?

Absolutely, pimentos are packed with vitamins, particularly A and C. They’re also a good source of fiber and have a small amount of protein. They can contribute to a healthy diet.

Can I grow pimentos at home?

Yes, pimentos can be grown at home much like any other type of pepper. They require a sunny spot and do well in containers, so they’re a good option even if space is limited. Just be sure to provide them with plenty of water and care.


In a nutshell, pimentos stir our palates with their unique blend of sweetness and spiciness, introduce enchanting splashes of red to our dishes, and offer a wealth of health benefits. They’ve journeyed from Spanish soils to our personal gardens, and from local market shelves onto our dining tables. Behind their bright hues and delicate flavors, pimentos carry a promise of culinary adventure and gastronomic delight. It’s truly a joy to explore the world of pimentos.

It is my hope this exploration has encouraged you to dish out some of your old-time favorites or delve into new recipes. Remember, good food becomes great when there’s a pinch of experiment, a dash of love, and of course, the splendid pimento!

Food Lover and Storyteller 🍽️✨ With a fork in one hand and a pen in the other, Shivani brings her culinary adventures to life through evocative words and tantalizing tastes. Her love for food knows no bounds, and she's on a mission to share the magic of flavors with fellow enthusiasts.
Related Articles from the same category:
This is a blog for Travellers & Travel Lovers
Copyright 2023 - All Rights Reserved.