I think technically it's a fruit although they strongly resemble a vegetable:

green, red and yellow "fruits"

What do you call these?

Personally, I know them as ‘paprika’.

Others say these are ‘bell peppers’, and only when ground into spice it's called paprika.

Besides grinding them into spice, you can also make soup of it or sauce. Or put slices of this on a pizza. I would call that paprika soup, or paprika sauce, or paprika slices.

Is this perhaps a difference between British vs American vs 'international' English?

P.S. regarding the fruit vs vegetable issue: not really related to the question here but I think from a botanical point of view it's a fruit, and from a culinary point of view it's a vegetable.


They are generally considered to be vegetables rather than fruit, regardless of how they have been classified by the botanical community.

As for the name, in the UK they are most commonly called simply "red peppers", "green peppers", "yellow peppers" or "orange peppers" (or "mixed peppers" for a bag of varying colours) and sometimes "sweet peppers" (though that is usually reserved for the long, pointed variety).

For example, searching "peppers" on Sainsbury's website produced: 183 results for ‘peppers’

In the USA they are generally called "bell peppers".

I don't know about the USA, but in the UK the word "paprika" is reserved for the spice.

  • 1
    No results for “bell pepper” or "capsicums"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 18 '20 at 16:41
  • 1
    Wikipedia: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsicum covers these under capsicum. Culinary use varies widely.
    – Xanne
    Aug 18 '20 at 19:24
  • 2
    'paprika' is indeed used primarily for the spice here in the US as well. AFAIK, the same is true of Australian English too. Aug 19 '20 at 1:52
  • 4
    U.S. (northeast) here and I'm much more familiar with them just being called "peppers". Calling them "bell peppers" seems unusually formal.
    – Daniel R. Collins
    Aug 19 '20 at 2:26
  • 1
    Focussing on UK usage, the photo posted by the OP might have been of "chillies" which are hot, of "sweet peppers" which aren't, or of anything in between. Since these aren't a native fruit/vegetable (although they grow well, particularly under glass), a lot of people fail to understand that these are all basically the same species (usually Capsicum annuum) with the difference in potency selected by breeding. Aug 19 '20 at 8:03

These are commonly called bell peppers in American English, and are often referred to simply by their color (red/yellow/green peppers). Paprika is a ground spice that's made from dried peppers, although the exact type of pepper can vary. Apparently, in other languages, paprika refers to both the spice and the plant/fruit, but it exclusively refers to the spice in American English.

These peppers are indeed fruits botanically, since they develop from the plant's flower, although they are usually considered vegetables from a culinary perspective due to their more savory flavor and the manner in which they're typically used.

  • "referred to simply by their color" depends on context and geography. Around here (intermountain West) they are just called "bell peppers" in the grocery store, and may be red, yellow, green, or orange bells. (There are other colors, such as dark brown, but I've never seen them in the grocery.) Then there are many other kinds of peppers, usually hotter, that also come in different colors. And if you're doing Mexican food, there's chili verde and chili colorado...
    – jamesqf
    Aug 19 '20 at 0:13
  • "These peppers are indeed fruits botanically, since they develop from the plant's flower" Plus, they have seeds. Aug 19 '20 at 0:23

As well as being called bell peppers in the other answers, they are sometimes also called Capsicum in some English speaking countries, as per Wikipedia Bell pepper. Capsicum is actually the Genus name of the plant.


In Australia, these are called 'Capsicums'.

In Autralia, whilst Paprika is generally reserved for the spice, you can actually buy the fruit/vegetable when in season. These are generally longer and skinnier and 'ribbed' and mostly, green although I have seen red ones.

Just to confuse things even more, you can also buy 'Baby Bell Peppers', usually in the form of 'Cheese Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers' (which are delicious.) But practically, I actually don't know botanically what these are. We get them fresh, so im going to assume they are just baby capsicums.

And finally, because we hate the English language so much, we also use the phrase 'Peppers' in reference to some types of Chilli's when in fruit form. (Chilli Peppers).


I haven't observed the word "paprika" used this way, but professional lexicographers have. From dictionary.com:


paprika / (ˈpæprɪkə, pæˈpriː-) /


1 a mild powdered seasoning made from a sweet variety of red pepper

2 the fruit or plant from which this seasoning is obtained


C19: via Hungarian from Serbo-Croat, from papar pepper

That usage doesn't show up in the Wikipedia disambiguation page for "paprika", so it's probably not a very widespread usage.

I wouldn't recommend using the word "paprika" this way with someone outside of your linguistic community. "Bell pepper", "sweet pepper", and "capiscum" are more widely recognized and it seems the right choice depends on who you're talking to.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy