Introduction: How to Efficiently Dice a Bell Pepper

Bell peppers can appear difficult to dice due to their unusual shape and number of seeds. However, it is important to learn how to correctly chop a pepper so you do not waste any edible sections or make a mess. The purpose of this instructable is to show a safe method to dice a pepper, contain the seeds, and throw away as little as possible. Even if you are a novice cook, if you can hold a knife and make basic cuts, you can learn to easily chop a pepper in under five minutes. At the end of the instructions, you will have a new skill that allows you to add delicious, healthy bell peppers to any meal you want!

Required Materials:

  • A sharp chef knife*
  • A cutting board**
  • A bell pepper***

* A sharp chef knife is ideal for this project because sharp knives make cleaner, quicker cuts and are therefore safer, as well as the length of a chef knife easily spans the width of a pepper. However, if you do not own a chef knife, any sharp, long knife would also work.

** A cutting board is preferable to cut on because it is built to handle knives and repeated use. However, any flat surface you are comfortable cutting on is acceptable.

*** Any color of bell pepper works for this project, as long as it is clean. I diced a red pepper, but you do not need to. This instructable is only for bell peppers though, so this technique does not necessarily apply to other kinds of peppers.

Safety Information:

Because this project does involve a sharp knife, remember to keep one hand entirely on the handle and the fingers of your other hand away from the blade at all times. You do not want blood on your pepper, even if it is red.

Step 1:

Place a clean cutting board on a flat surface.

Step 2:

Using the cutting board and chef knife, cut the stem off your pepper (see photo).

Note: If your pepper does not have a long stem, like mine, you can skip step 2. You just want your pepper to have as short of a stem as possible so it will lay flat in step 3.

Step 3:

Place the pepper in the center of the cutting board with the stem side down.

Step 4:

Identify the segments on the bottom of the pepper (see photo).

Note: Bell peppers naturally grow into several distinct segments separated by indents. You can see in the photo that my pepper had four segments (white arrows) and four indents (black arrows).

Step 5:

Beginning as close to the center of the bottom of the pepper as possible, cut down to slice off a segment, avoiding white flesh, seeds, and the stem on the far side (see photos).

Note: Once you cut into the pepper, you will be able to see the white flesh and seeds. The indented portions of the pepper are where the white membranes and seeds attach. It is best to make a small cut, look into the pepper to see where the seeds and inedible sections are, then cut around them as you cut toward the stem (see photos). This will allow you to only cut the portions of the pepper that you want to eat, while keeping the undesirable sections together.

Step 6:

Cut off the remaining segments using the same method.

Note: Once you cut off one segment, it becomes very easy to see the seeds and membranes and cut around them for the remaining segments.

Step 7:

Set the cut segments off to the side of the cutting board. The remaining pepper should resemble the photo above.

Note: Notice how the pepper remains contain minimal flesh, all the seeds, and stem. This is how this technique creates little mess and little waste.

Step 8:

Compost or throw away the pepper remains.

Step 9:

Face the segments skin side down, top to bottom on the cutting board (see photo).

Note: The skin side faces the cutting board for safety reasons. The skin side of a pepper is tougher and the knife has a more difficult time cutting through it. Sometimes, if you put too much pressure on your knife and cut through the skin side first, your knife can quickly pop through the pepper skin and cut you. The fleshy side of the pepper is easier to cut into, so you can control how quickly your knife cuts through the pepper and avoiding hurting yourself.

Step 10:

Line up your knife lengthwise with one segment.

Step 11:

Move the knife about ¼” into the pepper segment (see photo).

Step 12:

Cut down lengthwise to create a ¼” strip.

Step 13:

Cut all the segments into ¼” strips in this fashion (see photo).

Step 14:

Gather the strips together into a bundle.

Step 15:

Place the bundle on the cutting board stretching left to right (see photo).

Note: Make sure the tips of the strips are lined up evenly on the cutting board so that when you dice, your pieces will all be the same size.

Step 16:

Hold the bundle down with one hand and cut about a ¼” section off the tips of the strips to dice the pepper (see photo).

Step 17:

Continue cutting off ¼” sections of the strips until you reach the end of the strips.

Step 18:

You have now finished dicing your pepper! Congratulations! (see photo)

Comments

author
Cueball21 (author)2016-09-17

I use a slightly different method.

First I slice horizontally across the stem end making certain that the base of the stem is removed. I then slice the bottom of the pepper in a similar fashion. (I save the bottom end bits but not the top 'shoulder' bits.) After the 2 horizontal slices, I find slice vertically down one of the indented areas. This is where the fibrous pieces are inside a pepper. I then unroll the pepper and use my knife nearly flat on the cutting board to slice out the fibrous ribs. I check to be sure I got all the ribs and trim any remaining.

Depending on the size of the pepper, I slice the now flat sides into 2 or 3 pieces and lay them on top of each other. Next, I orient the pieces so that my knife will slice from what was the top to bottom in strips the size of dice I want. I then gather the strips into a bunch and turn them 90 degrees to my knife and slice the strips into bits of about the same size as the width vertical strip cuts. If done correctly, this takes no more than a minute. If I'm not in a hurry, I examine the bottom end and slice out the ribs, then make a quick dice of the bits left.

author
Eh Lie Us! (author)2016-09-16

Nice. I cook up the core and seeds too. :)

author
UnclTodd (author)2016-09-16

Simple, well-written and illustrated! The peppers I use are usually homegrown and odd shapes and sizes, I basically use your method only I stop at Step 13, spread the slices out on a cookie sheet and freeze them. Into an airtight baggie they will keep for months! The 1/4-inch slices are great in fajitas and enchiladas, I honestly never use diced bell peppers! Great post. :-)

author
namora (author)2016-09-15

This works fine for dicing if you want large pieces but the curly ends can be problematic if finer dicing is desired. For omelets and hotter peppers I prefer to have more finely diced peppers.

Slice the top and bottom from the pepper to leave a tube with relatively straight sides. use your fingers to remove the placenta and seeds. Slice the pepper in half and remove the septum if desired. Then dice as suggested in the article to get the desired size. the top and bottom can be sliced the same way since now they lay flat and don't tend to move around so much.

author
Rage1248 (author)2016-09-15

May I suggest the following method which I find easier with less waste:
1) Cut circle around stem with point of knife.
2) Pull out core which will take all the seeds with it.
3) Quarter the pepper shell you are left with.
4) Dice the quarters as above.

author
Triphazard (author)Rage12482016-09-15

@Rage1248

I agree this is the only way I have ever prepared Peppers, and I have been a Chef for over 15 Years. I have never seen the instructables method.

author
DavidM496 (author)Rage12482016-09-15

Yeah this is also the method I use and I find it to be very quick with very little waste

author
JerryS42 (author)Rage12482016-09-15

That's very similar to what I do; I cut off the "top and bottom" just where the the stem meets the flesh. This way the core comes out very easily and with a lengthwise cut, everything left is flat.

author
grant.taute (author)Rage12482016-09-15

In my view the best way

author
dan.tressler.9 (author)Rage12482016-09-15

Your method to me is the best. The only way i do peppers. There is no waste this way at all.

author
gurrz (author)Rage12482016-09-15

Totaly agree with you!

author
billytkid (author)Rage12482016-09-15

Yep 100%! This is the method I've been using for years

author
LynneF6 (author)2016-09-15

great .

author
ShawnS60 (author)2016-09-15

PS. Go Vegan!

www.cowspiracy.com

author
ShawnS60 (author)2016-09-15

I like this method, although I use some combination of the two comments below--I do remove all the seeds and white parts, and cut the rest; this way seems like a good way for me to try next time. I do similar cuts with jalapeños. I try different things...like with watermelon, I cut it like a pineapple, sort of:

I cut both end off a watermelon, then slice downward and remove the entire rind, slice off a one inch circle and cut into squares and place in a large Tupperware, one circle at a time, and throw away all the rind (we usually can get "seedless" watermelons, so it is a surgical, clean process, if you have a couple of paper towels nearby to soak up all that juice that drains onto your board during the critical 5 minutes of slicing those red cross sections). Voila! My wife gets home and there are chilled red watermelon squares in the fridge to chomp on for a couple of days, one bowlful at a time, or just grab a fork and eat five squares every time you pass the fridge! :-)

author
AdrianCherry (author)2016-09-15

There are easier ways. As Rage1248 suggests in another comment. I usually just slice off the top and bottom, run a knife round the inside and the seeds and core just fall out. Then dice or slice the body and ends as needed.

author
jeanneambro (author)2016-09-15

OMG! I can't wait to try this. I am so tired of dealing with seeds, and this just seems so simple. Thank you. xoxox

author
Jobar007 (author)2016-09-12

The real trick that makes this 'ible good is the initial cuts to remove the flesh while leaving the seeds and stem behind. Thanks!

author
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-09-10

This is a really well made instructable. I wish that all the cooking instructables were this well illustrated.

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