Homemade Roasted Red Bell Peppers are surprisingly easy to make right in your oven. But, obviously not as easy as picking up a jar from the grocery store. Is it worth your time to roast your own red bell peppers? Is there any real savings? I perfected roasted red bells at home, and then compared prices on jarred vs homemade. Store Bought vs Homemade Roasted Red Bell Peppers: Which is cheaper?
Have you ever purchased roasted red bell peppers? There’s only one brand available at the regular grocery store near me – Mezzetta. They come in a clear glass jar. The roasted red peppers are sitting in a combo of pepper juices and olive oil (maybe some preservatives too, I don’t recall).
I recently bought a jar so I could put some roasted red bell peppers on a sandwich. In my opinion, they are a bit overpriced. And for only one ingredient? Pffffft… “I could do this at home”, I thought. So I did!
How do you make homemade roasted red bell peppers?
Making homemade roasted red bell peppers is actually very easy. But as with all homemade things, it just takes time. I’m going to break it down for you.
I tried a couple different methods, and I’ve got a clear winner to share. All you need are some red bell peppers. You can roast as many bell peppers at a time as you want – I’ve been doing two peppers at a time on a small quarter sheet pan lined with foil.
Preheat the oven to 500F – yeah, you need it HOT to roast the peppers! I usually use parchment paper to line my pans, but most parchment paper varieties recommend a max temperature of 450F. Because we don’t need any fires up in here, I used aluminum foil for this one instead.
Place your peppers on the foil, WHOLE. Yes, whole! No prep besides washing your peppers. Sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. The amazing Ina Garten roasts her red bells whole, and so do I. I tested out roasting pre-cut bell peppers, and it did not go well. The burnt edges made peeling much harder, and more red bell pepper was wasted. Not to mention, no prep? Always good.
The peppers go into the oven (whole!) for 30-40 minutes total, flipping every ten minutes. I don’t even remove them from the oven to flip – just use long tongs and move quickly with the oven door open. The peppers will snap, crackle, and pop while they roast, but it’s fine. That means they’re roasting correctly. They may even rock back and forth semi-violently – still good!
Once the peppers are charred on all sides and the skins are all wrinkly, remove the peppers from the oven. I’ve noticed larger, fresher peppers take closer to 40 minutes while smaller or slightly older peppers roast well in 30 minutes. Quickly tent the peppers with more aluminum foil, or put them in a bowl and place the lid on. This will trap the residual heat from cooking and steam the peppers a bit, making the peels easier to remove. Leave them steaming for 20-30 minutes, and come back when they’re cool enough to touch.
After 20-30 minutes of steaming from their own heat, lay the peppers out on a cutting board. Remove the stem, seeds, and peel from the peppers. You should be able to do all of this without any tools. Just use your fingers! That’s it – you’ve got roasted red bell peppers! I did not specifically weigh out my roasted bell peppers after this was done – it will vary based on the size of your original peppers.
How much time does it take to make homemade roasted red bell peppers?
One thing I always admit is that making your own anything at home is it’s usually going to take more time than simply buying the same item at the store. But how much time? That’s what I want to know, because after all, time is money!
How long does it actually take to make homemade roasted red bell peppers, and will it be worth it? Let’s figure it out – say we’re roasting two peppers.
Prep time: 2 minutes (active – preheat oven, line a sheet pan, wash peppers)
Oven Preheat time: 10 minutes (inactive)
Cook time: 30-40 minutes (mostly inactive, besides flipping)
Cool time: 30 minutes (mostly inactive, besides covering)
Peeling/Removing stems & seeds: 5 minutes (active)
Storing & Cleanup: 5 minutes (active)
Total time: about 1 hour 20 minutes
Active time: about 15 minutes
Overall, it takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to make a couple homemade roasted red bell peppers – but only around 15 minutes of that is active time. Most of the time is due to cooking and cooling the peppers.
How much does it cost to make homemade roasted red bell peppers?
All prices were gathered in Seattle, WA in May 2019. Please note: I live in the City of Seattle and groceries tend to be a little more expensive here than in surrounding areas – prices may be very different than what you see at your grocery store, depending on where you live.
This is a relatively easy calculation because our final product is only made up of one ingredient: red bell peppers. The cost of making roasted red bell peppers at home is going to cost the price of the raw red bell peppers purchased. I don’t add any oil or seasonings, if I’m using them right away. Seems easy enough, right?
Sort of. In my years of grocery shopping experience, the price of red bell peppers can vary by store for no apparent reason (that I personally know of – I’m sure the various stores have their reasons). While green bell peppers are always cheaper ($1 each at most stores), red bell peppers are usually $2 each, except at one store in particular. Here’s a breakdown:
Red Bell Peppers from Safeway (Albertson’s subsidiary): $2 each
Organic Red Bell Peppers from Safeway: $3.49 each
Red Bell Peppers from Trader Joe’s: $1 each
Even my very basic comparison shows the huge difference in red bell pepper prices. The price of making homemade red bell peppers will be entirely based on where you buy the raw peppers. As noted earlier, when you buy raw bell peppers, they are always going to be various sizes and shapes. For the best price, get the largest peppers. If they are sold by weight, purchase the most medium-sized, best looking peppers.
For the purposes of the final calculation, I purchased two regular (non-organic) red bell peppers from Safeway at $2/each for a total of $4. I couldn’t find roasted red bells at Trader Joe’s, so I decided to compare prices all from the same grocery store for consistency.
How much does it cost to buy roasted red bell peppers at the store?
I was unable to locate any organic jarred roasted red peppers (though I did not go out of my way to Whole Foods). The only brand I could find are Mezzetta at $5.19 for a 16 ounce jar. One 16 ounce jar of Mezzetta Roasted Red Peppers equaled about two whole red bell peppers worth of roasted peppers.
If you prefer to go with the Mezzetta Roasted Bell Pepper Strips, they are the same price, so it wouldn’t alter the calculation by much.
Store Bought Vs Homemade Roasted Red Bell Peppers: Which is Cheaper?
Time for the final calculation:
Cost of homemade: $4 for two roasted red bell peppers
Cost of store bought: $5.19 for approximately two roasted red bell peppers
Difference: $1.19 less for homemade
Cost per pepper: $2 each homemade vs $2.60 each store bought; Approximately $0.60 per roasted pepper cheaper for homemade
Based on my research, making roasted red bell peppers at home with raw red bell peppers costs approximately $0.60 less per pepper than buying jarred roasted red bell peppers at the same store.
Of course the price difference would be even greater if you find cheaper peppers, like at Trader Joe’s. In my area, red peppers from Trader Joe’s cost half as much as the rest of the stores. Two peppers cost $2, meaning the price difference would be $3.19, or about $1.60 cheaper per pepper to make homemade.
Thoughts on These Findings:
- Buying roasted red bell peppers at the store takes no time in the kitchen, but costs $5.19 per two peppers (16 ounce jar).
- Making homemade roasted red bell peppers takes about 1 hour 20 minutes, with about 15 minutes of active time.
- The cost of homemade varies based on the price of the raw peppers, which I’ve found to be anywhere from $1 each (at Trader Joe’s) to $3.29 each (for organic at Safeway). The cheapest cost for two homemade roasted red bell peppers is $2.
- This means that making your own roasted red bell peppers is going to be cheaper than store bought, unless you use organic red bell peppers.
- The amount of active time in the kitchen for the peppers isn’t too much (15ish minutes), but it does take time being at home and keeping some attention on the oven.
- The store bought price is not too outrageous (especially if raw peppers are expensive), so if you need roasted red bell peppers in a pinch, store bought is a time-saver at a slightly higher cost.
- Store bought peppers come in a jar while raw peppers should come without packaging.
- Store bought peppers already have the stems and seeds removed while raw do not.
- The real choice is probably going to be based on your preference. Now you know how long it takes to make roasted red bell peppers at home. So check your prices and compare to see if it’s worth it for you!
More price comparisons from Project Meal Plan:
- Store Bought vs Homemade Peanut Butter
- Store Bought vs Homemade Applesauce
- Store Bought vs Homemade Greek Yogurt
I perfected roasted red bell peppers at home, and then compared prices on jarred vs homemade. Here’s a simple recipe for roasting your own red bell peppers at home!
- 2 large red bell peppers, whole (or as many as you want)
- olive oil (optional for storage)
- Preheat the oven to 500F. Line a small sheet pan with aluminum foil.
- Place the whole peppers on the sheet pan and place in the oven on the middle rack for 30-40 minutes total, flipping every ten minutes. The peppers will be a bit noisy and may even rock back and forth while roasting – this is normal!
- Once the peppers are charred on all sides and the skins are all wrinkly, remove from the oven. Quickly cover the peppers or put them in a bowl and place the lid on to trap steam. Leave them for 30 minutes, and come back when they’re cool enough to touch.
- Once cool, remove and discard the stem, seeds, and peel from the peppers using your fingers. Use immediately or store in a jar or bowl with a lid in the refrigerator. If not using within 48 hours, drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Recipe adapted from Roasted Red Peppers by Ina Garten. I personally tested roasting pre-cut red bell peppers, and it didn’t work very well. Roasting whole is the way to go!
Nutrition information estimated with MyFitnessPal.
- Serving Size: 1 pepper
- Calories: 51
- Carbohydrates: 10g
- Protein: 2g