I’ll get right to the point: we grow our own shishito peppers JUST to make this recipe! On repeat, all summer. We first discovered pan blistered shishito peppers a few years back, while dining at an upscale plant-based restaurant in San Diego for my birthday. I thought to myself, hot dang these are good! Never in my life would I imagine devouring an entire plate of peppers in one sitting. Just peppers. My next thought? These would be incredibly easy to make at home! Not to mention, for a fraction of the cost.
Follow along and learn how to make beautifully blistered, pan-roasted shishito peppers. It is so simple, I almost feel silly calling it a “recipe”. It’s nothing more than a handful of fresh shishito peppers, some oil and salt, and a little extra seasonings or sauce – if you desire. We enjoy ours , with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice upon serving!
Don’t grow your own? No problem! Thanks to the popularity of blistered shishito peppers, they are becoming increasingly easy to find. You should hopefully be able to find them at your local farmers market or grocery store. What was once a unique appetizer reserved for fancy restaurants can now be whipped up in your own kitchen in just a matter of minutes.
But first, a quick primer on the peppers themselves…
What Are Shishito Peppers
Shishito peppers are small, thin-walled, kind of wrinkled or nobby peppers. You’ll mostly see shishitos harvested, sold and prepared green. Yet if they’re left long enough to grow on the plant, shishito peppers will eventually turn red. Like other peppers, shishitos are heat-loving summer crops – though they produce well in our climate with mild summers too! The thin delicate flesh of shishito peppers makes them perfect for fast cooking over high heat, such as pan-frying, roasting, or even grilling.
What do shishito peppers taste like?
Shishitos are considered a mild pepper, reminiscent of fresh green peppers with a touch of sweetness. Once lightly charred, their unique flavor really comes to life!
Are shishito peppers spicy?
No. Generally, shishito peppers are not spicy – with one caveat. It is said that about one out of every ten shishito peppers carries a surprising little kick of heat. Think of it as playing a very safe, fun game of Russian roulette when digging in to a dish of them!
It’s funny… in all our years of growing shishitos at home, they were always quite mild! Every single one. Then this year came along and gave us many hot ones! (Odd, like the rest of 2020 eh?) All in all, even the occasional “spicy” shishitos peppers are still far more mild than a jalapeño pepper.
If you can’t get your hands on shishito peppers, try this recipe with Padrón peppers instead. They’re quite similar in texture and flavor – except that Padróns tend to turn up spicy more often than shishitos (more like 5 in 10, instead of 1 in 10).
Ready to get poppin’?
How to Cook Shishito Peppers
We love to pan roast our blistered shishito peppers in a cast iron skillet over a medium-high heat, which always achieves a stellar char. You can use any type of skillet for this recipe, but may want to increase the heat slightly to get the same results. Cast iron cookware gets extra hot!
High heat and fast cooking results in exceedingly fresh, crisp blistered shishito peppers. “Low and slow” cooking will result in soft, limp, overcooked peppers. Additionally, you could try to grill your peppers up outside, or toss them in the oven to broil.
- Wash your shishito peppers in advance. Either allow them to mostly air dry, or pat them dry if needed. We don’t want water going into the hot oily pan! Leave the stems on.
- Add the peppers to a mixing bowl. Next, drizzle olive oil over the peppers and toss – enough to lightly coat the peppers, but not a sopping drippy mess. You could totally add the oil right to the pan, but because shishito peppers are irregularly shaped, it can be tricky to get them coated well without also over-doing the oil. (I have also heard they’re excellent with sesame oil)
- Sprinkle with sea salt, and toss to coat evenly. Add a dash of black pepper if you desire, or use garlic salt for a fun twist. Go easy on the salt here though – you can always add more later once they’re plated.
- Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Get it nice and hot before adding the peppers, until it sizzles if you flick a dash of water over it.
- Add the shishito peppers to the cast iron skillet. Allow them to pan-sear until they blister and brown, turning or tossing them on occasion to promote even roasting. If they begin to stick, add a small additional drizzle of oil and toss again. The peppers should pop and sizzle as they cook! Sometimes we add a couple lightly crushed garlic cloves to the pan too.
- It will take no more than 10 minutes to cook the peppers to perfection. We like our shishitos peppers partially softened, lightly charred, but still somewhat firm. No one likes a mushy pepper!
How to Serve Shishito Peppers
Once they’re cooked, quickly plate your blistered shishito peppers and enjoy warm! I highly suggest adding a spritz of fresh-squeezed lemon juice over the top. Also, don’t be shy to add more salt if needed! Take a hold of the stem, pop a pepper in your mouth, bite down, toss the stem aside, and repeat.
Personally, I find roasted shishitos with lemon juice totally satisfying as-is. But if you’re in the mood for a little something extra, shishito peppers go well with a number of creamy dipping sauces as well. Check out the ideas below! Speaking of creamy… goat cheese is also delectable crumbled on top.
Blistered shishito pepper dipping sauce ideas:
- Lemon aioli: Mayonnaise, fresh minced garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste.
- Creamy avocado sauce: blend ripe avocados with mayo, plain yogurt or sour cream with a dash of salt, pepper, lime juice, optional red chili flakes, and fresh garlic or garlic powder.
- Spicy aioli (for the heat lovers): mayo or sour cream, dijon mustard, lemon, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne or chili powder to taste.
So dang easy, so dang tasty.
Well, that’s all there is to it! I hope you enjoy this simple blistered shishito peppers recipe as much as we love eating them. Please stop back by for a review, and spread the love by sharing this post!
Looking for ideas of what to pair these with? We often enjoy a whole plate as an appetizer, as a side, or as part of a modest snack-like meal, such as with crusty homemade sourdough bread and gourmet cheese. Roasted shishito peppers also pair incredibly well with egg dishes, like scrambled eggs or quiche.
You may also like:
- How to Grow Peppers and Chilis: from Seed to Table
- How to Make Homemade Chili Powder
- Quick & Easy Refrigerator Pickled Peppers
- Sweet & Spicy Fermented Hot Sauce Recipe
Pan Roasted (Blistered) Shishito Peppers
- Cast iron skillet (preferred) or other skillet
- Fresh shishito peppers
- Olive oil
- Sea Salt
- Fresh lemon, to squeeze over at serving
- Optional: fresh garlic, garlic salt, black pepper, red chili flakes or dipping sauce
- Wash the shishito peppers. Allow them to mostly air dry, or pat them dry. Leave the stems on.
- Add the peppers to a mixing bowl. Next, drizzle olive oil over the peppers and toss – enough to lightly coat the peppers, but not a sopping drippy mess.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and toss again. Add a dash of black pepper if you desire, or use garlic salt for a fun twist. (Go easy on the salt here – you can add more later once they’re plated.)
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Get it nice and hot before adding the peppers, until it sizzles if you flick a dash of water over it.
- Add the shishito peppers to the skillet. Allow them to pan-sear until they blister and brown, turning or tossing them on occasion to promote even roasting. If they begin to stick, add a small additional drizzle of oil and toss again. The peppers should pop and sizzle as they cook! Sometimes we add a couple lightly crushed garlic cloves to the pan too.
- It will take no more than 10 minutes to cook the peppers to perfection. We like our shishitos peppers partially softened, lightly charred, but still somewhat firm.
- Once they’re cooked, quickly plate your blistered shishito pepper and enjoy warm! I highly suggest adding a spritz of fresh-squeezed lemon juice on top. Also, don’t be shy to add more salt if needed!
- We love our shishitos with just lemon juice and salt (sometimes a little garlic). But if you’re in the mood for a little something extra, shishito peppers go well with a number of dipping sauces as well – such as lemon aioli, creamy avocado saucy, or a spicy aioli.