Looking for a fun and easy appetizer? These blistered shishito peppers are ready in 10 minutes, are keto approved, and a crowd pleaser for summer BBQs.
All you need are 3 ingredients including oil and salt, plus either cheese or a dipping sauce. And you can make them on the stovetop, in the oven or air fryer, or grill them. Check the FAQ at the end for details!
Updated July 31, 2022Jump to Recipe
I was in a restaurant in Chicago with friends several years ago, and someone had the brilliance of mind to order this appetizer. When the server brought it, you would have thought we hadn't eaten anything in a week.
I don't think it lasted 10 minutes.
So we ordered more.
And now I make this every summer. Summer is when entertaining gets casual and easy. And this blistered shishito pepper recipe is perfect. Sometimes I top the shishito peppers with cheese at the end, as in the photo, or I make my 15-Minute Chile con Queso Dip to go with them.
What Are Shishito Peppers?
Shishito peppers are green, thin-skinned, skinny peppers from Eastern Asia that are about 2 - 4 inches long. Their bodies have a wrinkled appearance, and can appear sunken in along their lengths.
These peppers are popular in both Japanese and Korean dishes.
As a note, they look nearly identical to padrón peppers, and are often confused or thought to be the same thing. But more about that later.
Shishito Heat Index
Shishito peppers are only moderately spicy, but in any batch you purchase, roughly 10% of them can be very spicy. No one seems to understand why there's such a range in heat.
What's the Difference Between Shishito and Padrón Peppers?
I often see both shishito and padrón peppers in the markets, and they're often confused, or thought to be the same thing. In truth, they're interchangeable in recipes.
While shishito peppers originated in East Asia, padrón peppers are native to Spain. They were likely brought to South America with 16th century monks, and are seen in Mexican cuisine.
Appearance: Padrón peppers are more stocky than the more willowy shishito, and a little less wrinkly.
Flavor: Shishito peppers are grassy, padrón peppers are more earthy and nutty.
Cooking: They cook up the same way using the same techniques.
Padrón Heat Index
Like shishito peppers, padróns are considered a sweet pepper with low to moderate heat. And just like shishitos, they have the odd sudden pepper that spikes up the heat - roughly 1 in every 10.
For a party idea, play shishito or padrón pepper roulette.....
- Shishito peppers - you can substitute padrón peppers if that's what you find at your market.
- Oil - either extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil work great.
- Sea salt or Sesame Seeds
- Monterey Jack Cheese or Peanut Sauce
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How do you make blistered shishito peppers?
This shishito peppers recipe is incredibly easy, and requires no special equipment.
Step 1 (2 minutes)
Prep. Wash the peppers, but don't remove the stems. Dry them well so they won't splatter like fireworks on 4th of July when they hit the oil.
Step 2 (10 minutes)
Blister. Toss the peppers in just enough oil to coat them. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, and add just a slick of oil to the surface.
Once the skillet is hot, but not smoking, add the peppers. They'll sizzle, and after a minute, will make popping sounds. Lower the heat to medium, and turn the peppers as they blister.
Don't be tempted to turn them too quickly, as they need the contact with the skillet to char.
The surfaces of the peppers should blister and char quickly - no more than 10 minutes total for all sides of the peppers.
Step 3 (1 minute)
Finish. Finish the peppers with sea salt and / or sesame seeds. Add the grated cheese on top, if using with the sea salt.
Serve. If not using grated cheese on top, serve with a dipping sauce such as a peanut sauce or melted cheese dip. I like to serve the peppers in the skillet to keep them warm.
Hint: Toss the peppers in just enough oil to coat them before adding them to the hot pan.
These peppers are irregularly shaped, making it hard for all their surfaces to pick up oil from the pan. If the skin of the peppers isn't oiled, they don't char and blister as well.
Blistered Shishito Peppers FAQ
Can I make this shishito peppers recipe in the oven?
Yes. You can broil them. Heat the broiler with a sheet pan lined with parchment paper under the flame. Toss the peppers in a little olive oil. When the baking sheet is hot, add the peppers. You don't need to turn them. The baking sheet blisters the bottoms, and the broiler gets the tops.
Can I make these in the air fryer?
Yes. Preheat the air fryer to 400˚F, lightly oil the peppers, and air fry for 7 - 8 minutes. Shake the basket to turn the peppers half way through cooking.
Can I make these on the grill?
Yes. Just follow the directions for the stove top. Either heat the skillet on the grill, or use these reusable Grill Sheets.
If you're looking another appetizer to serve alongside these peppers, check out my cheese twists made with store-bough puff pastry. They're always a hit!
Blistered Shishito Peppers Recipe
- Blister. Toss the peppers in just enough oil to coat them. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, and add just a slick of oil to the surface.Once the skillet is hot, but not smoking, add the peppers. They'll sizzle, and after a minute, will make popping sounds. Lower the heat to medium, and turn the peppers as they blister.Don't be tempted to turn them too quickly, as they need the contact with the skillet to char.The surfaces of the peppers should blister and char quickly - no more than 10 minutes total for all sides of the peppers.
- Tip: Toss the peppers in just enough oil to coat them before adding them to the hot pan.
- Finish. Finish the peppers with sea salt and / or sesame seeds. Add the grated cheese on top, if using with the sea salt.
- Serve. If not using grated cheese on top, serve with a dipping sauce such as a peanut sauce or melted cheese dip. I like to serve the peppers in the skillet to keep them warm.