Shishito Peppers

Cook up a batch of blistered shishito peppers in a skillet to enjoy as an appetizer or game-day munchie. They come together in under 15 minutes, making them the perfect easy bar snack.

cooked shishito peppers on a white plate with a green bowl containing garlic aioli.

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Sautéed Shishito Peppers recipe

Any time I see shishito peppers on an appetizer menu, I must have them.

The same is also true for fried pickles and garlic butter mussels but shishito peppers are something special.

This recipe comes to you from my friend Sam of The Culinary Compass. We used to work together, and I first tried shishito peppers with Sam on a work trip years ago.

Ever since, these mild (but sometimes slightly spicy) and vibrant green peppers have been a go-to menu item for me. They are the ultimate appetizer.

Though they seem like a specialty item, shishito peppers are often sold at regular grocery stores, Asian grocers and farmers markets.

More bar snack recipes: Air Fryer Chicken Wings • Spinach Artichoke Dip • Popcorn ShrimpBeer Cheese Dip

a closeup of blistered shishito peppers with flaky sea salt.

Today we’re celebrating Freaky Friday, hosted by Michaela of An Affair from the Heart, and I’m switching places with Sam from The Culinary Compass and I am sharing her shishito peppers recipe. Sam’s site is filled with modern comfort food recipes, and it was hard to pick just one!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Shishito peppers are a delicious snack for dinner parties, game day or anytime.
  • These restaurant-style shishito peppers are blistered in a little oil in a hot skillet — in under 10 minutes.
  • You can flavor them with your favorite toppings or serve them with a few dipping sauces.
a bowl of garlic aioli on a tray of sautéed shishito peppers.

What are shishito peppers?

Also called twist peppers, shishito peppers are a type of Japanese pepper. They get their name from the Japanese words “shishi“ (meaning lion) and “togarashi” (meaning chile pepper). In Japan, this variety is known as the lion head pepper.

They’re known to be mild peppers, although about one in 10 peppers will be a lot spicier than the others. This probability keeps these peppers alluring and full of surprise.

They are similar to padrón peppers, which are a good substitute if you can’t find shishito peppers because they are also usually mild but sometimes bring the heat.

While shishito peppers are normally eaten when they have a bright green color, they do grow to be orange and red chile peppers. And they get hotter when they turn, too.

You can find these mild and spicy peppers at your local grocery store, at Asian markets or international supermarket. You can also grow shishito peppers from seeds in your garden!

Tools & equipment

For this recipe, you’ll need a wide sauté pan. I prefer a cast iron skillet, but you could also use any big frying pan, wide sauté pan, wok or even a Dutch oven.

Pick a pan big enough to stir fry all your peppers in one layer, or you may have to work in batches.

You’ll also want a good pair of tongs to help you flip the peppers over so they get blistered on all sides.

Shishito peppers, salt and oil on a plate.

Ingredients

This three-ingredient recipe is so easy to put together. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • extra virgin olive oil: Any mild- or neutral-tasting oil like avocado oil or vegetable oil will work here too. Sam suggests using sesame oil to “add more layers of flavor from the start.”
  • ripe shishito peppers: You can substitute Padron peppers if you can’t find shishito peppers.
  • sea salt: Once you’ve blistered these hot peppers, top them with a bit of sea salt, such as flaky Maldon sea salt, to highlight the flavor. Kosher salt also works.

If you like, you can also add black pepper or other types of seasonings. (More on this below!)

a hand sprinkling salt on shishito peppers

Shishito pepper seasonings

While sea salt is plenty of seasoning to highlight the mild and spicy flavors of the shishito peppers, you can have lots of fun with other seasonings. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Lemon juice or lime juice: A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime on top helps to brighten the flavors even more.
  • Togarashi seasoning: This fiery Japanese seven-ingredient spice blend is one you’ll want to sprinkle on everything. It contains chilli flakes, seaweed and sesame seeds.
  • Miso paste: A staple of Japanese cooking, miso paste is made from fermented soybeans and has a delicious umami flavor.
  • Furikake seasoning: This seasoning is made with sesame seeds, katsuobushi (dried, smoked bonito tuna), green seaweed flakes and nori seaweed.
  • Sesame seeds: A sprinkle of sesame seeds (black or white, or both!) along with the sea salt is another great way to up the presentation. You can even drizzle them with a little toasted sesame oil for more sesame flavor.
  • Everything bagel seasoning: The salty mixture of garlic, onion, poppy seeds and sesame seeds we know and love on our bagels would also be so delicious on shishito peppers.
  • Chili crunchToss the peppers in this crunchy, spicy, garlicky, chili sauce for extra spice.

How to cook shishito peppers

You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make shishito peppers at home!

First, wash your peppers and pat them dry with a paper towel. Pierce each one with a fork or knife to prevent them from bursting in the heat.

olive oil pours into a plan.
hot olive oil bubbling in a pan.

Meanwhile, heat up a little olive oil in a thin layer in your skillet over medium high heat. You want the hot oil to sizzle when you add a water droplet to the oil.

shishito peppers are added to a pan.
shishito peppers begin to blister in a hot pan.

Then, carefully add the whole peppers in a single layer. They will begin to blister on each side. Toss them every 30 seconds to keep them from burning.

shishito peppers blister futher in a hot pan.
tongs turning shishito peppers that have been blistered.

Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until totally blistered. If your pan dries out, you can add a tiny bit of olive oil to the pan, but it’s not necessary.

Transfer to a plate or bowl and sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Add any other seasonings if you like. Then serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Tips & tricks

Here are a few tips & tricks to make the best shishito peppers:

  1. Use a fork or knife to pierce each pepper to avoid bursting and popping in the pan.
  2. Keep your eye on the skillet while you’re making the peppers. Flip them every 30 seconds or so to prevent any one side of the peppers from burning.
  3. Sprinkle coarse or flaky sea salt on top to really bring out the flavors, or add seasoning like togarashi or furikake seasoning.
a hand dips shishito peppers into a bowl of garlic aioli.

Best dipping sauces for shishito peppers

Shishito peppers are delicious on their own, especially if you sprinkle them generously with sea salt or your favorite seasoning.

But you can also serve them with a full bowl of your favorite dipping sauce, which is a great appetizer for a dinner party with friends. Serve a few dipping sauces for the ultimate appetizer experience, like garlic aioli (what I used) or something like homemade Big Mac sauce.

Here are a few ideas:

a bowl of garlic aioli in the center of a round plate of shishito peppers.

How to eat shishito peppers

Eating a blistered shishito pepper is similar to eating a piece of edamame.

Hold the pepper by its stem or base. Dip it in a sauce, if you like, or eat it plain.

Then take a bite of the pepper. If you wish to avoid the chance of spice, don’t eat the seeds inside. Discard the stem end.

What to serve with shishito peppers

Shishito peppers are often enjoyed before a meal, as part of an appetizer platter or on their own with a dipping sauce.

Serve them with other pan-Asian appetizers like veggie spring rolls or Asian cucumber and carrot salad or a fiery batch of firecracker meatballs.

Something cheesy — like a charcuterie board, marinated cheese, Frito corn salad or Mississippi Sin Dip — is another great thing to have on the appetizer table to combat spicy foods.

For dinner, you could serve them as a side dish to another Asian dish like this beautiful unagi sushi, easy crock pot ramen, this savory Thai basil chicken or these sweet-and-spicy honey sriracha chicken rice bowls.

And you can’t forget the drinks! You could pair this spicy food with a spicy cocktail like a jalapeño mule or a spicy blackberry margarita. Or you could stick to a sweeter drink like a pink squirrel drink or a pineapple mango smoothie to complement the spice.

shishito peppers that have been blistered covered in sea salt.

FAQ

Are shishito peppers hot?

While generally considered a mild pepper, about one in 10 shishito peppers is usually hot. On the Scoville Heat Units scale, which measures the spiciness of chiles, shishito peppers measure anywhere from 50 to 200 SHU. To compare, jalapeño peppers measure 5,000 SHU.

Can you eat shishito peppers raw?

While shishito peppers can be eaten raw, they are usually served blistered or charred.

blistered shishito peppers on a white plate.

More appetizer recipes

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

a closeup of blistered shishito peppers with flaky sea salt.

Blistered Shishito Peppers

Yield: 8 ounces peppers
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
These Easy Shishito Peppers are so quick to make and the perfect snack for anytime.
5 from 4 votes
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ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or sesame oil
  • 8 ounces shishito peppers
  • flaky sea salt to top (see note)

instructions

  • Wash and dry peppers. Poke each with a fork or knife to prevent them from bursting.
  • Heat a large skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add shishito peppers. Cook for 5-7 minutes until totally blistered, tossing every 30 seconds to avoid burning.
  • Transfer to a plate or bowl. Add sea salt to taste and toss. Serve immediately.

notes

Tips & tricks

  • Use a fork or knife to pierce each pepper to avoid bursting and popping in the pan.
  • Keep your eye on the skillet while you’re making the peppers. Flip them every 30 seconds or so to prevent any one side of the peppers from burning.
  • Sprinkle coarse or flaky sea salt on top to really bring out the flavors, or add seasoning like togarashi or furikake seasoning.

Seasoning Ideas

Shishito peppers are delicious with sea salt, but here are some other ideas to consider sprinkling on this dish:
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon juice or lime juice
  • Togarashi seasoning
  • Miso paste
  • Furikake seasoning
  • Sesame seeds
  • Everything bagel seasoning
  • Chile crunch

Dipping sauce ideas

Shishito peppers are so good with dipping sauces. Get creative or try one of these:

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nutrition information

Yield: 8 ounces peppers

amount per serving:

Serving: 2ounces Calories: 108kcal Carbohydrates: 4g Protein: 1g Fat: 10g Saturated Fat: 1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g Sodium: 151mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 2g
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Comments

  1. Michaela Kenkel says

    I can’t wait to make these!! They have them on the menu at my favorite sushi place and I CRAVE them! Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

  2. Tristin says

    These peppers are the best little appetizer! I love ordering them, now I can just make them myself at home.

  3. Rebecca says

    Such a simple recipe, thanks for all the great ideas for dipping sauces too. They were a huge hit at game night with friends!

  4. Jennifer says

    I love these so much! I always figure it a win/win when I find some in the store. And then family gets mad because I eat the entire batch in one sitting LOL

  5. Sam says

    Obsessed with these and even more obsessed with changing up the flavors! Next on my list is using Togarashi seasoning and the Garlic Aioli, hello!?

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