Tender, smoky shishito peppers are a restaurant staple—but they’re easy to use at home too. These vibrantly green and slightly smoky Japanese chiles—shaped a bit like wrinkled fingers— have become a late summer and early fall favorite on menus across the country. It’s for good reason: they’re delicious, super snackable, and, despite their fancy appearance when blistered and sprinkled with flaky salt, incredibly easy to prepare. Shishito peppers are small green peppers of Japanese origin. These peppers ripen from green to red, but they’re typically harvested while still green.
These peppers have a very thin skin. Their delicate nature means that they will cook quickly compared to heartier varieties like bell peppers. They are often served lightly charred or blistered. This can be done in a pan or on the grill. Either way, it will take less than 10 minutes. After they’re charred, they can be served as a snack with just a sprinkle of crunchy salt, or incorporated into a dish.
How to cook shishito peppers
Charring or blistering these small peppers is simple. All you need is a pan and a heat proof spoon or spatula.
In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the peppers in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned; season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until charred and softened. Season to your liking and serve immediately.
Should you remove the seeds?
Leave those ribs and seeds alone! Shishitos can be eaten whole, so all you have to do is cut off the stem—unless you serve them as finger food, where the stem can act as a nifty handle. Each pepper contains a lot of seeds (more than you might expect), but they’re totally edible and don’t need to be removed.
Are shishito peppers spicy?
While most shishito peppers are mild, about 1 in 10 is spicy. The occasional hot one is the result of over-exposure to the sun. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re a thrill seeker) there are no visual cues for spiciness; while the peppers turn red as they ripen, that’s not indicative of flavor, so bite carefully!
Can you eat shishito peppers raw?
Shishito peppers can be eaten raw, although it’s more common to serve them charred or blistered. If eaten raw, they will have a slightly sweeter, fruiter taste.
Recipes with shishito peppers
Pair shishito peppers with crunchy green beans for a healthy green side dish.
Top charred peppers with fragrant lime salt for extra fruity flavor.
Roasted peppers add flavor and texture to this Mexican-inspired grain bowl.