Sautéed Shishito Peppers Recipe

Sautéed Shishito Peppers Recipe

The Japanese shishito has only recently emerged as a trendy little pepper that fetches a high price—$10 a pound and more. It’s about the size of a jalapeño, easy to grow and to cook, and great fun to sauté and eat whole. You can probably do fancier, chef-ier things with shishitos, but they’re terrific like this. They are absolutely the best thing to nibble on with drinks.–Deborah Madison

LC Sneaky Shishitos Note

Though they resemble skinny, shriveled jalapeños, shishitos are quite distinct and relatively sweet. Except when they’re not. See, about one out of every dozen or so shishitos is mind-bendingly hot. Sorta like a prank on the part of Mother Nature. Shishitos have long been the little darling of New York City chef types who frequent the city’s greenmarkets first thing in the morning so as to snatch up all the loveliest and quirkiest produce. As for what Deborah Madison mentions above, she’s right, you know. You can do all manner of fancier, chef-ier things with them. Like toss them with roasted or sautéed fingerlings. Or conspire with the bartender and rely on them to infuse gin or tequila. But mostly they’re served like this (or char-grilled rather than pan-sautéed and served in the same fashion). Madison notes that if you have leftovers—”an unlikely event in my experience”—just trim the stems and stir the peppers into an omelet or scrambled eggs.

Sautéed Shishito Peppers Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 15 M
  • Servings vary


  • Olive oil
  • Shishito peppers, rinsed and patted very dry
  • Sea salt
  • Lemon or lime wedges (optional)


  • 1. Heat a little olive oil in a wide sauté pan or skillet until it’s good and hot but not smoking. Add the peppers, complete with stems, and cook them over medium, tossing and turning them frequently until they blister. They should only char in places. Don’t rush the process. It can take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to cook a panful of peppers, depending on the heat and the skillet.
  • 2. When the peppers are blistered, toss them with sea salt and add a squeeze of fresh citrus. Slide the peppers into a bowl and serve them hot. Instruct guests to pick them up by the stem end and eat the whole thing—minus the stem, that is.

Padrón Pepper Variation

  • Padrón peppers can be treated exactly the same way, but they tend to be hotter in terms of tongue-tingling potential, so consider yourself warned.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Sofia Reino

Jul 29, 2013

I've been wanting to try this sautéed shishito recipe for quite a while now, but alas, I was never able to find shishito peppers here in South Carolina…that is, until now. Trader Joe's now carries them. I followed this recipe to a T, which was pretty easy as I have always prepared Padrón peppers the exact same way, apart from the lemo. Loved, loved these shishito peppers. For someone who is used to eating Padrón peppers, you will find lots of similarities. When you bite into a pepper, you will not know if you got a spicy one, the type that will burn your whole your mouth, or a nice tasty and slightly spicy pepper with a fantastic taste, though not that crazy spicy that will make you cry, until you taste it. Compared to the Padrón, I feel the shishito pepper is not as sweet but just as good. Will be buying these peppers every time I will go to Trader Joe's from now on.

Talk about a swell dinner party trick! Shishitos are abundant at farmers markets in New York City come summertime, and I never fail to scoop some up either when we’re guests at someone’s for dinner or having guests over to our place, just because they take ridiculously little time and effort to char and folks are always intrigued and surprised by the taste—not to mention the Russian roulette they play each time they try one. If I weren’t so darn sophisticated (ahem), I’d suggest one play a drinking game in which each time someone bites into a hot shishito, that person drinks. Anyways, these shishitos are a lovely precursor to most any meal and go splendidly with just about all beers.

Testers Choice
Elsa M. Jacobson

Jul 29, 2013

I spotted shishito peppers at the farmers market this morning and got a big handful, went home, pulled out a big cast-iron skillet, and sautéed them right up. I'd devoured them as a bar snack at a high-end restaurant a number of years ago, and then promptly forgotten about them until I saw a tub full of them at one of my favorite stands today. The preparation was quick and easy and the peppers proved to be potentially highly addictive. I see absolutely no reason to take them into fancier, chef-ier turf. And, no, there were no leftovers. Any thoughts of doing anything else with them will require careful planning on the next purchase, in which case I'd need 2 bags full of shishitos—one for this sautéed variety and the second one if I want to try fancy-ing them up. I’d go with a mix of 50/50 grapeseed and olive oil next time, or just grapeseed solo, rather than use olive oil for Japanese peppers, especially with a concern about heating the oil till it’s hot but not smoking. I charred the peppers for the full 15 minutes noted. Salt generously and and squeeze the citrus generously, as both enhance the charred, softened peppers. I might even pass salt and wedges of lime alongside the peppers, if I was willing to share the bowlful. Next year, maybe we’ll grow our own shishitos! And lucky me! As someone who likes to try the variations suggested for a recipe, I’d been searching unsuccessfully for the Padrón peppers until I happened to mention this search to an urban gardening friend with a passion for Spain. Little did I know she had them growing in her garden and happily shared a handful with me. I would not have been able to differentiate them from the shishito. Had I not known they were Padrón, I could easily have mistaken them for the shishitos. Since I had only a handful, I scored on the Russian roulette. Because of the Spanish connection with these Padrón peppers, I used a Spanish olive oil for my sauté. Not a single pepper surprised me with its heat, with all of them approximately the same heat as the shishitos I had previously devoured. For me, these did not need the optional lemon or lime wedges. Just sauté till charred, toss with salt, and dive right in! And, no, no leftovers. Someday, I’ll have a lot of these and try them with the roasted or sautéed fingerlings, as suggested. Or share them.

  1. bkhuna says:

    I lived in Japan for 11 years and my favorite little hole-in-the-wall tempura shop would serve these. Yummy. I think I need to find some seeds.

  2. Irene Seales says:

    these are my backup pepper when it becomes impossible to find Padrón peppers – same method, great results. perfect as a starter or even a whole panful as a main nibble for a Friday night with a good movie!

  3. C. Rea Jordan says:

    We like all things Japanese like sashimi and nigiri sushi and even Natto after several Kirin cold ones. Today, I’m just trying my first Shishito and hoping they are not 100,000 on the Scoville.

    Okay, delicious and not piquant at all. I may have blackened them to fast but the taste was sweet and oishii. A side of ripe cherry tomatoes is nice.

  4. biannca says:

    i have lots of these i have like 2 pounds

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