Sautéed Shishito Peppers

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. Well, 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.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice

Talk about a swell dinner party trick! Shishitos are abundant at the greenmarket here in New York City come summertime, and I always scoop some up 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 “rule of ten.” If I weren’t so darn sophisticated (ahem), I’d suggest one play a drinking game in which each time you get a hot shishito, you drink. Anyways, they’re a lovely precursor to most any meal and go splendidly with just about all beers.

  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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