Peperonata is a delectable Italian condiment that I married with steak for a taste that’s reminiscent of a great pepper steak sandwich. When teamed with an ample mix of sweet peppers, a single steak can make a steak supper for four that’s light and a little unexpected. Serve this colorful sauté with orzo, basic polenta, or roasted spaghetti squash. You could go all the way and turn this into a submarine sandwich on a toasted roll, seeing as this recipe makes ample peperonata to load the sub up.–Lynne Curry

Skillet Steak Peperonata FAQs

Can I substitute green peppers for the red?

We know, some of you love your green bell peppers. And that’s terrific, in a lot of instances. But red, yellow, and orange bell peppers have a distinctly different flavor profile, one whose sweet notes meld marvelously with the other ingredients here. The rather unique smack of green bell peppers? Not so much.

What other cuts of beef can you recommend?

Top round steak is wonderfully lean with excellent beefy flavors for this bold combination. Tri-tip steak has a pleasing coarse texture for this rustic steak supper.

Can I make this on the grill?

The beef, peppers, and onions would all benefit from being cooked on a grill before being added to the sauce. Place all three ingredients, uncut, on an oiled grill. Cook the veggies until they take on sear marks and start to soften, cool, and slice before adding to the skillet with the sauce. Grill the beef until cooked to your preferred doneness, rest, and slice.

Skillet steak peperonata and two slices of toasted baguette in a cast-iron pan.

Skillet Steak Peperonata

5 / 5 votes
This skillet steak peperonata uses the popular Italian sweet pepper, onion, garlic, and vinegar condiment to jazz up budget-friendly sirloin steak for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories257 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium bell peppers, (red, yellow, orange, or a combination), thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, such as Pimentón de la Vera
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup store-bought or homemade tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lightly packed, finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 (12- to 16-ounce) sirloin steak, (1 to 1 1/4 inches [25 to 30 mm] thick)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 250°F (121°C).
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to turn limp and barely brown at the edges, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, salt, paprika, and pepper flakes, and cook until it becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, parsley, and vinegar and cook until the sauce thickens to nearly a paste and the peppers are tender, about 10 minutes. Spoon the peperonata mixture into a heatproof bowl and place it in the oven to keep warm.
  • Wipe out the skillet and return it to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and heat until it shimmers. Meanwhile, pat the steak dry and season it liberally on both sides with the salt and pepper. Toss the steak in the skillet and let it cook, untouched, until nicely browned, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes.
  • Using tongs, flip it and let it brown on the second side, an additional 3 to 3 1/2 minutes for medium-rare. (If you prefer to cook the steak to medium or beyond, slide the skillet off the burner and let the steak rest in the skillet for 1 to 3 minutes and the residual heat will continue to cook it.) Move the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Slice the steak across the grain into strips about 1/4 inch thick. Divvy the steak slices among plates and top with the peperonata.
Pure Beef Cookbook

Adapted From

Pure Beef

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 257 kcalCarbohydrates: 10 gProtein: 20 gFat: 15 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 9 gCholesterol: 52 mgSodium: 652 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 6 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Lynne Curry. Photo © 2012 David Reamer. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I’m singing because this meal of skillet steak with peperonata was so good! Delectable, simple, and versatile. And it was so easy to prepare. It’s incredibly healthful, and yet it seems incredibly sinful.

For the sauce, I used canned tomato sauce and red wine vinegar. Smoked paprika was unobtainable but regular paprika worked well. The sauce comes together quickly, and keeping it warm in the oven while sautéing the steak ensures a hot dish. The sauce keeps well which makes it a perfect make-ahead dinner—just make the sauce the day before or earlier in the day and sauté the steak just prior to serving it.

I spooned the peperonata over rustic smashed potatoes and it was delicious. This sauce would also be great over pan-fried pork chops or chicken. I absolutely love this dish! I’m already planning to make it again. It would be perfect to serve to guests.

You really can’t go wrong with this skillet steak with peperonata recipe. If I could rate the peperonata alone, I’d give it a 15 on a scale of 1 to 10. That stuff is so addictive. I can see using it with many other dishes. I believe it takes longer to prep all the vegetables than it takes to actually cook the whole recipe.

I cooked the steak for 3 1/2 minutes on the first side and only 3 minutes on the second side. It was perfect. I used regular canned tomato sauce for this recipe, which I made twice. The first time I served it over cheesy polenta along with some fresh green beans and it was very nice. The next time we made sandwiches, using hard rolls and topping everything with provolone cheese and it was even better.

This peperonata recipe has great flavor and adds so much to a dish. Initially, I thought the addition of the tomato sauce completely changed the flavor of the peperonata to more of a pasta sauce and less of a steak topping, but once the sauce caramelized a bit and the flavors developed it was delicious.

I had plenty of sauce leftover. I used it the next day as a sauce for some quinoa pasta and it tasted even better. I’m going to make this again and slice some beef really thin for a steak sandwich.

This is such a great recipe. It delivered exactly what I’d expected with a simple sear in the pan. I cooked the peppers and onions down a little bit more than the recipe called for, maybe 10 to 12 minutes. The peppers and onions were sweet, spicy, and tart, and I would use the peperonata mixture again as it goes with many different things.

This skillet steak with peperonata looks daunting but comes together fairly easily as a weeknight supper. What takes the longest time is all the slicing and prep.

Once the peppers started cooking, it only took 6 minutes for them to reach the limp stage when I could start adding the other ingredients. I added a store-bought tomato sauce and the peperonata was ready in just 5 minutes. It was very thick, so I added a little water to thin it out. It was great to only have 1 skillet to clean after making the meal.

Our steak was probably close to 14 ounces, so we had a good feed of steak tonight with enough left over to have a few sandwiches tomorrow. As a note: one of my tasters found that the peperonata sauce overwhelmed the taste of the steak and one taster found the sauce too tangy. The other two tasters liked the combination very much. I think next time, I might substitute crushed tomatoes for the tomato sauce for a fresher taste.

This skillet steak with peperonata makes a fairly quick weeknight meal. It seems like it would take a lot longer than it does. The most labor-intensive part of the meal is slicing the onions and peppers. The vinegar adds a nice twist to the flavor profile here.

I cooked my 1-inch thick steak for 3 minutes on each side and it came out a little on the medium side of medium-rare. The steak and peppers were delicious with steamed broccoli and scalloped potatoes. If you don’t want to turn on the oven for this, the peppers could go back into the skillet for a quick reheat while the steak rests. You’d get the bonus of scraping up some of the great bits left in the pan from the steak. This makes a lot of peperonata. The leftovers would be good over sausages.

This is a colorful dish that’s easy to prepare. We served it without a roll or bun, but agree that this would make a wonderful sandwich. I could also toss the peppers and steak on top of a steak salad and forgo any dressing, or make a sandwich wrap for a nice family lunch.

I loved the peperonata. I could eat it all by itself. I decided to make steak peperonata subs with this recipe. The timing for cooking the peppers and onions was spot on, as was the timing for the sauce after adding the final ingredients.

I like that the steak wasn’t cooked with the peppers; since hubby and son don’t care for the cooked sweet peppers on their sandwiches. This is a great way to make this so I can have some peppers on mine. I added Provolone cheese to our toasted Portuguese rolls then piled the steak on the boys’ subs and loaded mine up with the pepper mixture and steak. A nice weeknight supper.

This skillet steak with peperonata recipe makes a very satisfying and tasty steak dish. The instructions were extremely easy to follow and the timing, as stated in the recipe, was accurate.  I used plain canned tomato sauce which worked fine. Be sure to rest the steak for at least 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute, and slice it across the grain for maximum tenderness.

I made this skillet steak peperonata for my daughter and myself. She’s super picky about food in general and has super high standards for steak. To get a stamp of approval from “mini-me” is a huge deal, as she doesn’t give that out easily. Well, she loved this recipe. I really loved the mix of onions, peppers, and spice, too, so much so I’ll be making this again.

I used more oil than the recipe called for, about 1 tablespoon more at the beginning and another one during the cooking of the steak. I’d like to see the amount of the tomato sauce increased just a touch, maybe to about 3/4 cup. Top round is not my favorite cut of steak, so I did one batch with that and one with rib eye, just for fun.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This was soooo yummy! This popped up in Instagram and I added all the ingredients to my To Do grocery list asap! So glad I saved it. It was an easy and tasty Sunday night dinner for us with a few (and only a few) leftovers. The accompaniment for us was garlic bread under the broiler. If you haven’t tried this, you really need too. As always, thanks for making Sunday dinner an easy and delicious experience.

    1. You’re welcome, Tannis! We’re so pleased that you enjoyed this and that it turned out so well. Please let us know what you try next.

    1. We can attest to it definitely being dinner-worthy, Robyn! Love to hear from you when you do make it….