What are Shishito Peppers? How do I Cook Them?
What are Shishito Peppers? How do I Cook Them? Shishito Peppers are one of the hottest new ingredients being featured in recipes right now. Eating blistered shishito peppers on their own make a great appetizer or side dish.
Fortunately for the spice-averse, the hot is more referring to the trend than the spiciness of the pepper. Since they are in more demand now it is easier to find shishitos and they are also popping up on restaurant menus too.
Shishito peppers are considered a mild chili pepper – coming in between 50-200 Scoville Heat Units. They are a bright green pepper that, although they do eventually turn red as they mature, are often eaten green.
Shishito peppers are Japanese peppers that are great when roasted or blistered and are a perfect gluten-free snack too. They are interchangeable in recipes with Spanish padrón peppers – so if you’re at a Farmer’s market, you may find one but not the other – buy what you can find.
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Are Shishito Peppers Hot?
I first discovered them years ago when I was watching The Chew and Michael Symon was speaking about how delicious they were.
I found them for the first time at Trader Joe’s when we were down in the San Diego area and bought them and cooked them up and had fun sharing them with the kids to see who got the hot one.
They are not considered to be hot. Most shishito peppers are under 150 Scoville Heat Units – which is only a little bit spicier than a bell pepper.
They are considerably less hot than a banana pepper, which is still considered a relatively mild pepper. Roasting the peppers makes them a bit sweeter so that helps with the spiciness as well.
However, you should be aware that about 10% of these peppers have an extra spicy kick and there’s no real way to tell until you bite into them. It’s a little like Russian roulette for your taste buds!
Don’t worry though – even the spicy ones only measure at 200 Scoville Heat Units, and a spicy pepper like a jalapeno is about 5000!
Can You Eat Shishito Peppers Raw?
Like any pepper, you can eat shishito peppers raw. They’re small (only 3-4 inches long) so they’re perfect for snacking. While they’re perfectly fine to eat raw, when you cook shishito peppers they become the culinary stars of the show.
I recommend eating the whole pepper except for the top but keeping the tops on during cooking provides you with a little handle to hold them better.
What Do Shishito Peppers Taste Like?
Shishito peppers have a fresh peppery grassy citrus flavor similar to a green pepper but with more sweetness. They aren’t normally hot except for that 1 in 10 chance and even so that is quite mild and a pleasant surprise for many.
You can substitute them for a green pepper in a lot of your recipes too. They are high in Vitamin C and therefore great for your heart health.
How to Pick a Shishito Pepper?
The first thing you need to do is pick the right pepper. You should look for peppers that are between 2 and 5 inches long. You want to get peppers that are firm – as they are fresher.
Shishito peppers are almost all wrinkly and look sort of misshapen, so don’t let that dissuade you from a pepper! You can get these peppers at grocery stores and farmer’s markets from late summer into fall, but specialty vegetable stores and Asian markets sometimes have them year-round!
Once you’ve bought the peppers, they’ll last a few days in a crisper drawer. Don’t let them get too soft though or they lose some flavor. Wash them before you cook them, but don’t remove the stem if you don’t want to.
How Should You Cook Shishito Peppers?
The best way to cook shishito peppers is to roast them. Peppers should always be roasted quickly at a higher temperature. If you cook peppers for too long, they’ll go soft. While they’re still quite good, it’s a very different texture.
A cast-iron or heavy skillet is a great way to cook shishito peppers and it’s super easy to whip them up as an appetizer. Simply warm the cast iron skillet under the broiler – until water sizzles when it’s dropped on it. Coat the peppers in olive oil, and add the peppers to the hot skillet.
You can cook the peppers either under the broiler or you can put it on the stovetop – place the skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure the peppers are in a single layer – it’s the contact with the skillet and their thin skin that gets the blisters you want.
Cook for a couple of minutes and then stir with a spatula or spoon – you’ll want to flip them over so they’re evenly cooked. Once they’re done (it should only take about 5 minutes), remove from the oven or off the burner.
Sprinkle some sea salt and add a dash of lemon juice and serve warm. There is no need for a dipping sauce, just gobble them down like this playing a little Russian roulette to see who gets the hot one.
Have you cooked with shishito peppers before? Are you going to try them now? Let me know in the comments!
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Comments & Reviews
Tara Pittman says
These peppers sound so delicious. I will look for them at the store so I can try them
I’ll have to get some of these! I love the flavor of hot peppers, but I can’t stand TOO much heat. I think these sound like just the thing.
So many people are loving these right now. I’m such a sissy with peppers, most are too hot for me. My husband would love these, though.
We love peppers and I’ve never tried these. I think I thought they were spicy and it doesn’t seem they are!
I’ve never heard of those peppers before. I do enjoy having peppers though. I’ll have to look for these and give them a try.
Thanks for this interesting info! Sounds interesting and I am so curious to try these shishito peppers! Love that they are easy to make!
This is amazing! I love shishito peppers!! So good!
Fatima Torres says
I’ve always wondered about these whenever I pass them in the produce aisles. My mom would add them to her meat.
I’m super sensitive to spicy things. I will see if my dad has tried these before. He loves peppers.
Found these recently at whole foods. Had the cooking suggestion right on the container although I don’t believe bit mentioned the dash of lemon juice… They are good.. as the article says they are not hot at all.
I’m on a diet and they make an excellent snack.
Tara Noland says
I wish we could find them more readily in Canada. We are growing our own now.
Janet lc says
These are some of the best peppers I’ve ever eaten!! We had them at an Asian place as an appetizer, you couldn’t stop eating them! Today I found some at Trader Joe and can’t wait to fix tgen
Tara Noland says
Agreed, we love them.