Simple Blistered Shishito Peppers Recipe

You've probably made a few dozen beautiful charcuterie boards, complete with your favorite cheeses and a handful of stuffed olives. Maybe you've made tomato-drenched bruschetta in the summertime, freshly toasted on the grill before a warm sunset dinner. The underrated appetizer you might not have tried yet, though? Shishito peppers.

Shishito peppers can be made year-round, but are most seasonally available in summer and early fall. You'll find them in boxes or bags at your local grocery store or farmer's markets during these seasons for a fairly low price, and they're always worth grabbing to have on hand for happy hour snacking. They aren't commonly eaten raw (most peppers aren't, to be fair), but are so easy to prepare, you can have them on the table in less than 10 minutes.

Shishitos are a bit more flavorful than bell peppers and much less spicy than jalapeños, making them a perfect appetizer for dipping into homemade sauces. Whisk together a garlicky aioli like the one developer Michelle McGlinn shares below to pair with smokey, cast-iron blistered shishito peppers. Forget the charcuterie board this summer — shishitos will be your new favorite snack.

Everything you need for simple blistered shishito peppers

Shishito peppers are jalapeño-sized light green peppers that are usually sold in bags or boxes of 20 or more. Wrinkled and a little thin, they do best with simple charring on the stovetop or grill. And if you hate spice, don't worry — only about 1 pepper per package is spicy, while the rest are not hot at all (if you do get that 1 spicy pepper, we're sorry). This recipe won't quite work with other varieties of peppers, so don't try swapping these out.

To cook the peppers, you'll just need oil, and you can use any oil but we recommend an oil with a higher smoke point like vegetable or avocado. For the sauce, you'll need mayonnaise, garlic, lemon, salt, and pepper. To finish off the blistered peppers, you'll just need a little lemon juice and flaky sea salt. If you don't have sea salt, you can use a small pinch of Kosher.

Mix together the aioli

Okay, we'll be honest with you: This isn't a real aioli. True aioli doesn't use mayonnaise and instead mixes smashed garlic and egg yolk together with oil. If you hate mayonnaise, you can always opt for a true aioli, which will taste similar without the distinct mayo taste. Since mayonnaise is technically egg and oil, it makes for a good, fast substitute, and makes an excellent creamy aioli (or faux aioli). To make the sauce for these peppers, just whisk together mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until smooth and creamy. It'll last about an hour at room temperature or a week covered in the fridge.

Blister the shishitos

Just like searing a steak, blistering shishito peppers is easiest in a cast iron skillet, which heats up fast and retains a strong heat. Heat the oil in the skillet first, until near-smoking (a little smoke is okay). Drop in the peppers and sear until brownish-black on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Be careful with this, though: The hot air can get trapped inside and cause the peppers to inflate until they explode (yes, really!). To avoid this, poke holes in the peppers with a fork before searing; but stand back a bit anyways, just in case.

Lightly season the peppers

Honestly, if you're a shishito pepper fiend like us, you could pop these like potato chips, no seasoning required. Adding anything to the peppers is just a bonus. For these simple shishito peppers, sea salt and lemon are a perfect compliment to the garlicky mayo cream sauce, so just sprinkle a few pinches of salt and a squeeze of lemon onto the peppers.

Serving blistered shishitos

These aren't a full meal, but are an excellent appetizer or small plate for tapas-style serving. Shishito peppers go well alongside Spanish patatas bravas, grilled octopus, and paella, or also pair well with grilled Americana like burgers and bratwursts. For summertime cookouts, you can also blister the peppers directly on the grill in a grill basket or cast iron skillet, looking for that same brownish-black skin to form over the heat. These are best day-of while still warm, but they can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator and used in salads or on top of pizzas. The possibilities are endless for these simple blistered peppers, but we love them on their own with a crisp glass of wine and a fading summertime sunset.

Simple Blistered Shishito Peppers Recipe
4.9 from 33 ratings
Learn how to make this flavorful dish as an appetizer or side for your next barbecue.
Prep Time
Cook Time
close up of shishito pepper
Total time: 15 minutes
  • 16 ounces shishito peppers
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • Juice from 1 lemon, divided
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon flaky sea salt
  1. To make garlic aioli, combine the mayonnaise, garlic, juice from ½ lemon, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until smooth.
  2. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet until very hot. Add the shishitos and sauté on either side until charred with black spots. Once blistered on both sides, remove from the skillet.
  3. Sprinkle with Maldon and juice from half a lemon. Serve peppers with aioli.
Calories per Serving 352
Total Fat 36.1 g
Saturated Fat 4.4 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 11.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 8.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Total Sugars 3.3 g
Sodium 416.7 mg
Protein 1.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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