Blistered shishito peppers are a Japanese gastropub favorite. Get a blistered char on these Japanese peppers and flavor them with a simple one-two punch from the pantry. The result is smoky, umami perfection. Shishitos are so easy to make in your home kitchen. They’re ready in 10 minutes from start to finish!
I could make an entire meal out of appetizers. And that’s probably why I love Japanese izakayas so much.
Izakayas are informal Japanese bars that serve food meant to compliment adult beverages. Most dishes are on the smaller side – and perfect for sharing.
These blistered shishito peppers are an izakaya mainstay – and I never pass up the opportunity to order a plate or two when I’m sipping on sake or a whisky highball.
However, you don’t have to be in a bar on the other side of the world to enjoy shishito peppers! I’ll show you how to make them at home.
What are Shishito Peppers?
Shishito peppers are small, slender East Asian peppers with a thin skin. That thin skin allows the peppers to easily achieve a blistered char on the outside, either in a hot pan or over an open flame.
These Japanese peppers are somewhat similar to their Spanish cousin: padrón peppers, which hail from Galicia. The main difference is that the padróns tend to be a bit rounder and stubbier than the long, fingerlike shishitos.
- What do Shishito Peppers Taste Like? Eaten raw, shishito peppers resemble the taste and texture of a green bell pepper. In this blistered shishito peppers recipe, the flavor is smoky and savory with a vegetal brightness around the edges.
- Are Shishito Peppers Hot? While they are overall mild, about one-in-ten of the peppers has some heat. And every once in awhile, you might take a bite that will really blow your hair back and bring a spicy tear to the eye. It’s a bit of a gamble. But don’t worry… shishito peppers tend to range anywhere from 40 – 250 units on the Scoville Scale (minus the super spicy oddball). By contrast, a jalapeño averages 5,000 on that same scale. So, generally, shishitos are pretty mild.
- Where to Buy Shishito Peppers: Luckily, these days, you can easily find shishitos at most grocery stores. I’ve found them at Whole Foods and Trader Joes almost without fail. Also, be sure to check your local farmer’s market!
Blistered Shishito Peppers Ingredients
Scroll all the way down for the full recipe.
- Shishito Peppers: To make this shishito recipe, of course, you’re going to need the namesake ingredient. About 8 ounces (or around 1/2 lb) should have you sitting pretty. After you rinse them, pat them dry with paper towels or a clean dish cloth.
- Sesame Oil: A drizzle of nutty sesame oil introduces a toasted element to the blistered shishito peppers. We’ll add this to the shishitos at the very end – once you’ve turned the heat off, but they’re still in the hot pan. Aside from flavor, this helps with the blister. You can also use olive oil or avocado oil, but I think sesame oil adds a real depth of flavor those other cooking oils lack. Grab toasted sesame oil here on Amazon.
- Soy Sauce: Likewise, you’ll use about a teaspoon of soy sauce at the end as soon as you turn the stovetop heat off. The shoyu brings an element of savory umami – and almost caramelizes in the hot pan. In my opinion, this is non-negotiable. You need a little soy sauce!
- Salt and Pepper: A little dusting is all you need. Fresh cracked pepper is best, but you can use whatever you have handy. When it comes to the salt, I’d recommend kosher salt or flaky sea salt.
How to Cook Shishito Peppers
- Gather all of your kitchen tools and ingredients.
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet, pan or wok over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the shishito peppers in a single layer. Btw, there’s no oil at this point. You’re cooking the peppers in a dry pan.
- Toss the shishitos occasionally until they start to blister and get a nice bit of char on the outside skin.
- Then turn the heat off and add a teaspoon of the sesame oil while vigorously shaking the pan. You want to make sure that all of the peppers are evenly coated with the oil.
- Next, add your soy sauce and shake the pan again so all the peppers are coated evenly.
- Finally, transfer the blistered shishito peppers to a serving plate and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
Blistered Shishito Peppers Flavor
This delicious Japanese snack is savory and smoky. Obviously, the more char you get on the outside of the peppers, the more smoky the final dish will taste.
The salt balances the veggie-brashness of the peppers and nudges the soy sauce a little further forward on the palate.
The shishito peppers themselves have a verdant tang to them – and the texture resembles a very thin (and very cooked) green pepper.
You’ll eat everything except the stem.
Now, I prefer to eat these blistered shishito peppers as-is. I think the flavor is balanced and perfect.
However many people serve shishitos alongside a dipping sauce. Popular dip choices include mayo, garlic aioli – or a splash of citrus like sudachi or yuzu. Check out my step-by-step recipe for Japanese mayonnaise here.
How do you like to eat shishito peppers? Tell me about your favorites in the comments section below!
What to Serve With Blistered Shishito Peppers
Shishitos go with almost everything. But if you’re feeling ambitious, you can make your favorite izakaya dishes and create an entire meal out of small Japanese plates.
Here are some reader favorites:
The baizan kiln arabesque blue and white serving plate used in the images, which you can find here, is from Musubi Kiln.
Musubi Kiln is an online store specializing in high quality handmade Japanese tableware and dinnerware. Each product is made by Japanese craftsmen using traditional techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Received 10% off your purchase when using the code CAROLINE at checkout.
Did you like this blistered shishito peppers recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Blistered Shishito Peppers
This is a quick and delicious recipe for blistered shishito peppers seasoned with a little soy sauce and sesame oil.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 to 4 sides 1x
- Category: Side
- Method: Pan frying
- Cuisine: Japanese
- Diet: Vegan
- 8oz (1/2 pound) shishito peppers
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce or liquid amino for gluten-free
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the shishito peppers.
- Occasionally toss the peppers until they start blistering and getting charred.
- Turn the heat off, add the sesame oil and vigorously shake the skillet so all the peppers are coated with the oil.
- Add the soy sauce and repeat the same step.
- Transfer the shishito pepper to a serving plate and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
Blistered shishito peppers taste best fresh out of the pan, but they can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, in an airtight storage container.
- Serving Size: 6 to 8 shishito peppers
- Calories: 45
- Sugar: 2.9g
- Sodium: 75.6mg
- Fat: 2.5g
- Saturated Fat: 0.4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 1g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 5.6g
- Fiber: 1.9g
- Protein: 1.2g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: izakaya food, side dish, vegetarian