Blistered shishito peppers are the perfect summer appetizer or side. They’re easy to make, fun to eat and great to share at parties and barbecues. Grab one the stem, pop the pepper into your mouth and enjoy!
This post was first published in August 2020. It has been updated most recently as of June 2022 with new recipe notes and updated images.
If you’ve never tried Japanese shishito peppers, you’ve definitely seen them on a lot of restaurant menus during the summer season. Once you try this recipe and see how easy they are to make at home, you’ll be making this easy appetizer all season long!
What are Shishito Peppers
You still may be wondering, what are shishito peppers? They are small, thin skinned, relatively sweet Japanese peppers that are similar to Spanish padrón peppers but a little bit longer and skinnier. Sounds super fancy but these little delicate peppers could not be easier to prepare. Japanese shishitos come into season in summer through early fall. You can find them at most asian markets, your local farmer’s market and at many major grocery stores in the refrigerated produce section. I regularly pick them up at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.
How to eat shishito peppers
You just pick them up by the stem and bite the whole pepper right up to the stem. Yep, the whole thing, seeds and all. Working your way through a pile of these amazing little peppers is a fun game of Russian roulette! In general they are mild and sweet, however about one in ten are spicy! There’s no way to tell which ones are the hot peppers! In fact, the first time I tried on, I got a spicy one! It’s just part of the fun. A perfect appetizer and a great game for a happy hour or cocktail party, right?
All you need is a few simple ingredients to make a restaurant quality, delicious appetizer at home.
Start by making the charred lemon aioli dipping sauce. Add mayo, minced garlic, dijon mustard and salt to a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Heat your skillet or grill and place the lemon cut side down to char. Set aside while you work on the peppers.
Wash and thoroughly dry the peppers. Make sure the peppers are really dry before you cook them. Any moisture will cause an oil splatter and will steam the peppers. You want them dry so that they pick up a nice char. Add the dry peppers to a large bowl and toss with a little high heat oil, making sure to evenly coat.
You can make blistered shishitos on the grill in your veggie basket or on the stove in a large cast iron skillet. If you’re cooking on the stove, do it on medium-high heat. Once you have a hot skillet or grill basket, add the peppers in a single layer and sauté, tossing frequently, for about 6-8 minutes until the peppers are blistered and have a nice char.
Remove the lemon from the heat once charred and set aside to cool.
Squeeze charred lemon into the mayo mixture. Transfer peppers to a serving dish, add a little sprinkle of salt and black pepper and dig in!
Not in the mood for a creamy, mayo-based dipping sauce? Here are some fun variations to try!
- Douse them with a little soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
- Add Furikake seasoning
- Enjoy them on their own with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice
What to serve with blistered or grilled shishito peppers
These magical small green peppers are the perfect side dish for any of your summer meals. Here are a few ideas!
Blistered Shishito Peppers With Charred Lemon Aioli
- Wash and thoroughly dry Shishito peppers.
- Toss peppers in 1 tsp of oil.
- Mix together mayonnaise, minced garlic and dijon mustard.
- Heat grill with basket, grill pan or skillet. Cut lemon in half and place cut side down and cook until charred, about 5-8 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Add peppers to hot grill or skillet and let char on one side for one minute. Toss every 1-2 minutes to char evenly for about 7-9 minutes.
- Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Squeeze half of charred lemon in the mayonnaise mixture and serve immediately with peppers and other half of lemon for garnish.
- 1 Grill Basket For grilling shishito peppers