Grilled Shishito Peppers

By Ann Fulton

Jump to Recipe

Serve these sweet and (almost always!) mild Japanese peppers as a quick, easy, and surprisingly popular appetizer or side dish.


Have you ever heard of chili peppers that are mild…most of the time? Such is the case with the shishito pepper, a small, slender sweet pepper that originated in Asia.

A year or two ago, I had never heard of these thin-walled, quick cooking peppers that are beginning to pop up in farm share baskets, on restaurant menus, and in the occasional market or grocery store. The growing popularity of these flavorful peppers can be linked to their ability to be enjoyed whole – and in greater quantity than the typical hot pepper – as well as for a certain built-in fun factor.

Generally speaking, shishito peppers are mild. Every once in a while, however, there’s a spicy renegade, and there’s no way to tell which one that might be.  

At first, I predicted that the bigger peppers would deliver the heat, but that theory didn’t hold water. I lucked upon the lone spicy pepper in our first batch, and it was nothing to fear. The spice level was similar to a medium salsa. 

We’ve enjoyed these as an appetizer and as an easy veggie side dish to grilled chicken and fish.  Most recently, they were a welcome complement to steak and corn on the cob.

A final word of advice: buy more than you think you’ll need as they disappear quickly! For a steady supply, you may even try planting these in your garden next year.

Spring 2023 update: Since originally posting this recipe in 2016, we’ve grown shishitos in our backyard garden every year with great results. The plants are very easy to grow and produce an abundant supply. 


Where and what to buy:  Keep your eye out for shishito peppers between two inches and five inches long. They should be bright green and very firm. Fresh shishitos are increasingly available in grocery stores and farmers markets well into the fall (and more recently year round). 

If you can’t find shishito peppers, or their Spanish cousins called Padrón peppers, look for the widely available mini bell peppers. These will offer a range of flavor – with no spicy surprises – and although different than the shishitos, their vibrant colors and diminutive size make them an equally appealing side dish.

Conveniently and unlike their full-size counterparts, mini bell peppers have practically no seeds so can be cooked whole. (Try skewering them for added ease on the grill.) Follow the instructions for the shishito peppers, adding a few minutes to the grilling time, as needed, to account for variations in the thickness of the pepper walls.

Serve these sweet and (almost always!) mild Japanese peppers as a quick, easy, and surprisingly popular appetizer or side dish.

Shishito peppers are the Japanese cousin to Spain’s famed Padrón peppers. Delicately sweet and usually mild, they’re an easy snack to throw on the grill.  One in ten, on average, has a spicy kick, but the guessing game adds to the fun.

Serve these sweet and (almost always!) mild Japanese peppers as a quick, easy, and surprisingly popular appetizer or side dish.

You can use either Japanese shishito or Spanish padron peppers for this dish. They look nearly identical and both have a mellow, slightly sweet flavor — except for the occasional spicy surprise!

The preparation couldn’t be simpler, and the flavor delivered by these little peppers is fantastic.

Grilled Shishito Peppers
Yield: 4-6 appetizer servings; 3-4 side dish servings

Serve these sweet and (almost always!) mild Japanese peppers as a quick, easy, and surprisingly popular appetizer or side dish.
  • 1 pint (about 5 ounces) shishito peppers
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Kosher or coarse sea salt
  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. (See notes for skillet method.)
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the peppers with the olive oil. You want just enough to very lightly coat. Sprinkle with kosher or sea salt to taste (I use about 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt), and toss again to distribute.
  3. Place the peppers on the grill in a single layer. (You may use a grill pan or basket, but we have carefully placed them across the grates with no lost peppers yet!)  Cook for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, or until peppers are lightly charred but still have some structure to them. (They shouldn’t flop over when you pick them up. Smaller peppers may cook more quickly.) Remove to a plate or bowl and serve them hot.  To eat, pick the pepper up by the stem end and eat the whole thing, minus the stem.
  • To prepare in a skillet (cast iron works well), heat the oil over high heat. Add the shishito peppers, stirring or flipping them until they are lightly coated in the oil. Cook, turning the peppers in the pan, until they are tender with a hint of firmness and brown in spots, 3 to 5 minutes, depending on size. Toss with coarse salt, to taste.
  • You could absolutely do something fancier with these peppers, but they’re really good just like this. A friend recently mentioned that she likes to drizzle a little toasted sesame oil or soy sauce over the cooked peppers, and a simple mayo or sour cream based dip (even your favorite ranch dressing) would work well. We’ve enjoyed them with nothing more than a simple sprinkle of salt. Chop the rare leftovers and mix into an omelet or other egg dish.  It’s a delicious addition!
More On YouTube More on Instagram
Tried this recipe?Post a picture on instagram and we will repost it! Mention @fountainavenuekitchen or tag #fountainavenuekitchen!
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen

Leave a Reply

Make it? Rate the recipe:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *