Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Shishito Peppers

Save to Recipe Box
Add Private Note
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Add Recipe Note


The Japanese named the peppers shishi, or lion, either because they used to be much hotter or the puckered tip looks like the head of a lion. Now, shishito peppers are grown in the U.S. as well—they’re prolific during late summer in any temperate climate.

What is it?

Small and sweet with just the mildest bit of heat, these Japanese peppers are the perfect snack or appetizer. You may have seen them on the menu at trendy restaurants, but they’re dead easy to prepare at home. Try them during their peak summer season, and you’ll see what the fuss is about.

Like all sweet and hot chile peppers, shishitos (Capsicum annuum) are descended from South or Central American plants. It’s likely that Portuguese explorers brought chiles to Japan several centuries ago, and some were bred into mild shishitos. One in every 10 or so is as hot as a mild jalapeño (there’s no way to know until you taste them).

How to choose

Farmers’ markets and well-stocked grocery stores carry shishitos. They’re about 3 inches long and narrow with firm, glossy skin. They have vertical wrinkles and are a bit twisty—that’s how you distinguish them from similar but spicier Padrón peppers. Although they’re usually picked while still green, you may find the occasional red or orange ones, too.

How to prep

Shishito peppers can be eaten raw, seeds and all, but they’re usually grilled, roasted, or sautéed so the outside gets blistered but the flesh remains firm—the char brings out the peppers’ sweet heat. Avoid overcooking, though, because shishitos quickly turn bitter.

They’re often served with Japanese ingredients, such as sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, and soy sauce, as in the dish at right. Citrus like lemon or yuzu is a good match, as are nutty flavors like browned butter and toasted almonds.

How to store

They can be refrigerated in an open paper bag for up to two weeks.


Leave a Comment


  • mixie0212 | 07/29/2022

    Mexican tajin salt with chili and lime flavors is fantastic to sprinkle over. Saute on the stove until charred spots start to show - remove immediately, shake the tajin over and serve with a marg or ice cold beer! Great starter! Easy to find at any local market

  • rodmen | 03/14/2022

    Regarding a different way to use shishito peppers, I can't find fresh pepperoncini peppers in the market to pickle; so I use shishitos. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/pickled-pepperoncini-without-canning-52467951

  • jeggly | 01/13/2022

    Yes, they are very good roasted, and easy to find in Summer, but I was hoping for a little more creativity here. What other ways can they be prepared, and what dishes might they enhance. Maybe, use them in a few side dishes, or stuffed with something.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.


View All


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.