Pop some shishito peppers into an air fryer to char them up and you have one of the best appetizers. For a sweet, mildly spicy, and smoky bite there is nothing more simple yet delicious as these peppers. If you have never had one before, they are mild, and sweet, with hints of citrus and an almost grassy flavor.
Just a few ingredients for this shishito pepper recipe and you have a tasty snack, appetizer, or side dish. These small peppers have thin skins that blister easily. That makes air frying them an obvious choice. In just a few minutes in the hot heat of an air fryer, they start to pop a little bit and shrivel as the skins blacken. This brings on a smoky flavor similar to grilling but a lot faster and without the hassle of getting your bbq ready.
Are Shishitos Mild or Spicy?
If you are wondering how spicy shishitos are, you are not alone. They are categorized as mild pepper, just slightly above the bell pepper on the Scoville scale. Every now and again a shishito pepper will be spicy but overall they are tame and a great option for serving a group. Think of them as mild somewhere between a sweet bell pepper and a mildly spiced jalapeno.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Shishito Peppers
You only have a few ingredients for this recipe. Besides the shishito peppers, you also need avocado oil. Another high-heat tolerant oil will do but I find avocado oil works best. You also will want some salt to sprinkle on when these little peppers come out of the air fryer piping hot.
What are Shishito Peppers?
Shishito peppers are small thin-skinned mildly spiced pepper. They can be eaten raw and are similar in texture and heat level to sweet bell pepper. Every now and again, one will be hot. I refer to this as the Russian Roulette of peppers and you must play.
Shishitos are common in East Asia and are often used in Japanese and Korean cooking. They are a healthy pepper that is a good source of Vitamin A, C, & E. Shishitos are also high in anti-oxidants. Shishito peppers are great for those on a healthy, paleo, keto, low-carb, diabetic, low-calorie, gluten-free, Whole30, vegan, or vegetarian diet.
Where to Buy Shishito Peppers
When in season, which is in summer, I find shishito peppers at the local farmer's market. They are also often at the regular big chain grocery stores. However, year-round I seem to easily find packaged shishito peppers at Trader Joe's. I always grab a 6 ounce bag when I am the store.
This size is a good snack or appetizer for 4 people or a decent side dish for 2 people. If for some reason you cannot find shishito peppers, you can use small bell peppers for this recipe. I would then cut them in half and remove the stem and membranes versus eating them whole.
Substitutes for Shishito Peppers
If you cannot find any shishito peppers are your store or farmer's market, you can use some alternate ingredients. These substitutions work out well for a mild pepper similar to shishito peppers. Try one of these and still enjoy this yummy recipe.
- Bell Peppers - small one or slice into thick strips; remove stems and seeds
- Padron Peppers - similar to shishitos and are mild with a few spicy
- Banana Peppers - mild wax peppers
- Jalapeno Peppers - if you do want SPICY, go this route with or without the seeds/membranes
How to Cook Shishito Peppers in the Air Fryer
This is one quick and easy recipe. In less than 15 minutes start to finish you have a wonderful appetizer. This method works in both basket and tray-type air fryer. I own a Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer so this is the time and temperature per my machine. Models may vary slightly but will still cook up just fine.
Wash & Dry the Shishitos
Before cooking, wash and thoroughly dry the peppers. Do not remove the stems. Leave the stems on the shishito peppers. They act like little holders to pick them up to dip and eat them.
How Long for Air Frying Peppers
Shishito peppers are a small pepper, similar in size as small jalapenos. Therefore, air frying them is fast and doesn't take long at all. Once they are clean and dry, spray them with avocado oil. Now they are ready to go into the air fryer. Place shishito peppers in a single layer in the basket or tray of your air fryer. Add some salt now or at the end, whichever you prefer.
With the shishitos already in there, set the air fryer to 400°. Next set the timer for 8 minutes. There is no need to preheat. The 2-3 minutes it takes to preheat plus the 8 minutes is the perfect amount of time when air frying shishitos.
How to Tell When Shishitos Are Done Cooking
It only takes a few minutes to cook them. Once the ends start to turn dark brown and most of the skin has started to shrivel they are done. You will notice that smoky smell coming from the air fryer. They should look like the image below. The blistered skin has dark areas and the green shishitos have shrunk a bit in the air frying process.
How To Eat Shishitos
Blistered shishito peppers are best eaten immediately. Once they are done air frying, use a set of tongs to plate them. Sprinkle with a bit of salt to taste if you did not do so before cooking. Serve them as is or with a favorite dipping sauce. My creamy shishito dipping sauce recipe is a sweet, salty, & nutty combination of tamari, garlic, & sour cream.
Storing Shishito Peppers
You can store both raw and cooked shishito peppers in the refrigerator. For raw unwashed shishitos, leave them in the packaging or grocery bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For those that have been cooked, store shishito peppers in an air-tight container or Ziploc for up to 3 days.
You can also freeze shishito peppers in an air-tight container or Ziploc bag for up to 9 months if raw or 3 months if cooked. Simply defrost overnight in the refrigerator to thaw and use them in a variety of recipes like soups, sautees, and casseroles.
What to Serve with Shishito Peppers
These are typically eaten as an appetizer or small plate. You can add other seasonings or dips to this basic recipe to jazz it up. I love these just salted as they are here and with a good creamy dipping sauce. This recipe for shishito peppers is vegan, paleo, gluten-free, keto, and low-carb which is ideal for serving just about anyone.
If you plan to offer these air fryer shishito peppers as a side dish or part of a buffet with other foods, here are some recommended recipes. All of these ideas go well when eating shishitos. I find they work best with other Asian-inspired recipes or savory meats.
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Air Fryer Shishito Peppers
- air fryer
- 8 ounces shishito peppers
- avocado oil spray
- salt, to taste
- Before cooking, wash and thoroughly dry the peppers. Do not remove the stems. Leave the stems on the shishito peppers.
- Once they are clean and dry, spray them with avocado oil. Now they are ready to go into the air fryer. Place shishito peppers in a single layer in the basket or tray of your air fryer.
- To cook, set the air fryer to 400°. Set the timer for 8 minutes. There is no need to let it preheat before placing the peppers in. The total time of about 2-3 minutes to preheat and then 8 minutes of air frying time is perfect.
- While they cook, they may pop and hiss. That is ok, they should not explode but just expand as they cook.
- Once the timer beeps, they are ready. They should be blistered with dark charred areas. Carefully remove them with tongs to a plate or bowl.
- Sprinkle them with salt as desired. Serve immediately as is or with your favorite dips.
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 3.5g||4%|
|Saturated Fat 0.5g||3%|
|Total Carbohydrate 3g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||7%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin D 0mcg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
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