If you're looking for a delicious vegetarian tapas dish, look no further than this simple and flavorful Padron peppers recipe.
These Spanish peppers (known as Pimientos de Padrón) are fried whole in olive oil until blistered, then salted and served with a squeeze of lemon.
Pan-fried padrón peppers make an excellent snack, side dish, starter, or part of a tapas spread that will surely impress your guests.
How to cook padron peppers?
Check out the video below to see how easy it is to prepare this Spanish tapas recipe.
Read further in this post for more information on ingredients, substitution advice, cooking tips and serving ideas.
If you're eager to start cooking, use the jump button below to dive right into this delicious Padron pepper recipe!Jump to Recipe
For this traditional Spanish tapas dish, you'll need just a handful of ingredients.
Each one brings its unique flavour and texture to the table, making this recipe a true celebration of simplicity and taste.
These small, green peppers are the star of the show. They have a mild, slightly sweet flavour, but occasionally, you might find one with a bit of heat.
This unpredictability from one padron pepper to another adds an element of surprise and excitement to the dish. If you can't find Padron peppers, you can substitute them with shishito peppers, small peppers, or mild green chillies.
Use a high-quality oil with a high smoke point for frying the peppers. Olive oil is a traditional choice in Spanish food and adds a lovely, rich flavour to the dish.
While extra virgin olive oil is a popular choice in many recipes, it's not ideal for high-heat cooking like frying Padron peppers due to its low smoke point, making alternatives like regular olive oil, vegetable, sunflower, or avocado oil better options for this dish.
A generous sprinkling of coarse salt is essential in bringing out the flavours of the peppers and giving them a slightly crispy texture.
Use coarse sea salt flakes or kosher salt for the best results. You can even try using a flavoured salt, such as smoked salt, for an extra layer of flavour.
Padron peppers, olive oil and coarse salt are the main ingredients needed, but here are a few extra ingredients that can add flavour.
If adding garlic cloves, add towards the end of the frying process, allowing it to cook for just a few minutes to prevent burning. This will infuse the peppers with a lovely garlicky aroma.
Similarly, add chopped fresh chilies towards the end of cooking to give the dish a spicy kick without burning them.
Adding a squeeze of lemon to your Padron peppers will provide a burst of citrusy brightness, a refreshing touch to the dish.
If you prefer chilli flakes over fresh chillies, sprinkle them over the peppers at the same time as you're adding the salt. This will give your dish a nice hint of heat without overpowering the other flavours.
For a pop of colour and freshness, garnish your cooked Padron peppers with some chopped parsley. This not only adds visual appeal but also brings a subtle herbaceous note that complements the peppers beautifully.
To cook Padrón peppers, you'll need a large frying pan or skillet for evenly frying the peppers and achieving that perfect char.
Additionally, a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon will be handy for safely turning the peppers whilst pan frying and transferring them to a serving plate.
Lastly, having a tapas dish or serving platter will add an authentic touch when presenting your delicious Padron peppers to your guests.
Top tip: To keep your Padron peppers warm and enjoyable for longer, try heating the serving tapas dish in the microwave or oven before adding the cooked peppers.
Now that you've gathered your ingredients, it's time to cook! Follow these simple steps to create a mouthwatering Padrón peppers tapas dish that everyone will love.Jump to Recipe Card for the ingredient list and measurements
First, give your Padron peppers a quick rinse under cold water. Then, gently pat them dry with kitchen paper towel. We don't want any extra moisture when we start frying them up.
Heat olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet over high heat. You'll want enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. Ensure it's nice and hot before adding the peppers – you should see it shimmering in the pan.
Carefully add your whole, dry peppers to the hot oil. Be cautious, as the oil might splatter a bit. We don't want any burns, just beautifully blistered peppers! Use tongs to keep your hands safe!
Let the peppers fry for about 5 to 7 minutes, turning them halfway through. Keep an eye on them and look for that perfectly charred, slightly wilted appearance.
Once your peppers look perfectly cooked, use tongs to remove them from the pan and transfer them to a warm tapas dish or serving dish. Try not to drool too much while you're doing this – we're almost there!
Don't forget about that flavourful olive oil left in the pan. Drizzle it over your green peppers to really amp up the taste. Waste not, want not, right?
Time to season your padron peppers. Generously sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt flakes over the peppers.
Give them a good squeeze of lemon juice for that zesty kick.
If you'd like, you can even serve them with additional lemon wedges on the side for your guests to customize their experience. Add some chilli flakes and fresh parsley if desired.
Padron peppers make a versatile and flavorful accompaniment to various dishes.
They pair exceptionally well with chicken and chorizo paella, anchovies, olives, and cream cheese-stuffed peppers, creating a delightful Spanish-inspired spread. Try our mouthwatering Gambas Pil Pil tapas recipe.
You can also serve them with fried eggs for a simple yet satisfying starter.
📖 Step by Step Recipe
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 135 g Padron Peppers
- Large pinch Sea Salt Flakes
- 1 wedge Lemon
- Heat 2 tablespoon Olive Oil in a large frying pan over high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, carefully add 135 g Padron Peppers to the pan.
- Fry the peppers for 5 to 7 minutes, turning them through the cooking time.
- You want the peppers to become charred in places, giving them a dark blistered appearance.
- When the peppers are cooked to your liking, use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove them from the pan and transfer them to a warm tapas dish.
- Drizzle the peppers with the leftover olive oil from the pan.
- Season the peppers generously with a Large pinch Sea Salt Flakes
- Optional * Squeeze 1 wedge Lemon over the top.
- Serve with other Spanish tapas dishes or our Chicken and Chorizo Paella.
And there you have it – a mouthwatering Padrón peppers tapas dish that's as easy to make as it is delicious. Dig into this fantastic vegetarian treat. Just don't be surprised if they disappear in the blink of an eye!
Allow the cooked peppers to cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container. Store the container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat cooked Padron peppers, heat on a baking sheet in the oven at 180 °C fan / 200 C / 400°F for 10 minutes.
Alternatively, you can reheat the peppers in a pan over medium heat, until they are warmed through.
Padron peppers are generally mild in flavour, but occasionally you may come across a spicy one.
Padrón peppers are pronounced as "pah-drohn" peppers. The accent is on the first syllable, and the "o" has a short sound, similar to the word "on."
Padrón peppers originate from the Galicia region in northwestern Spain.
More Starter Recipes
Looking for more delicious and easy-to-make starter or appetizer recipes?