Spanish pimientos de Padrón are one of my all-time favorite tapas. Luckily, they’re also one of the easiest to prepare—and this Padron peppers recipe proves it!
Padron Peppers: The Essential Spanish Veggie
I’m not one to complain about Spanish cuisine. In fact, I’ve been known to vehemently defend it if anyone dares to do so in my presence. But I do have to admit that there’s one thing I often miss on traditional tapas menus: the color green.
It’s not that Spain has anything against vegetables; they’re central to some of the best Spanish dishes. But at your average tapas bar in Madrid, the menu staples tend to be potatoes, bread, and pork in various forms.
All of these are delicious, but in my opinion, they’re even better when complemented by a splash of color in the form of some fresh produce. Enter the Padron pepper.
See also: The Most Typical Spanish Tapas in Madrid
What are Padron peppers?
Pimientos de Padrón are small, bright green peppers that come from the municipality of Padrón in Galicia, in the northwest part of Spain.
They’re usually mild in flavor, with low levels of capsaicin. Every once in a while, however, you’ll bite into one that’s surprisingly spicy, making the act of eating them even more exciting.
At tapas bars, they’re sometimes served with huevos rotos (fried eggs and potatoes) or as an accompaniment to other dishes. But you can also order them all on their own: just a plate piled high with glistening, steaming peppers. I highly recommend this.
Key Ingredients: Padron peppers, olive oil, and sea salt!
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
- Peppers: If you can’t find padron peppers you can use shishito peppers for a similar dish — however they are not quite the same!
- Salt: Use sea salt for the best taste. I especially love using sea salt flakes such as Maldon salt.
- Oil: Use plenty of it — just like we do in Spain!
How to Prepare Perfect Padron Peppers: Step by Step
I never thought to try making Padrón peppers at home until one of my friends gave me a bag of them (aware of my love for all things related to Spanish food and cooking). I was happy to discover that it’s surprisingly simple to recreate the kind of Padrón peppers you get at restaurants right in your own kitchen.
I’ll let you in on the secrets of my Padron peppers recipe: olive oil, salt, and plenty of heat. That’s it. The magic of these little guys is the complex taste and perfect texture they naturally provide—no need to get fancy.
Tip: Use a very hot skillet (like cast iron) for these.
Steps 1-2: Wash your padron peppers and dry well. The drier they are, the better they’ll brown and blister.
Steps 3-4: Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron works well). Make sure there is a good centimeter or two of oil. We aren’t deep frying, but the oil is key to the end result.
When the oil is very hot (but not yet smoking) add the peppers and allow them to blister and brown before turning. Turn a couple of times until they’re soft and browned on all sides. Remove them with a slotted spoon and sprinkle your favorite sea salt on top.
Eat them whole — leaving only the stems behind!
More Easy Tapas Recipes
Pimientos de Padron are among the most popular tapas recipes you’ll find in Spain. Here are some great tapas to serve alongside!
- Pinchos Morunos: Delicious Spanish pork skewers.
- Chorizo al Vino Tinto: Chorizo simmered in red wine.
- Spanish Tortilla: The classic Spanish omelette with potatoes, onions, and eggs.
- Gambas al Ajillo: Shrimp sautéed in garlic and olive oil.
- Ham Croquettes: Creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside — everyone raves about these!
- Spanish Sangria: Not a tapa — but a great choice to enjoy with your peppers!
See also: Best vegetarian tapas in Spain
Now it’s time to try this recipe and see for yourself how easy it is to make delicious pimientos de Padrón! Warning: you may end up eating all four servings before they get to the table.
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Spanish Padron Peppers Recipe
- 300 grams of Padron peppers about 2 cups
- 50 ml extra virgin olive oil (1/4 cup)
- Flaky sea salt
- Rinse and dry the peppers.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan at high heat until it is very hot (but not yet smoking).
- Add the peppers and cook, tossing occasionally, until the skin starts to blister and soften. Don't let them burn, but do leave them enough time to completely soften.
- Remove the peppers and place them on a plate.
- Sprinkle generously with sea salt and enjoy!
- A good substitute for padron peppers are shishito peppers.
- Use sea salt for the best taste. I especially love using sea salt flakes such as Maldon salt.
- Use a good quality olive oil for frying, these peppers are meant to be quite oily, so the better the olive oil the better they’ll taste!
- Make sure to watch out for flying bits of oil, and let the peppers cool for a few minutes before you eat them!
Update Notice: This post was originally published on April 28, 2018 and was republished with new text and photos on March 25, 2021.
Have you tried our Padron peppers recipe? Got any tips and tricks to add? Share them in the comments!
Photography by Giulia Verdinelli
My wife and I have padron peppers cooked as stated with walnuts and manchego cheese with a glass of wine. As served to us in Spain. Love it.
I’ve just had my first harvest from the three plants I grew here in the UK & they are absolutely fantastic more are on the way it’s soooo so good.
Hi Dexter, I’ve now had these twice in Spain I’m UK and would like to buy and or grow these wonderful pepper dish. Can I buy in UK, the plants or the actual peppers, please could you let me know please?
Don’t fried them. Bake them. Simply set the oven at 180C to 200C, placed the peppers in a baking plate, sprinkle them (generously) with olive oil and sea salt. Turn them once, maybe, if at all. Take them out when you see them slightly inflated and golden. Enjoy them.
I just made these and they were delicious. I will definitely be having them again.
Is the nutritional info per serving or per total?
It should be per serving, but always double-check with your favorite calculator tool – it’s just a reference.
The heat depends on two factors: 1) the later the growing season, the more chance the peppers will be hot; 2) the larger (and more wrinkled) the pepper, the more likely it will be (VERY) hot.
I have grown two plants this year. I have not been able to eat them fast enough and now they are quite large and all of them are super hot. What else can I do with them to make them easier to eat? Do they get hotter as they get bigger?
A word of warning. I bought a bag of these in one of the major supermarkets in Australia and every single pepper was hot, ranging from Jalapeño hot to coughing, eye watering hot. Yikes!
Ha omg! That is not typical in Spain 🙂
Just discovered these peppers in tesco UK for the 1st time. £1 for a bag of about 15. Bargain.
After eating lots on several trips to Spain, I am delighted that I can now source easily in the UK.
We enjoyed these whilst on holiday in Malaga, Spain. I intended to buy some in the city.s famous market, but forgot. My daughter’s just found some and I’m about to try your recipe. Vale la pena!
Have 3 plants in containers and will eat my first pepper tomorrow for breakfast. The pepper is bright red so it might be spice hot. Had to grow them in Washington State after tasting them in Spain (Santiago) last Spring. So delicious! Ole!
A little chopped crispy bacon or pork belly adds a nice touch to it…
Just grown my first Padrons this year and tried your recipe with the first two off the plant. Absolutely delicious! Gotta keep feeding that plant to keep up production!
I received a nice sized bag in my Imperfect Produce box last week! It was a surprise!! Looking to fry them up as described.
Can we get Padron peppers in the US? If not is there another pepper we should buy to make the equivalent?
I’m sure you could find them at some specialty markets. Japanese shishito peppers would also work.
Hi! Aren’t they just delicious?
Just a small correction and the story behind them:
I love your website and enjoy reading about the recipes. And making them! I lived in Spain for 3 months in 2016 and loved every minute of it. You website takes me back to a sweet and magical time filled with adventure, love, and food. My husband and I always talk about going back and how much we missed it.
Thank you for the content and sharing your experiences!
Thanks for reading Amy! I hope you make it back soon!
I have five plants ready to plant – had these in Cangas last October – fantastic!!! Can’t wait to try the ones I am growing.
Thank you for the recipe
Hope they do well!!
My favorite! I eat my weight in peppers every summer. I can taste them now!