Padron Peppers (How to Cook Pimientos de Padrón)
Padron peppers, or Pimientos de Padrón in Spanish, are a famous seasonal tapas served all over Spain. The dish requires just 3 ingredients: padron peppers, olive oil, and salt. The result is spectacular, and this recipe makes a healthy vegan-friendly tapas with just 5 minutes of cooking time!
Thanks to the flavor, simplicity, and speed, it makes our top 10 list of vegan tapas recipes.
Tapas for 2 people
Good on their own
What you’ll need to make Padron Peppers
(makes tapas for 2)
- 500g/17oz. Padron peppers
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon coarse rock salt flakes
- 10-inch (25cm) frying pan or skillet
What are Padrón Peppers?
Padron peppers, or pimientos de Padrón as they’re more commonly known in Spain, are really just Spanish chilies that are grown in the town Padrón, in the Galicia region. While visiting the town of Padrón (in the northwest of Spain), you’ll find an abundance of roadside vendors selling the famous peppers on virtually every road out of town.
Padron peppers are quite small and green in color, averaging around 3 inches in length. Padron peppers are found all over Spain, and are a popular tapas dish. They’re traditionally fried in some olive oil and sprinkled with some coarse sea salt.
Where do Padron peppers originate?
Padron peppers get their name from the now famous town Padrón in the west of the Galicia region of Spain. It’s common to find authentic Padron peppers shipped all over Spain and enjoyed as a tapas. However, nowadays, ‘Padron peppers’ are cultivated all over the world (including Canada, the US, and Mexico) and sold with the same namesake.
Are Padron peppers spicy?
Padron peppers are not as spicy as your typical chili variety found elsewhere, although some are hotter than others. Most aren’t spicy at all. However, anyone who’s ever ordered a serving of pardon peppers will know there’s always a chance of tasting a spicy Padron pepper.
Padron pepper Scoville heat units rating
While most Padron peppers are very mild and have virtually the same heat as a standard bell pepper, the more spicy Padron peppers are rated between 500 to 2,000 Scoville heat units. By comparison, even a Padron pepper in the upper region will only be half as hot as a typical Jalapeno pepper.
|Scoville heat units (SHU) rating
|500 to 2,500 SHU
|2,500 to 8,000 SHU
Up to 350,000 SHU
Where to buy Padron peppers
Seasonally, Padron peppers can be found from around early May until October.
Unless you live within easy reach of the town of Padrón, it’s likely you’ll need to depend on a supermarket chain to import them directly from Spain. Most Padron peppers found in supermarkets and grocery stores across the US have been cultivated outside of Spain.
Of course, some dedicated Spanish grocery stores may also sell them, but you’ll need to shop around and in all likelihood, they’ll be peppers that are grown outside of Padrón, Spain.
If you live in the US, you’ll find Padron peppers sold in baskets of 1 dry pint, which is the equivalent of about two cups.
Grow your own Pimiento de Padrón
Another great option if you’ve got some time and an inclination for a green thumb is to plant your own. Organic, non-GMO Pimiento de Padrón seeds are available from Walmart of all places. The best time to plant your Padron pepper seeds is early April. Allow around 60 days from planting your seeds to harvesting your first peppers.
What’s the best way to cook Padron peppers?
There are three quite easy methods to cook Padron peppers.
- Pan-fried Padrón peppers
- Oven-baked Padrón peppers
- Grilled Padrón peppers in a grill basket
How to pan-fry Padrón peppers
The fastest way is to pan fry them in the olive oil which takes around 5 minutes.
- Wash peppers and pat dry
- Heat olive oil in a large frying pan (high heat)
- Add peppers and fry for around 5 minutes turning peppers occasionally whilst cooking
- Add to a plate with some paper towels to drain off excess oil. Sprinkle with some coarse sea salt flakes
- And serve!
How to cook Padron peppers in the oven
There are also plenty of recipes out there on Google that’ll oven bake Padron peppers. Baking Padron peppers takes a little longer but there’s far less oil (around 1-2 tablespoons is enough to oven-bake Padron peppers).
- Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F
- Wash padron peppers and pat dry
- Add peppers to a baking tray and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and add tray to the preheated oven.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, use tongs to rotate peppers then bake the other side for around another 5-7 minutes or until they crisp up and start to blacken slightly.
- Remove from the oven, add to a serving dish, sprinkle with salt, and serve!
How to grill Padrón Peppers
Come summer time the grills are a mainstay feature of our culinary cookery so it’s a shame not to give grilling your Padrón peppers a try. For this method, you’ll need a grill basket and a relatively even glow from the coals below.
Add your peppers to the grill basket and place them around 8-12 inches from the heat. Keep an eye on them and once they start to crisp up on one side flip the grill basket over to crisp the other side. Remove from the heat and add to a serving bowl with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
Best way to cook Padrón peppers
We find frying is more true to the traditional cooking method and for those worried about the amount of oil, remember extra virgin olive oil is nutritious and full of good fats (learn about 7 of the best Spanish olive oils in 2024). That said, we still use some kitchen towel to drain off any excess oil and allow for the peppers’ flavor to shine through.
Padron Peppers - How to cook pimientos de padrón
- 1 10-inch (25cm) frying pan or skillet
- 500 g Padron peppers (17 oz.)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt flakes
- Wash peppers and pat dry500 g Padron peppers
- Heat olive oil in a large frying pan (high heat)4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Add peppers and fry for around 5 minutes turning peppers occasionally whilst cooking.
- Add to a plate with some paper towels to drain off excess oil. Sprinkle with some coarse sea salt flakes, and serve!1 teaspoon coarse sea salt flakes
Padron Peppers – Cooking Tips and FAQs
Can you eat Padron peppers whole?
Yep, you can eat all of the Padron pepper, simply grab them by the stem and eat the whole pepper in one go.
Can you eat Padron pepper seeds?
Yes, Padron pepper seeds can be eaten and are usually not spicy at all.
Are Padron peppers spicy?
Padron peppers are at the lower level of heat according to the Scoville Heat Units rating system. Padron peppers have somewhere between 500 to 2,500 SHU, whereas a jalapeno is within the 2,500 to 8,000 SHU range.
How long does it take to cook Padron peppers?
Pan frying them is the fastest method for cooking Padron peppers and takes around 5 minutes. Other options include baking them or grilling them, both methods take more time than pan frying your Padron peppers.
- Pan fry: 5 minutes
- Oven baked: 15-20 minutes
- Grill: 12-16 minutes
Are Padron peppers healthy?
A small tapas serving is considered a healthy snack. A 150g serving contains the following nutritional facts;
- 170 calories
- Total fat 14.4g
- Saturated fat 2g
- Sodium 106mg
- Carbs 20.5g
- Dietary fiber 4.5g
- Sugars 6.1g
- Protein 2g
Can you freeze fresh Padron peppers?
Fresh uncooked Padron peppers can be frozen. Use a freezer bag or airtight container when storing your Padron peppers in the freezer. Frozen Padron peppers will keep for up to 3 months once frozen.
How long do fresh Padron peppers last in the fridge?
This always depends on how fresh they are when purchased. Expect fresh Padron peppers to keep for up to 4 days when refrigerated in an airtight container.
Looking for some more tasty tapas recipes?
- Roasted potatoes with chorizo and thyme - this is simply chorizo, potatoes, onion, and herbs and spices, and simply delicious.
- Catalan roasted vegetables (escalivada Catalana) - the focus is on eggplant, red bell pepper, and onion, which are simmered down with herbs and spices until they're soft and gooey.
- Spiced cheese pate (almogrote) - from the Canary Islands, this incredible invention is important for any cheese lover out there.
- Spanish mussels in a rich tomato sofrito sauce - the sofrito sauce is out again and it also works wonders with mussels.
- Olive tapenade (vegan recipe) - this is a vegan version of the typical recipe so great to serve at parties or enjoy alone smeared over some bread.
- Shrimp in a Cava bath (prawns in sparkling wine) - literally shrimp marinated in sparkling wine with a little bit of paprika and salt, then fried and ready to devour.
- Blue cheese and sherry spread - you only need 2 ingredients to make this but the flavor combo works so well together it tastes much more complex.
- Anchovy and red pepper (capsicum) spread - this spread has some very bold flavors and colors to boot!