Blistered Padrón Peppers served with a bowl of Buttermilk Aioli.

Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli

Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli are perfect served as an easy appetizer or as an addition to a charcuterie board.

Blistered Padrón Peppers served with a bowl of Buttermilk Aioli.
Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli

Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli are perfect served as an easy appetizer or as an addition to a charcuterie board. The buttermilk aioli is a must. Make plenty, because these peppers will be devoured in no time.

Blistered Padrón Peppers served with a bowl of Buttermilk Aioli.

Note: This post first appeared July 28, 2013 as part of the Simple Sundays series. The recipe has been updated from the archives with updated content and photographs, as well as improved kitchen notes and recipe annotation. I hope you enjoy this favorite from my kitchen!

I took a breather last week. You may have noticed things were a little quiet here the last few days. While I wish I could tell you that I was on a remote island, digging my toes in fine sand while balancing a chilled glass of some rum-infused drink in one hand, I was very much here at home, working on some very exciting projects.

However, the time I allowed myself between projects was used to dig through cabinets, purging and organizing. We spent much of last weekend going through piles of old books, recycling papers, and giving our office space a good deep clean.

Green Padrón Peppers on a large plate.

We go through these purges every so often, but for some reason, it is the books that give me the hardest time. For many years, books were the one possession I found hardest to let go. Once a book was read (and reread), they were a part of me, a member of the family.

The mere thought of getting rid of a book was extremely difficult. Some were badges of honor (like all those textbooks I kept from my clinical psychology program). Some were mementos of childhood (Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice). And as I got older, sentimental bits of early motherhood (Goodnight Moon).

A whisk in a bowl of Buttermilk Aioli with peppers in the background.

I’ve learned to say goodbye to many books. Moving several times and dealing with a growing family and shrinking storage space will teach you how. But if it were up to me, I would have that library, tall towers of built in shelves lining the walls, surrounding me with these old friends.

Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli

Amid the purging and the projects, I stumbled across these plump Padrón Peppers at the market, to my surprise and excitement. The last time I bit into a Padrón, I was with my husband and our friends at Frances, in the Castro district.

The buttermilk aioli served alongside was cool and tangy, the perfect little pool of creaminess for dipping the just-blistered, peppery Padróns. Once I had a chance, I knew I would recreate Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli at home.

Blistered Padrón Peppers in a cast iron pan.

Padrón Peppers

Have you had the chance to enjoy Padrón peppers? If not, I hope you do soon, they’re such a treat, especially if you love some spice…and the element of surprise.

Padrón peppers are much like books, you see. Some are mild and pleasing. Others are punchy with incredible heat. You never know what you’re going to get. You just have to dig in. But that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?

Try serving these peppers for an easy appetizer or adding them to a charcuterie board.

A plate filled with green Padrón Peppers.

Padrón Peppers vs Shishito Peppers

You may have encountered Padrón peppers and Shishito peppers and wondered, “what is the difference?”

Padrón peppers, or pimientos de Padrón, are from Spain and popular served as tapas. Shishito peppers, which originate from Japan, are their similar Asian cousin. Both peppers come in varying degrees of spice, from mild to extremely spicy, making the process of eating them much like a game of Russian roulette. Either way, they’re delicious!

You can usually tell the difference between the two in terms of appearance. Padrón peppers are generally shorter and rounder, while Shishitos are longer, with a little bit of a thicker skin. Shishitos are also named as such because the tips of the peppers resemble the head of a lion (shishi or jishi in Japanese).

Feel free to use either pepper in this recipe.

Blistered Padrón Peppers served with a bowl of Buttermilk Aioli.

More Appetizer Recipes

How to Make a Charcuterie Board
Spiced Nuts: Sweet and Spicy Roasted Nuts
Sweet and Spicy Wasabi Popcorn
Potato Pesto Pizza with Brussels Sprouts and Yellow Squash
Roasted Tomato, Garlic and Herb Soup

Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli

Simple and insanely delicious, it's hard to stop eating these spicy peppers. A perfect addition to charcuterie or as an easy appetizer, Blistered Padrón Peppers with Buttermilk Aioli are the perfect party food. The buttermilk aioli is a must. Make plenty, because they'll be devoured in no time.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 392kcal


For the Buttermilk Aioli:

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Blistered Padrón Peppers

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pints Padrón peppers
  • coarse salt such as Kosher salt or sea flakes


Make the Buttermilk Aioli:

  • Peel and mash the garlic along with the salt, finely mincing and pressing with the side of the knife to create a paste. Place the garlic in a small bowl, season with some freshly cracked black pepper and whisk in the egg yolk until it is creamy. As you whisk, begin to add the olive oil gradually: begin with just a few drops of olive oil, fully whisking until the yolks thicken and emulsify. Continue adding the olive oil in drops, then in a very slow stream, continually whisking. It should be thick and very creamy.
  • Whisk in the buttermilk and season with cayenne pepper, sherry vinegar, and additional salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This can be done a few days in advance.

Make the Blistered Padrón Peppers:

  • Heat a heavy skillet (cast iron would be ideal) over high heat. Add the olive oil, swirling the skillet to evenly coat. Drop in the Padrón peppers, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they pucker and wilt a little, with dark blisters on the skin. Season generously with salt and transfer to a serving dish.
  • Garnish with a little more salt if desired and serve while piping hot, with the Buttermilk Aioli.


Aioli sauce adapted from The Creamiest Aioli Recipe, Suzanne Goin, via Bon Appetit (April, 2012).


Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 952mg | Potassium: 36mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 116IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see! Tag @kitchconfidante on Instagram and hashtag it #kitchenconfidante


Recipe Rating

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  1. inti

    1 star
    Unless one’s intent is to scare vampires away there is absolutely NO NEED for 3 garlic cloves and RAW! I don’t know the original recipe from which this aioli was adapted but I seriously doubt it was worse than this. It is beyond garlicky -and I used only 1 clove without the core and I briefly cooked it before adding it; the ridiculously minimal amount of vinegar (one-eighth of a teaspoon) then, the crazy amount of salt it calls for, more than one-quarter of a teaspoon, which I would think might be enough to damage anyone’s liver or give one a heart attack and still, it is so one-dimensional and completely unbalanced! Bear in mind that you would be making about one cup of aioli with this recipe.
    As for the peppers, they are peppers so there’s not much to say there, I don’t use oil to blister them as I prefer to char them but that is a matter of taste -everything is, for that matter- but seriously, unless you are trying to chase someone away, don’t use all that garlic, and SEASON, taste, and adjust -a lot- with the aioli.

    • Liren Baker

      Hi Inti, thanks for your comment. I assure you, this is not meant to scare away vampires, however, this aioli is definitely intended to be flavor-forward. I am curious how you minced your garlic. I specifically hand chop my garlic. If you opt for another method, i.e. using a microplane or food processor, the amount of spice/heat and flavor of the garlic can make a remarkable difference. I also wonder how large your garlic cloves might have been. That said, I find that 3 cloves of garlic work well for my tastebuds, and of course, you can use less if you prefer.

  2. Sabrina

    5 stars
    great idea for a charcuterie board, as you write, a nice flavor contrast and unexpected ingredient, nice!

  3. merry jennifer

    I so wish we had these peppers here in Florida, but I’ve looked for the past 4 or 5 years and have never seen them. The only time I’ve had them was in California several years ago, at the CIA at Greystone (I forget the name of their fancy restaurant). They were *amazing*.

  4. Patty

    Love Padrón peppers and have finally started growing my own this Summer! We have been brushing them with olive oil and grilling them along with what ever meat we grill for dinner. They have more flavor blistered in oil in a skillet but the grill method is pretty good and easy for a quickie Padrón pepper fix ;)

    • Liren

      Oh, Patty, you have the garden of my dreams! I’ve been wondering how they would do on the grill; interesting to know the heat element is a little different! But i would happily eat it this way, so convenient when grilling dinner :)

  5. Cristina

    I’ve never heard or seen a Padrón peppers before, Liren. They look like mini-Anaheims. I’d probably have to find them at the Farmer’s Market or grow them myself. Thx for introducing them – I can almost smell them thru those images! :) Yes, books are the toughest to get rid of – I have a stack of books in my office that I can’t decide to try to sell them online or just donate them to the local library…

    Have a lovely week!

    • Liren

      Hi Cristina! True, they do look like mini-Anaheims. I hope you find them at the farmer’s market, I know they are plentiful right now up here. Also, if you can’t find Padrón peppers, Shishito is a good substitute. They’re quite similar, though the Shishito is longer.

      As for that stack of books, I feel your pain. We just brought several boxes worth to our library, which went towards their big summer book sale. That made me feel a little better :)

  6. Jess

    I live in Galicia, where these peppers are from. They have a saying about them: uns pican, outros non. Some are spicy, some are not. Though we don’t usually eat them with anything besides olive oil and salt, the aioli looks delicious! Good job blistering them correctly! They are one of the best parts of a Galician summer. Check out my blog for more about the area!

    • Liren

      Love the saying, it is so true. You’re right, a little olive oil and salt is all you need, but I must say, the aioli is a nice addition, once in a while. I’m so glad you approve, and will definitely be checking out your blog to learn more about Galicia!

  7. Marcie

    This looks absolutely wonderful. I love charred peppers, and that buttermilk aioli sounds divine! I always dread giving books away because I’m sentimental about each and every one. I don’t really know why I buy books except that I like to keep them in my bookcase…my library. I need to purge soon and in not looking forward to it!

    • Liren

      Thanks, Marcie! I always dread the book purge, it sometimes several purges before I finally let go of a particular book :)

  8. jennifer s

    loved seeing these in my inbox! just got back from a trip to spain, and these were one of the many delightful tapas we enjoyed while over there. thanks for posting!

    • Liren

      Welcome back! How lucky that you were able to enjoy these, and *in* Spain! I have friends who just returned as well, I am living vicariously through their travels and tastes. Hope this helps you relive those vacation tapas memories when you make them!

    • Liren

      It really is a must try, Jocelyn, and I hope you do! They don’t look like the most photogenic foods, but seriously, the flavor is amazing :)

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