How to Roast Peppers

Close up photograph of a roasted red pepper on a white plate.

I'll admit it. I buy those pricey jars of roasted peppers, especially in the winter. But have you ever noticed how they're so smushy that they fall apart at the slightest touch? And how they're so slippery that they seem to want to slither away from you?

Not the case with peppers you roast at home: tender but with structural integrity, moist but not slimy, their taste is fresh, bright, and just slightly smoky all at once. A perfect summer food. And my favorite method for roasting peppers is a little like making roasted marshmallows, another summertime favorite.

All you need to do is char the surface of the pepper over the flame of a gas stove (or the heat of a campfire or outdoor grill) just like a kid who loves blackened marshmallows (or maybe you still are that kid). Then, following an optional steam in a covered bowl (more on that in the slideshow), scrape the skin off, core and seed the pepper, and enjoy.

Dipping a piece of toast in a bowl of roasted red pepper dip.

How to Eat Them

  • I like to make a roasted red pepper dipping sauce that goes great with toasted bread, meatballs, or grilled fish. All you need: 2 large roasted red peppers, 1 head of roasted garlic cloves, a 1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes, 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of salt, a few turns of freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, and about 1/4 cup olive oil puréed together until smooth.
  • Roasted red and yellow peppers are also delicious in a sandwich, especially with prosciutto, goat cheese, and arugula on a ciabatta.
  • They also make a great summer vegetable salad when tossed with corn, mint, basil, red onion, lime juice, and olive oil.

Beyond Bell Peppers

  • Jalapeño peppers are mellowed a bit with roasting and add an earthy kick to guacamole.
  • Roasted poblano peppers are the classic shell for chile rellenos. I also love them on pizza.

This open flame method works particularly well with small batches. A good alternative, especially if you have a lot of peppers, is to char them under a broiler, rotating them every few minutes to ensure that the skin is evenly blistered and blackened. Small peppers, like jalepeños, can even be done in a toaster oven.

More on roasting peppers in the slideshow »

More Techniques