Pimientos de Padrón: the Russian Roulette peppers!

Pimientos de Padrón

Pimientos de Padrón are originally from the Galicia region in Northwest Spain. They are very popular in Spanish tapas bars and have quickly gained popularity in the US as well. And it’s easy to see why! Not only are they deliciously sweet, nutty and ever so slightly bitter, but every now and then you’ll get a really hot one in the bunch, earning them the nickname of “Russian Roulette” peppers.

Serving them to friends is unbelievably fun! I’ll bring a bowl of these warm peppers and announce: “let’s play Russian Roulette” (that always catches everyone’s attention!). The discussion becomes extremely lively as soon as one person bites into a hot one… Then everyone approaches the scrumptious peppers a bit more gingerly. But no matter what, there’s never a single one left. They are simply addictive.

Cocktail Pairing: Dark rum mojito with Pimientos de Padrón

I like to serve the Pimientos de Padrón with this dark rum mojito with basil… And then, I wish Sunday afternoons would never end. Of course, a Cava (Spain’s quaffable sparkling wine) is delicious here too!

Never Miss a Recipe

Sautéed Pimientos de Padrón


4 servings

Prep time

10 minutes

Cooking time

5 mintues


  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

  • 12 oz (340 g) Pimientos de Padrón – rinsed and thoroughly dried on a kitchen towel

  • fruity extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

  • fine sea salt or smoked salt to taste


  • Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil and peppers and toss until the peppers are well coated with the oil. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until peppers are golden-brown and blistered; tossing occasionally. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.
  • Transfer the peppers to a serving platter. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle liberally with regular salt or smoked salt.
Pimientos de Padrón



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  3. I always love pepers of any kind. In China we have something very similar to this one, but has a very striking name called “Pan Fried Tiger Skin”. I have no idea where the name came from. I have not cooked that particular dish for a long time. Yours just reminded me to pick up some pepers today on the way back home 🙂

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  6. This is one of my most favorite things to eat!!! Unfortunately, it was a short season for us this year. I only was able to find a couple times. Wonderful!

  7. Pingback: The Russian Roulette of Peppers, Pimientos de Padron | My Luscious Temple

  8. My wife is from a small town in Galicia called Muro’s I fell in love with that place and all the great tapas. My favorite by far is Pimientos I don’t care for any greens but once I tried them I was addicted nothing like a cold Estrlla Galicia and a plate of these peppers. We live in Miami and last time in Spain we bought seeds and planted them I still have not grown a hot one but it is nice to see them grow daily over here

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  10. I love pimientos de padron – just picked some up at the union sq market and am pumped to have friends over for some russian roulette! great post!

  11. These sound so tasty. I love peppers any way I can get them, but stuffed they’re especially tasty. Great recipe!

  12. Hallo,
    Who can help me to find Pimentos de Padron seeds, I would like to grow them in my green house myselfe.
    In Holland I can’t find fresh Pimentos
    Can you help me?
    E-mail: martinb0172@hotmail.com

    • Hello Martin,

      Thank you for writing all the way from Holland! How fun it is to get comments from so many countries.

      Here is a supplier for Pimientos de Padron seeds. I believe they ship all over the world: http://www.tomatogrowers.com/hot4.htm scroll down a bit and you will see the info for these peppers. If you manage to grow them, I’d love to hear about it.

      As for me, I’m on my way to the farmers’ market to buy some right now!

  13. I grew up visiting my grandparents who lived in Pontevedra, Galicia. Pimentos de padron are also amongst my favorites tapas foods (fried in olive oil and spinkled with a generous dose of sea salt). I am very excited at growing my first crop of pimentos plants in my London town garden this summer.
    p.s Galicia is a province or region of Spain not a town!

    • Oh I hope your crop of pimientos de padron is a very abundant one! I served them again last night and they are so fun and delicious – we got 4 really hot ones in the batch.

      Thanks a million for the correction about Galicia. I’ve updated my post!

  14. Filiberto Martinez

    I love these peppers. Here in Los Angeles I haven’t been able to find them so i grew my own. I’ve been eating plate after plate and haven’t gotten a hot one. I’m also growing the Melrose pepper which is an Italian Heirloom. These peppers are very similar except that the Melrose grows a bit larger and get’s slightly hot when big. If you get them smaller they’re almost indistinguishable from the Pimento de Padron.

    • In my experience, the Pimientos de Padron are mild early in the season. I just made a batch yesterday and there wasn’t a single hot one in it! But as the season goes on and the weather gets very hot/dry (in August and September) the harvest will deliver some very hot little peppers for sure!
      I am glad to learn about the Melrose peppers. Thank you for the recommendation Filiberto! That is great.
      I can also find Shishito Peppers at my farmers market – a Japanese heirloom variety. They are a bit spicier in general and small and can be prepared like the Pimientos de Padron – but I must say they are not as fun to eat…

  15. Spanish food has always fascinated me. I need to look for these little peppers to make this tapa. Is there a substitute for them in case I can’t find them over here?

  16. I’m just came back from Galizia, where I stuffed myself with these pimientos, but I didn’t know the story about Russian roulette! In any case, we were lucky: no hot pepper in our plates….The matter is, in case, that they are missing, in Italy…

  17. Sounds like a fun ice-breaker at a party. I don’t think I would be able to find these peppers but maybe I could grow them next year.

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