With tons of bell peppers left over from the recently shared Tex-Mex Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers, it seemed like a perfect time to add this how-to to the recipe collection. I bought way too many bell peppers in anticipation of a re-do or two. Luckily I was able to get it done on the first try and have extras to put to good use. Since starting this project, I have a new love for roasted peppers. They are versatile and so deliciously sweet and savory. I plan on bringing some recipes very soon using roasted peppers. For this guide I’ve used bell peppers but you can easily adapt these methods for all kinds of peppers. The only adjust you may need to make is watching the time with smaller peppers like jalapenos and mini-sweet peppers.
Now let’s get on with my experiences!
Over the last week, I’ve had the opportunity to try a few ways of prepping and roasting peppers so I could bring to you the methods along with some pros and cons of each. In the end, all the peppers were equally delicious but the methods of prepping vary greatly. I hope this guide will help you decide which way is best for you. If you have any other ideas and suggestions, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
For my first try, I roasted them whole in the oven. This is how I’ve always done it in the past. I like this method of roasting and think it’s great if you are planing on making a whole bunch of roasted peppers and saving some for later. The pros of this method are that you can get 8 whole peppers on a standard size baking sheet (maybe more depending on the shape and size), and when steaming you’ll get a lot more pepper juice at the bottom of the bowl to use for storing in mason jars. The cons are you’ll still need to remove the seeds. It’s not a terrible thing but it puts this method as my 2nd favorite way to roast peppers.
The next method I tried was to slice the peppers in half, remove the seeds and stem, and place cut-side down on the baking sheet. This is my first try with this method and I’m in love with it. Where have I been? It is so easy with much less mess! The pros are that you can do at least 4 peppers, maybe more depending on the shape, no need to flip while roasting, and you only have to remove the skins making the next step so much easier. There aren’t really any cons here except you will not get much pepper juice for storing. This is an efficient method and great for most home cooks. It is my new favorite way to roast peppers when not storing for long-term.
You can also use a gas grill to roast your peppers. Since I don’t have an outdoor grill I couldn’t try this method but I did do some research and have instructions for that down below. Then there’s the method of charring your peppers on your gas stovetop. Sounds pretty cool and I did have a chance to do this, but this method is not for me. You have to be too watchful, juices drip all over and it takes 15 – 20 minutes to do. The oven method is more to my liking. I also added instructions for this method down below as well because I want this to be a fairly complete guide to roasting peppers. I encourage you to try whatever sounds best for you and your situation.
Some other ideas you might consider are lining your baking sheet with either a Silpat or parchment paper. Alternately, you can lightly oil the baking sheet as well. It will make cleaning up a little easier. Parchment paper is probably the easiest way to go since you can simply discard the paper when finished. If using a Silpat or oil, you will still have a little scrubbing to do. The rack can be placed in the middle of the oven or 4 – 5 inches from the roof or broiler flame. When done, your peppers will still be puffy from the air inside but once removed and cooled a bit they will deflate and become wrinkly. Your almost ready to enjoy your peppers!
The next step is to cover and steam your peppers. No matter how you roast them this step will greatly help with the skin removal. You can do this process a few different ways fitting into whatever works best.
In one scenario when I steamed the whole peppers I used a pot with a lid since I was going to cook pasta for a recipe using those roasted bell peppers. It made sense in that case as I could rinse the pot and use it without creating more dirty dishes. You may also place them in a bowl and cover it with a plate like I did for the halved peppers shown directly above. Or use a small container with a lid to seal in the moisture. You get the idea. However you choose, let them steam for about 30 minutes. But if you’re really in a hurry, you can still peel your peppers without steaming it may just take a little more effort. Just be sure to let your peppers cool down before peeling.
Here are the peppers that were roasted whole. They have had the stem, seeds and skin removed. Once steamed, I brought them back to the baking sheet to finish the final steps. This is a fairly easy and juicy process. Do refrain from cleaning your peppers under running water to clean. You’ll remove much of the wonderful roasted flavor you’ve worked so hard to get. If you don’t remove all of the seeds, it’s ok.
Here you see the peppers that were halved and roasted. I’ve used the plate that I covered the bowl with. This was the easiest of all, not a lot of juices and no seeds to deal with. Just peel the skin and you’re done. It’s ok to sneak in a few bites too. :)
Discard the skins, stems and seeds. Cut the peppers into sections, maybe 4 – 6 sections per pepper depending on what you’ll be using it for. Save the pepper juices for jarring if storing for long periods.
Store remaining peppers in and air-tight container. They will stay fresh up to a 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator. If you want to store them longer you can prepare a vinegar mixture to add to the peppers using a mason jar, it will keep the peppers for 2 months in the fridge, maybe a little longer. You can also freeze your peppers in an air tight container. This method of storing is a neutral way of keeping the roasted bell pepper flavor intact.
Gather your peppers and let’s get roasting!
HOW TO ROAST & STORE BELL PEPPERS (OR ANY PEPPER REALLY!)
A guide to the different methods of prepping, roasting and storing your roasted peppers. Whether making a few or a large batch, this guide will make your roasting experience a good one!
- 1 – 8 peppers, any color
If making a large batch and storing in the freezer
- parchment paper
- air tight containers that are freezer safe
For storing in jars
- vinegar (plain, balsamic, white/red wine, or apple cider)
- mineral salt
- olive oil
- clean pint sized mason jars
There are two ways to prepare your peppers for roasting.
- The first is to simply roast the whole pepper, seeds, stem and all. (This will work with all roasting methods.)
- The second is to slice the peppers in half lengthwise, remove the stem and seeds, and place on the baking sheet cut side down. (Use this method for the oven method and/or when using a baking sheet. These peppers require no flipping, only rotating of the baking sheet. This is my favorite way of roasting peppers.)
Oven: Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat. Place peppers on baking sheet. Bake 4 – 5 inches from the flame. If using an electric oven or there is no flame, place baking sheet on the middle rack. Roast peppers for 40 minutes, turning at least once during cooking using sturdy tongs (if peppers are sliced in half no need to turn, just rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees). They are ready when charred/blackened and blistered. They will still be full of air and puffy once removed from the oven. As the peppers cool they will deflate and become wrinkly looking.
Broiler: I used to have an oven where the broiler was underneath the oven, now mine is in the oven. Either way, turn broiler to medium – high (or 500 degrees if yours is by numbers) and char peppers turning every so often until browned and blackened. If you’ve prepped your peppers by slicing in half, no need turn the peppers, simply adjust the baking sheet turning it to get all the peppers charred. This may take anywhere from 15 – 25 minutes.
Open Grill: Place whole peppers on their sides over an open flame on the grill, turning every now and then until nicely charred all over. Depending on how big your grill is will determine how many you can do at one time.
Stove Top: If roasting just 1 or 2 peppers, you can roast it over the gas burner of your stove (I suppose you could do 4 peppers utilizing each burner). Place pepper on its side and adjust the flame so it ‘licks’ the peppers. Keep an eye on it and turn it as needed to blacken and char, about 15 – 20. This tends to be a more time consuming method since you have to be so watchful.
STEAMING & PEELING:
While peppers are hot from the oven, carefully place them in a bowl and cover with a plate, or use a pot with lid. The goal is to steam the peppers making the skin peel easily. Let the peppers steam for about 30 minutes. Once peppers are cool, remove the skins, stems and seeds. I find it easiest to peel the pepper from the bottom to the top. A few seeds left are fine. Do not run peppers under water to clean, you’ll lose most of the roasted flavor that you worked so hard get. Keep as much of the pepper juices as you can if storing leftovers.
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a 5 – 6 days. If you coat them with a little oil they will for a couple of weeks. You can even add some of the pepper juices to the container. To always be safe, at the first sign of mold or spoilage, throw away immediately.
If storing for longer, you have a couple simple options:
Freezing: Freeze your peppers in a tightly sealed container. They thaw out pretty fast once removed from the freezer making this a nice way of preserving your precious peppers. This method of storing is a neutral way of keeping the full roasted flavor intact as they won’t be tainted with any other flavors. I would suggest cutting and placing a small piece of parchment paper between the peppers for easy removal. (This is my favorite method as it is not blended with any other flavors, it’s super easy to do, and they thaw out amazingly well.)
Vinegar method: Place them in a jar with a little salt, vinegar and pepper juices. To do this you’ll want to sprinkle your peppers with a generous pinch of mineral salt and mix well. Place 1/2 inch of vinegar at the bottom of your pint sized mason jar, add peppers leaving about 1 1/2 inches headspace. Using the handle of a spoon or fork, poke along the inside edges of the jar to release air bubbles (this is important), pour reserved pepper juices over top so peppers are completely covered, leaving 3/4 inch room. Add about 1/8 inch of olive oil over top to keep air out, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal and place in the back of the refrigerator. Will be good for up to 2 months, maybe even a little longer. If you see any sign of mold or spoilage, throw away immediately. The peppers will take on the flavor of the vinegar which may limit what you use them for. They will be great for pureed red pepper soups, tossed in salads, used in sandwiches, etc. Any recipe that can handle a mild vinegar flavor. (This is method will leave your peppers with a little bit of tang from the vinegar, in some cases it may overpower them, but it’s a great way to store them. Use these peppers for sauces, dips, and soups.)