The Ultimate Guide to Shishito Pepper Substitutes: 5 Top Picks for Your Kitchen

Often found in Japanese cuisine, these small and slender peppers are known for their slight spiciness, and can be found in a number of different dishes, but stir fries are where you’ll most likely find them. 

If you’re planning on cooking a dish and the recipe calls for you to use Shishito peppers, then you might panic when you get to the supermarket and there are none there. 

It’s not worth worrying about however, as there are a number of great substitutes that you can use instead of Shishito peppers instead, which will certainly make your cooking less stressful. 

So, if you’re looking for some of the best Shishito pepper substitutes, then this guide will provide you with all of the substitutes you need to know about to replace them in your cooking, let’s get started! 

Shishito Pepper Substitutes

What Is A Shishito Pepper? 

Commonly seen in a lot of Japanese cooking, Shishito peppers are a type of capsicum, and are distinguished thanks to their long and slender shape, as well as a pointy end too. 

The skin of the peppers itself is smooth, but the color is known to vary between green and red, so don’t be too surprised to see both green and red Shishito peppers for sale.

When it comes to using these peppers, they’re commonly used in stir frys, or they can be grilled or roasted, and will often be sprinkled with sea salt before serving. 

The flavor of these peppers is relatively mild, and they have a distinct sweetness underneath too. Unlike some peppers, Shishito peppers aren’t overwhelmingly spicy, and are somewhere in the middle of the Scoville scale. 

So although these peppers will bring a little bit of heat, they’re certainly not going to dominate the other flavors in your cooking. 

But what happens when you can get ahold of any Shishito peppers to use in your cooking? Well, you use one of the substitutes that we recommend here in this guide! 

The Best Shishito Substitutes

While these peppers are used across a variety of dishes in Japanese cuisine, they can be somewhat hard to find in supermarkets, so it won’t be a surprise if you’re unable to find them anywhere local to you. 

If this is the case, then you’ll have to fall back on these substitutions instead, but don’t worry, as these substitutions will work just as well when all is said and done. 

So, let’s take a look at what you can use as a Shishito pepper substitute. 

1. Padron Peppers

Padron Peppers (Capsicum annuum) originate from the northeast of South America, and are a form of chili pepper that is frequently used in Spanish cooking and cuisine. 

However, due to their prominence in cooking, you can now find Padron peppers outside of their native regions, which means that you might just be able to find them for sale in a local market to you. 

Much like Shishito peppers, their flavor is wholly mild, with just a hint of sweetness. They’re also not particularly spicy either, which makes them a great replacement for Shishito peppers should you need one. 

These peppers pair well with seafood and meats, although they can also be used in salsas and sauces too, so their versatility isn’t to be underestimated. 

Padron peppers are also green in color, which means they’ll look just the same as Shishito peppers would in your dish too! 

2. Bell Peppers

One of the most versatile vegetables ever, the humble bell pepper is an excellent way to bring some color into your dish, but while you can simply add them to salads or stir frys, you can get even more creative with them too, like stuffing them with a delicious filling! 

If you want to try and bring some of the sweetness to your dish you would usually find in a Shishito pepper, then a red or yellow bell pepper is going to be the color to opt for. 

Bell peppers are widely adored not just for being delicious, but also because they’re particularly healthy too. While they can be cooked in a wide range of different ways, there’s almost nothing better than a roasted bell pepper! 

If you can’t find any Shishito peppers, or you’ve tried them and disliked them, then bell peppers will easily work as a substitute. 

3. Banana Peppers

When you see these peppers, you’ll understand immediately where these peppers get their name from. These peppers are shaped almost exactly like bananas, with a slim and slender profile not too dissimilar from that of the Shishito pepper, although these peppers can grow to be somewhere between 4 to 6 inches long, and their color ranges between green and yellow. 

The spice of these peppers can actually vary quite a bit, and although most banana peppers will have a Scoville rating of around 500, some can be slightly spicier. 

Typically these peppers are either pickled, and served as a condiment, or as a topping on pizzas or salads, but who says they can’t make the perfect replacement for Shishito peppers when you need them to! 

4. Fresno Peppers

Named after the city Fresno, California, these chili peppers are known for their bright and distinctive orange and red coloring. Despite the bright coloring though, the spice of these peppers is particularly mild, which means that they make for more than suitable substitutes for Shishito peppers. 

Fresno peppers are a much more common sight in supermarkets than Shishito peppers are, as they’re usually used in a lot of Southwestern and Mexican cooking. You’ll also be able to find a few different varieties of these peppers, as they can come fresh, dried, or canned! 

If you’re buying fresh Fresno peppers, then you’ll want to look for peppers that have perfectly smooth skin, and that are firm to the touch. The color of the pepper itself should be nice and shiny, and there should be no wrinkles or bursting anywhere on the pepper. 

Usually used in tacos, salsas, and chili, these peppers make great additions to rice, eggs, and beans too! 

5. Jalapeno Peppers

Everyone should be familiar with jalapeno peppers at this stage, especially since they’re such a staple of Mexican cooking (With their name coming from the city of Jalapa!). 

The color of jalapenos can vary massively, and can be anything from yellow, red, green, or even brown. 

Their slender yet slim shape gives them a similar appearance to that of Shishito peppers, which means that they make for good replacements when cooking. 

In terms of their spice, they range from mild to hot, so are a good choice if you want to add a slight heat to your cooking, without them being too powerful or spicy. 

So, if you’re a jalapeno fan and need to hunt for a suitable Shishito pepper substitute, then look no further than these peppers! 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, five of the best substitutes to use if you can’t use Shishito peppers in your cooking. We hope that this guide has helped. Happy cooking!

The Ultimate Guide to Shishito Pepper Substitutes: 5 Top Picks for Your Kitchen

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


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Looking for substitutes for shishito peppers? Look no further than this ultimate guide! Discover the 5 top picks for your kitchen and enhance your cooking.


  • Padron Peppers

  • Bell Peppers

  • Banana Peppers

  • Fresno Peppers

  • Jalapeno Peppers


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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