Padron peppers are little nuggets of flavour, that will brighten up any tapas platter. Amaze your friends and family with these easy and healthy Spanish tapas!
For more ideas, check out How to Throw a Wine and Tapas Party.
Spanish tapas do not need a lengthy introduction. They are famous far beyond their country of origin and for a very good and delicious reason!
Little bites to go with drinks are not a novel concept but the Spaniards definitely mastered the art of it! And the sheer variety of the tapas served in Spain are truly impressive. They range from very traditional to new modern creations. And that’s the beauty of them!
On our recent visit to Spain we noticed many Japanese inspired tapas are offered all over Barcelona. I am guessing it’s due to the countries’ shared love for fish and seafood. It was exciting to see that cultural fusion.
So what can you serve at home if your choose to throw a tapas party?
Spanish Tapas Dishes
Good news is that you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen preparing laborious dishes. Many traditional tapas are simple.
Iberico or more affordable Serrano ham, olives, manchego cheese and chorizo are the typical offerings, which require no cooking at all. Just arrange them beautifully and you are golden.
I also added creamy burrata cheese to my tapas platter. Although not very traditional, burrata addition is sublime!
Blistered padron peppers seasoned with salt and smoked Spanish paprika is one of those quick dishes you can whip up in 5 minutes. Yes, really!
What are Padron Peppers?
The little green peppers you see in the photo above are called Padron peppers, and originally come from a municipality of Padron, in Galicia. They are absolutely delicious and a beloved Spanish tapa.
Although they resemble chilli peppers, they have a mild taste. Well most of them do. One in 10 are spicy! It’s always fun to see who at the table gets to bite into the hot ones.
Padron peppers are quite similar to Shishito peppers. So if you are in the US and struggle to locate them, swap for their Japanese cousins, the shishitos.
Recipes Tips and Notes
- Traditionally padron peppers are fried whole in little olive oil. Keep the stems, so your guests can pick them up and hold by their stems while eating them.
- Season the peppers simply with salt or with an addition of Spanish paprika.
- You can fry them in a pan or in an air fryer if you have one. The air fryer method is my favourite. It produces perfectly charred padron pepper, which are cooked all the way through in 5 minutes! Below are the images for both methods.
- The peppers are done when they are charred on the outside but soft all the way through. You can see they are done once they wilt and collapse.
For more easy appetisers feel free to explore our Starter Recipes. There you will find a wide variety of small bites to serve with drinks or to start your meal.
More Spanish inspired recipes to try:
- Spanish Rice with Chicken and Shrimp
- Spanish Chicken in Bravas Sauce
- Loaded Potato Skins with Chorizo and Bravas Sauce
- Burnt Basque Cheesecake
- ½ lbs padron peppers or shishito peppers whole
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 0.5 tsp salt
- smoked Spanish paprika optional
Pan Fried Method
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add the padron peppers seasoned with salt and smoked paprika to the pan.
- Cook them for 5 minutes on high heat until the outsides are charred, stir frequently, lower the heat to medium. Then cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft and cooked all the way through. The peppers will first puff up, then collapse.
Air Fryer Method
- Spray the padron peppers with a cooking spray. (I used Fry Light)
- Season with salt and Spanish paprika and air fry for 3 minutes, open the air fryer and shake the peppers, cook for 2 minutes longer.