Roasted bell peppers are one of my favorite healthy snacks. In this post, I’ve outlined four simple methods for roasting bell peppers. These methods can actually be used for any pepper, but the amount of roasting time will vary based on the size of the pepper.
Roasted bell peppers are tender, smoky, and delicious. They add flavor and texture to a variety of dishes and sauces. Once you know how easy the process is, you’ll never spend the money on those jarred roasted peppers again.
Here are a few of my recipes that include roasted bell peppers:
For all methods you will need
- Bell peppers
- Large bowl, paper bag, plastic bag or plastic wrap
- Towel or paper towels
For Oven Roasting Method You Will Need
- Baking sheet lined with aluminum foil
For Stovetop Roasting Method You Will Need
- Gas stovetop burner
- Aluminum foil
- Oven mitt
For Grill or Flame Roasting Method You Will Need
- Gas stovetop burner or flame grill
- Oven mitt
Oven Roasting Method
- This is my preferred method for roasting peppers, because you can roast several peppers at once with easy cleanup. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Lay peppers on their sides on the foil, stems pointing sideways.
- Put baking sheet in oven and allow peppers to roast for 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet. Using tongs, give the peppers a half turn, then place back in the oven for another 20 minutes.
- Check to make sure peppers have fully roasted. The skin should be charred and soft, and the peppers should look slightly collapsed. If they don't look ready, let them roast for a few more minutes. When they're done, remove baking sheet from oven.
- You can also use your oven broiler to roast the peppers, which is a faster process that chars them more than regular oven roasting. While it goes faster, you also have to be on top of it, as the peppers will need frequent turning during the process. If you wish to broil the peppers, I suggest placing the rack in the upper third of the oven so there is 8-9 inches between the broiling element and the peppers. That way, the peppers will be able to soften as they char. When they're too close to the broiler, they will char before they're cooked, which means the flesh won't soften and they'll be harder to peel.
- Preheat broiler to high and place the peppers below the broiler.
- Let them roast for 20-25 minutes, giving a quarter-turn every 5 minutes, till the peppers are charred, soft and collapsing. The broiler will char them quite a bit, the skin will be very black and crispy-- don't worry, you're going to peel it off anyway. Remove from the oven.
- Skip to instructions for "Steaming your Peppers."
Stovetop Roasting Method
- I typically use this method when I only have one or two peppers to roast. Turn your gas stovetop flame to medium. Wrap each pepper in a double layer of aluminum foil (or a single layer of heavy duty aluminum foil), sealing tightly so no openings show.
- Wear a protective oven mitt. Place foil-wrapped pepper directly over the top of the gas flame. Let it roast for 20-25 minutes. Use a pair of tongs to give the pepper a quarter turn every 4-5 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, use tongs to gently squeeze the pepper. If the pepper is soft below the surface of the foil and easily yields to the tongs, it is ready. If the pepper still feels somewhat firm, let it continue to roast for a few more minutes till it softens.
- Remove pepper from the stovetop. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes. The pepper will steam inside the foil, which will help the skins to loosen and peel easily.
- Carefully open the foil. The foil should have cooled, but there may be some residual hot steam trapped inside. Remove the pepper from the foil. The pepper should be soft and nicely charred.
- Skip to instructions for "Seeding and Peeling Your Peppers."
Grill or Flame Roasting Method
- I tend to use this method during the summer when we're using our grill a lot. Roasting over an open flame produces a great smoky flavor, but I don't like roasting directly on a gas stovetop-- I prefer to wrap the peppers in foil, as in the Stovetop Method described above. Roasting on an open gas stovetop flame is a simple process, but it can be quite messy; the pepper weeps as it roasts, spilling juices onto the stovetop that are difficult to clean up. For the grill, that's not a big problem-- juices are absorbed by the flames/coals, and you get a nice smoky flavor. So, I recommend this method for the grill. Feel free to use the gas stovetop, which will also give it a smoky flavor, but the cleanup will be tough-- you've been warned!
- Wear a protective oven mitt. Place peppers on the open grill or over a medium gas flame. Let them roast for 15-20 minutes, using tongs to give them a quarter turn every few minutes, till the peppers are charred, soft and collapsing.
- You can also use a kitchen/bruleé torch to char your peppers, but it's a slow process. Using a grill or gas flame is more efficient.
Steaming Your Peppers
- Once you've roasted your peppers, you will need to steam them. This process will help you peel the tough skin from them more easily. There are a few ways to steam the peppers.
- I like to place the roasted peppers on a flat, smooth surface like a cutting board, then invert a large bowl over the top of them. The bowl traps the steam inside. Steam for 15 minutes.
- Alternatively, you can place the peppers in a paper bag and seal the top by rolling it closed. You can also use a plastic zipper bag, plastic wrap, or foil to make a sealed steaming "envelope" for the peppers. I prefer using the bowl method because there is no chance of plastic pieces melting into the hot pepper. If you want to use a plastic bag or wrap, make sure you let the peppers cool slightly (about 5 minutes) after roasting before sealing them inside. When the peppers are extremely hot, they will melt the plastic. Whichever method you choose, steam the peppers for about 15 minutes.
Seeding and Peeling Your Peppers
- Once you have roasted your peppers, you will need to seed and peel them. This is kind of a messy process, but it's well worth the effort. Note that some people like to seed their peppers before roasting. When I have tried this in the past, the results have not been as good as when I keep the whole pepper intact during roasting-- I recommend roasting the peppers whole and seeding after the roast.
- Slice the pepper vertically from top to bottom and lay the pepper open so it becomes one long strip. Pull the stem from the top of the pepper. The stem and a clump of seeds should loosen easily. Use a towel or paper towel to wipe off any loose seeds that remain inside the pepper.
- Flip the pepper over to reveal the skin side. Strip off the charred skin. If you want a more charred flavor, you can leave a few small blackened bits on the skin.
- Alternatively, you can seed and skin the pepper under running water, which will make it easier to get the pepper flesh clean. I prefer not to do this, because I feel the pepper loses some flavor in the process-- but if you're in a hurry and don't want to mess up your hands too much, it's an option.
- Once you've peeled and seeded your peppers, you'll end up with soft, sweet, tasty pepper flesh.
- If you want to store the peppers short term, put them in a sterile glass jar and cover them with olive oil. Cap the jar tightly and refrigerate. If you don't plan on using them within a few days, pressure can them or freeze the roasted pepper strips in Ziploc bags... they actually hold up well to freezing and retain much of their flavor when thawed.
- Roasted peppers can be used in a variety of recipes, or snacked on as-is dressed with salt and pepper. They can be added to stews and pasta sauces or chopped into salsa. They can even be mixed with fresh basil and olive oil to create a peppery bruschetta. Or, use them in a salad-- like my Colorful Pepper Salad. Yum!