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Questions about roasting peppers...

I tried roasting peppers for the first time this weekend. I was somewhat disappointed I think, as I felt like I ended up with far less pepper than I have when I just cut them up and cook them. For the record, the main way I use peppers is when I make Italian sausages with peppers and onions. I slice up green peppers, sweet peppers, and usually throw in a jar of roasted red peppers. The peppers get cooked until they are all soft and the combine with the onions into one goopy, delicious mess. :-) We love them. But I have read so much about roasted peppers being so easy - I thought I'd try roasting my own.

I didn't roast them whole...I sliced the bell peppers into 4ths, and sweet peppers in half, and roasted them in the oven. And then I read that you should peel off the skins. Why is that? I mean, when I cook peppers, I never peel them. Why pull the skin off the roasted ones? By the time I pulled the skins off, especially on the sweet peppers, I barely had any pepper left.

So I'm wondering...what is the point? I do love roasted red peppers...I can just eat them on crackers by themselves...but shoot I'd rather buy them then go through all that mess...and wind up with so little pepper left. Is there a better way to do this?

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  1. I never heard of roasting them in 4ths and I roast peppers all the time, either directly over flame, or under the broiler. I also never thought there was "less" than when I prepare peppers and sausage (much as you described) which I also do with some frequency.

    I am curious why you cut them into fourths.
    The skin chars and blisters and is easily removed after broiling and or roasting over flame.
    You wouldn't want to consume very much of it or serve it.

    A roasted pepper is not a sauteed or fried pepper.

    10 Replies
    1. re: laliz

      I cut them into fourths because the "how to" that I was using, said to do it that way.


      Also it seems to make far more sense to me to cut out the membranes and seeds first, before cooking.

      I understand that a roasted pepper is not a sauteed pepper (I've never fried peppers either). But what, really, is the difference as far as taste? Both are cooked to a very soft state, and I couldn't tell one bit of difference.

      1. re: FitMom4Life

        " But what, really, is the difference as far as taste? Both are cooked to a very soft state, and I couldn't tell one bit of difference."

        I'm a bit confused. If you can't tell a difference in taste, why do you put them in with your sausage, or eat them on crackers? To me RRPs have a wonderfully different taste than raw or sauteed. Charring them and removing the skins, I think, brings out all of their sweetness. We grow heirloom sweet peppers, not the typical bell, and the sweet is amplified even more. But to get to that state you aren't just roasting but charring the skins as the others have pointed out. Once the skin is charred all over, but them in a paper bag or plastic-covered bowl to steam. Once cool the skins come right off. It's a bit messy, but you can do a bunch at once on a grill and once skinned and seeds removed they freeze nicely. And so much less expensive than good quality jarred RRPs. Try them on a sandwich with a little balsamic vinegar, toasted bun and local goat cheese. Or put them in the food processor w/ softened cream cheese for a quick pasta sauce.

        1. re: gourmanda

          @gourmanda: I have always used jarred roasted red peppers, because that was what my recipe called for, but the green ones I always buy whole and cut up. So I was reading somewhere about roasting them yourself, and I had occasion to buy some really pretty peppers last week, so I decided to try it - I roasted both the green peppers, and the red ones. The green ones are the ones that I always simply cut up and throw in raw...and no, I could not tell any difference at all in the taste.

          1. re: FitMom4Life

            I can't speak to green bell peppers as I don't care for them. But I think the confusion lies in the very name "Roasted red pepper". I think of RRP as a charred, skin removed pepper and not simply roasted. Perhaps if you just roasted them until soft they didn't have much flavor difference--they need to be taken beyond roasted to charred/skin off before revealing a taste difference.
            However you cook them, we all love what we love no matter what it's called. Keep enjoying your sausage and peppers--I'm sure it's delicious!!

        2. re: FitMom4Life

          the point about roasting peppers is that the skin (which tends to be bitter and not such a good texture cooked) is removed, and a nice smoky char, which enhances the sweetness is added. They need to be blackened quickly (like over a gas flame or BBQ grill) so that the flesh does not get soft/fully cooked. I have recently been doing the roasting over the flame of my gas stove, it works fine, since we do not heat up the grill much these days. Most of my grilled peppers, after the skin is rubbed off and the veins and seeds removed are then layered with sliced fresh garlic, a little salt, and olive oil. When we serve, we garnish with chopped parsley and anchovies (if we have them) or capers. One of the best fall vegetables! but for your use, and if you are not sensitive to the bitterness and skin issues, Id forget about the roasting.

          1. re: FitMom4Life

            IMHO all recipes.com is the last place I'd go for a recipe. I road them whole in a 500 degree oven or in the broiler. When the skin is black or looking like it will be easily removable I wrap each pepper in a paper towel and put them in a bowl together so they steam. I leave them that way for several hours then I remove the towel, de-stem and remove seeds and skin. I cut them up and put them in a bowl and toss with olive oil and sliced garlic. Toss, put in a container to store in fridge.

            1. re: wincountrygirl

              How long do they last? An opened jar of Mancini's gathers a web-like mold fairly quickly.

              1. re: wincountrygirl

                I use allrecipes often. I have for years.

          2. For the application you're indicating, there is no need to roast the peppers. Simply cook them together with the onions, perhaps putting them in a bit later, maybe when the onions have softened. (The onions take longer to caramelize than the peppers take to soften totally.)

            I've never tried to roast peppers cut into quarters. The norm is to blacken the skins by grilling or broiling them whole, then containing them in a bag or tupperware or other sealed environment, so the skins can be steamed loose. Then it's easy to pull the skin away.

            Why bother? Because the texture of skinless roasted peppers is wonderful on things like bruschetta. No one would want to eat the blackened skins, anyway. And if you cook the peppers simply so that the skins detach, as happens in long wet simmered sauces, they are rather hard, curled up things without flavor.

            If you're losing much pepper in the skinning, I bet you're not blackening them. You should not be taking away anything of the "meat" of the pepper.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Bada Bing

              Okay...we don't eat brushetta, so I suppose I may just skip the roasting. The only way I have ever cooked my raw peppers is in a pan...with onions...so I guess I don't need to go there. They are deelish just the way I've always done it. :-) Thanks though...I was really wondering since I just didn't see the point. You may be right about not blackening them enough...they were sticking to the pan and practically disappearing as it was so I might have taken them out too early.

              1. re: FitMom4Life

                You did not take them out too early. You just had a bad recipe. They should not be cut first as already mentioned by numerous posters. And direct flame to char is the best way.
                Roasting peppers gives them a very different flavor than sauteing. They are a little smokey.
                Peeling peppers is done because many find the tough flavorless skins undesirable, many people use a good serrated peeler to peel peppers before using them in any recipe.

                1. re: chefj

                  You mean some people peel the raw peppers? Seriously? I cannot imagine why one would do that. When you cook them up with onions and garlic in a bit of liquid...well gosh - they are so soft and tender. I have never ever heard of anyone peeling peppers before cooking them!

                  1. re: FitMom4Life

                    Yes they do. Jacques P├ępin for example.
                    They are not always "cooked up with onions and garlic" and in more refined uses the skin adds an undesirable texture.

                    1. re: chefj

                      Pretty much have ruled out the roasting. I made more sausage and peppers last night, and it's just soooo good...no roasting needed. :-)

                      1. re: FitMom4Life

                        Italian sausage and peppers doesn't require roasting the peppers before hand. It is a different application - a different technique to saute them with something else and the results are a bit different.

                        It is odd that that you lost any meat from the peppers. I can only guess that, as someone else suggested, you didn't really get them blackened and then allowed them to steam inside a paper bag or wrapped in a dish towel. I also would guess that cutting them before roasting made them more difficult to work with.

            2. Why peel off the skins? Well, when you roast peppers over a flame the idea is to get the skins all blackened and bubbly......... not very appetizing, to me anyway.

              1. As others have stated, you want to look for charred, blackened skin when properly roasting a bell pepper. Place in an airtight container for 10-20 minutes to steam and soften the skin further.

                My grandmother would run water over the peppers to help remove the skin, but I prefer to rub the skin off with a thin kitchen towel or sturdy paper towel. Makes for a messy towel, but you don't lose a bunch of nice flavor down the drain.

                1. Including roasted peppers in Italian sausage with peppers and onions is not the best use of roasted peppers. By throwing roasted peppers into the pan of sausage, onions and fried peppers, you are in fact wasting or losing the quality that makes roasted peppers delicious. So don't bother doing that again, stick with raw peppers and onions.

                  Other posters have pointed out that properly roasted peppers are roasted whole, not in strips or quarters which gives less that optimal results. I place the whole peppers, pierced near the stem with the very tip of a paring knife or a skewer, on foil lined half sheet pans, about 6 inches away from the broiler, and roast them under the broiler until the skins are charred and blistered. They need to be watched and turned periodically to expose the uncharred flesh to the flame/heat.

                  Once evenly charred they should be steamed to allow the skins to loosen. Put the peppers in a paper or plastic bag, or in a non-plastic bowl and cover tightly with foil, plastic wrap, or a plate or cookie sheet. My preference is to steam them in a metal bowl covered with a plate. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skins by peeling and rubbing off with your fingers. You can do this under running water as mentioned in another reply, but why flush all the delicious flavor down the drain? Just do it on the cutting board. If you find the skin difficult to remove, next time roast the peppers a bit more; in the meantime don't worry if a bit of charred skin remains. Remove the seeds after rubbing off the skin. If I'm saving the peppers for another use, or making a large enough amount for keeping in the fridge for a few days I try to capture the juices from the peppers as there is a lot of flavor in those juices which enhance any marinade.

                  If I'm roasting for later use I put them in a container with the accumulated juices from peeling, add a bit of sliced garlic if I have garlic lovers around, a pinch of crushed hot pepper and olive oil. I don't know how long these marinated peppers will keep in the fridge, but at least a week is good, they never last longer than that at my home. I've added raisins and also served them with toasted pine nuts.

                  So what can you do with roasted peppers besides throwing them into sausage, peppers and onions or using on top of bruschetta? They are terrific in salads, in omelets, in sandwiches (try a sandwich of roasted peppers, fresh basil leaves, cheese of your choice but a nice soft mozz is great here, olive oil, and prosciutto or grilled eggplant or zucchini), or just by themselves as part of an antipasto or as a starter, maybe served with some olives, some cheeses, some salamis, etc. There is a lot, and a lot more than what I've mentioned here, that you can do with delicious roasted peppers.

                  1. Bell peppers have a thin enough skin that roasting and peeling does not make much of a difference when they are diced and cooked. In most cooked uses the skin is not noticeable. Roasting makes more of a difference when the peppers are used without further cooking, as in a salad. There the difference between raw pepper strips and and roasted, peeled ones is noticeable. I like both.

                    For slightly hotter peppers the roasting is more valuable, most commonly Poblanos and Anaheims (see the seasonal Hatch threads).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: paulj

                      Ah. I don't like peppers in my salads, so I guess that is another reason I won't worry about roasting. Thanks...learned a lot here!

                    2. I was intrigued by this thread, so having just harvested three Hungarian Wax peppers, I did an experiment and tried roasting them differently. Over a direct flame, as they blackened they also softened and sagged so it was difficult to get them evenly roasted. Under the broiler was less work since you can do many at a time. In each case, putting them in a closed container didn't seem to release the skins, so I ended up scraping each separately. Maybe I didn't wait long enough?

                      I tried roasting the third pepper in the microwave. Oops. Didn't work at all, it mummified the poor veggie!

                      I agree that you don't need to roast peppers for Italian sausage and onions.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: DonShirer

                        From my experience the char does not need to be even so long as the majority of the skin is charred. Putting the charred pepper in an airtight bag or container seems to transfer the heat throughout the skin and makes it almost all of it come off rather easily. Seems to be directly related to how much of the surface is charred. Sounds like you didn't fully char enough of the surface....... unless Hungarian Wax Peppers are different.

                        1. re: Midlife

                          some peppers have a thinner flesh then bells - its harder to char and peel them without basically losing your whole pepper - need to be very careful and do it fast.

                          1. re: jen kalb

                            jen and paulj share my view.

                            Even if I roast and char a bell pepper over an open flame, the skin is so thin that I find peeling them near impossible and really unnecessary.
                            Thus why just cutting them up and frying them is so convenient.

                            You get into things like Poblanos, wax peppers and Hungarian peppers (and even jalapenos), the skins get thicker and thus less appetizing if used in various dishes much like apples where some times it's fine to cook with the skin on and other times better when peeled.

                            As for why roast bell peppers?
                            I do a roasted red pepper salsa that is awesome. Long cook dishes like chili or paprikash also benefit from roasted peppers vs just adding raw.

                            Anytime roasting boosts a flavor or enhances a final dish, it's a simple process that benefits everyone.

                            1. re: jjjrfoodie

                              just to clarify, I have no problem charring bells over a flame, grill or whatever. I started with the oven broiler many years ago but in lieu of a grill fire, the open gas flame works best. You can use a fork or rest the peppers on a grid over the flames - I find the latter easier. start with setting them top (stem) down so that area gets well charred then move to the sides

                      2. The method I use is half conventional and half not. Before roasting over gas oven flame, I cut off just round the stem at an angle pointing away from the stem and then twist and pull out the stem and then rinse away the seeds. Dry outside with a paper towel and rub outside with olive oil. Then I roast them over the gas flame (right on the the grill part so its close to the flame) just until the side closest to the flame is practically on fire, then I rotate the pepper and repeat the charring. Then put in bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let steam about five minutes. Now here is the GENIUS behind how I cut and removed the seeds earlier-get a paring knife, put gloves on, and slip all but your thumb into the pepper, and then start skinning with the BACK of the paring knife from the top down. The skins should slide right off with gentle pressure and leave minimal black flecks. Your fingers inside the pepper will stabilize the pepper as you skin it, preventing breakage. Then you can use the peppers mostly whole for stuffing. If you are just going to chop them up, then you don't have to be so careful during the skinning procedure.

                        1. I find the best way to raost peppers is to roast them! Rub whole bell peppers with a little oil, roast at 400 for about an hour turning once or twice. Let them rest, then peel. Very simple. They will not be charred but the skin wil slip right off.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: tommg

                            Open Flame works much better.

                          2. I use a half jelly roll pan, right up close under the broiler, and get halved peppers good and black. Then I put another pan of the same size and shape over the top to let them steam. Skins slip off easily.

                            1. The old Italian way done in my family...you slice off the tops of the stem end, as little as possible. Reach in and discard any seeds. Put them on a pan under a blazing hot broiler until the tops are black. Turn each one, the let that side get black Keep doing this until the whole pepper is black. OR...cut peppers in half. This saves you from doing all that turning. Broil until mostly black. Take out, put them in a big bowl,cover with a plate and let them rest for an hour or so. Now peel off all the skins, put them on a plate, sprinkle lightly with salt and olive oil. The whole point to the roasting and getting the skins black is to get that roasted flavor.

                              1. Heavens! The way I learned to roast peppers is to first create a hardwood coal fireplace outside. Lay down a grill you can control. Place all washed red peppers on said grill and turn repeatedly until blistered all around. Place either in paper bag lined plastic bags or in a stew pot with a lid to continue steam-cooking. Keep roasting. Start peeling the skin off and placing juice created and sliced peppers in a big stainless steel bowl. Continue. Freeze 2 cups of peppers with juice in a ziploc. Pull out over winter, etc. to use. You need extra friends with good knives to clean the peppers and save the trash to feed the chickens or trash.

                                1. After reading through the comments I think you'd get a better idea of what roasted peppers are by finding a youtube video like this:


                                  Try roasting peppers and then dice them to serve as a topping with your final dish.