Roast Your Own Red Peppers for Better Flavor and Less Money

Do it yourself roasted red peppers

Roasted red peppers are a versatile and flavorful ingredient that I love to use in everything from pasta to pizza to scrambled eggs. They make a simple appetizer served with a soft, creamy cheese and crackers. The little jars are expensive, though, and you can’t beat the flavor of just-roasted peppers. Here’s how to roast your own.

Choose a nice firm, unblemished red bell pepper—organic, if you wish—and wash and dry it. You can roast the pepper several ways. You can cook it on a hot barbeque grill, turning frequently until the skin is blackened. You can cut it in half, remove the stem and seeds, and flatten it with the palm of your hand on a baking sheet. Then cook it under a hot broiler until the skin turns black. Or you can roast it whole over a gas range burner, which is what I do. I lay it right on the burner. When the skin blisters and starts to turn black, I turn it with a fork:

Roast your own red bell peppers


If you’re cooking the pepper in sections on a pan under the oven broiler, check it frequently and remove the pan as soon as the skin blackens. If you’re using this method or the grill method, try to blacken the skin as evenly as possible, turning frequently. When it’s done, it’ll look something like this:

A blackened red bell pepper


While the pepper is still hot, pop it in a paper bag and fold over the top. (If you did the broiler method, just pile the pepper sections in the bag.) I use a spring paper clip to secure the top. The pepper will steam inside the bag and the skin will soften.

Steam a red bell pepper in a paper bag


Leave it in the bag for about 15 minutes. Then take it out, cut it in half and remove the seeds. The pepper will be quite tender.

Cut red bell peppers in half after steaming


Now, use your fingers to remove the blackened skin. It should slip off quite easily, but if it resists you can use a wadded up paper towel to help remove the skin. It’s a little messy.

Remove the blackened skin from a roasted pepper with your fingers


Here’s a photo showing the contrast between the peeled and unpeeled pepper halves:

Peeled and unpeeled roasted red peppers


Once they’re peeled,  they’re ready to serve! I chopped ours and served them with sauteed mushrooms and a creamy pesto sauce over pasta.

Chopped roasted red peppers

I paid $1.59 for a large, organic red bell pepper that made about 2 cups of roasted pepper strips. A 16-ounce jar of non-organic roasted red peppers was $4.99 at our store. Yippee!

How about you? Do you enjoy roasted red peppers? Have you ever roasted your own? What’s your favorite way to serve them? I’d love to hear all of your thoughts…


The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. If you’re on Goodreads, I’m giving away two copies of The Quinoa Quookbook with samples of organic quinoa. You can enter the giveaway here through April 30. The Crunchy Quinoa Veggie Salad with Minted Pesto is one of my favorite recipes, and it features—you guessed it!—roasted red peppers.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of 15 books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

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