Roasted Red Bell Peppers

Fall is practically here, which means less outdoor barbecuing, and a return to the kitchen. And I get to turn the oven back on! I don’t do much oven cooking in the summer, for obvious reasons. Fall is my favorite season not just because of the beautiful weather, but also for matters of cooking and baking. I’m not a fan of elaborate and heavy cooking in the summer months. So now is the start of more soups and stews, and to turn the oven on for lovely roasts.  

If you’re looking to have your house smelling amazingly delicious, and like you’ve cooked all day, I recommend some roasted red bell peppers. Italians love roasted sweet peppers and we use them in many dishes. They are also great as a side dish to any meat, wonderful added to salads, or in a delicious sandwich or frittata. They are a great addition to any antipasto platter. The method and list of ingredients does not vary much, and though you could also use orange or yellow peppers, the red ones are the easiest to peel and the sweetest ones to serve. Sometimes I add a yellow or orange pepper just for color. Green bell peppers are the toughest to peel, in my opinion, so you will rarely find them in my kitchen. Least of all for roasting, though they are great stuffed.

Since peppers are mostly water, they will wilt substantially once roasted, so you will end up needing more than you think. I usually roast about eight, or even up to 12 at a time. If you’re going to turn the oven on, might as well roast a bunch of them at the same time. Choose peppers that are large, bright in color, crisp and free of any blemishes. Some people roast them directly on the stovetop over an open flame. I prefer roasting them in the broiler. It’s less hands on, you can roast many at the same time, and the aroma will engulf your entire home. 

Roasted Red Bell Peppers


8 – 12 large red bell peppers 
About 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt 
1 teaspoon dry oregano
Fresh basil, minced (if available)
1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced 


1. Preheat oven to high broil and place the rack on the very top shelf. If your oven does not have a broil setting, set the temperature to 450 degrees. For easier clean up, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, a silpat, or aluminum foil. 
2. Rinse the peppers under cold water, removing any dirt around the stem. Place them on the prepared baking sheet.
3. Roast peppers in the oven for about 20 minutes, turning the peppers on all sides every 5 or so minutes. 4. When peppers are charred on all sides, remove the tray from the oven and place the entire baking sheet in a large brown grocery bag for 3 – 4 minutes. This will steam the peppers and make it easier to peel them. The peel will practically fall off. 6. Peel peppers and cut them in half. Remove the stem and any visible charred skin still on them.
5. Cut the peppers in half, remove and discard the stem, and all the seeds. Cut peppers in thin strips and place them in a serving bowl. Season the peppers with oil, salt, oregano, basil and garlic. Mix with a fork to coast evenly. Serve immediately as a side dish, in a sandwich, added to salads, or as you wish. They can be refrigerated for up to 3 – 4 days. 

I find roasting and peeling red peppers a bit therapeutic. I know it’s strange, but there’s something comforting to me about roasting peppers. The beautiful smokey smell they release, engulfing my entire house, peeling and cleaning them, then enjoying them in countless ways. They are delicious even just on top of a crusty piece of toasted bread. Comfort food, Italian style.

large red bell peppers
Choose bell peppers that are large, smooth and free of any marks or blemishes.
red bell peppers on baking sheet.
Lining the baking sheet will make your clean up much easier!
roasted red peppers on silpad
After about 20 minutes in the oven, turning them on all sides, the skin becomes charred, and easy to peel.

A Quick Substitute

Yes, you will find roasted red bell peppers in jars. In a pinch, or in the summer, I have been known to buy a jar or two to add to salads or in panini. I use them occasionally but they do not in any way compare to freshly roasted red bell peppers, fresh from the oven. The jarred ones are more vinegary, always thicker and have the texture that they are very undercooked. Whereas when they are roasted in the oven, roasted red bell peppers are very soft, delicate, and have a delicious smokey taste. I make a batch weekly during the colder months, they are a great addition to just about anything.


  • You are so, so correct about freshly
    roasted sweet red peppers. They are also so delicious served during the holidays.

  • I thoroughly enjoy these posts Francesca! Please keep them coming! Keeping your book handy in my kitchen ~ I too am an Italian anxious to get back to fall cooking!!


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