Air frying these Lemon Chilli Padron Peppers makes them not only super quick and easy but hands off too. Adding seasonings to this popular Spanish bar snack isn’t traditional, but I love the zing of fresh lemon zest and added slight heat from the chillies as most padron peppers are really very mild.
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I created this recipe as a bit of an impulse. I’ve been thinking about air frying padrons for a while and when I saw some in the shop I grabbed them and created this recipe the very next day.
I’ve eaten traditionally fried padron peppers in Spain and at a few great tapas places in the UK. They’re exceedingly simple but very delicious, especially with a good beer. Usually they’re fried in olive oil and served just with a sprinkle of good salt.
Like most unripe/green peppers, padron peppers are on the bitter side. They’re also extremely mild on the spiciness scale. Apparently there can be peppers which are an exception to this and one in every so many can be quite spicy. But I haven’t come across one yet.
I just fancied adding a little more zing to them and increasing the spice level. And so these lemon chilli peppers were born. Served with a good strong garlic mayonnaise they were a 10 minute marvel and I’ll absolutely be making them again.
How to Serve
Padron peppers are perfect served bar snack style when drinks are being served. They’re really easy to part cook and then finish off right before serving hot. So if you’re entertaining, they’re a really impressive little nibble to serve up but with minimal effort.
You can also serve them as more a of tapas style snack or meal along with a selection of other Spanish snacks like warm almond stuffed olives, chorizo cooked in red wine, ham croquettes, tomato bread and Spanish omelette.
Or you can mix and match with other cuisines. This is especially good if you’re having a drinks party or hosting something like a Eurovision viewing party! Try some of these great options:
This recipe is slightly unusual in that the seasonings are added before serving and used for an extra boost after cooking. This gives another dimension to the flavourings with them both cooked in and fresh and fragrant as a dressing.
These peppers have become much easier to buy in the last few years. I’ve found them in most regular supermarkets and even Aldi so they shouldn’t be hard to come by.
They’re always sold unripe and green. look to make sure they are firm, shiny and without many obvious blemishes.
You can also use shishito peppers which are very similar looking but from Japan. These haven’t really made it to mainstream UK supermarkets but are much more common in the US. So you should be able to get one or the other in most places.
I like to use garlic salt rather than fresh garlic in recipes like this as I find fresh garlic can catch and burn very easily. Garlic salt is really worth keeping in your pantry. Use fresh cloves crushed to a paste with sea salt if you do prefer. Go easy however, it shouldn’t be a prevalent flavour.
Dried Chilli Flakes
This is the quickest and simplest way to add heat to your peppers. They aren’t all created equal and you can buy some that are on the hotter side and others that are more mild.
So please take my quantity suggestion as a guide only. Use more or less as you think is required and personal preference dictates.
This does need to be fresh. Around ½ a very standard lemon will yield roughly ½ tsp zest using a very fine grater. Ideally a fine microplane if you have one will give the best results.
The oil is a predominant flavour so it is good to use a nicer flavour olive oil. Extra virgin is a good call if you have it even though I would usually advise against cooking with it.
This recipe is free from egg, dairy, gluten and nuts.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
How Long to Air Fry Lemon Chilli Padron Peppers
Padron peppers air fry to perfection with perfect charred and blistered skin in just 8 minutes.
For more bite you can take them out after 6 minutes.
How to Air Fry Padron Peppers From Frozen
I wouldn’t recommend doing this. Peppers/chillis can be frozen but they lose their texture and become very soggy when defrosted.
These air fried padron peppers soften when cooked but they do not have a nice texture when cooked from frozen.
Leftovers – Storage & Reheating
I only really enjoy eating these peppers hot or warm. And ideally fresh out the air fryer. You can reheat them but I’m not a huge fan. So I would advise wherever possible to only cook as many as you genuinely plan to eat.
If you do need to reheat, a couple of minutes in the air fryer will be more than enough.
I would not suggest freezing leftovers.
Common Air Fryer Questions – A Brief Guide to Air Frying
- What exactly is an air fryer?
- What are the benefits of using an air fryer?
- Are all air fryers the same?
- Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
- Do air fryers need to be pre-heated?
- What is the best temperature to air fry at?
- Can food be cooked from frozen in an air fryer?
- Can I reheat food in an air fryer?
- Are air fryer liners a good idea?
The Air Fried Feast Community
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What Exactly is an Air Fryer?
Very simply, an air fryer is a small convection (fan) oven. The benefit is that the hot air is circulated all around the food being cooked which speeds up the cooking time and cooks the food more evenly.
What are the Benefits of Using an Air Fryer?
Size, time and energy usage. Air fryers are ideal for cooking smaller quantities. Heating up a space that the food just fits into requires less energy and means that the heat source is much closer to the food. Combining these two things can speed up the cooking time.
Are all air fryers the same?
Nope! The term air fryer is now used very broadly. I consider there to be 4 main types:
Basket Air Fryers
These are what I would consider to be the most common, especially in the UK. A boxy type unit has a pull out drawer/basket. Food isn’t usually visible whilst cooking.
Some larger models have two drawers so different items can be cooked at different temperatures or for different times.
This is the type that you’ll see in the images in this recipe. I mostly use a Cosori Lite 3.8L (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal. It isn’t an overly expensive or fancy model.
I’ve also recommended to several friends and family the model with a slightly larger basket. This is the Cosori 4.7L (CAF-L501) with a 4.7 litre basket. The unit is no larger than the 3.8 litre model on the outside but does have a larger internal basket capacity. I’ve borrowed this air fryer for some recipes where my smaller model was just too small. I’ll always note this in the recipe.
Rotary Air Fryers
Round air fryers with a paddle in the centre that rotates to move the food. This is the type I’ve been using for years – the most common is a Tefal Actifry.
Rotary types are not usually good for recipes where the food is breaded, glazed, likely to break up or in a tray/container. They do however make the best chips and roasted veg.
My 2 in 1 version like the one I’ve linked does have a rotating tray for things that could be broken up by a paddle, but the height clearance with the lid isn’t deep enough to use it to cook some items like sausage rolls.
Multicookers with Air Fryer Functions
Some like Ninja 11 in 1 and some of the earlier versions with a few less functions, have an air fryer option. They mostly operate the same as a basket fryer but the basket drops in the top rather than sliding in like a drawer.
Some electric pressure cookers like Instant Pots can also air fry when used with a specific lid.
Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
As much as I do love air frying, the honest answer to this is no. And the more detailed answer is that it will always depend on what you’re cooking, how much of it you’re cooking and what type and size of air fryer you have.
Once you need to cook in more than 2 batches, it often makes more sense to use an oven. If you already have the oven on to cook other items, it may make more sense to throw one more item in rather than using an additional appliance.
I don’t think either method is necessarily better than the other. The important point to note is that there is absolutely no difference in the finished product.
Do Air Fryers Need to Be Pre-Heated?
The answer to this is rather annoying – it depends. It depends entirely on your model and type of air fryer. The best advice I can offer is to check your manual and follow their guidance. My Cosori model has a preheat function. I press a button and it heats at 205c for 4 minutes.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of whether you are supposed to pre-heat or not, if you are cooking in batches, it is quite likely that anything after the first batch will cook a little quicker because of the retained heat. It is best to check on them before the cooking time is completed.
What is the best temperature to Air Fry at?
It will always depend on what you are cooking and from what state. All of my air fryer recipes don’t use temperatures above 200c because many of the most common fryers in the UK don’t go above this. Mine goes to 230c and I use this temperature a lot but it is no help for me to share recipes which most people can’t use.
Can Food Be Cooked From Frozen In An Air Fryer?
Absolutely! To cook from frozen you usually will need to reduce the cooking temperature and increase the time to make sure your food is cooked right through to the middle.
It is best to check my individual recipes for cooking from frozen advice as some items are a little different.
Can I Reheat Food In An Air Fryer?
Yes. As a general rule I reheat food for roughly 1/3 of the original cooking time at the same temperature. Or at 10 degrees lower for half the time for larger items.
Are Air Fryer Liners a Good Idea?
Unless otherwise stated, I do not use liners when air frying. Basket and rotary type air fryers are designed to be used without liners. Mini oven types will generally require some kind of tray like with a regular large oven although some come with crisper racks to use.
There are many air fryer liners available including quite thick silicone ones. These will affect the cooking times and possibly temperatures of your cooking/baking. I also don’t like how cooking juices are prevented from dripping through the basket rack. This can stop food from crisping all the way around.
If you do prefer to use them, once you have got a feel for how they affect your cooking and baking, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe accordingly.
More Air Fryer Recipes
All my recipes with instructions for how to cook or bake them in the air fryer can be found in my Air Fryer Recipe Index.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Air Fried Lemon Chilli Padron Peppers Recipe
- 200 g Padron Peppers
- 2 tsp Olive Oil - see notes
- ½ tsp Garlic Salt - see notes
- 1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
- ½ tsp Lemon Zest
- If your air fryer requires pre-heating, start this setting now.
- Wash and thoroughly dry roughly 200g Padron Pepper.
- Drizzle over 2 tsp Olive Oil, ½ tsp Garlic Salt, 1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes and ½ tsp Lemon Zest.
- Toss to make sure all the peppers are well coated.
- Move the peppers into the air fryer. I do this with tongs or a spatula rather than tipping them in as you don't want any excess oil to drip everywhere.
- On the same note, don't scrape out the bowl or discard it. Put it to one side.
- Air fry for 8 minutes at 200c/390f. Toss once or twice if you wish although you don't really need to.
- Tip the cooked peppers back into the mixing bowl and toss in the remains of the oil and seasonings.
- Serve with the dip of your choice or on their own!
- The air fryer version of this recipe is tested in a Cosori Lite (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal.
- Not all models advise preheating is required. Please follow the recommended instructions for your model. Mine has a specific preheat setting which is 4 minutes at 205c.
- For this recipe, I can easily fit 400g raw padron peppers in the basket at a time. This gives plenty of room to allow air to circulate.
- As all air fryer models are a little different, you may find that you can fit more or less in at a time. Some models include stacking shelves which will increase capacity.
- Required cooking times and temperatures can also vary between models and brands. If you know that your air fryer runs a little hotter than most recipes suggest, use a lower temperature. And vice versa. Equally if you find that food cooks more quickly in your machine than instructions usually state, reduce the cooking time (or check it earlier) and vice versa.