Shishito peppers are small, green, finger-length chili peppers with thin, slightly wrinkly skin that are native to Japan. Their name comes from a mashup of two Japanese words: shishi, for “lion,” because the tip of the pepper resembles a Japanese lion’s head and togarashi, for “chili pepper.” They are part of the family Capsicum annuum and are close relatives of Jalapeno chili. Although shishito peppers look like they’re spicy, they are actually quite mild.
A typical shishito pepper has a sweet, grassy, citrusy, and slightly sweet flavor. They never reach the levels of heat that you would find in a mild jalapeño, so those who are heat-adverse may still want to take their chances with trying shishito peppers.