Braised Peppers and Onions Recipe (2024)

By J. Kenji López-Alt

Braised Peppers and Onions Recipe (1)

Total Time
30 minutes, plus cooling
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This base of slowly stewed peppers and onions can serve as the foundation for a wide variety of dishes: Add seared flank steak or pork butt, capers, olives, raisins and canned tomatoes, and simmer it into deliciously shreddable Cuban ropa vieja, to enjoy with black beans, rice and braised greens. Slice Italian sausage, sear it along with chicken legs, then add ½ cup each of brown sugar and apple cider vinegar, plus a couple of cups of these peppers and onions, and cook until the sauce reduces to a sweet-tart glaze as the meat slowly braises. (Try that on top of boiled yellow potatoes.) Bloom freshly ground ancho, pasilla or other dried chile in oil, then add this sauté, a few cups of cooked black beans and chickpeas, plenty of Mexican oregano and some canned tomatoes to simmer into a rich vegan chili, garnished with roasted sweet potato. But for the simplest use, just slather these peppers on top of a hot dog in a buttered, toasted bun.

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Yield:About 3 cups

  • 2tablespoons grapeseed, vegetable or canola oil
  • 3large bell peppers (a mix of colors), stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2garlic cloves, minced
  • 2tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2dried bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

131 calories; 8 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 7 grams sugars; 2 grams protein; 402 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Braised Peppers and Onions Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium until shimmering. Add peppers, onion, garlic, cumin, bay leaves, a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are completely tender and the mixture is not runny or watery, about 30 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary to prevent any browning.

  2. Step


    Allow mixture to cool, then store in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.



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Cooking Notes


I’ve been doing this for years but w/o garlic and cumin. I like garlic fresh and don’t want to set my spice tone. I buy peppers at Costco and after a few days, if I haven’t used them, I braise them, either diced or sliced, with onions and freeze them in ice cubes or in those one cup, four section trays. Once frozen I pop them into a Food Saver bag and they sit in my freezer ready to use. I do many prep item like this. Who said cooking for one has to be basic and boring?


Accompanying article says that (freezing) is exactly what they do with it. They then thaw it out and make ropa vieja, baked pasta, etc.


would this freeze well?


The author says that he freezes this in vacuum-sealed bags. I froze it today in 3-oz. cubes that I intend to put into a zip-lock freezer bag.

John Ghertner, MD

The joy of that aroma of peppers cooking. I dry peppers, jalapeños, Thai, Serrano, and ghost out of my garden by the quart with that smell wafting through my house for days. I would never adulterate that ambrosia with something as strong as cumin.


Yes. I've found it helpful to package in ziplock bags in several portions. The bags store flat (space saver) and defrost quickly.


I make this frequently on a Sunday and use throughout the week. Freeze what I don't use. The only thing I do differently is start with onions and get them to the almost carmelized stage then add the remaining ingredients.

Katherine Gallagher

I’m making a big batch of this now and my kitchen smells amazing! Next time, I might take out a bit before adding the cumin, just to keep future options open.

JC Bishop

In Italy they call it Peperonata , although some of their recipes call for using tomatoes and peroncinos as well, and yes it freezes beautifully.Seeing how they use it though in Cuba and Mexico is just a testament to how wonderful this is as a base for almost anything!!If it's a bit watery after thawing just simmer until it reduces..

Patrick Lyster-Todd

2 tbsp ground cumin is a vast amount for just 3 bell peppers and one onion. I found even one tbsp overwhelmed the sweetness of the peppers and onion.

Michele Fisher

Unless you are making Ropa Viejo or one of the other suggested dishes (minus the hot dog), 2 tbsp of cumin seems excessive. I put in 1 tbsp and the texture was powdery, even after 30 mins of braising. Will make again using this technique but without cumin.


The vegetables are full of water. If cooked slowly, you probably won't need additional water. If you do, add only a teaspoon or two at a time.

Dan T

This works well, I do it without the cumin and garlic, so I can control the flavor profile when I use them. Yes, freezing does work very well. I vacuum seal them and use them later as a quick step for recipe's.


Made this several times but liked it most when I replaced the cumin by dried powdered ginger.


Yes. I'm making my second batch now and omitting the cumin. Not because I don't like it, but because it limits the versatility. Perhaps things like cumin or ginger can be added into the mix later, depending on what the next recipe suggests as a complementary flavor?


This was better than I expected. I was surprised to leave it cooking without lid for 30 minutes. Need to stir every few minutes to prevent burning on one side.


Made this last Fall with piles of peppers from the garden. Froze in packets and have been using in bean soups all winter - really elevates the soup! Also used in quesadillas.


only use 1 tea of cumin so you can use this with lots of other things


Yes, cumin doesn't go well with every cuisine, you can always add it later.

Craig Avery

I would probably use olive oil, and maybe a bit more than 3 tb, and I would braise for longer, so the effect is a kind of slurpy unctuousness rather than tenderness. And for me no cumin, as the pepper/onion/garlic/olive oil sweetness predominates.


Making this now. In order to remove all the moisture, I have been cooking for longer than 30 minutes-it is already one hour. I suspect it is essential to remove the excess moisture for best results? Smells delicious. Will make Ropa Viejo once the peppers and onions are done.


Add tomatoes and you have the base for shakshuka.


2 tbsp ground cumin is a vast amount for just 3 bell peppers and one onion, even one tbsp overwhelmed the sweetness of the peppers and onion. Skip it or try much less.


Whoops, Always Too Little! Cumin that is. Garlic and cumin married in peppers and onions. Life can be good.


This is the best thing I have ever made for hotdog relish! I adore hotdogs and this elevates them to Queen status! BTW, the cumin was beautiful! Not too much never too little.


Two TABLESPOONS of cumin? I find that a bit much.


For three peppers it is indeed.


Just made this and now eating with some roast chicken thighs. So easy an absolutely delicious, thank you!


Excellent! And a must is you are fixing the ropa vieja recipe.


I made a batch to serve with steak. Added a large, sliced portobello mushroom to the mix. I enjoyed the cumin although I probably didn't use a full 2 tsp. Use any herb or spice depending on what you're serving this with, e.g., taggaron might be super with chicken.


Two tablespoons of cumin seems excessive


I'm always confused w/ how to tell when peppers are done. I cook for 1 (myself) and always try to cook in big batches; so I doubled recipe in a medium sized enameled cast iron from Ikea. The veggies fresh cut filled the pot to brim - which I knew would affect cooking time. I stirred often, and it's still watery. Onions look great, and tender. But peppers still have a little crunch, and aren't 'soft'. Is that 'tender' for peppers? I know they're not supposed to be mushy, but...


"Tender" means that the peppers are soft and retain a slight soft bite and their structure without falling apart. But they should not crunch any longer.

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Braised Peppers and Onions Recipe (2024)
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