New recipes and updates

Get new recipes
in your inbox

Cuisine Fiend

Find a recipe by ingredient


Tue, 14 May, 2019

What is piperade and is it the same as pepperonata? Piperade, pronounced ‘peep-er-rahd’, is a French, specifically Basque, dish of sweet peppers seasoned with spicy espelette pepper; a bit like a spicy overcooked ratatouille.

piperade basque

French or Italian recipe?

They do compete in their respective kitchens, the Italians and the French. Though I hasten to specify: the Basques in this instance, lest they get offended to be called French. Although the issue is wider than Pays Basques; so hopefully the assorted Gallic tribes will forgive me for lumping them into the same sack.

On balance, I’m also taking the wide-angle lens to the Italians: Sicily, Umbria, Liguria – I’m not going piecemeal on them.

What is piperade? And pepperonata?

Piperade is a vegetable stew of soft peppers and onions, with a hit of hot paprika. Pepperonata is a mix of softened peppers and onions, seasoned with saffron, sometimes with added aubergines (caponata).

Both can be made with fleshy green or red bell peppers; serve as a base for poached eggs to create a Mediterranean version of shakshuka; dished out as a side for meat dishes, be mixed with pasta for sauce or spooned on crusty bread for brunch.

piperade made with red peppers

Is piperade the same as pepperonata?

Are they the same thing then, a Spanish name for an Italian dish or vice versa? Not quite, it appears: the Basque (Spanish, French) dish is more picante, classically made with the variety of hot paprika called piment d’Espelette. The Italian equivalent is more piano, dolce, leggero. Is one better than the other? No way.

Throwback pipperade

Interestingly enough, my Mum who was anything but a researching and adventurous cook used to make a piperade of sorts. Obviously without the required paprika, black pepper was exotic enough for my Mummy; and she’d stir in some eggs at the end, thus making a really nice breakfast toast topping. I only remembered it when I was researching my piperade so it is a throwback dish for me in a way.

piperade is the best brunch toast topping

Red peppers for piperade

NY Times Cooking first reminded me of its existence with their green pepper piperade recipe but I prefer red ones to make it: red peppers with red tomatoes seem a better match. NYT also instruct to cook the peppers away to a confit stage but I actually like them to retain a bit of bite, rather than cook down into red mush.

Either way the flavour is what matters. It is a simple recipe and a simple dish (if Mum could do it…) but some of the best things in life are very simple.


Servings: 4Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Rating: (2 reviews)


  • 4-6 medium tomatoes
  • 2 large red peppers, cored
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • salt
  • a pinch of dried thyme
  • ½ tsp piment d’Espelette (or 1 fresh mild chili, de-seeded and chopped plus ½ tsp mild chili powder)
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar


1. Peel the tomatoes: score a cross in the base of each and plunge them into a pan of boiling water. Let them simmer for 30 seconds, drain and rinse with cold water. The skin should now peel easily.

2. De-seed the tomatoes and chop them roughly. Set aside. Slice the peppers thinly lengthwise into strips.

piperade ingredients

3. In a large skillet heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat and add the smashed garlic. Fry it for a couple of minutes until scorched on both sides. Remove from the pan.

4. Turn up the heat and add the pepper slices. Cook them on high heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove the peppers onto a plate.

cooking garlic and peppers

5. Turn the heat down and add the other tbsp. of oil. Add the onion to the skillet, season with a large pinch of salt and cook for 10-12 minutes until softened but not coloured. (If you’re using fresh chilli, cook it with the onion.)

6. Add the chopped tomatoes, scorched garlic, thyme and piment d’Espelette (or chilli powder). Stir, cover and cook for 30 minutes over low heat. When the sauce is thick and the tomatoes have all broken down, add the vinegar and sugar; taste and adjust.

cooking onions and tomatoes

7. Return the peppers to the pan, stir and cover. Cook for 15 minutes until the peppers have wilted but retain shape and some bite.

a skillet of basque piperade

8. Serve warm rather than hot; on fresh or toasted bread or as a side dish.

NEW recipe finder

Ingredients lying around and no idea what to cook with them? Then use my NEW Recipe Finder for inspiration!

Recipe Finder

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published

Characters left 800
Recipe rating
Email address*
Web site name
Be notified by email when a comment is posted

* required

Your comments

Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Warren - what a brilliant idea!
3 years ago
Warren Brodine
We add two Tbsp of concentrated tomato paste and 1 Tbsp prepared harissa to deepen the tomato flavor and add more spice. Wonderful recipe.
3 years ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Carolyn - thank you so much! I love it on toast best but you're right that it's a nice side for chicken or fish as well.
3 years ago
Carolyn Triance
This is a really nice recipe for piperade, nicer than any I have made before over the years, so thank you! We are making it a lot to have with fish or chicken and also like it on toast for a weekend lunch. I think what makes your recipe so special is the addition of vinegar and sugar (though I use xylitol, halving the amount). I used to always have piperade with eggs, but haven’t since I found this recipe! Many thanks!
3 years ago
Tim Tyson Short
works every time ! Nice one
4 years ago

Cuisine Fiend's

most recent

About me

Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


Sign up to receive the weekly recipes updates

Follow Fiend