Sauteed peppers and onions are easy to prepare in a hot skillet with a little oil. Known for their savory and slightly sweet flavor, they are colorful and add flavor to a variety of dishes. Their tender yet slightly crispy texture makes them the perfect side dish or addition to your favorite meals.
I make sauteed peppers and onions at least once a week. They are simple to make, taste and smell great and are so versatile. Peppers and onions can be added to omelets, chicken fajitas, tacos, sweet Italian sausages or bratwurst, sandwiches and more. They bring a savory flavor and can also be paired with grilled steak, chicken and fish.
When sauteed, peppers and onions become tender and slightly caramelized. Their flavors deepen and become sweeter and the softer texture makes them pleasing to the mouth. They are flavorful and versatile and can enhance the taste of various meals.
Best of all, peppers and onions are an easy recipe to prepare, can be cooked from fresh or frozen and can even be made in advance. It's a simple and affordable way to elevate a meal.
- Olive Oil – Use any light, neutral-flavored vegetable oil. Or you can also use butter.
- Onions – Peel and slice your favorite onions. Yellow red onion have a sweeter flavor but the cooking process will also sweeten white onions.
- Bell Peppers – Any color of bell peppers will work. I like to do a mixture of red bell pepper as well as yellow bell peppers and green bell peppers for a colorful mixture. Remove the seeds and core and slice in a similar size to the onions.
- Seasoning – Dust with garlic powder, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to enhance the flavor.
See recipe card for full recipe and exact quantities.
How to Saute Peppers and Onions
- Thinly slice the onions and sweet peppers into thin strips.
- Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large non-stick or cast iron pan. Add the onions and peppers. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Cook the onions and peppers in a hot pan until tender and lightly charred while stirring occasionally. It will take about 12 to 15 minutes for veggies to cook depending on how tender you'd like them. Season with extra salt to taste.
Hint: Slice your onions and peppers to an even thickness so they cook at the same speed.
- Seasoning - I like a simple seasoning of garlic, salt and pepper but you can add your favorite seasoning blend. Try Greek seasoning, Italian seasoning, fajita seasoning or red chili flakes for an extra kick.
- Spicy - Use a poblano pepper or other spicy peppers to give this perfect side dish a kick of heat and flavor.
- Citrus - Splash the sauteed onions and peppers with lemon juice or lime juice for a bright citrus flavor.
- Diet Friendly – This peppers and onions recipe is naturally gluten free, vegetarian and vegan. It only contains a small amount of oil so it's low in fat too.
I prefer to use large nonstick skillet or cast iron pan for the best results. A nonstick pan distributes heat evenly and prevents sticking. A cast iron pan holds heat which helps the tasty vegetables to caramelize. It's really a personal preference.
Store the leftover onions and peppers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat them in a skillet until warmed through.
This onions and peppers recipe tends to become mushy when frozen so I don't recommend freezing. Like most recipes, these are best enjoyed fresh or within 24 hours for the best taste and texture.
Top Cooking Tips
- Use a variety of peppers for more color in your dish.
- Slice the onions and peppers to an even thickness.
- Preheat the pan so it's quite hot when the veggies are added.
- Use a large pan or cook in batches. Vegetables release water when cooked and if you overcrowd the pan, they will steam rather than saute.
- Don't stir too much. Allow the veggies to brown and caramelize.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- Watch closely as they cook fast and the cooking time can vary depending on how thick you cut the onions and pepper.
When I have an abundance of onions and peppers in my kitchen, I chop or slice them and freeze for later use. You can use frozen peppers and onions but they do release more water and may not caramelize as well. You can add the frozen peppers directly to the pan without defrosting.
Cooking time can vary depending on the desired texture and the thickness of the slices. Generally, sautéing peppers and onions takes about 8-10 minutes over medium heat. Cook until they are softened, slightly caramelized, and still retain some crunch.
You sure can! Sautéed peppers and onions are versatile and can be customized to your liking. You can add garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, or any other vegetables you enjoy. Give the onions and peppers a few minutes head start if adding quicker cooking veggies.
You can saute vegetables in butter or ghee. I prefer to use oil because it has a high smoke point and allows the onions and peppers to develop that golden brown color. If you prefer, you can use both oil and butter so you get the benefit of the higher smoke point but can still enjoy the flavor of the butter.
Pairing and Serving Suggestions for Peppers and Onions :
When I say that sauteed onions and pepper are versatile, I mean it. This is probably one of the most versatile recipes in my kitchen because it goes with so many different recipes.
- They make a delicious topping for sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, sweet Italian sausage and bratwurst.
- A classic component of fajitas and tacos, I like to also add them to quesadillas, burritos, taco salad or as an offering on a taco bar.
- Incorporate sautéed peppers and onions into your morning breakfast by adding them to omelets or scrambled eggs. I like to pile them on this savory Philly Cheesesteak Breakfast Sandwich.
- Mix sauteed peppers and onions into spaghetti, add them to fried rice or white rice for an extra burst of flavor and color.
- Spread them over pizza with sauce, cheese and herbs.
- Serve them as a tasty side dish alongside grilled meats, roasted chicken, or fish.
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Quick and Easy Sauteed Peppers and Onions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions, peeled
- 2 large bell peppers, seeded and cored
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus extra to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Thinly slice onions and peppers.
- Heat the olive oil on medium high heat in a large non-stick or cast iron pan. Add the onions and peppers. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Cook the onions and peppers until tender and lightly charred while stirring occasionally. It will take about 12 to 15 minutes for veggies to cook depending on how tender you'd like them. Season with extra salt to taste.
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