If you want to fully bring out the delectable flavors of a poblano pepper you need to roast them first. Read on to find out how to roast poblanos peppers, and how to prep them for countless recipes and lots of ways to cook use them.
How do you feel about Poblano peppers, are you a fan?
They are my favorite mild chiles and definitely high on the favorites list of foods to cook and eat.
In my opinion, poblanos are the MOST flavorful chilies around!
They pack an amazing flavor that no other peppers have, and since their heat tends to be on the mild side, even people that don’t normally eat chilies will thoroughly enjoy poblano peppers.
Another great thing about these glistening long green pepper is that they are insanely versatile, not only in Mexican dishes but all sorts of international ones too.
One of Mexican cuisine’s most popular dish is chiles rellenos or stuffed peppers, and of course it is Poblano peppers that are used to prepare the dish. Other dishes that use Poblanos are chiles en nogada (chiles with walnut sauce), rajas poblanas, fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, soups, plus there are countless sauces prepared with poblano peppers.
If you love the authentic and traditional flavors of Mexican cuisine then you simply must learn how to prepare poblano peppers correctly — trust me the work really pays off.
Today I am going to show you a simple way to roast these peppers, which is always the first step when cooking any dish that uses them.
Why Should You Be Roasting Poblanos Over an Open Flame
The simplest answer is flavor.
When raw, poblanos do have a fantastic scent and taste, but when roasted over an open flame their flavors really come alive. It is in that step that they develop a deep rich smokiness and that gives poblanos that magical taste that no other chile has.
How to Buy The Best Poblano Peppers
To choose poblanos always pick ones that feel firm, have a strong fresh pepper scent, are free of bruising and blemishes. Additionally those whose skin is shiny and dark green.
Another thing if possible is to purchase relatively flat poblano peppers. These will be easier to fire roast more evenly and quicker than the curved ones.
Make sure that you look at the tips of the peppers too. This is because sometimes they may look perfect everywhere else but be bruised and blackened in the tips.
It’s important to thoroughly rinse the peppers and to pay close attention to the stem part for any trapped dirt. Once they are clean gently pat dry them with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel.
How to Roast Poblano Peppers
This method is the traditional method of roasting the poblanos over an open flame, or fire roasted.
For this you’ll need need a gas stove or a grill and some metal tongs. You also need a plate or bowl and some plastic wrap, or instead just a large Ziploc-style bag.
Lay Directly on The Burner
Turn your stove on to a medium-high flame, carefully place two to three poblanos directly on the the burner and over the flame.
You’ll want to use the tongs to help arrange the peppers so that they don’t fall off and to help ensure even heat/flame on each one.
Slowly the Poblanos will get little blisters that will darken and make a little popping sound. Use the tongs to keep turning them so that the entire pepper is evenly charred on all sides.
Do not leave them unattended because you want the other skin just to darken like in the pictures and not burn entirely and turn to ash.
This step takes the longest and will require your patience. Continue turning each chile until it’s blacked all around. Then remove from the flame.
You’ll also notice that the chile’s flesh will feel soft, you want to make sure that it feels this way throughout. You don’t want soft in one spot and hard and crunchy in another.
If you’re using a Ziploc bag then you need to let them cool a little bit before placing inside. Otherwise if using a plate or bowl go ahead and just lay the pepper there right off the flame.
Continue fire roasting the poblanos until all have been roasted. Once finished place them all inside the plastic bag, seal it and allow to sit or “sweat” for 10 minutes. If using a plate or bowl just cover it with plastic wrap or even just place a plate over the bowl.
Poblanos that are nearly flat are much easier and quicker to roast over an open flame. When Poblanos are curvier you may have to hold them directly over the flame with the tongs in order to get into all of the little nooks and crannies.
Something else you may notice are little bits of the charred skin floating around the burner as you cook, don’t worry this “mess” quickly wipes off once the burner has cooled down.
Using a Comal
To roast using a comal simply heat up the comal and once hot place the poblanos on there.
Turn the over to make sure the whole pepper has been blackened.
This step is my least favorite because it seems to take the longest. Also if the peppers aren’t flat, it’s going to be more difficult to the curves roasted.
Roasting Peppers Under The Broiler
This method is much quicker than the roasting over an open flame. However, the taste isn’t the same, or nearly as delicious as over an open flame.
To use the broiler method, set oven to broil and have a baking sheet ready.
Clean the peppers just as instructed above then lay on a baking sheet. Using a small pairing knife make a small incision on each poblano pepper. Then place the baking sheet under the broiler for 5 minutes then flip over and continue to broil another 5 or so minutes. You want the peppers to blacken and soften up. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before handling.
Air Fryer Roasted Peppers
Much like the broiler method, the air fryer method is quick but the depth of flavors isn’t as much as fire roasted. Even so, I still use this method simply out of convenience.
To air fry poblano peppers thoroughly clean and pat dry. Cut off a good chunk off long stems — you want to make sure the peppers fit in the air fryer.
Place as many poblano peppers into your air fryer’s basket without overcrowding. My air fryer model is large so I can usually fit 4 to 5 medium-large peppers.
Set the temperature to 390F and the timer to 8 minutes. Once the timer goes off carefully open the air fryer and flip over the poblanos. Set the timer for 6 to 8 minutes. The additional time required will depend the size of your poblanos.
Air fry just until they are soft and have some blackened spots.
Sweating The Roasted Peppers
After you have charred (or roasted) all of the peppers place them on the plate and cover with plastic wrap or put them in a container with a lid, or put them inside of a plastic sandwich bag and seal.
Let them sit for 8 to 10 minutes. Whilst they are inside any of these sealed containers they begin to release their heat as well as some natural liquid, this is what we call “sweating the chiles”.
The purpose of this step is so that all of those little bits of charred skin will easily peel away from the pepper.
The Easiest Way to Peel Roasted Poblano
I often get asked if it’s necessary to peel roasted poblano peppers. Yes it is.
Once roasted the chile’s skin separates from the chile flesh and it becomes thicker. Though it’s perfectly safe (and edible) to consume, the texture can be a bit unpleasant. It’s quite thick. So the best thing is to remove it. This is specially helpful when making salsas or sauces.
Though poblanos tend to be a mild pepper occasionally you’ll come across some that pack quite the heat. So if you want to be safe put on a pair of latex or kitchen gloves to prevent chile burns.
For this step you’ll need a cuttings boar or a baking sheet, a butter knife, and a little bit of water.
Place a “sweated” chile on a cutting board or plate and use the back of the knife to gently scrape away the charred skin. Alternatively, you can use your hand to hold the pepper and with your other hand use your fingers to carefully pull away the charred skin. Either way works great, pick which ever is easiest for you.
Generally speaking the peppers roasted under the broiler and air fryer the skin may be easier to lift and pull away. The fire roasting method is better with the knife or hand.
Sometimes if the charred and sweated peppers are still too hot to handle I like to place them in a little bit of slightly cool water to help me hold them better without burning my fingers.
When using the butter knife or your hands you can dip in a little bit of water to help remove any of the built up charred bits on the knife and your fingers.
Some people like clean the peppers under running water. But there’s many traditional cooks that say that dipping the peppers in the water takes away some of their natural flavors and oils.
Lastly, use a paper towel to remove any of the excess charred bits from the peppers.
How to Prep Poblano Peppers
Once you have fire roasted and peeled the chiles you can prep them to use in all of your favorite Mexican recipes.
For Chiles Rellenos
If you are going to be stuffing the roasted Poblanos simply use a knife to make an incision going lengthwise or top to bottom.
Very carefully (you may want to use those latex gloves again) use a small knife to cut away the seeds from inside the chile. You can also use a spoon to help scoop out the seeds and discard.
That’s it! Now you can stuffed with cheese, beans, veggies or anything else you want to use.
For Fajitas or Rajas
Grab one charred pepper cut it lengthwise and in half, use the knife to cut away the seeds, stems and any attached membranes. Then slice the halves into long strips cutting either along the width or length of each half.
For Salsas, Sauces, and Burgers or Meatballs
Remove the stems and seeds as previously indicated. The chop into desired sizes.
That’s it, you are now ready to stuff or sauté those strips and enjoy all of that hard work — it really isn’t difficult at all. Once you go through the process of roasting them, you’ll see that each and every step is absolutely worth it and you’ll never want to skip this method again.
How to Store Fire Roasted Poblano Peppers
You can store them in the refrigerator for about 5 days before they go bad.
If you have extra charred peppers, or want to same yourself some time on your next meal, then you can freeze them. Both whole or in strips, once roasted and frozen they keep quite well in the freezer.
How to Roast Poblano Peppers
- 8 whole poblano peppers
- gas stove
- metal tongs
- plastic wrap or a container with a lid or a plastic sandwich bag
- latex gloves highly recommended for preventing chile burns
- Throughly rinse each pepper to make sure to remove any dirt, use a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to pat dry each pepper.
- Turn your stove on to a medium-high flame, carefully place two or three peppers directly on the burner and over the flame. You’ll want to use the tongs to help arrange the peppers so that they don’t fall off and to help ensure even heat/flame on each one. Slowly the Poblanos will get little blisters that will darken and make a little popping sound. You’ll have to use the tongs to keep turning them so that the entire pepper is evenly charred on all sides. Do not leave them unattended because you want the other skin just to darken like in the pictures and not burn entirely and turn to ash.
- Once blackened on all sides, remove from the flame and continue the same step until each pepper has been roasted on the flame. You’ll also notice that the chile’s flesh will feel soft, you want to make sure that it feels this way throughout.
- After you have roasted all of the peppers, place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap or put them in a container with a lid, or put them inside of a plastic sandwich bag and seal. Now leave the chiles aside for about 10 minutes. Whilst they are inside any of these sealed containers they begin to release their heat as well as some natural liquid, this is what we call “sweating the chiles”. The purpose of this step is so that all of those little bits of charred skin will easily peel away from the pepper.
- Next you can place a “sweated” chile on a cutting board or plate and use a knife to gently scrape away the charred skin. Alternatively, you can use your hands to hold the pepper and with your other hand use your fingers to carefully pull away the charred skin. Either way works great, pick which ever is easiest for you.
- Use a paper towel or a little water to remove any of the excess charred bits from the peppers.
How To Devein And Prep Roasted Poblano Peppers
- Rellenos or Stuffed: If you are going to be stuffing the peppers simply use a knife to make an incision going lengthwise. Very carefully (you may want to use those latex gloves again) use a small knife to cut away the seeds from inside the chile. Ready for stuffing!
- Fajitas or Rajas: Grab one charred pepper cut it lengthwise and in half, use the knife to cut away the seeds, stems and any attached membranes. Then slice the halves into long strips cutting either along the width or length of each half.
- Salsas, Sauces, Burgers and Meatballs: Remove the stems and seeds as previously indicated. The chop into desired sizes.
- Now Your Roasted Poblano Peppers Are Ready To Cook As Desired!
HELP US RATE THIS RECIPE
Please make sure to leave a comment and a star rating if you make the recipe, it’s a huge help for my blog. Gracias!
Poblano Pepper Recipes
Now that you know how to properly prepare poblano peppers for Mexican cooking, below are some delectable recipes to try.
- Rajas con Crema or Poblano Pepper in Cream Sauce
- Enchiladas Verdes with Roasted Poblano Pepper & Oaxaca Cheese
- Vegetarian Chiles en Nogada (Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce)
- Corn and Poblano Pepper Soup with a Touch of Curry Powder
- Bean Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Ancho-Guajillo Chile Sauce
- Tacos de papa y chile poblano or Potato and Poblano Pepper Tacos
- How to Make Vegetarian Chiles Rellenos
- Easy Vegan Fajitas Recipe Video | For When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking