The chile poblano (or poblano pepper) is one of the most utilized chiles in Mexican cooking. Learn everything you need to know about poblano chiles, including how to roast, peel, and deseed them in this detailed guide.
Table of Contents
📖 What are poblano peppers?
Poblano peppers are Mexican chiles that come from the state of Puebla where they were first grown — hence their name.
Hard to miss, chiles poblanos are dark green and about 4 inches long. They look similar to Anaheim chiles and green bell peppers.
You can find poblano chiles in many Mexican dishes as they provide a lot of flavor with a relatively mild heat. Poblano peppers are often roasted and cut into strips (rajas) to be used in recipes like rajas con crema.
Note: watch the video of this post for more information on roasting poblanos.
When poblano peppers are dried (in the sun or a dehydrator), they transform into ancho chiles. The dried version of poblanos can also be used in a wide array of Mexican dishes, providing a unique set of flavors.
🍴 Flavor profile
Poblano peppers have a garden-fresh flavor, similar to green bell peppers. The difference lies in the kick of heat chiles poblanos provide.
When poblano peppers are cooked (roasted in most cases), they take on a sweet, fruity flavor with hints of smokiness.
🔥 Spice level
The chile poblano is not considered very spicy, but the heat level from pepper to pepper can vary significantly. These chiles register in at about 1000-2000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
This is mild compared to jalapeños, which are approximately 2.5-5x hotter on the Scoville Scale.
🍎 Health facts
Poblano chiles don't just bring flavor to recipes, they contain many health benefits too!
Containing significant amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A, these green chiles contribute to both eye and skin health.
Not only that, but the chile poblano also helps fight pain and inflammation (thanks to the capsaicin it contains).
How to Roast Poblano Peppers
- Knife & cutting board
- Ziploc bag
- Baking sheet
- 4 poblano peppers ($0.48)
- Heat a cast-iron griddle or comal over high. Pan-roast the whole poblano peppers until all sides are blackened and blistered, about 10 minutes. Make sure to rotate the peppers throughout cooking.
- Turn your oven onto broil and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the whole poblano peppers out evenly and broil for 10-15 minutes, flipping halfway.
- Turn a gas stove burner onto high. Using thongs, roast the whole poblano peppers directly over the flame, turning throughout, until all sides are blackened, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Steam & peel
- Once they are roasted, transfer the poblanos to a Ziplock bag or bowl with plastic wrap over top to help loosen the skins. Let them steam for 5-10 minutes, then peel the skins off.
- Open the peppers up and remove the seeds and veins, then slice them into thin strips or use them as-is for sauces, etc. Wash your hands well after handling them or wear gloves.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
🍽 Poblano peppers dishes
Poblano peppers are utilized in many different styles of dishes. They are perfect for roasting, boiling, stuffing, sautéeing, or simply eating fresh! Some of our favorite poblano pepper recipes are:
Store fresh poblano chiles in the fridge for up to 6-7 days in the crisper drawer. If they are roasted and peeled, they will last you up to 2-3 days in an airtight container.
You can freeze fresh or roasted poblano chiles for up to 6-12 months in a freezer-safe container or bag.
💰 Buying guide
If you're a fan of Mexican cuisine, finding the best poblano peppers is a crucial step in the cooking process. These tips will give you some ideas of what to watch out for.
What to look for
Choose poblano peppers that are shiny, firm, and have a uniform color. They should feel heavy and dense for their size.
Avoid any wrinkled, bruised, discolored, or flaccid peppers.
Where to buy
You can find poblano peppers in most grocery stores in the fresh produce section.
If you have trouble finding the chile poblano, there are two noteworthy substitutions:
- Anaheim peppers. Although spicier and not as earthy in flavor, Anaheim peppers are still the best replacement for poblanos.
- Green bell pepper. With more garden-fresh (though less complex) flavors, a green bell pepper is a suitable substitute for the chile poblano. We would recommend pairing half a jalapeño with one bell pepper to achieve a similar spice level.
🌶 More Mexican chiles
If you're interested in learning about more popular chiles used in Mexican cooking, check out our other detailed guides:
As we mentioned, poblano peppers are considered a mild chile. However, some poblano peppers can be surprisingly spicy so watch out!
If you are eating poblano peppers fresh, you don't need to peel the skin (although it is fairly tough). Much like roasted red peppers, roasted poblano peppers have papery, unappetizing skins so it's best to remove them.
When poblano peppers are left to ripen longer, they turn red. They are safe to eat and will develop a sweeter flavor. You're unlikely to find red ones at a grocery store, but you can if you're growing them yourself.