Learn how to roast peppers and chilies in the oven or on a gas burner. Use this method for bell peppers, poblanos, serranos, jalapeños, and more!

Learn how to roast peppers and chilies in the oven or on a gas burner. Use this method for bell peppers, poblanos, anaheims, pasillas, and more!

In Mexico, roasted peppers are a major part of the cuisine. Over red-hot coals, poblano peppers are turned into tender strips of mixed peppers called Rajas, eaten with queso and tucked into gorditas, tacos, and tortillas. Spicier chilies are tamed on the fire and added to salsas and sauces, every one more delicious than the next.

Roasting peppers brings out their sweet flavors, and makes them supple and delicious. I’ll show you how to do it over direct flame (on the stove OR outside, right over the coals on the grill) and even in the oven.

Ingredient notes:

  • Peppers vs. chiles: They are the same thing; it’s really just a matter of naming conventions. “Chile” is the Spanish word for capsicums such as jalapeños, serranos, habañeros, poblanos, and so on. Americans sometimes spell it “chili” but now we are moving towards “chile” because “chili” is the stew with the meat. We sometimes say “pepper” in the United States because when Columbus arrived, he thought chiles were “peppers” (as in spicy black pepper, a member of the Piper genus). He was wrong. We always use the word “pepper” for non-spicy peppers such as bell peppers.

Stove instructions:

This method works best when you only need a few peppers, because you can’t really walk away from the stove.

  1. To start, simply prop the chilies directly in or over an open gas flame on the stovetop over high heat.
    Poblano pepper being roasted on top of a stove.
  2. Using tongs, turn the chilies occasionally until all sides are blackened and blistered.
    Poblano pepper being roasted on top of a stove.
  3. Place them in a bowl and wrap the top tightly with plastic wrap so they can steam.
    Poblano pepper covered in a bowl.
  4. Allow the charred peppers to cool down under plastic for about 10 minutes. Once they’re cool enough to handle,  gently rub the skin off the pepper and discard it.
    Poblano pepper in a bowl.

Grill instructions:

I love using a grill to roast chilies because a) you can grill other stuff too and fit the peppers around what you’re cooking and b) you can roast a small or large quantity of chilies, depending on the size of the grill.

  1. Once the grill is nice and hot, position the whole peppers on the grates and turn the chilies until all sides are blackened and blistered.
  2. Place them in a bowl and wrap the top tightly with plastic wrap so they can steam.
  3. Allow the charred peppers to cool down under plastic for about 10 minutes. Once they’re cool enough to handle,  gently rub the skin off the pepper and discard it.

Oven instructions:

This is a less efficient way to cook a single jalapeño or two, but it’s a FANTASTIC way to roast a big batch of Hatch chilies.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. (Hotter temperatures are okay, too. It speeds up the process a bit, but your cooking times may vary.) Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. Arrange the whole chiles on baking sheets in a single layer.
    Five raw poblano chiles on a white background.
  2. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes, or longer if needed, until skins are thoroughly blackened. Flip occasionally with tongs to achieve even charring and roasting.
    Five freshly roasted poblano chiles on a white background.
  3. Place them in a bowl and wrap the top tightly with plastic wrap to steam.
    Poblano pepper covered in a bowl.
  4. Allow the charred peppers to cool down under plastic for about 10 minutes. Once they’re cool enough to handle,  gently rub the skin off the pepper and discard it.
    Poblano pepper in a bowl.

Broiler instructions:

Using a broiler to roast chilies speeds up the process in the oven, but you have to keep an eye on things. Some broilers are hotter than others!

  1. To start, move the oven rack to the position that’s closest to the oven’s broiler. Turn the broiler on to HIGH. Line a baking sheet with foil, and arrange the chilies on a single layer on the baking sheet. Then place under the broiler to roast.
  2. As the peppers roast, watch them closely and turn them carefully with tongs.
  3. Place them in a bowl and wrap the top tightly with plastic wrap to steam.
  4. Allow the charred peppers to cool down under plastic for about 10 minutes. Once they’re cool enough to handle,  gently rub the skin off the pepper and discard it.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Steaming: Wrapping in plastic wrap (or a plastic baggie also works!) is a crucial step. It makes the pepper’s papery, tough outer skin loosen and separate from the rest of the vegetable. And that makes it easier to remove! If the skin doesn’t fall off easily, grab a clean kitchen towel or some dry paper towels and rub with those.
  • Gloves: I definitely recommend wearing gloves for this process because some peppers are spicy no matter what. I always seem to have an itch near my eye when I handle peppers without gloves, and I’ve paid the price more than once.
  • Seeds: Once the peppers are finished, you can leave them as-is, or seed them. Read your recipe to see what it calls for. Depending on what you’re cooking, keep them whole for stuffed peppers, or stem, seed, and chop and add them to soups, salads, sandwiches, and the most phenomenal salsa ever!
  • Aim for blackened peppers, not ash: Try not to roast the peppers so long that they begin to shoulder into ash. The stem may burn like a match, and that’s okay, but you want to preserve the sweet flesh of the pepper under that blistered skin.
  • Cooking times may vary: Watch the peppers closely as they roast. Differently sized peppers will need more or less cooking time than what is specified in this how-to. You’ll get the hang of it!
  • Storage: You can keep the peppers stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week. Or, store them in the freezer for up to one year. Canned roasted peppers? Even longer.
  • DIY diced green chilies. Roasted, peeled, and diced jalapeño peppers can be used in any recipe calling for a can of “diced green chiles.” So keep that in mind!

Poblano pepper on a wood cutting board.

Recipes with roasted peppers and chilies:

Five freshly roasted poblano chiles on a white background.

How to Roast Peppers and Chilies

Learn how to roast peppers and chilies in the oven or on a gas burner. Use this method for bell peppers, poblanos, serranos, jalapeños, and more!
5 from 5 votes
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 35

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound Bell peppers or chilies (see note 1)

Instructions 

To roast peppers over an open flame:

  • Turn the flame of a gas stove to HIGH. Using tongs, place chilies directly in or over the flame until the skin is charred and blistered but not ash white, turning occasionally, about 2 to 3 minutes. Or, roast over a very charcoal or gas grill for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand until the skin starts to loosen and the peppers are cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
  • Wearing gloves or using a clean kitchen towel, carefully rub off and discard the blackened skin. Leave the stem and seeds intact if desired for your recipe; otherwise, remove and discard them.

To roast the peppers under the oven broiler:

  • Arrange an oven rack as close to the broiler element as possible and preheat on HIGH. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Arrange peppers in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
  • Broil the peppers until the skin is charred and blistered but not ash white, turning often, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand until the skin starts to loosen and the peppers are cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
  • Wearing gloves or using a clean kitchen towel, carefully rub off and discard the blackened skin. Leave the stem and seeds intact if desired for your recipe; otherwise, remove and discard them.

To roast the peppers in the oven:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Arrange peppers in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
  • Broil the peppers until the skin is charred and blistered but not ash white, turning occasionally, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand until the skin starts to loosen and the peppers are cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
  • Wearing gloves or using a clean kitchen towel, carefully rub off and discard the blackened skin. Leave the stem and seeds intact if desired for your recipe; otherwise, remove and discard them.

To seed the peppers for stuffing:

  • Using a small knife, slit each pepper lengthwise from the stem to the bottom, leaving the top 1/2-inch and the bottom 1/2-inch uncut. Leaving the stem intact, remove seeds and membranes. Wipe inside of pepper with a damp towel and dry well.

To slice or chop the peppers:

  • Slit each pepper lengthwise and lay flat. Cut out stem, remove seeds and membranes, and slice or chop as desired.

Notes

  1. Peppers vs. chiles: They are the same thing; it’s really just a matter of naming conventions. “Chile” is the Spanish word for capsicums such as jalapeños, serranos, habañeros, poblanos, and so on. Americans sometimes spell it “chili” but now we are moving towards “chile” because “chili” is the stew with the meat. We sometimes say “pepper” in the United States because when Columbus arrived, he thought chiles were “peppers” (as in spicy black pepper, a member of the Piper genus). He was wrong. We always use the word “pepper” for non-spicy peppers such as bell peppers.
  2. Steaming: Wrapping in plastic wrap (or a plastic baggie also works!) is a crucial step. It makes the pepper's papery, tough outer skin loosen and separate from the rest of the vegetable. And that makes it easier to remove! If the skin doesn't fall off easily, grab a clean kitchen towel or some dry paper towels and rub with those.
  3. Gloves: I definitely recommend wearing gloves for this process because some peppers are spicy no matter what. I always seem to have an itch near my eye when I handle peppers without gloves, and I've paid the price more than once.
  4. Seeds: Once the peppers are finished, you can leave them as-is, or seed them. Read your recipe to see what it calls for. Depending on what you're cooking, keep them whole for stuffed peppers, or stem, seed, and chop and add them to soups, salads, sandwiches, and the most phenomenal salsa ever!
  5. Aim for blackened peppers, not ash: Try not to roast the peppers so long that they begin to shoulder into ash. The stem may burn like a match, and that's okay, but you want to preserve the sweet flesh of the pepper under that blistered skin.
  6. Cooking times may vary: Watch the peppers closely as they roast. Differently sized peppers will need more or less cooking time than what is specified in this how-to. You'll get the hang of it!
  7. Storage: You can keep the peppers stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week. Or, store them in the freezer for up to one year. Canned roasted peppers? Even longer.
  8. DIY diced green chilies. Roasted, peeled, and diced jalapeño peppers can be used in any recipe calling for a can of "diced green chiles." So keep that in mind!

Nutrition

Calories: 35kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 5mgPotassium: 239mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 3550IUVitamin C: 145mgCalcium: 8mgIron: 1mg
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I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. Oven roasting dried Chile’s 30 to 40 minutes at 400?! Within 5 minutes they smoked up the kitchen and were charred black

    1. Hi Rocky, no no no! This method is for FRESH CHILES, it says “bell peppers, poblanos, serranos, jalapeños!” Not dried chiles. Dried chiles are completely different, you do them for like 5 minutes in a dried skillet and then hydrate them in boiling water or grind them or something like that. Definitely NOT in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.

      Sorry for the confusion, but no place in this post (in text or in photos) do I suggest this is a good method for dried chiles. I’ll try to make it more clear, though. -Meggan

  2. I like roasting Poblanos, Anaheim and jalapenos on the gas grill and speed things up using a propane torch. When done drop in a plastic bag to let them sweat and then run them under cool water and the skin falls right off.

  3. I remember ordering Chili Relleno and having them bring me a stuffed, fried BELL pepper!!! I was HORRIFIED!!! Now, I always ask to make sure they use the Poblano. There should be some type of police action if a restaurant tries to call anything with a green bell pepper “Chili Relleno”

    I knew the peppers could be roasted in the oven, but wasn’t sure of the temp and time. Thanks for having this available!!5 stars

  4. Hi Meggan, I share your love of roasted peppers, and poblanos are my favorire also. Although the extra spicy variety of Hatch green chiles from New Mexico are a very close second! Here in Texas, we can buy those by the case every fall and the grocery store will roast them for free in their outdoor chile roaster. Then we bring them home, package up and throw them in the freezer to use all year. Spoiled, right?! Anyway, when those run out, I roast them at home, but under the broiler. It only takes about 10 minutes that way and doesn’t make them mushy. They do pop, hiss, and burst, but that is normal and just means there is a ready made slit in the pepper for stuffing which is a good thing! There are step by step directions for chile rellenos at Mexgrocer.com Happy eating.

    1. Thank you Suzy! That sounds amazing – buying cases and having them roasted… I’m jealous! I love your broiler method and will definitely add it to my post. I appreciate the insight! And I’m jealous!! LOL

  5. This was the best I’ve tried so far HOWEVER some of the peppers are mush underneath. I did it for 30 but some still weren’t blistered. 40 was perfect for easy peeling but burst open peppers (4 out of 7)

    Maybe I’ll try 30 next time and let the steamy cool down do the work5 stars

    1. Wow, the peppers burst? That has never happened to me, sorry to hear that. I will make these again and see what else I can add to the post. Thanks for your comment Jennifer!

    2. I will say that I refrigerated them and later went to stuff them. The first one, as I was trying to get the seeds out, completely fell apart.
      The others, I just opened up the pepper where the burst already was (they all had burst or torn a little) and then rinsed out the seeds. I’d prefer not to rinse that flavor off (and they still tasted delicious) but that got the seeds out without the whole pepper crumbling.

      I was able to gently set them on a baking pan (stone) and put some leftover chili in them and heat them up and they held. I mean they were cut with fork and knife, but they were eaten and tasty!

      I believe my error might have been giving them that extra 10 minutes, that was enough to cook the pepper itself a bit too much. I will still be trying your way again, just going on the shorter end of time frame. Thank you!

  6. Hi Meggan:  I grew up eating chile relleno since I was a kid.  My mother was a great cook and I regret I didn’t get he Mexican recipes.   If you get the promise chile relleno recipe from the “old lady”, please shared it.  They are one of my favorites. Today I will try your roasting method p. It seems more simple than what I usually do. Thanks for sharing,
    Jaime5 stars

    1. I wish I had the recipe Jaime! I’m still hoping a gracious reader coughs up an awesome chile relleno recipe someday. I ordered a couple of old cookbooks today so I’m hoping to see if I can find one. They really are the best. Thanks for your comment and take care. :)

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