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 4 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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Meggan Hill

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. I came across a recipe for BILLY’S SMOKEY CHILI that calls for but I didn’t know how to roast them and that brought me to this site. I love Chili Rellenos but never knew until now that they used Pablano Peppers for that purpose. I will look for your recipe to show up on this site.

    1. Hi William! Always great to meet a fellow Chili Rellenos lover. They really are the best! I need to get a recipe on here, hopefully by the end of the year. :) I know that sounds like forever, so hopefully it doesn’t take that long! Thanks again and I hope the peppers worked out for you. I will do a search for Billy’s Smokey Chili. Take care!

  2. I have a bunch of Poblanos I got at my farmers market last weekend.  (9).  I am single, 79 yo, and they are all mine.  I’d like to make rellenos and freeze them. A recipe would be great.  I stuff the Jalapeños with cheddar and chicken, and bake.  If I cannot get a Rellonos recipe, I’ll do the same with them.  I got a bunch of anaheims as well and don’t know how to use them either, chicken and cheese seem to work well with any chilies, but I’d welcome a choice.

    1. Hi Margaret! Good for you and your poblanos, I’m jealous! I don’t actually have a Chile Rellenos recipe to pass along to you. It’s on my list, it’s something I need to make, but I have no experience with that. One reader promised me a recipe but it hasn’t shown up yet. :D I think you could do the same with your poblanos as you do with the jalapenos, or try making a variation with beef or just cheese. I’ve had chile rellenos made with Anaheim peppers, too, at a local Mexican restaurant called Sabor. They were SO GOOD! They stuffed them with just cheese but it’s my favorite dish there. I will send you a note as soon as I get Chile Rellenos on the blog, but I don’t think it will be in time for you to process your current batch of poblanos. Sorry about that. Good luck and take care, and thanks for reading!

    2. Well this was a year ago but here’s your basic authentic Mexican chile relleno technique. Mi have lived in Mexico 12 years and my mother in law is Mexican.  Roast and de-skin the peppers as described here,  one extra hint:  put the roasted heat hoteliers in a bag (old plastic shopping bag) and close up the bag, twist it shut.  Let them steam for 10 minutes.  Then, running them Under water, the skins/seeds/veins all peel right off!  So from there, roll your pepper in white flour, inside and out.  Put a “log” of white cheese in it, like Mexican manchego, Monterrey Jack, chihuahua, asadero, or even Gouda.  It should be about 1/2 inch X 3 inches.  Then dip the pepper in previously highly whipped eggs.  (For this, take 5 egg whites and blend on high with whisk attachment until peaks form.  Then one by one, add in yolks. The eggs should be stiff).  Dip stuffed chile in the stiff eggs, and then quickly transfer it to a skillet with hot oil.  Fry on one side, flip, fry other side–all till a golden brown.  Transfer to paper towels to soak up some oil.  Serve these in a tomato brothy sauce.  To make sauce:  pan sear/fire roast 2-3 whole tomatoes, a quarter of an onion (the whole chunk), 2 garlics, and 1 Serrano pepper.  Once they have blackened skins, blend in a blender with a little water.  Add this mixture to a pot with a tad bit of oil and some slivered onion pieces.  Let the salsa simmer.  Season to taste with powdered chicken broth (Knorr brand), add more water to make brothy.  Season with more salt if need be.  Place a ladle of broth and one pepper in a shallow bowl or directly on plate to serve.  This is true Mexican chile relleno!  Enjoy!  

  3. I have an old Mexican ladies recipe for chile rellonos. It is excellent! I also have a very simple ranchero like sauce for them. Would be happy to share.

    1. Hi Sherry! YES. A million times over, yes. “An old Mexican lady’s recipe” sold it for me, there is no one more qualified to make chile rellenos. :D My usual Mexican restaurant just closed recently so I’m more desperate than ever. If you feel like sharing your recipe, you can email it to me at [email protected]. I will cross my fingers! Thank you so much!!!

    2. Hi Gwen! Did you sign up for the email list? There is a signup box in the sidebar on my blog. When you sign up, you automatically get a copy of the Chipotle Copycat recipes emailed to you. Thank you!

  4. Is there a reason that you don’t remove the seeds and membranes before you roast? It just seems like it’d be easier when the pepper isn’t soft.

    1. Hi Rebecca, I can’t say there is a reason. I have only ever tried to roast the peppers whole and uncut, but not for any particular reason. What you say makes a lot of sense and I’ll definitely have to try that! Thanks for your insights.

  5. I just used your roasting method to roast pasilla chilies. They came out great. I only roasted them for 20 minutes and they were mostly blistered all over and the skin, after steaming, was easy to peel. Next time I might go 25 minutes, I was just afraid they would turn to mush. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Brian! Good to know. I suppose ovens vary slightly, but I will retest and adjust cooking times. Thank you and I’m so glad they worked out for you! Take care.

  6. I love poblano’s and they don’t ever appear on my little rock.  I was just in Florida and I stuck one poblano and one cubanelle (which I also love) in a ziplock back with a cold pack.  Good thing I did that as my bags were two days behind me?. I am going to attempt, again, to try to plant the seeds and grow them.  I have never had any success, but keep trying!   My on,y other option, is the different types of dried peppers they bring in here.  They  just aren’t the same as a good fresh poblano though, and different colors flavors also.  

    1. You sure plan ahead for your trips! I hope the peppers grow for you, that would be amazing. I’ve grown shishito peppers in my Earth Box and it worked quite well. I hope you have similar luck! Thank you so much for your comment! :)

  7. Poblanos a big in our house and I love them stuffed (I have a few recipes if you want to try something new!).
    I usually grill them, but this oven method sounds easy for when the “cold” weather drops in on us SoCal peeps (70° and below) Ha!

  8. I purchased frozen poblano peppers in Mexico at Walmart several years ago.  Very handy to have.  Have you tried freezing these?

    1. I haven’t, but I’ve frozen bell peppers and I roast them the same way. I think it would work great! Awesome idea. I love the idea of making a bunch at once so I just have them. Thank you!!!