Poblano peppers or poblano chiles are one of the most utilized and popular peppers in Mexican cooking. These chili peppers are mild, flavorful and not very spicy. Learn everything you need to know about chili poblano. From buying, and storing, to their flavor profile and heat level. We will even show you how to roast poblano peppers!
Table of Contents
What are poblano peppers?
Poblano peppers are dark green, mild peppers named after the state of Puebla, Mexico where they were first grown. They are the most popular peppers in Mexican cuisine and frequently used in Tex Mex dishes.
Poblano plants produce dark green peppers that eventually ripen to a red color. These Mexican chiles have a somewhat elongated heart shape that reaches about 4 to 6 inches long when mature. The top of the pepper where the steam is, can be 2 to 3 inches wide, narrowing down towards the bottom. When it comes to heat levels, this flavorful and earthy green pepper is mostly mild in taste although that varies as some chile poblanos can have a little kick.
They are not as fruity as green bell peppers, which have no heat at all, but not as spicy as a jalapeño pepper. They are meaty, which makes them the perfect pepper for stuffing.
Fresh poblanos Scoville scale
Scoville Heat Units: 1,000 – 2,000
How spicy are poblano peppers?
Fresh poblano peppers are mild to medium heat peppers. At 1,000 to 2,000 SHU they land somewhere between a green bell pepper which measures 0 (zero) SHU in the Scoville Scale and a jalapeno pepper which measures 2,500 to 8,000 SHU in the same scale.
- When Fresh: Fresh, not fully ripe green poblano peppers are mild with just a hint of heat. Although not a sweet pepper, these chiles have a slight fruity flavor, that is deeper, richer and bolder than the flavor of a green bell pepper.
- When Fully Ripe: these chiles turn red in color and the heat level increases to some degree.
- When Cooked: When cooked (boiled, sautéed, roasted, etc) poblano peppers turn a bit sweeter and lightly smoky.
- When Dried: When poblanos are fully ripe and dry out, they are called ancho chilis. When rehydrated, their mild heat and sweet smoky flavor add so much flavor to mole sauces, stews, and many other Mexican dishes. Ancho chiles can also be ground into a powder, which is used a dried seasoning.
How to use poblanos?
Poblanos are a good substitute ingredient for recipes that call for green bell peppers. Because of their texture, poblanos are suitable for stuffing – like in chile rellenos. They can be eaten cooked or raw. Roasting these peppers, bring out their natural sweetness while adding a hint of a smoky taste.
How to roast poblano peppers?
There are several easy ways to roast or char poblano peppers:
- On a sheet pan in the oven
- Under the broiler
- On a grill
- On the stove top over an open flame (until completely charred)
- On the stove top in a dry skillet
- In the air fryer
Picking and buying
- If you grow your own poblano chiles at home, harvest time comes about 65-75 days after transplanting.
- Whether you grow your own peppers or buy them at grocery stores, poblano peppers should be deep, dark green in color and have a glistening shine.
- Each pepper should be between 4-6 inches long and feel somewhat heavy for their size.
- Choose peppers that are firm, free of blemishes or soft spots.
Best poblano chile substitution
- Best Match: Anaheim chile pepper aka California peppers, Hatch chiles and New Mexico peppers.
- Second Best: Green bell peppers
Dried ancho chile substitution
Ancho chiles are simply (fully ripe) dried poblano peppers.
- Best Match: Dried pasilla peppers
- Second Best: Mulato
- The best way to store these chili peppers is in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator. If harvest at home, peppers may last up to 2 weeks. Purchase at the supermarket, they can last between 3-5 days.
- Make sure your peppers are completely dry before storing them.
- Place them in a breathable bag towards the front of the crisper drawer.
- If you don’t have a breathable bag or produce bag, make a few holes in a resealable bag or paper bag to allow just the right amount of oxygen in.
- Store at room temperature for about 2 days.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Are poblano peppers very hot?
No, they are not very hot. Poblano peppers are mild with just a hint of heat. Not as mild as a green bell pepper but not as hot as a jalapeno pepper. They are somewhere in between.
Can you eat poblano peppers raw?
Yes, they can be eat raw as well as cooked.
Do you have to peel poblano peppers?
When roasted or charred, the skin should be removed. This is super easy to do. After roasting the peppers, allow them to “sweat” in a bag or covered with plastic wrap. After about 10 minutes, the skin will come right off. You can also use a paper towel to rub the skin off the pepper easily.
Are poblano peppers good for you?
Chili peppers contain Capsicum and these are some of its health benefits:
- Contains vitamin C, vitamin B2 and potassium.
- It has a high content of vitamin A which contributes to healthy eyes and skin.
- High in antioxidants and immune boosting benefits.
- Reduces inflammation.
Helpful tips and notes
- Poblano peppers are usually found in the produce area of most grocery stores in the United States.
- Fresh poblanos are called ancho chiles when dried.